Let’s Discuss About Glitter!


There are two major considerations that I routinely see from shoppers within the on-line magnificence neighborhood and from readers with respect to sparkle: 1) whether or not cosmetic-grade glitter is eye protected, and a pair of) considerations about plastic glitter and its impression on the surroundings.  These considerations proceed to be expressed extra often as extra manufacturers embody glitter of their product choices, together with merchandise that will or is probably not explicitly marketed for eyes however usually are included in palettes that in any other case seem like a typical eyeshadow palette.

Briefly, with respect to the second concern:  beauty grade glitter usually means plastic glitter or polyethylene terephthalate (PET). This publish doesn’t search to handle or present extra data on the environmental impression of plastic glitter in cosmetics or viable alternate options; biodegradable glitter exists however it’s unclear why it isn’t used extra usually or if it’s a safer different (based mostly on my restricted analysis).  There are alternate options to utilizing plastic glitter, like artificial fluorophlogopite (which is lab-made mica) and borosilicates, that are two methods Lush changed plastic glitter of their merchandise, which have widespread utilization in cosmetics already.


This publish is concentrated on the primary concern as I lately needed to go to a watch physician after-hours to have a plastic particle eliminated that had gotten caught to my higher eyelid instantly after I eliminated my make-up (not throughout put on) that will not flush out at house. Fortuitously, I walked away with minimal harm (antibiotics for per week and skip contacts for just a few days), so I think about myself fortunate and positively suppose attending to the physician sooner (about two hours) was the precise transfer!

You will get a corneal abrasion or scratch in your eye via regularly-scheduled, mundane actions from inserting contact lenses (fingernails are sometimes the culprits) to mud or sand moving into your eye to rubbing your eye.  For those who unintentionally stab your self within the eye with a mascara wand or eye brush that might trigger harm to the attention.  For those who put on eye make-up, it is smart to take care within the kinds of merchandise used, be certain that they’re adhering properly to the world, and take care eradicating all of it.

I’ve been sporting heavy eye make-up for over 15 years, and that is the primary time I’ve gone to a watch physician as a result of one thing was caught in my eye. I’ve worn glitter merchandise for years, too, on the lid in addition to under the lash line (not the waterline) not at all times totally conscious of the dangers however fairly conscious of potential dangers in the previous couple of years. I’m not on the lookout for sympathy (I knew the dangers), nevertheless it did make me wish to look into glitter in cosmetics once more (earlier makes an attempt to search out readability weren’t fruitful… it was not far more fruitful this time).

My private takeaway from my current expertise and after sifting via what little data was obtainable is to make use of warning when working with merchandise close to or across the eyes, notably when working with bigger particles, whether or not extra conventional sparkle or glitter, and when working with mascara wands (I’ve poked myself within the eye a minimum of a dozen occasions over time) and brushes (hold ’em clear!). This was a painful reminder to take care and if there’s a precaution obtainable, I ought to take it — e.g. I’m not going to check any unfastened sparkle/glitter with out an adhesive base any extra.

Ophthalmology on Eye Security

In my quest to try to to supply data to readers, I thought of seeking to ophthalmologists, who would seemingly be those “seeing” the impacts of glitter.  Loads of ophthalmology organizations didn’t flip up any outcomes after I tried looking out their web sites for glitter and/or cosmetics (usually) data or steering. From the group American Academy of Ophthalmology, they included the title of a piece as “keep away from glitter eye make-up” however go on to say watch out:

Watch out with metallic, glitter, sparkle powder or different make-up. Flakes can fall into the attention, get into the tear movie and irritate your eyes. Glitter eye make-up is a standard reason behind corneal irritation or an infection, particularly for individuals who put on contact lenses. Bigger glitter or inclusions in make-up can scratch the attention, very similar to getting sand or dust in your eye.

Everybody ought to have a very good grasp of the overall dos and don’ts of what to do if one thing will get in your eye, and for those who’re somebody who recurrently wears eye make-up, notably something with bigger particles (like glitter), I’d say it’s well-worth realizing what to do (or not do) earlier than it’s worthwhile to understand it!

For those who suspect that you simply’ve scratched your eye, even for those who’ve been capable of flush out the international physique or our bodies, seeing a watch physician to find out the most effective plan of action from there may be a good suggestion. Minor scratches can heal in just a few days, whereas deeper ones can take longer, so seeing a watch physician will permit them to take a look at the world and prescribe any obligatory medicines or present remedy directions for that particular case.


