The Roman philosopher Plautus (254-184 BC) wrote, “A woman without paint is like food without salt.” Cosmetics have beautified women for centuries. Possibly the earliest record comes from the first dynasty of Egypt as far back as 3100 B.C. Egyptian women decorated their eyes by applying dark green to the under lid and blackening the lashes and upper eyelid with soot or a metallic element called antimony (Source: Medusas Makeup).
Although styles, colors and trends have certainly changed over the years, the modern woman still uses cosmetics to make eyes look brighter and more open. Survey a group of women, and they will likely agree that if they could only enhance one feature of the face, they would choose the eyes. Used correctly, eye cosmetics can make green eyes sparkle, blue eyes glow and brown eyes smolder.
When used improperly, cosmetics can cause infection, allergic reaction and even injury. Some of the most common causes of eye infection are old cosmetics. Bacteria can grow on make-up applicators and bacteria can be transferred to the eye. In most serious cases, improper application of cosmetics can damage the cornea, the front surface of the eye. This often occurs when eyeliner pencils are not properly sharpened and rough wood casings can scratch the cornea. Any corneal injury requires immediate attention because they cause pain (Source: Health News Digest).
To keep your eyes healthy AND beautiful, here are some tips to follow when applying your eye cosmetics:
- Do not mix and match cosmetics. Even though your eyeliner may also look fine on your lips, you may introduce bacteria into your eye when you line your eyes again.
- Throw away old eyeliner pencils. Liner tips become stiff over time and require more pressure to apply. Pressing down harder increases risk of corneal injury.
- Follow the three month rule. Every quarter (or season) throw away your eye makeup and purchase a fresh supply. Infection-causing bacteria grows quickly, especially on liquid eye makeup.
- Do not share makeup.
- When sampling makeup in stores, ask for an individual sample that has not been used by anyone else. Even using a fresh applicator may not be enough if the sample bottle has bacteria.
- If you develop an eye infection, immediately dispose of all your eye makeup to avoid re-infection.
- If you are sensitive to cosmetics, introduce only one new cosmetic at a time.
- Remove all eye makeup at night before sleeping. Brush a clean cotton swab along your eyelashes to remove all flakes of mascara.