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When you put on makeup, do you ever wonder about the products you’re putting on your skin? You’re far from the only one. In fact, 45% of consumers worry about toxic makeup. And there’s a reason to be concerned. There have been beauty and self-care products found containing yeast, microorganisms, and more! Yuck!
So, where’s the best first place to look to ensure your makeup products are safe? Check the latest recall lists to ensure that the products you’re using aren’t dangerous. Here are some of the latest makeup products that have been recalled and some important information about makeup safety.
Are you using any of these recalled makeup products? Read through this list and throw out any products on this list.
Did anyone buy the makeup at Claire’s when they were kids? Or maybe you recently bought some makeup for your own child? Either way, throw out any makeup you purchased from Claire’s.
Back in 2019, three of their products tested positive for asbestos. The specific products that tested positive for asbestos include their compact powder, eyeshadows, and contour palette. They first went on sale in October 2016. Anyone who purchased these products can take them back to Claire’s and receive a full refund.
In case you didn’t know, asbestos has been linked to different forms of cancer, specifically mesothelioma. The reason why asbestos is found in some cosmetics products is the talc.
Talc is a natural mineral that’s often added to makeup to create a soft, silky texture. You’ll especially find talc in products such as face powders, blushes, eye shadows, creams, and foundations. While not all talc contains asbestos, many brands don’t make their products with talc as a safety precaution.
While Claire’s never reported any injuries from product use, they voluntarily recalled those products after the FDA found traces of asbestos.
Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow Eyebrow Gel
This one proves that even reputable cosmetics can even recall products. Benefit Cosmetics recalled their popular Gimme Grow Eyebrow Gel back in 2017. Their reasons are that a batch didn’t live up to their quality of testing. However, the Consumer Product Information Database reported that they contained Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is a germ that can cause blood infections, pneumonia, and more.
While they weren’t any reports of consumers being harmed, the brand recalled their eyebrow gel voluntarily.
Tween Brands Inc.’s Just Shine Line
So I’ve never heard of this company before. I did a simple Google search and can’t find a company website. However, I searched “Just Shine makeup,” and a bunch of products with the “Just Shine” label appeared on Google Shopping. They’re sold at tween clothes stores such as Justice and have the typical “little girl makeup” branding, such as stars. All of their products are brightly colored and glittery.
A lot of parents buy these products for their kids. Hey, my mom bought a ton of products like this for me. Unfortunately, this brand was forced to recall several products from the “Just Shine” line due to exposure to asbestos. This includes various eye shadow palettes, brushes, powders, and various other kits.
This is a warning to all parents: the companies that brand their products for kids DOES NOT MEAN they are safe for kids. I would suggest not buying your child any makeup from off-brands such as these. There are several reliable makeup brands that sell safe products — and yes, they’re safe enough for kids. If you have Elf products, these products make the list. Even Crayola sells makeup products!
Kleancolor Frameous Lash & Brow, Clear Lash, and Brow Mascara and Other Products
Just one look at their website, KleanColor is a brand that sells extremely affordable makeup. I see eyeshadow palettes for less than $10 and lipsticks as cheap as $1! A simple Google search also tells me this brand sells at major retailers, such as Walgreens, Walmart, and CVS.
But don’t let these prices fool you. Back in 2017, the FDA sampled their Frames Clear Lash and Brow mascara and found traces of mold! And you’re putting these products on your eyes! Eeek! Usually, when a brand sells at a major retailer, this means they’re legitimate. Be cautious of the products you’re buying and always research brands before buying from them.
This isn’t the only Kleancolor product that has been recalled. Their volumizing mascara was recalled in 2016 due to bacterial contamination. I suggest staying away from this brand altogether.
Santee Aquamarine Eye Pencil and Other Products
Not sure where this brand got its name, but “santé” is French for “health.” That’s clearly not what’s going on here. This is another brand I never heard of, but even one look at their website sets off some red flags.
Santee’s eye pencil in shade Aquamarine was recalled back in 2017 for having a non-permitted color additive in their pencil. The additive is D&C Red No. 19 (Rhodamine B). According to the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, this color additive is said to cause cancer.
This isn’t the only Santee product to be recalled. Their colored mascara was recalled after traces of mold was found. Again, don’t buy from sketchy and unknown brands just because they’re cheap.
Arbonne Liquid Eyeliners
This one is freaking me out because a family member bought me some Arbonne products for a birthday one year. Not this product, fortunately, but it shows that even these contaminations can happen to reliable brands.
In 2016, Arbonne recalled its liquid eyeliner in two shades, Eclipse (black) and Arbor (brown), due to bacterial contamination.
The bacteria found in the eyeliners include Staphylococcus lentus, Staphylococcus saprophyticus, and Staphylococcus xylosus. Are these bacterium dangerous? S. lentus has been reported to cause animal infections, and S. saprophyticus can cause a urinary tract infection (UTI). So yes, this contamination was a dangerous one.
The only exception is S. xylosus. S. xylosus is actually not dangerous and is often used in meat fermentation and is often found in our skin and mucus membranes. But seriously, do we want this in our makeup products?
Mentality Nail Polish
Back in 2015, Mentality Cosmetics had to recall their entire nail polish line. That’s because users were reporting nail diseases with pictures and testimonials to prove it. While the reviewer can only speculate, she said she believes the nail polish gave her a condition called onycholysis, which is when the nail detaches from the nail bed.
