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9 Eye Makeup Trends You Should Never Try, Doctor Says

The risk simply isn't worth the reward.

It's no secret that many beauty and fashion trends aren't great for our health. High heels lead to bunions and blisters, tight clothes are bad for circulation, and countless makeup and skincare products are laden with chemicals your body could likely do without. But things get more serious when it comes to products you put around your eyes. According to Alexa Hecht, MD, an eye doctor who posts on TikTok as @drlexahecht, partaking in certain practices could lead to an infection or something even worse. Read on to learn the makeup trends she says you should skip, from waterproof mascara to lash treatments.

RELATED: 6 Tips If You Have Thinning Eyebrows, According to Beauty Experts.

Lash lift

Young woman undergoing procedure of eyelashes lamination in beauty salon, closeup

You've probably seen lash lift treatments all over social media. However, according to Hecht, you might not want to participate in the trend yourself.

"I would never get a lash lift," she says. "They use very toxic chemicals, including ammonium, which is toxic to the tissues in the eye and can cause series infections if it enters the eye."

According to Cleveland Clinic, one of the main concerns is an allergic reaction that could include redness, swelling, and rashes; you might also become more prone to conditions like eyelid inflammation.

Ophthalmology specialist Nicole Bajic, MD, shared with Cleveland Clinic that "there's also a lack of clarity about the chemicals that are actually being used." Therefore, if you are going to get a lash lift, she recommends first having a patch test done to see how your skin reacts to the fragrances or added chemicals.

Waterproof mascara

Just a touch of mascara to complete her look

Waterproof mascara is convenient for a lot of reasons—you can wear it in the rain or simply just to shed some tears without it budging. And while tossing it on a few times a month won't cause any problems, Hecht cautions against using it every day.

"Waterproof mascara uses forever chemicals which do not dissolve in our tears and can lead to irritation and dry eye," she says. "Some of these chemicals can actually cause your eyelashes to become more brittle and even break off."

So, while you get great results in the short term, it's the opposite over the long run.

Glittery eye makeup

Close up of a woman's eye wearing heavy purple and gold glittery eye makeup with black liner
lambada / iStock

Glitter has a way of getting absolutely everywhere, and if you use glittery eye makeup, it's no different. Hecht says pieces of glitter can scratch the surface of the eye, potentially causing irritation and infection. Stick to more iridescent eyeshadows instead—they're less likely to have pieces flake off and get in your eye.

Tattoo eye liner

makeup mistakes

Tattoo eyeliner might sound like a major time saver—especially if you're the type of person who never leaves the house without a wing. But again, Hecht says you should skip it.

"This eyeliner can actually cause damage to the meibomian glands we have along our eyelids that help produce oil into our tears," she says. "This can lead to pretty severe dry eye."

This is backed up by a 2015 study that specifically studied the effect of eyelid tattoos on "meibomian gland disturbance."

Heated eyelash curler

Tranquil concentrated African American woman curling her eyelashes with a cosmetic tool before the mirror

Hecht says she'll never use any sort of heat on her eyelashes. "Not only can this cause your eyelashes to thin and break off, but it can actually lead to burns on the front surface of the eye," she says. A regular eyelash curler works just as well!


Black woman suffering from dry eyes using eye drops
Photoroyalty / Shutterstock

Some beauty-lovers use Visine and products like it to get rid of red or bloodshot eyes. But, according to Hecht, "It can actually permanently enlarge the blood vessels making your eye appear even more red than before." Getting adequate shut-eye is the better option for always looking refreshed.

Lash extensions

Woman getting false eyelashes put on

Hecht says lash extensions are a breeding ground for bacteria and mites. "Even if you're cleaning these every day, you still have a higher risk of having bacteria on your eyelashes," she says.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), they can potentially cause infection of the eyelid or cornea and even permanent loss of eyelashes.



Waterlining your eyes (or applying eyeliner on the inside of your top and bottom lids) can make your eyelashes appear thicker—and it's a fairly common practice for achieving many popular eye looks.

However, there's an important reason Hecht avoids it: "We have oil glands that line our eyes directly where you put that eyeliner on your waterline," she says. "Every time you do that, you're blocking these glands, which can lead to styes and even dry eye."

Lash serum

Close up of a woman applying a clear mascara gel in a white tube to her eyelashes
Alliance Images / Shutterstock

Finally, Hecht would never use lash serums that contain prostaglandins. According to Cleveland Clinic, "Prostaglandins are a group of lipids with hormone-like actions that your body makes primarily at sites of tissue damage or infection." They were first used to treat glaucoma, where it was observed that a side effect was eyelash growth.

"Although these do work and do lengthen your eyelashes, they also can have side effects of darkening your eye color and darkening the skin around your eyes," Hecht cautions.

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Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research, and health agencies, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to the medication you're taking or any other health questions you have, always consult your healthcare provider directly.

Juliana LaBianca
Juliana is an experienced features editor and writer. Read more
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