Eye cosmetics

How safe are eye cosmetics?

Eye cosmetics must meet the same safety and clean manufacturing requirements as other cosmetics. If contamination is found, product sales are discontinued until the manufacturer fixes the problem.

However, part of the responsibility for cosmetics safety belongs to you, the individual consumer. With eye cosmetics, much depends on the way a product is handled after it is bought.

Since infection of eye tissue can have very serious consequences, possibly even blindness, always follow these basic safety precautions:

  • Wash your hands before applying eye cosmetics.
  • Never use saliva to moisten mascara or other eye make-up.
  • Never borrow or share your eye make-up.
  • Stop using an eye cosmetic immediately if it causes irritation or inflammation.

Did you know...

The glue used for the application of eyelash extensions may bond your eyelids instantly. During application, the eyes must be protected and immobilized. Ensure that the person applying the eyelash extensions is a trained professional.


Kohl (also known as: kajal, surma, al-kahl/al-kohl) is a traditional eye cosmetic of Middle Eastern, Asian and North African societies. It is also used in ways similar to a natural health product for general eye health, treatments to cuts, and is regarded as a general antibacterial substance. Although lead-containing kohl has been removed from the market and measures have been taken to prevent further importation into Canada, there may be other kohl products in Canada which contain lead that are unknown to Health Canada.

Note: Traditional kohl should not be confused with modern eyeliner. Our document called Lead in Traditional Kohl provides more information on this eye cosmetic.

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