Tell Us: Have You Had a Bad Reaction to Makeup?

Many of you know that conventional products don’t come with expiry dates. We’ve always found that a little troubling since—much like food—these products go on and in our bodies by way of our skin. Given the weird things that can happen to chemicals and ingredients when they sit endlessly on a shelf, not to mention the germs and bacteria that can form over time, using really old makeup (whether it’s clean or not) is really a bad idea. But we’ve all done it.

Our internet pal Melissa Dahl is researching an article for about some of the dangers lurking in dirty, and old, cosmetics bag. So we’re crowd sourcing for her here, because we have the best readers—with the best stories! So tell us (and Melissa): Have you ever had a nasty reaction to your makeup? An eye infection? A rash? A mysterious growth, maybe?

We’re happy to report that many clean companies feature voluntary expiry dates. The industry loves to say that naturals aren’t safe because they don’t have all the nasty preservatives to keep them stable until the next millennium. To us that’s like arguing that marshmellows are better for you than tomatoes because they don’t go bad, or that this happy meal is healthier than food that rots when it’s supposed to. In other words, it’s total BS—an argument that only holds if you believe that cosmetics and food should last forever by design. We certainly don’t. What do you think?

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61 Responses to “Tell Us: Have You Had a Bad Reaction to Makeup?”
  1. Christina says:

    Hi this message is for Sensitive Jenn who posted a comment on May 14th last year. I like you suffer with very sensitive skin and can honestly say I must have tried every cleanser, moisturiser and eye cream going to find one that is really hypo-allergenic for me and what I found was Simple cleanser (and I take my eye make-up off with it as the product for eyes makes the skin on my eyes dry) and I use Boots No7 uplifting day cream (night and day as the night product is too strong for me). I don’t use foundation as this also burns my skin but I can use Boots no7 tinted moisturiser and for an eye cream I can only use Clinique all about eyes but not the rich one as this makes my eyes run and swell. I used Benefit eyeshadow once, ended up with a swollen face and a massive rash that covered my face and went to my chest! had to go to to A & E, lovely! I find if I have a reaction, burning/itchy/ and swells a bit, then my skin goes really dry, sore and flaky like sandpaper. So you think what do I do now then?, my face is falling off and it needs moisture but what do I put on it?, well from my experience I use Pure Virgin Olive Oil and nothing else. Take anti-histamines for the allergic reaction and leave your skin clear. I also tried to avoid water on it. After a couple of days you will feel like if you smile your face won’t crack really! Pure virgin olive oil can be used as a face cleanser, getting eye make-up off too and it won’t make oily skin oilier. Hope this helps you Jenn. Christina x.

  2. SHAWNA says:

    Ive just purchased Urban Decays 24/7 glider eyeliner in Perversion,,The reaction to my poor eyes are raw bright pink ,burning,itchy,stinging raw watering eyes,with mucus coming out of the inner corners of my eyes.I am so disapointed.however in UD’s defence they do have a great return policy,So I will be returning the liner.

  3. Wendy Gergen says:

    I used Mary K lip gloss and my lips are like pealing on the edges, my lips are red with nothing on them and they tingel.

  4. Laura says:

    Almay eyeshadow.. but only certain colors caused a red painful flaky rash on my eyelids in the exact shape of how the color was applied!! Wet N Wild lip liner… but only on the top lip line… looked like a bad botox injection. Physicians formula eyeliner made eyes swell and itch. Avon shimmer liner made eyes water until it was practically all gone. Seriously!? These are SUPPOSED hypoallergenic!

  5. Fee says:

    I’m having one now and its driving me INSANE. I’m 90% sure its the Maybelline Age Rewind foundation and concealer that started it all. Its the only thing that has changed in my makeup. I stopped using it but now my eyes feel swollen and under pressure as if they are going to burst and my eyes get bloodshot. Looks like whatever was in the Maybelline cross-contaminated the rest of my makeup and all my brushes. I really don’t want to throw away all my brushes and makeup…so much money down the drain. I’ve never had any type of reaction to any makeup before but apparently this is happening a TON with the Age rewind products. I review page for the foundation and concealer at is overflowing with people complaining about the same thing…swollen eyeballs, tons of pressure, bloodshot eyes. My eyes feel like I haven’t slept in weeks.

  6. Bedelia says:

    It not the eye make up that causes my eye to react. It is the face powder which causes my eye to tear and my eyelid to burn which crusts over by the end of the day. I can scrape it off with my nail. Ive tried normal face powder as well as sensitive skin. Both causes me discomfort! By the way its cover girl!

  7. Jodi says:

    On two different occasions now, I have gotten pink eye after using urban decay 24/7 eye liner in color Plushie on my eyes. After only a short timewith this on my eyes, my eyes became red with yellow green discharge and the next morning my eyes were glued shut. I love the eye liner but something in that color causes pink eye on me. Now I’m afraid to try any color of urban decay eyeliner.

  8. Jess says:

    I never had an allergic reaction to any makeup until I tried Clinique eyeliner. It made my eyes swell shut for days. And I had painful itchy blisters around my eyes. I had to go to the er. I looked so sick I could not go to work it took over a month for my skin to heal. Now I’m afraid to wear any kind of makeup. My grandma also wore Clinique foundation and her face started burning I asked her what makeup she was wearing and of course it was Clinique. Don’t use this makeup unless you want to risk your face burning off.

  9. Sophie says:

    I LOVE Hoola bronzer by Benefit because it’s very neutral toned and great for light skin tones. However, upon using the product my face began to break out into a horrible, itchy rash only in places that I applied the product. I’m very blessed to have no history of acne, and I’m not allergic to any of the ingredients to my knowledge. I’ve never broken out before, and I don’t wear foundation / concealer; so besides eye makeup, Hoola was the only thing on my face. I asked my friends about the product as well as some people online and dozens have had the same problem. The only thing that actually soothed my skin and covered up the rash was maybe line fit me! liquid foundation that I got at target (I know, crazy, right?) it’s very moisturizing and when used with a little bit of powder it’s not at all oily. Other foundations may be a lot better, but this is only my second time using foundation and I found it very silky and matte while sufficiently covering up my breakouts and moisturizing my skin. So moral of this story; test benefit on your skin and let it sit a day BEFORE you buy it to make sure it doesn’t cause a reaction (mine started about a half hour after applying) and that drugstore foundation actually can work pretty well.

  10. Carley says:

    For about a week, my entire face has been coated in dry patches; they are swollen, and everywhere. They are under my chin, on my eyelids, on my nose, and on the sides of my cheeks. I thought it was eczema, but was confused because I’d never had it on my face before. It started as an itching feeling, and then it gradually spread all over my face. Just today, I have discovered what it was. The Maybelline Age Rewind concealer. I had bought it a week ago. It made sense, it was everywhere I had used it, mostly on my chin and around my eyes. I had never heard of people having flaky eyelids. I noticed my skin started to dry out and I mostly concentrated the concealer on my chin, where the worst of the patches are, around my mouth. I am only 18 years old and it feels like my face has been sunburned. Turns out, it basically is. The product has caused burns all over my face. If the product works for you, use it, but I am extremely concerned on how this product made my skin react. I have never had anything like this happen. I am thoroughly upset and in great pain. Now I just wait for my skin to heal. If you have sensitive skin, do not use the product.

  11. Lauren says:

    physician’s formula causes my eyes to get pink eye reaction

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