What Little I May Discover on PET Glitter Security

You’ll suppose that it might be straightforward to determine if glitter was protected or if this ingredient was protected for this space or not, however alas, it isn’t so easy.  CosIng, which is the EU supply for ingredient security, appears to permit to be used of PET glitter with out restriction in cosmetics, however the within the US, after I’ve requested trade insiders and model house owners that I do know, the consensus is that no glitter is permitted by FDA for utilization on the attention… and but it’s clearly being utilized by manufacturers routinely.

Fellow blogger Phyrra tried to determine all of it out in July 2012, and she or he corresponded with FDA, who mentioned that “Glitter normally consists of aluminum, an permitted shade additive, bonded to an etched plastic movie composed of polyethylene terephthalate. FDA considers glitter and mica-based composite pigments to be non-permitted shade components when utilized in FDA-regulated merchandise, together with cosmetics. Nevertheless, we’re exercising enforcement discretion for a time period.” 

I can’t discover something extra on the interval of discretion, whether or not it’s nonetheless ongoing, whether or not it ended and what the result was, and so on. Nevertheless, the FDA has a Shade Components and Cosmetics Truth Sheet, and so they go over “particular results and novelty use,” and so they included this instance (which sounds much like the instance offered of their response in 2012):

Composite pigments: Shade components utilized in mixture to attain variable results, corresponding to these present in pearlescent merchandise, are topic to the identical laws as all different shade components. Some shade components, when utilized in mixture, could type new pigments, which is probably not permitted for the supposed use. An instance is a “holographic” glitter, consisting of aluminum, an permitted shade additive, bonded to an etched plastic movie. (FDA Shade Components and Cosmetics Truth Sheet)

It appeared like they have been illustrating an instance of one thing that “is probably not permitted for the supposed use” however is probably not isn’t the identical as isn’t permitted–there are different examples on the identical web page that mentioned “are unapproved” or “are permitted.”

I reached out to the FDA by way of their on-line contact type on January 14th, 2020:

I needed to inquire whether or not glitter, Polyethylene Terephthalate, is an permitted ingredient for eye cosmetics, corresponding to eye liner, eye shadow, and so forth.

In 2012, the FDA had replied to a different media outlet with this: “Nevertheless, we’re exercising enforcement discretion for a time period. Throughout this time, we’ll permit glitter and mica-based composite pigments to be launched with remark when offered for importation into the US. As soon as the enforcement discretion interval is over, FDA will resume our enforcement of those non-permitted colours.”

So I needed to get a standing replace on glitter in eye cosmetics.

I additionally needed to inquire on whether or not there will probably be any modifications to permitted shade components, notably to be used on eyes, for such shade components as Crimson 28 Lake (Ci 45410), Crimson 7 Lake (Ci 15850), and Yellow 6 Lake (Ci 15985).

The FDA’s response, obtained on January 16th, 2020:

FDA regulates the dyes and pigments used for coloring meals, medicine, cosmetics, and medical gadgets or the human physique as “shade components.” Glitter (polyethylene terephthalate) imparts shade to cosmetics so it meets the definition of a shade additive. FDA has not permitted the usage of glitter or polyethylene terephthalate as a shade additive in cosmetics or every other FDA-regulated product.

You additionally requested if the regulatory standing of Crimson 28 Lake (CI 45410), Crimson 7 Lake (CI 15850), and Yellow 6 Lake (CI 15985) has modified in that they’re now allowed for eye-area use.

These are nonetheless non-permitted shade components in eye-area use cosmetics.

So, the reply is that PET glitter continues to be “not permitted,” and based mostly on my studying of their response, it’s truly not permitted in cosmetics, usually.  Additionally they confirmed that sure generally used shade components in “Pressed Pigments” stay “non-permitted” for eye space use (I imply, whereas I used to be on the road with them, so-to-speak, I figured I’d ask!).

Yow will discover a record of FDA-approved Shade Components right here, which will even breakdown restrictions on use or any limitations. This record is beneficial specifically for anybody who is anxious about “Pressed Pigments” (not glitter) as you’ll be able to lookup the varied pigments utilized in a specific shade to see whether it is permitted for eye utilization or not.  I wasn’t capable of finding any pending petitions concerning glitter, and you too can view last guidelines concerning shade components (usually) right here.

