Ingredients to Avoid in Mainstream Eye Makeup

Ingredients to Avoid in Mainstream Eye Makeup | Makeup DetoxOn to eyes! As always we avoid parabens and fragrance in all our products, and look up anything we’re unsure about on the Skin Deep database.


An ingredient to watch for in pressed eye shadows is talc. Talc can be contaminated with asbestos fibers, which are linked to respiratory problems and cancer. It’s made of magnesium silicate, which on it’s own has shown to be toxic and carcinogenic.

There’s a link between talc in the genital area and ovarian cancer. If you’re using a baby powder or talcum powder after your shower, please stop. And for the love of all things, please don’t use talc on your baby’s delicate genitals. In eye shadow it’s not as high of a concern, but it’s still worth avoiding. I avoid it.

Learn more about talc on Skin Deep.

Read about the link between talc and ovarian cancer here.

Bismuth Oxychloride

Bismuth oxychloride is found in some lower quality (more mainstream) mineral makeup brands. It’s not toxic, but it’s irritating to the skin. I’m including it here because if you have sensitive skin or you’re prone to breakouts, you’ll want to stay away from it. There are lots of companies that don’t use it.


Yes, mercury. Thimerosal is a mercury-based preservative found in some mascaras. Avoid this at all costs. Mercury is a neurotoxin and highly toxic. It received an impressive 10 in Skin Deep – the highest hazard rating there is. Granted it’s in very small quantities: the maximum allowed is 65 parts per million. To me, no amount is okay.

Check out thimerosal on Skin Deep here.

Read more about mercury in mascara here.

Titanium Dioxide

Titanium Dioxide is found in many mineral makeup brands. It’s not a concern for absorption, but is a concern for inhalation. Some people recommend only using titanium dioxide in pressed powders and liquid makeup – not in loose makeup. I personally don’t avoid it, but I’m aware of not inhaling it; for example I tap the excess powder off the brush far from my face.

If you have asthma, allergies or lung cancer you may want to choose pressed powders or creams. If not, just follow Bill Clinton’s lead and don’t inhale (I couldn’t resist).

Read more on titanium dioxide here.

Questions? Thoughts? Pop ’em in the comments below.

Non-toxic kisses,


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