Article by: Kelly Dobos

Should You Use Eye Shadow as Lipstick?

The short answer is no, absolutely not.

I was home on a break for the holidays watching a daytime talk show when I eyeshadow-lipsticksaw two young girls demonstrating how to make lip gloss from eye shadow and recently have seen a number of posts on social media featuring this hack too. Here’s an example article on using eye shadow as lipstick. Here are the reasons eye shadows should never be used on the lips.

Eye shadows and lipsticks are developed with differences in the location of application in mind.

Compared to the rest of the skin, the lips have thinner stratum corneum and lack sweat and sebaceous glands. Because of this, lips are more prone to dryness. Lipsticks, balms, and glosses are developed with high levels of emollients and occlusive materials to mitigate dryness. Powder eye shadows can contain up to 30% fillers which are ingredients like talc, starch and silica which have oil absorption capacity that can be drying if applied to the lips.

Some pigments used in eye shadow are NOT approved for lip use and vice versa.

Pigments are strictly regulated in the US, EU, Japan and elsewhere due to safety concerns.  In the US, cosmetic colorants are regulated by the FDA. For example, in the US Chromium oxide green and chromium hydroxide green are both approved for use in eye area cosmetics but are restricted from use in the lip area. By contrast, D&C Red 6 Aluminum Lake is permitted for use in lip and restricted from use in the eye area.

To simplify labeling across a product line, cosmetic companies often list all the colors used under the heading “May contain” or “+/-“ making it nearly impossible to know exactly which colorants are in the shade at hand.

So it’s better to be safe than sorry, never use products developed for the eye area on lips.



  1. Avatar

    My client was advised that Mac pigments are not suitable for the eye and lip area . Why so and where would I recommend they use it?

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      The people at Mac only use FDA approved pigments so you can be assured that if they are selling products for the eye and lip area, they are using the proper pigments.

  2. Avatar

    I used to do this as a teen to get blue lipstick! I clicked on this to make sure I didn’t give myself some sort of brain poisoning.. I do remember it was very drying. I’m glad that my teenage mistakes won’t come back and harm me.

  3. Avatar
    Jide Alo

    Well said Kelly. While it looks simple to convert lip gloss to eye shadow and vice versa, it is necessary to understand the chemical implication.

  4. Avatar

    Good point Kelly. Some brands market products that are multipurpose, or those that can be used for the eyes, cheeks and lips. And some DIY websites rite about these multipurpose products too.

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