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  1. Free Publications For Women

Cosmetics: Tips for Women

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People use cosmetics to enhance their beauty. These products range from lipstick and nail polish to deodorant, perfume and hairspray. Get the facts before using cosmetics.

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Bad Reactions to Cosmetics? Watch the video to learn how to report serious problems to FDA.

General Tips
  • Read the label. Follow all directions.
  • Wash your hands before you use the product.
  • Do not share makeup.
  • Keep the containers clean and closed tight when not in use.
  • Throw away cosmetics if the color or smell changes.
  • Do not use spray cans while you are smoking or near an open flame. It could start a fire.
  • Use aerosols or sprays in a place with good air flow.
Eye Make-Up Tips
  1. Do not add saliva or water to mascara. You could add germs.
  2. Throw away your eye makeup if you get an eye infection.
  3. Do not use cosmetics near your eyes unless they are meant for your eyes. For example, do not use lip liner on your eyes.
  4. Do not dye or tint your eyelashes. FDA has not approved any color additives for permanent dyeing or tinting of your eyelashes or eyebrows.
  5. Hold still! Even a slight scratch with the mascara wand or other applicator can result in a serious infection. Do not apply makeup in the car or on the bus.
Bad Reaction To Cosmetics?

FDA does not test cosmetics before they are sold in stores. However, FDA does monitor the safety of cosmetic products. Tell FDA if you have a rash, redness, burns, or other serious problems after using cosmetics.

What Should You Do?

  • Stop using the product.
  • Call your healthcare provider to find out how to take care of the problem.
  • Report serious problems to FDA at: www.fda.gov/medwatch/report.htm or 1-800-332-1088.
Understanding Cosmetic Labels

Read the label including the list of ingredients, warnings, and tips on how to use it safely.

  • Hypoallergenic: Do not assume that the product will not cause allergic reactions. FDA does not define what it means to be labeled ‘hypoallergenic’.
  • Organic or Natural: The source of the ingredients does not determine how safe it is. Do not assume that these products are safer than products made with ingredients from other sources. FDA does not define what it means to be labeled ‘organic’ or ‘natural’.
  • Expiration Dates: Cosmetics are not required to have an expiration date. A cosmetic product may go bad if you store it the wrong way like if it is unsealed or in a place that is too warm or too moist.

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