Test: Chemicals in eyebrow and eyelash colors

6. jul 2021

Eyebrow and eyelash dyes may contain substances that are allergenic and not permitted for private use. In the test, lash color is a better choice.

 

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Photo: Anne Bech Christensen

Dyes in eyebrow and lash color can cause allergies

The dyes in eyebrow and eyelash color can be very allergenic when in contact with the skin. Special allergies in the eye area can be severe, as the mucous membranes in the eyes are sensitive.

Therefore, color for eyelashes must not contain a number of problematic dyes allowed in hair, eyebrow or eyelash color for professional use.
        
The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals has studied 23 types of eyebrow and eyelash colors for unwanted chemicals.

13 products are for both eyebrows and lashes and 10 products are only for color of eyebrows.

See the eyebrow and eyelash colors in the test with product pictures and assessments (link to page in Danish)

Eyelash color is often a better chemical choice

In the test, 10 lash colors are free of a number of unwanted substances. However, the products have an activating gel that contains silver nitrate.

Silver nitrate can affect the environment, and you should preferably avoid getting this substance in your eyes. The products therefore receive a average chemical rating B.

The last 3 products for eyelashes are for professional use only and contain a number of problematic substances.

See all test from The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals

Eyebrow color contains allergenic dyes

All 10 brow color products contain allergenic dyes.

3 of the eyebrow colors also contain substances suspected of being endocrine disruptors. All brow colors in the test receive the lowest chemical rating C.

The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals’ test methods

Consumers can easily buy lash colors that are only for professionals

In online stores and physical stores, it is easy to buy eyebrow and eyelash dyes, which are only for hairdressers and beauticians who work professionally with coloring eyelashes and eyebrows.

5 out of 23 products in the test contain harsh dyes that are only allowed in lash colors for professional use. This is because the professionals are trained in applying color while avoiding skin contact.

The risk of allergy is greater if consumers use these products themselves. Unfortunately, the labeling is often not very clear.

About the test

The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals has researched the market broadly for eyebrow and eyelash colors in stores, on websites and in the app Kemiluppen.

23 colors for eyebrows and lashes have been bought and tested. Products in the test are purchased in Danish stores and on Danish or European websites.

The test is a declaration test. This means that we have reviewed the ingredient lists on the products to see if the products declare content of problematic substances.

It can be substances suspected of being endocrine disruptors, allergenic preservatives, perfumes or environmentally harmful substances.

We have not analyzed the content of the products, nor does the test take into account the amount of the substances.

We have contacted the people responsible for the products to ensure that the products are current and that the ingredient lists are correct.

What we found

  • All 23 products contain substances that can be problematic. Therefore, none of the tested products get the best rating A.
  • Average rating B: 10 products receive an average rating because they contain silver nitrate, which can be eye damaging and problematic for the environment.
  • Lowest rating C: 13 products contain allergens. 3 products also contain substances that are suspected of being endocrine disruptors.

The test finds a number of allergenic hair dyes in the products:

  • 12 products contain PTD or PTD sulphate
  • 11 products contain m-aminophenol
  • 6 products contain 2,4-diaminophenoxyethanol sulphate
  • 4 products contain 4-amino-2-hydroxytoluene
  • 4 products contain 2-methylresorcinol
  • 3 products contain resorcinol
  • 2 products contain PPD sulphate
  • 1 product contains 2,6-diaminopyridine
  • 1 product contains 6-methoxy-2-methylamino-3-aminopyridine HCl

In addition to the hair dyes, the tested products contain the following problematic chemicals:

  • 2 products contain DMDM hydantoin, which is an allergenic preservative.
  • 2 products contain Iodopropynyl butylcarbamate, which is allergenic and can be environmentally polluting.
  • 2 products contain citronellol, which is a perfume substance that can cause allergies.
  • 10 products contain silver nitrate, which can be harmful to the eyes and be environmentally polluting.
What the companies say

Goldhair Engesvang, responsible for RefectoCil:

“RefectoCil is for professional use and is therefore not marketed or sold in retail stores such as Matas, Normal, Coop or Dansk Supermarked, etc. This is also stated in the instructions that come with each product. RefectoCil is approved for use in the EU, and complies with the rules that may be associated. "

Schwarzkopf:

Scwarzkopf states that the products in this test are the English and Spanish versions. There is no Danish or Scandinavian version, and the products have not been launched in Denmark by Henkel Denmark A / S or Henkel Norden AB. If the product is sold in Denmark in an online store, the online store is responsible for selling the product. The product Schwarzkopf Brow Tint is targeted at retailers and specifically for coloring eyebrows. The instructions are on the back and the product should not be used to color eyelashes. The product complies with cosmetics legislation.

7 good advices for coloring eyebrows and lashes
  • Consider whether it is necessary for you to color your eyebrows and lashes. To avoid allergens, you can instead use makeup that is not permanent and without unwanted chemicals.
  • Never use eyebrow color to color for eyelashes. Eyebrow color contains more unwanted substances than lash color.
  • Preferably, buy products that are for the color of both eyebrows and lashes. These products contain fewer allergens.
  • Only buy products that are for private use. Avoid buying products that contain several unwanted substances and intended for professional use only.
  • Get help from someone else - such as a professional - to color eyebrows and lashes.
  • Avoid getting eyebrow and eyelash color on the skin and in the eyes. For example, apply vaseline around the area to be colored to minimize skin contact. Rinse immediately if an accident occurs.
  • Use the Kemiluppen app and scan your products for unwanted chemicals.

 

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