Nail Polish-painted False Lashes – a Not So Safe Trend from Korea?
Some of my readers may be familiar with the Korean TV
Show Get It Beauty. It is a South Korea based weekly program showing newest
beauty trends in make-up, skin/hair/health care and celebrity beauty tips
interviews. In episode 6, which I watched while taking a break from studying,
they showed a tip, which is in my opinion quite unsafe. The invited make up artist
advised girls to paint false eyelashes with nail polish to create colorful
eyelashes. The result looks very pretty, but should you really put a nail
polish anywhere near your eyes?
It contains two solvents at the very beginning of the
list which are described as eye irritants on ChemSpider and for which rabbit
eye irritation tests are available – Butyl Acetate (I’m assuming n-Butyl
Acetate) and Ethyl Acetate. ChemSpider claims they are irritating for eyes and
rabbit irritation eye test (0.1 ml of 99% pure chemicals in direct contact with
the eye) resulted in score 7.5/110 for n-Butyl acetate and 15.0/110 for Ethyl
Acetate. I am actually not very sure about how the rabbit test is supposed to
be interpreted, but looking at the grading score, if nothing happens to the eye
after a defined amount of time, the score would be 0. So even though the
overall score is not that high, it still does something. Now, since both of
these are solvents, they should evaporate as the nail polish dries. So I
suppose that as long as the nail polish has dried completely, no significant
amount of these should be left.
Nitrocellulose was not found to be an eye irritant.
However, tosylamide, a resin (something that stays in the
nail polish even after it hardens and solvents evaporate), was found to be an
allergen causing dermatitis on eyelids. They claimed it was air-borne
contamination, but I suppose nobody thought about testing putting nail polish
per se to close proximity of eyelids. So, at least some people might get a
reaction to nail polish on false lashes, I presume.
Acetyl tributyl citrate caused minor eye irritation in
rabbits but was considered safe enough to be used even in eye cosmetics (I did
not study the details, but the reason for this might have been either occurrence
of the effect only in some rabbits, the fact that the effect was small, it
cleared up fast or the difference in concentrations between studied amount and
actually used amounts). It did not irritate human skin, but of course it was
not applied to eyes.
Isopropanol scored 30.5/110 in the rabbit eye irritation
test, however it can be reasonably expected to evaporate during drying.
I didn’t find any data on Stearalkonium bentonite and
silica and trimethylpentanediyl dibenzoate and tin oxide within a reasonable
Not much information about Mica either, but based on one
article I would expect it to be non-irritating.
Benzophenone-1, in concentrations used in cosmetics,
should not be irritating, however it is suspected to accumulate inside body and
act as a endocrine disruptor (interfering with hormonal regulation).
The solvents should not pose a risk to eyes as they
should evaporate before you use the lashes. Tosylamide could be potentially
irritating to allergic people. Other ingredients are either non-irritating or
lack sufficient data for me to know. The amount of nail polish used to paint individual
false lashes is very small and the part in direct contact with the eye lid is
Overall, using nail polish to paint falsies is not likely
to cause you blindness or any less severe eye damage, especially if you try to apply it only on the tips of the lashes and not where the lashes are glued to the eyelid. Also, apparently none of the
make-up artist’s customers ever complained about it. But is it really worth the
risk (even if it's pretty small)? Just buy colored eyelashes or mascara (and pray the ingredients used are
(BTW, I tried painting my fake lashes wih eye make-up - cream eyeshadow and eye liner and I have to admit it does not stay well, so I understand why nail polish is tempting. The thing is, nail polish is tested to be safe when put on nails and for the chemicals potentially travelling through air from nails. Nobody assesses it for eye safety when put on eyelids the same way eye make up is scrutinized.)
Sorry, I have issues with my new endnote >.<
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