I absolutely love neon colours, pink in particular. So you can imagine my excitement when these bright hues started trending earlier this summer – from lime yellow and highlighter green to vivid orange and blinding blue.
I excitedly bought myself one of Huda Beauty's neon palettes (the orange one is the most versatile, in my opinion), also adding neon eyeliners from Kryolan to my professional kit, and began experimenting with different looks.
A few weeks ago, when I was scrolling through Instagram, I came across a post by Estee Laundry – a vigilante account that brings the shady goings-on in the beauty industry to light – about Huda Beauty's neon palettes, the inner label of which claims that the product is not safe for use around the eye.
The warning is not printed on the label at the back, but on the second layer of the label, which not many buyers would think to check. Even though the packaging does not explicitly call the product an eyeshadow palette, it has been presented as such on the brand's social media platforms and website.
In 2014, a similar situation unfolded when Urban Decay launched its Electric palette. Even though it added the disclaimer that a few of the pressed pigments were unsafe for use around the eyes, it was still clearly marketed as an eyeshadow palette. Other brands, including ColourPop Cosmetics, Anastasia Beverly Hills and Jeffree Star Cosmetics, have issued similar warnings in the past, except that they are clearer to spot on the packaging.
Digging a little deeper reveals that this fine print is mandatory because the pigments used to make neon colours are not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for application around the immediate eye area, as it's thought that they could cause severe allergic reactions, resulting in dermatitis, swollen eyelids and blurred vision.
According to Kambiz Silani, an optometrist from Los Angeles, the biggest problem is that no one knows what the long-term consequences of using such dyes could be. “We are mostly concerned about the products being absorbed by the delicate, thin skin around the eyes, as well as products entering the eye and causing eye symptoms.”
Having said that, in the EU, which is typically known to have stricter regulations, the ingredients are considered safe. In a statement to Teen Vogue, Huda Beauty said it was the US-specific restriction that caused the confusion, but added that it was deemed safe to use everywhere else in the world.
While the orange hue in Huda Beauty's palette caused me no detrimental side effects (even though I have sensitive eyes), the neon pink hue did stain a bit, but was easily removed with a dash of coconut oil.
Neither the matte nor glitter formulas – which I used mainly to highlight the inner corners of my eyes – caused any issues, but as with any product that is used around the eyes – neon or not – it is best to proceed with caution.
If you are willing to give this trend a go anyway, there are plenty of options to pick from. I love the Suva Beauty eyeliners and NYX’s pocket-friendly eyeshadows. However, if you want to steer clear, use the matte and glitter shadows to create a serious pop of colour to plump up your lips instead of your peepers.