There are labeling inconsistencies (a minimum of to us as shoppers), which have led to confusion and for some, elevated the alarm in regards to the security of the merchandise they’ve used up to now or are presently utilizing. Why does one model’s Pressed Glitter include a warning however one other model’s doesn’t? What makes one any safer than the opposite? Primarily based on the response I obtained from the FDA, the “FDA has not permitted the usage of glitter or polyethylene terephthalate as a shade additive in cosmetics or every other FDA-regulated product.” (That appears to suggest all cosmetics, which might

ColourPop Good as Gold Palette

For instance, ColourPop consists of the warning “not supposed to be used within the speedy eye space” with their Pressed Glitters, which have been included in numerous palettes alongside eyeshadows and Pressed Pigments (one other product “not supposed to be used within the speedy eye space”).  MAC Glitters used to have the same warning, however presently, for a lot of of their glitters, their warning is now “Permitted for adhesion on the attention space utilizing Duo Adhesive.”

In 2009, MAC glitters got here with this warning: “Maintain solely away from eye space. If product enters eye, rinse with water. If irritation happens, seek the advice of your ophthalmologist.”  In 2016, a package of Pigments and Glitters had this warning for the Glitter and Displays Glitter: “Not to be used within the eye space,” although the Displays’ line of Glitters accommodates calcium sodium borosilicate (not plastic glitter; different Glitters within the vary do comprise plastic glitter) and +/- shade components, whereas two Pigments included in the identical package additionally comprise this ingredient however included extra substances past shade components.

Whereas ColourPop appears to have caught the eye of many shoppers, they’re actually not alone in utilizing plastic glitter of their merchandise, and seems, PET glitter is included in lots of previous and current merchandise that have been marketed for eyes.  Merchandise like Stila’s Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadows comprise plastic glitter in a number of shades and traditional City Decay Eyeshadows (looks like most that have been described as having micro-glitter) like Chopper, Gunmetal, and Midnight Cowboy (not an exhaustive record) additionally used PET glitter.  City Decay’s Heavy Metallic Glitter Gels and Heavy Metallic Glitter Eyeliners have been launched final yr and are listed for eye use.

Fenty Rose (4) Palette -- Diva Feva contains PET glitter

Fenty Rose (4) Palette -- Diva Feva contains PET glitter

I discovered PET glitter in newer releases like Marc Jacobs See-quins (not all shades however a good quantity), and even Pat McGrath’s Bronze Blaze (from the Bronze Seduction Palette) consists of PET glitter. Manufacturers like NARS and Fenty have launched pressed glitter eyeshadows, too, and I take advantage of the time period eyeshadow as a result of they, too, use the identical time period to explain these merchandise; their palettes didn’t include any warning/disclosure, and the packaging confirmed a watch icon.

I couldn’t discover a lot in the best way of research achieved on PET glitter and whether or not they have been protected for eye utilization.  The one which does come up is by the Beauty Ingredient Assessment (CIR), which publishes findings and security assessments of substances utilized in cosmetics, and so they printed their last report in 2013 on PET glitters utilized in cosmetics.

Take into account, nevertheless, that the CIR isn’t a regulatory physique and was initially established by the trade commerce affiliation (presently generally known as the Private Care Merchandise Council); they’ve a set of procedures that they are saying retains their assessment course of unbiased from the Council and the cosmetics trade. The report regarded on the potential for ocular harm and located that:

“Use research of eye merchandise that comprise PET demonstrated no ocular irritation or dermal sensitization. The Panel concluded that changed terephthalate polymers have been protected as beauty substances within the practices of use and focus described on this security evaluation.” (Security Evaluation of Modified Terephthalate Polymers as Utilized in Cosmetics, April 12, 2013)

Throughout the report, CIR said, “In a number of use checks of eye shadows, gels, liners, and mascara containing PET (as much as 46.272%), there have been few reviews of adversarial results, together with in topics sporting contact lenses (Desk 5).” Referring to Desk 5 says that “there’s a very slight ocular irritant potential” with the eyeshadow used that’s “regular for this sort of product.”

Of the seven merchandise examined, the one one which was famous as having any adversarial occasion reported contained 46.272% of PET glitter with no measurement indicated; the opposite six merchandise ranged between eight and 12% focus with three that offered measurement used and three that didn’t present a measurement. The ultimate report offered no perception into steering on particle sizes, focus, and so on.

We all know by the kinds of merchandise launched that PET glitter is available in an array of dimensions and shapes, and it doesn’t appear illogical that measurement and form would possibly improve or lower potential for ocular irritation or harm, however there’s no data that I’m conscious of on that.  The follow-up query can also be what’s the definition of protected as a result of CIR says “ocular harm isn’t seemingly” however does, in the end, say PET glitter is protected to make use of in eye cosmetics, so it appears protected is extra of a spectrum of security — not that it’s 100% protected.

