Some life hacks are worth it — say, using a can opener to open those annoying blister packs or stuffing your drinking glasses in socks when you move. Others, though, are questionable and even dangerous. The latest dangerous life hack on our radar is using crayons and colored pencils as makeup.
This trend has been extolled by the beauty blogosphere for at least three years, but the idea behind it is neither logical nor scientific. One blogger, who goes by the handle SofiaStyled, put it this way in her tutorial video on how to make lipstick with melted crayons and coconut oil.
“It is completely OK to wear this formula on your lips. It’s nontoxic and completely safe,” she said in the video. “In fact, this formula is safer than some lipsticks in drugstores and department stores.”
Another blogger, RCLbeauty101, recommends using colored pencils warmed in hot water as eyeliner.
“Colored pencils are safe to use on your skin, your face because it’s nontoxic,” she said in a video post. “Companies make it so little kids can literally eat it and be fine.”
RCLbeauty101 called the Crayola help line on camera to prove her point, asking whether it’s safe for colored pencils to touch your skin or if a little kid would be OK if they got it on their eyes. She got the answer that colored pencils are truly nontoxic, so those scenarios would be fine. Notably, however, she didn’t ask about using them as makeup.
Crayola: Crayons Aren’t Makeup
According to the optometry professional we work with on a regular basis, toxicity for art supplies and toxicity for makeup are quite different. That’s where the blogger logic falls apart.
Crayola itself says that its products aren’t tested as rigorously as makeup. To us, that means there’s no scientific underpinning for the claims that this trend is safe.
“Although our products are nontoxic, we do not recommend using them to make eyeliner, lipstick or other makeup, and strongly discourage their use in this manner,” reads a press release from the crayon company. “The products were never intended to be used on the skin or face in this manner.”
Would You Put Hot Peppers in Your Eye?
Since the press statement, some of the biggest publishers in beauty have started raising the alarm, including magazines such as Cosmopolitan. The publication spoke with Dr. Mark Jacquot, O.D., clinical director at LensCrafters.
“Even nontoxic ingredients can cause irritation around the eye,” he said. “It’s like how you can eat a jalapeño pepper, but you wouldn’t want to put it in your eye.”
Potential problems with using colored pencils or crayons as makeup include bumps on the eyelid, pink eye, irritation and itching, not to mention fungal or bacterial infection, which can spread to the cornea and lead to blindness.
We like to think that eyes are beautiful all by themselves, but if you do want to adopt the trend of brightly colored makeup, many safe options are available. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), color additives are regulated strictly to ensure consumer safety. The organization keeps a list of coloring additives deemed safe.
In addition to avoiding art supplies, the FDA recommends avoiding any kohl products as makeup because they pose the risk of lead poisoning.