Here’s a scenario: It’s a Saturday evening and for the first time in months, you’ve got plans to go out and dance the night away with your girls. Red heels, tight black dress, hair that slays. You’ve even dropped by the mall and picked up a new mineral eye shadow. You are going to look amazing! You dip your eye shadow brush in your cute new shade and glide it over your eyes. They twinkle! And then...they itch...followed by burning. What’s going on?
I had a similar experience with mineral eye shadow the first time I tried it. And it was completely baffling. Don’t the mineral makeup brands tout how “pure” and “safe” mineral makeup is? Isn’t it all the rage because it’s supposed to be the natural choice?
Well, yes. And no. Like all products, mineral makeup is only as harmless as the ingredients inside. When mineral makeup hit the scene several years back, it seemed every brand jumped on the bandwagon, even brands that have never cared one bit about producing natural makeup. Without a clear mission to produce healthy products, companies that created mineral makeup were really just capitalizing on a trend. As such, they weren’t motivated to keep the ingredients as pure as possible.
Enter Bismuth Oxychloride. Because this ingredient has gotten a lot of write-up, you may or may not have heard the scoop. But just in case you haven’t, I’m going to fill you in. Bismuth Oxychloride is an inorganic compound of bismoclite, a rare mineral. Bismuth is used in cosmetics such as eye shadows, foundations and bronzers. It creates a beautiful shimmer and helps the makeup adhere to the skin. It also acts as a filler and “bulks up” makeup so less pure pigment is needed (translation: it cuts down cost for the manufacturer). Because there isn’t enough bismoclite to supply the beauty industry, bismuth is mostly produced as a by-product from refining other metals, such as copper, silver and lead. One of the properties of bismuth is said to be similar to arsenic. Ouch.
Soooo, what does all of this have to do with your itchy, burning eyes and your Saturday dance date? Bismuth is probably the culprit for the irritation. Bismuth has sharp edges that make tiny incisions in the skin, which for many women causes problems - from itching, to burning, to redness and rashes. It also blocks the pores, which is never good. Although it’s found in foundation and bronzers, I find it troubling that it’s in eye shadows. My eyes swell and turn beet red from it. And I developed a cysts on the lower lid of my eye that I had to have surgically removed after a particularly painful battle with bismuth (before I knew what was causing my problems).
It’s important to know that many, many cosmetic brands use bismuth oxychloride and the FDA has approved it as safe (if that carries weight for you). But if you have sensitive skin, rosacea or eczema, it’s probably a good idea to steer clear of bismuth oxychloride. We don’t use it in any of our products, so you can relax. And enjoy your night out!
Would you like to watch a video explaining Bismuth Oxychloride further? Check this out.