In a part of its findings, CIR wrote “lack of case reviews” and “no ongoing FDA regulatory actions prompt to the Panel that ocular harm isn’t seemingly.” If, in actual fact, shoppers maintain ocular harm from the usage of PET glitter, then it appears it would fall to shoppers to report these accidents to the FDA. For US shoppers, you’ll be able to report cosmetic-related complaints to the FDA.  It’s extra necessary to inform the FDA of a response than the model as manufacturers will not be required to report again to the FDA.  That is true for any and all reactions to cosmetics.

Impact of Glitter with out Utilizing PET Glitter?

As beforehand talked about, there are two substances which are generally utilized in cosmetics, together with eye merchandise, which may work in lieu of plastic glitter: borosilicate glasses and artificial fluorphlogopite.

Some fashionable merchandise that use one or each which are very sparkly: Pat McGrath Astral Solstice, Kaja Shimmer Trios, ColourPop Eyeshadows, ColourPop Sequin Tremendous Shock Shadow, Hourglass Scattered Gentle Eyeshadows, MAC Dazzleshadows, and City Decay Moondust Eyeshadows–simply to call just a few.  They’re each routinely utilized in most mainstream powder eyeshadow from Anastasia to ColourPop to MAC to Make Up For Ever to Natasha Denona to Tom Ford.

The CIR additionally has a report on the protection of sure borosilicate glasses, together with calcium sodium borosilicate, which is often utilized in cosmetics, together with many favourite sparkly eyeshadows. (Please discover CosIng database outcomes right here for borosilicate glasses.)  There may be additionally a last report on the protection of artificial fluorphlogopite, which is also referred to as artificial mica (CosIng database outcomes for artificial fluorphlogopite right here).

Each of the CIR reviews appear to substantiate security based mostly on “current practices of use and focus” by the trade; the tone of the report on PET glitter learn to me that they have been making an attempt to ascertain its security. (Please consult with first point out of CIR for potential battle of curiosity data.) Primarily based on studying via all three reviews, the ultimate report on PET glitter didn’t appear fairly as detailed or as thorough to me, so I’d actually prefer to see extra research/checks achieved.

A Have a look at Particle Sizes

Primarily based on the three CIR reviews linked inside this publish concerning particle sizes for PET glitter, borosilicate glasses, and artificial fluorphlogopite, these have been the sizes famous.

PET glitter: zero.006 x zero.006″ or 150 x 150 μm (examined for adversarial eye use) (CIR Report)Borosilicate glass particles (flakes): 50 nm – 5 μm in thickness with a particle measurement of 15 – 350 μm; borosilicate in beauty had a mean particle diameter of 1-100 µmCalcium sodium borosilicate (flakes): of 9 – 13 μm (CIR Report)Calcium aluminum borosilicate: 20 – 200 μm, when coated with colours (CIR Report)Artificial fluorphlogopite: 10 – 150 μm (CIR Report)

Looking TKB Buying and selling, which is an old style website the place one should buy uncooked substances, their Mermaid Assortment, which incorporates iridescent pigments utilizing calcium sodium borosilicates consists of particle sizes 60 to 400 µm. They embody fascinating verbiage below “Particulars,” copied and pasted under:

Within the USA, pure mica utilized in cosmetics isn’t allowed if bigger than 150 microns in measurement. Nevertheless, larger-sized Artificial Mica and Borosilicate merchandise are presently permitted.

Even so, it is probably not a good suggestion to have these bigger particle sized powders close to the eyes.

Borosilicate pigments just like the Mermaid colours are uniquely reflective. Additionally, the massive particle measurement means they’re extra sparkly.

The pigments will also be utilized in many issues. Specifically we advocate them for nail polish, shimmer physique lotion and cleaning soap.

Permitted to be used: Eyes Lips, Face (however please use warning across the eyes).

Exploring artificial fluorphlogopite choices on TKB Buying and selling, Cherika Moon additionally has a certificates of research that may be learn (right here), which listed particle measurement as 100 to 260 µm.  Artificial fluorphlogopite is meant to have a “extra uniform end which doesn’t comprise any sharp edges” (per Lush).  The extra uniform edge, versus pure mica, appears to be why manufacturers really feel snug utilizing bigger particle-sized artificial mica than pure mica.

