The most dangerous cosmetic in the world

Alexia asks: I was genetically condemned with the most colorless lashes in the world, which make me look like an alien or a corpse (or maybe an alien corpse?) I was thinking about dying my lashes but I found that it’s illegal in some places because several people went blind! Then, I found a product called Colorsport 30-day Mascara, which is supposed to be a permanent eyelash color. I’m desperate to try it, but I’m also partial to eyesight. Will I go blind if I dye my lashes?

The Right Brain shows her the light:

You’re right, Alexia, in the U.S. eyelash dying products are considered to be illegal and unsafe.

What is eyelash dye?

Eyelash dying products use the same kind of dyes as permanent hair colors. For example, the Colorsport product you mentioned contains 2-Chloro-p-phenylenediamine; 2,6 Diaminopyridine and m-Aminophenol. These chemicals are referred to as “oxidative dyes” because they must be mixed with an oxidizing agent (usually hydrogen peroxide) before they will work. The oxidizing agent causes the dye molecules to polymerize, or link together, to create intense shades.

Why is dying lashes dangerous?

Oxidative dyes are very reactive chemicals and can induce an allergic reaction in some people that causes painful rash or even blistering. That’s why permanent hair colors instruct you to test the product on a small spot of your skin before applying it to your scalp. (Not many people do it, but read the label on your Clairol or L’Oreal dye and you’ll see it.) Since your eyes are even more sensitive than your scalp, an allergic reaction there is much more dangerous. There have been a few cases, dating back to the 1930s, of women being blinded (and even killed!) from allergic reactions to these kinds of dyes.

That’s why the U.S. FDA says these dyes represent “an acute, severe hazard to health with the possibility of permanent injury; i.e.,impaired sight, including blindness.”

Permanent eyelash and eyebrow tints and dyes have been known to cause serious eye injuries, including blindness. There are no color additives approved by FDA for permanent dyeing or tinting of eyelashes and eyebrows.”

How can Colorsport sell an illegal product?

There are two reasons : First, Colorsport is made in the UK and these products are not illegal there because the jurisdiction of the FDA is limited to the US. For reasons we can’t fathom, the European Union does not seem to be as concerned about this danger and so there are several eyelash dyes available in the UK. The FDA tries to stop these products from being brought into the US but it’s tough to stop people from ordering them online.

Second, there are salons in the US that still offer this service but they’re just that are just ignoring the law (and the danger!) They use the argument that “I’ve been dying eyelashes for years and never had a problem.” But the reality is, every credible source on this topic says that the risk is not worth the reward. So stick with a good mascara and leave the hair dyes off your lashes.