Is Makeup Bad For You? Video Separates The Fact From The Fiction

Mascara is the most worrying.

20/05/2016 12:49

Makeup ingredients lists often read like a chemistry textbook making it difficult to determine if anything in there is doing you more harm than good.

The team at AsapScience have made a video to explain the truth about some of the scarier sounding ingredients in our beauty products.

Thankfully, we've come a long way since the 1980s when some creams and blushers that promised to give you a "youthful glow" were actually radioactive.

But is there anything we still need to be cautious about? 

DOUGBERRY via Getty Images


Makeup containing lead dates right back to the Ancient Eygptians, who used lead sulphide to line their eyes. 

Lead is a potent neurotoxin that can decrease fertility in both men and women. It is still found in makeup today, but thankfully only in trace amounts, well under safe levels. 


Lipstick is made from caster oils, which are extracted from a bean that contains the protein ricin - the very same ricin that is used as a biological weapon.

However, the process of extracting castor oil involves heating, which renders ricin inactive.


Blue pigment in makeup is often made from ferric ferrocyanide.

Cyanide is an extremely deadly poison, but when it is combined with iron to make the compound ferric ferrocyanide, the iron is so strongly bonded to it that it is impossible to get cyanide poisoning from eyeshadow.

Streptococcus Bacteria

It is very important to throw out mascara that has been open for three months - after this time streptococcus bacteria, which can cause infections that vary in severity from mild throat infections to life-threatening infections of the blood or organs, can be found in the tube.  


Parabens, which have been linked to the growth of certain breast cancer cells, are found in a lot of cosmetics. However, many brands are now switching to paraben-free products and the AsapSCIENCE team caution that more research needs to be done before scientists can reach definitive conclusions about the risks.

There is however, one questionable piece of 'science' in the video: 

"Since our survival is largely driven by sexual selection we often attempt to accentuate our features with makeup," the voiceover explains - completely ignoring the fact that many people who don't want children or who have already attracted a "mate" also choose to wear makeup. We're not convinced on this one.



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