Dangerous vanity tools

Posted on April 14th, 2010 by Gina

Mornings at my house are a little like watching a B-rated horror movie.  The star is a mostly blind, balance-challenged half-wit who stumbles dangerously through her first hour fighting kitchen appliances, hot, electrical instruments in her hair, and sharp objects repeatedly pointed at her eyes.  The mystery of the script is not if she will seriously hurt herself, but when.

Cosmetic and grooming safety is generally thought of as a discussion of product ingredients, but they only tell part of the story.  Here are some goofy, but common casualties we encounter in our grooming.

[continued from newsletter]

  • Stick in your eye:  Ophthalmologists warn that “the most serious problem related to eye makeup involves injury to the cornea (the clear front surface of the eye), often during application…” of mascara, writes the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Illinois in Chicago, particularly if you wear contact lenses.  Not only is the wand sharp at one end, some of the volumizers vibrate, making it even harder to keep your hand steady.  Apply slowly, and don’t use pencil eyeliner if you can help it, that can scratch your lids if not smoothly sharpened.  Keep your fingers out of your eyes, too.  Your fingernail can do just as much damage as a utensil.  Lastly, and we shouldn’t have to say this,  if you’ve already left the house – putting on makeup while behind the wheel is called “impeded operation” and will result in a hefty fine from that cute State Patrolman, not to mention the danger.
  • Spit in your eye:  NEVER add saliva to dried-up mascara or any other makeup for that matter.  If it’s dried up, throw it away.  Adding any kind of water introduces bacteria and dilutes the preservative that is intended to fight it off.
  • Hey hot stuff:  Scalps and hands are seriously burned each day because folks have forgotten to turn off the flat iron or curling iron.  Try to buy only curling and flat irons that have automatic shut-offs, and once the handle wears down, replace it with one that has a good grip.
  • Weapons of ear destruction – Q-Tips:  They seem so sensible, yet even the makers of Q-Tips say that they are for the outside of the ear, not inside. Some wax is good, and accidently sticking one of the cottony swabs too far into the ear canal can injure or rupture an eardrum. Overuse can also dry out the ears making them itchy, which causes you to want to swab them more.  It’s a vicious cycle.  Clean the outside of your ears with a Q-Tip and the inside with a washcloth.
  • Easy on those choppers:  Brushing your teeth is good for you, but over-doing it or brushing too hard can lead to “tooth and gum abrasion, which can lead to sensitivity, gum recession, and periodontal disease” reports Business Week.  Use a soft brush, dentists say, and take it easy.

We haven’t even talked about men putting razor blades to their throat each day, but we’ll get to it.  Until then, be careful out there…

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A short history of cosmetics

150BC Romans use yellow eye shadow.

The Romans preferred to use gold-colored eye shadow which was made from saffron and painted onto the area around the sides and under their eyes. Then they used powdered wood ash to color their eyelids black. This gold color was quite significant at the time because they saw themselves as the rulers of the Mediterranean.