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Eye Scare Routine: Makeup Safety to Keep You Seeing, Looking & Feeling Spooktacular!

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Eye Scare Routine - Makeup safety to keep you seeing, looking and feeling spooktacular!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  🥰 In my opinion. The crisp fall air, the leaves blowing in the street, strolling along with my favourite hot bevvie (oat milk latte 🖤), revelling in this beautiful season of transition and change before the quiet months of winter.

Also, HALLOWEEN! 🎃 The chance to dress up as our favourite fantastical characters and enjoy a night of traditional play. Some people get really wild with their costumes, putting in ages of effort and absolutely destroying every costume competition they happen upon. This is also a time for everyone’s inner makeup artist to shine, pulling out all the stops to completely transform themselves into their ideal spooky vision.

This is where we come in! In this blog post we’re going to chat about the use of makeup, bad habits to ditch, good habits to embrace, and how to use your favourite products safely this Halloween season. 


From pirates to princesses, fairies to superheroes, zombies and ghouls to some seriously questionable horror creations, Halloween unleashes every dark corner of the makeup world. Even without the added use of store-bought prosthetics and masks, makeup allows the wearer to completely transform their appearance, with endless products available to bring their costume dreams (or nightmares) to life. 

But are all products created equal? What’s safe to put on our faces, especially around our eyes? Infections can be scarier than whatever you’re dressing up as, so read on to make sure you’re making safe choices this year.

Terrifying Trends

With the rise of social media platforms like TikTok, it’s incredibly easy to come across a new “tip” or “trend” that’s supposed to be all the rage, but can actually carry serious consequences. These posts are not monitored, and dangerous information can spread like wildfire. Let’s set the record straight on some sketchy eye makeup trends.

I’m not sure where this trend began, but heating a spoon with a lighter and using it to curl your lashes might be one of the most dangerous eye trends I have ever seen. 😳 For real – whose idea was this?? Please don’t ever do this! Do I even need to list the risks? Please stop. And while we’re at it – do not ever use a hair dryer to curl your lashes either. Seriously! I understand the logic of using heat comes from heated eyelash curlers (which are in and of themselves a sketchy device and not recommended by eye care professionals), but believe me when I tell you that the risk to your sight is absolutely not worth it, to say nothing of the risk of burning your skin.

Please, for the love of all that is green and ghoulish on this earth, do not use arts and crafts products on your face, especially your eyes! I wasn’t aware that people had been using pencil crayons on their eyes until I wrote this post, though I have crossed paths with someone who used watercolour paint as eyeshadow. These products are absolutely not made to be worn on your eyes (or face) and can absolutely lead to severe irritation and even some nasty infections. Even purchased brand new, these products contain ingredients that are tested for materials such as paper and plastic, not the sensitive skin of our eyes.

Please don’t put lip products on your eyes. In the past it was tricky to find red eyeliner that would really make your vampire look pop, but there are more shades of eyeliner available now than ancient Egypt could ever have predicted. 

The fact is, makeup products are designated to specific parts of the face because they are designed for that area’s texture, cell-turnover, exposure to the elements, etc. Because our eyes are arguably the most sensitive area of our face, most of their products are safe to use elsewhere (but we’ll expand on that later). 

Waterproof mascara may seem tempting to help your wickedly good look last all night, but most contain harmful and even “forever” chemicals that are very unhealthy for your eyes and skin. They’re also harder to remove, leading to heavier scrubbing, which can often lead to lash fall-out and increased risk of debris in the eye. Risk the rain, skip the waterproof.

I want to quickly mention tight-lining as well – this is when eyeliner is applied to the waterline of the eyes, along the inner edge of the lid (just below our upper lashes and just above our lower lashes). This technique can achieve some flattering results, but it’s your meibomian glands that pay the price. These are oil glands along our eyelids that work to keep our eyes properly lubricated and free of debris throughout the day. By applying eyeliner along these glands, we not only block them from properly doing their job, but we risk clogging them, which can lead to bigger issues down the road. Some patients immediately experience dry eye as a result of this technique, and the lack of moisture to the surface of their eye causes blurriness they’re constantly blinking to try and clear. Just skip it. It’s hard to hold a withering stare when you’re blinking every other second.

Terrifying Trends

Falsies, Glitter & Stickers, Oh My!

Falsies are a ghoul’s best frenemy. They can bring our greatest lash fantasies to life in ways mascara can only dream of. But it doesn’t come without risks. From lash fall-out to harmful chemicals, falsies in any form (glue-on or otherwise) are a breeding ground for bacteria and even full-blown infections. 

Strip lashes use glue that comes in a tube, and often contains ingredients with allergenic properties, including formaldehyde and latex (yes, formaldehyde). 

New “magnetic” strip lashes have recently risen in popularity, which are applied using a metallic-based liner along the lash line. Hurray for no formaldehyde, but we would be cautious about putting substances containing metal near your eyes in case of allergic reactions or again, potential infections. 

Eyelash extensions (usually glued on individually by a cosmetic professional), as we mentioned in our Dry Eye post, increase your risk of eye diseases such as blepharitis (a flaky, dandruff crust along the lashes) and dry eye. 

