It's certainly not uncommon to hear about food or environmental allergens, but have you ever thought about being allergic to a color? Many beauties out there are noticing that their ultra flattering purple eyeshadow shades are causing problems. Unfortunately many don't realize that it's the color that's causing a reaction and not just the brand.
The red pigment in many high end eyeshadow formulas actually comes from a scale insect (beetle) native to South America and Mexico. This insect is called a cochineal or Polish cochineal and the red dye needed for purple eyeshadows is derived from this bug's remains.
If you notice that your purple eyeshadow, eyeliner or mascara is causing your eyes to become bloodshot, itchy and excrete an uncomfortable discharge, chances are it's from this pesky beetle's remains. This popular, yet underreported, allergen goes by many names including, “carmine,” “crimson lake,” “natural red #4,” “C.I. 75470” and “E120,” and it causes allergy-induced conjunctivitis (also known as pink eye).
Luckily there are several options for purple-loving ladies with this condition. If shopping in a cosmetics store, be sure to look for a “carmine-free” or “vegan” formula. If you shop for cosmetics online, check out 100percentpure.com for vegan, fruit-dyed eyeshadows and creams, or bewellstaywell.com for all-natural pressed mineral shadows and eyeliners.
Cosmetics are not the only place this dye is found, however, so if you have had a reaction to it, be sure to watch out for carmine in yogurt, fruit juices, smoothies and even in colored pill capsules.