For comparability, Lit Cosmetics sells three sizes of unfastened glitter the place Dimension #2 is dubbed “small” at zero.004 x zero.004 or 101.6 μm x 101.6 μm, Dimension #three is “medium” at zero.008 x zero.008 or 203.2 x 203.2 μm, and Dimension #four is “giant” at zero.zero15 x zero.zero15 or 381 x 381 μm (notice: I’ve made assumptions that Lit’s measurements are in inches earlier than changing to microns).  Most manufacturers that promote glitter, whether or not with or with out a warning, don’t embody data concerning particle measurement (that is regular; we’re not seeing microns listed on Sephora listings!), so I’m glad Lit listed these measurements so we will have some visible concept of varied particle sizes.

Confusion or Conclusion?

The FDA’s place is that “FDA has not permitted the usage of glitter or polyethylene terephthalate as a shade additive in cosmetics or every other FDA-regulated product.” EU’s CosIng database permits the usage of glitter or polyethylene terephthalate with none limitations or restrictions, per looking out their database.  That is the place I stood per week in the past, and I’m actually in the identical place now–I don’t really feel like I’ve that rather more data.

Within the US, shade components require affirmative approval, whereas different kinds of substances can be utilized as long as they’re protected, so the trade appears to be primarily self-regulating with respect to different substances used. It is very important notice that “not permitted” doesn’t essentially imply “not protected” nevertheless it doesn’t imply that it’s protected both.

There are specific substances which are prohibited from use, and there are shade components which have restricted or restricted use. Sadly, there didn’t seem like any shade additive petitions about getting glitter permitted for beauty use (not to mention for eyes).

One fascinating nugget I learn whereas scouring FDA’s web site for data was that merchandise are “to be protected when shoppers use them based on their labeling, or as they’re typically used.”  That “typically used” with the or modifier made me marvel if merchandise that include a “not supposed for eye” type of warning however are in any other case positioned in what seems to be and seems like an eyeshadow palette — would that fall below as “typically used?” Meals for thought!

“The legislation doesn’t require beauty merchandise and substances (aside from shade components not supposed as coal-tar hair dyes) to have FDA approval earlier than they go available on the market, nevertheless it does require them to be protected when shoppers use them based on their labeling, or as they’re typically used. Additionally, any shade components utilized in cosmetics should be permitted by FDA.” — FDA on Make-up

There doesn’t appear to be a approach for shoppers to find out if product A with a warning of “not supposed to be used across the speedy eye space” is definitely any riskier than product B that calls itself an eyeshadow with no warning. Shoppers should have a look at the knowledge obtainable and use their very own judgment about what’s snug for them. Seemingly, we seem like extraordinarily reliant on trusting manufacturers to make use of substances which are “protected” in our cosmetics.

I’m not right here to to inform you to put on glitter or to not put on glitter. My aim was to do extra analysis and current that data to readers and shoppers in order that they’ll make the most effective determination for themselves with extra data as extra manufacturers add plastic glitter to their merchandise (with or with out warnings).

Additionally, don’t use craft glitter instead of cosmetic-grade glitter! Craft glitter could be reduce from glass, metallic, and could also be coated in dyes that aren’t appropriate for beauty use. Beauty-grade glitter is usually made out of plastic, reduce in another way, and whereas largely self-regulated by the model’s that launch the merchandise, are supposed for cosmetics use (a minimum of on face and physique).

A Temporary Apart

Individuals have requested in regards to the model/product that was caught in my eye, and provided that no detailed lab evaluation was achieved, a “plastic international physique” was what was eliminated per physician’s notes. The merchandise I eliminated instantly previous to one thing getting caught in my eye space have been Fenty eyeshadows from the Rose and Pastel Frost palettes, Marc Jacobs Grape(vine) Matte Highliner, Pat McGrath Fetish’eyes Mascara, and La Mer Thee Delicate Fluid Basis.  The opposite eye used Fenty eyeshadows from the Smoke and Pastel Frost palettes with the remaining being the identical.

The Fenty Rose (four) and Smoky (6) eyeshadow palettes each comprise glitter shades, which have PET glitter in them, however they’re listed as eyeshadows with a watch icon on the again of the palette with no disclosure or warning on both the cardboard packaging or the precise palette that I may discover.  I wore each glitter eyeshadows on a part of decrease lash strains–not my waterlines however under my eyeliner–as previous private expertise has given me extra irritation from glitter fallout into my eyes (usually requiring early elimination of a glance) after I’ve worn it on my lid (I had no irritation throughout put on, solely after elimination). Per my physician’s notes and what he instructed me, it was a plastic particle that was eliminated.