However, this reviewer’s case was one of the more severe ones. Others reported side effects such as itching, stinging, and redness. They immediately removed the polish and that solved the problem.
On their Facebook page, Mentality put the blame on the base Arminex since their products contain citric acid. However, this is only an assumption. Citric acid is an ingredient in a variety of products and has been for a long time. Therefore, we don’t fully know what’s causing these reactions.
Either way, it’s just smart to avoid Mentality nail polish products.
Hashmi Surma Special Eyeliner
The Hashmi Surma Special Eyeliner was recalled due to dangerous levels of lead found in the product.
While I never heard of Hashmi Surma Special before, it’s a brand that’s commonly used by women in South Asia and the Middle East. According to the Illinois Attorney General, the eyeliner contains 710,000 parts per million lead! The CDC states that lead causes a variety of health conditions, including nervous system and brain damage as well as hearing and speech problems.
Contaminated and Dangerous Cosmetics That Haven’t Been Recalled
So Rich Lipstick
So Rich Lipstick is a product by YouTuber Jaclyn Hill. Unfortunately, many consumers reported her lipsticks were contaminated. Back in 2019, some consumers reported finding holes, hairs, and even shards of glass in the lipstick.
One YouTuber, Pretty Pastel Please, reviewed her lipsticks. She swiped them on paper and found a plethora of contaminants, even plastic.
Keep in mind, So Rich Lipsticks technically weren’t recalled. However, those who purchased the products can receive a full refund and replacement products. Hill also promised she will take her makeup to a third-party testing company to see where the contamination came from. Still, those in the beauty community were pushing for a full lipstick recall.
Medusa’s Makeup Loose Pigment Highlighter in Moonlight
Okay, I’m freaking out because I have a Medusa’s Makeup eyeshadow, and I love it. The EWG tested this product and gave it a 9 on their scale (10 is the worst). Their studies found that this highlighter is high in cancer-causing and restricted ingredients. Some of the most problematic ingredients include talc and Propylparaben.
Physician’s Formula Natural Defense Setting the Tone Finishing Powder
I’m especially freaked out because I used to use this brand all the time. Their finishing powder is high in ingredients that can cause allergies. In addition to fragrance, this powder also contains oxybenzone, which is so bad there are concerns that it can cause cellular level and biochemical changes.
Benefit Cosmetics ‘That Gal’ Brightening Face Primer
Well, I’m definitely staying away from Benefit Cosmetics. This is the second time they’re on this list, and this is due to their brightening face primer. There are high concerns it’s made with restricted and allergy-causing ingredients. They’re made with a variety of parabens (Propylparaben, isobutyl paraben, and butylparaben) as well as fragrances.
L.A. Colors Lipliner Pencil
I’m not surprised I found something on this brand. Their products were ridiculously cheap, but not good cheap. Like, cheap as in your know they’re going to be dumpy. While their lipliner didn’t receive a terrible rating (7 — the worst is 10), they do use some restricted ingredients. In addition to parabens, two concerning color additives are in here with use restrictions.
Buxom Full-On Plumping Lip Cream
Oh man, this one hurts. I’ve totally used this product. And I absolutely love Buxom products. Well, let’s look at the results. EWG gives them a score of 8, and their ingredients are concerning due to allergies, toxicity, and use restrictions. In addition to fragrance and restricted color additives, this lip gloss contains retinyl palmitate which has high concerns for reproductive toxicity, biochemical/cellular changes, and other use restrictions. Sheesh…
Question: How Do I Find Out About Recalled Makeup?
Answer: Anything you need to know about recalled makeup can be found on the FDA website. You can sign up to receive alerts and search for products. The FDA also keeps a listing of the most recent recalled products.
Question: What Are Policies Regarding Cosmetic Safety?
Answer: Every country has a different policy. It’s best to research your local country to know their policies.
But let’s cover a few of them now. In the U.S., there’s only one law: the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act that holds cosmetics companies accountable for the safety of their product ingredients. This law also requires these companies to be transparent in sharing data and their supply chain. What irritates me is this law was only passed in 2019. Yes, just two years ago.
Other countries are stricter. For example, in Canada, all products must meet the requirements set by the Food and Drugs Act and Cosmetic Regulations. In the U.K., it’s an offense to sell a product that contains restrictive substances that may cause damage to human health and is incorrectly labeled.
In the U.S., the FDA is responsible for recalling cosmetic products. In Malaysia, products may be recalled by the CHN as directed by the DPS. This specifically focuses on products that are unsafe and defective.
Question: I Purchased a Recalled Makeup Item! What Do I Do?
Answer: It depends on the item. Most brands will offer a refund or replacement for any of their recalled products. If your product is extremely dangerous, dispose of it properly. For example, don’t pour it down the drain. Place it in a container and throw it in the trash. If you were injured as a result of using a defective product, whether or not it has been recalled, we urge you to take legal action.
Makeup Recalls List: Bottomline
We must be knowledgeable about the products we’re putting on our skin — especially if you’re letting your child use these products.
The best first place to check is the recalled makeup list. Your government’s food and drug agency should be the one monitoring this. While most of these products are budget and overall sketchy brands, legitimate brands have had to recall their products before. It’s always best to exercise caution and understand that you can’t be too careful.