Regardless of which type of falsies you choose to adventure with, please research any ingredients and ensure you are using proper lid hygiene to keep harmful conditions at bay. We recommend the We Love Eyes In Between Eyelash Cleansing Brush and Tea Tree Eyelid Foaming Cleanser.

Glitter can be so fun, but it also gets everywhere. As mentioned in a previous section, arts and crafts materials are not to be used on your eyes, but even if you’re using glitter products designed for eye-wear, there are still risks of infections or even corneal abrasion if the flakes get into your eyes. Given the choice, we recommend iridescent shadows over glitter shadows, to achieve a very similar effect!

Stickers are not for your face. There are some brands that sell “cosmetic stickers” that are marketed to be safe for your skin, but anything involving adhesives should just be avoided in general due to the risk of irritation and inflammation from unknown ingredients. Draw it on with an eyeliner. Much safer. 

Costume Contacts

An unfortunate theme in Halloween marketing is costume shops advertising coloured and patterned contact lenses as though it’s totally okay to just stick something in your eye with no training or knowledge of potential consequences. Spoiler alert: it’s not.

Eye infections abound this time of year from people inserting contact lenses incorrectly, unhygienically, or even backwards (*facepalm*), to say nothing of those who party a little too hard and fall asleep with the contacts still in (if you’ve been reading our blog for a bit, you know how much we hate this). 

Contact lenses are considered medical devices and require proper training to know how to properly insert and remove them. If you are unaware of the risks and have no idea what proper contact lens hygiene requires, please do not run the risk of an eye infection by trying it anyway. If you would like to learn how to properly use contact lenses (even just for Halloween), please speak with your eye doctor about setting up a time to learn how to do it right. We promise you won’t sound silly – we would much rather help you do it in a healthy and safe manner than throw caution to the spooky winds and regret it later.

Frightening Ingredients

Among others, definitely avoid these ingredients in your makeup and face washes:

  • BAK (benzalkonium chloride)
  • Formaldehyde
  • Methylparaben
  • Parabens
  • Pehnoxyethanol
  • Sodium laureth sulphates

Always do your research!

Frightening Ingredients

Sharing is Scaring

*clears throat*

*feedback from megaphone*


Thank you.

Makeup Magic

Fear not, my ghastly little monsters! It may seem like there are a lot of risks for our eyes with makeup, but proper eye hygiene and safe practices (along with a healthy dose of common sense – heated spoons?? WHY??) you can still be the most fangtastic villain at the party this year.

It’s widely accepted that any makeup product made for your eyes is generally safe to use elsewhere on your face. Even if you think your skin can take it, it’s always a good idea to do a patch test if you’re going to be attempting to use something on your face that would normally only touch your eyes. Always be sure to test on clean skin, not only for an accurate test, but also to ensure your eye makeup stays germ-free.

It’s actually quite amazing what can be achieved with eyeliners and blended eyeshadows, especially if you don’t want to invest in body or face paint, and if Halloween is the only time of year you tend to dip your toes into special effects. Once you realise that makeup is another form of art, and eyeshadows and eyeliner pencils can be blended just like crayons or paint, you open up a whole new playground for your imagination. 

The important thing with makeup at any time of the year is proper hygiene. Keep your makeup brushes clean. Sharpen your makeup pencils between uses or give them a quick swipe with an eye-safe makeup remover to remove any possible build-up or debris. Store your makeup somewhere it won’t come into contact with everyday debris, especially if you have pets or children. 

In addition to keeping your tools and supplies clean, always be sure you’re using a healthy, eye-doctor recommended makeup remover, especially around your super-sensitive eyes. We recommend I-Lid N Lash Eye Makeup Remover to make sure you safely remove all traces of your alter-ego at the end of the night (please note: this is strictly a remover, not a cleanser). 

Did you know we also offer complimentary skin care consults? These are super handy for understanding what your unique skin needs are ahead of time, before you start experimenting (or after the experimenting, in case any boo-boos are made that you’d like to avoid in future). They can easily be booked here

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re breaking it down at the Monster Mash or having a Ghouls-Night-In, remember that pretend is always more fun than the reality when it comes to scary eyes. Take care of yourself (and your loved ones if you’re playing makeup artist this year) and be sure your products (and practices) are healthy, safe, clean and non-allergenic. The Transylvania Twist doesn’t pair well with conjunctivitis. 

If you’re ever unsure about anything relating to eye safety, never hesitate to contact your eye doctor and ask questions. We are always happy to help. 

Happy Haunting! 👻

Wishing you all the best in wherever your spooky path takes you today,


Written by Sydney Gallant, CCOA

Sydney is the wild card of the Shelburne Optometry Family and the ‘glue’ that keeps everything together! She brought her sense of adventure to the optical world, driven by a strong curiosity following a Lasik procedure that completely changed her quality of life. Carrying interests in every aspect of optometry, she finds anatomy the most fascinating. Operating from what she lovingly calls her “cockpit”, Sydney does her best to keep all systems running smoothly, ensuring the ship remains in the air and a unique, personalized vision care experience is shared across the galaxy of Shelburne and its surrounding areas.

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