Can cosmetics brands help consumers keep their eyes healthy?

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

Can cosmetics brands help consumers keep their eyes healthy?

Related tags Cosmetics

Insights from board certified oculoplastic surgeon Dr. Mirwat Sami suggest that consumers and brands alike can take meaningful steps to safeguard against eye injury.

Dr Sami’s observations are useful to cosmetics formulators and packaging engineers, since eye-makeup products, containers and application routines can all present risks to consumer eye health.

Trends and projections
Eye makeup sold well this past holiday season, and consumers opted for shadow packs with multiple colors.  “During the holiday selling season in Canada, unit sales of eye shadow palettes of five or more shadow shades were up over 80 per cent and eye shadow sales overall were up 15 per cent, according to our Canada Beauty Trends research,”​ wrote Sandy Silva, a fashion industry analyst with NPD Canada, in a recent blog post for the company site.

For spring 2015 trend colors will be shades of blue, particularly eye shadows and eyeliners, according to Rick DiCecca, global makeup artist for the Amway Artistry brand. (DiCecca spoke​ at last month’s annual meeting of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists.)

With beauty editors and industry pros noting several new trends in the sector, eye makeup is set to do well this year. “I have every reason to believe that eye shadow and skin care will continue to be a focus for consumers into 2015,”​ Silva concluded. That’s one reason the winter trend for eyeliners, stickers / patches, and similar products that contour the eyes with glitter, shimmer, or metallics to create a foil effect was recently showcased in a slideshow on Refinery29​.

Yet, those very products can injure consumers: “Flakes can get into the tear film and increase your eyes’ irritation. Glitter eye makeup is a common cause of corneal irritation or infection, especially in contact lens users,”​ warns Dr. Sami.

Bacteria and beyond
Cosmetics have potential to damage the eyes, particularly if “applied carelessly. [Then,] issues can range from allergic reactions, to eye infections, to serious injuries,”​ states the doctor’s media release.

“Corneal injuries usually cause pain and always necessitate quick medical attention.  Other eye make-up application issues can be caused by bacteria growing inside the cosmetic containers or on the surface of make-up applicators,”​ Dr. Sami explains. Thoughtful packaging and product formulation can help consumers make safe choices and develop healthy beauty routines that minimize the chance of such injury. 

Materials of concern
Formulators and engineers should be mindful of using certain packing materials like wooden eyeliner pencils and glitter, according to the doctor’s advice. Also it’s best to create cosmetics that are clearly for, and conveniently applicable to, only one part of the face (eyes, mouth, or skin). That way consumers can easily heed the recommendation to “use what’s intended for your eyes on your eyes only.”  

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