Are Eyeliners Safe For Pregnancy? What You Need To Know

If you’re pregnant, you may be wondering if certain make-up products are safe to use. In this article, we will examine if eyeliners are safe for pregnancy and look at makeup ingredients to avoid while pregnant.

Are Eyeliners Safe For Pregnancy

Eyeliners are made primarily of wax and are not meant to be absorbed by the skin. For this reason, they should not pose a risk to you or your unborn baby. 

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Do I Need To Change My Makeup When Pregnant?

Due to changing hormones in pregnancy, your body can become increasingly sensitive to products you have been using for years. This can lead to adverse reactions.

 The skin is the largest organ in our body and anything we apply to it may be absorbed into the body.

This can then pass through the placenta, possibly affecting the baby.

For these reasons, you may want to consider changing the products you use while you are pregnant.

There are lots of make-up products out there which are natural and organic. Their lack of any potentially harmful or toxic ingredients makes them safe to use in pregnancy.

Is It Safe To Wear Makeup In First Trimester?

According to some research, such as that conducted by Dorota Crawford at York University, Vancouver, chemicals found in certain cosmetics can adversely affect the developing fetus leading to potential complications. 

With this in mind, there are certain ingredients found in cosmetics that should be avoided. Some of these include parabens, phthalates, and retinol.

We will examine these in more detail later in this article.

Are Eyeliners Pregnancy Safe?

Are Eyeliners Pregnancy Safe

As eyeliners sit on the skin and are not absorbed by the skin, they shouldn’t pose a huge risk to you or your baby.

However, there are a few ingredients in some eyeliners that it is important to be aware of:

Carbon black

Carbon black is a substance found in eyeliner and has been linked to cancer and organ system toxicity.

On the label it may show as carbon black, D & C Black No. 2, acetylene black, channel black, furnace black, lamp black, or thermal black.


Benzalkonium chloride (BAK) is a preservative found in eyeliner. It is well documented to be toxic to the epithelial cells of the eyes. 

These are the cells that keep dust, water, and bacteria out of the eye. In addition, they provide a smooth surface on the cornea to absorb and distribute oxygen and cell nutrients from tears to the rest of the cornea.

On the ingredients label, BAK may appear as benzalkonium chloride, quaternium-15, or guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride.

Prime Yellow Carnauba Wax

Used in eyeliners to stiffen the product and make them waterproof, prime yellow carnauba wax can clog the oil glands in the eyes which may lead to dry eye disease. 

According to the National Institute of Health, this affects 3.2 million women aged 50 and older.

Armed with this information, you can check the ingredients in eyeliner and make a more informed decision before you use it.

Makeup Ingredients To Avoid While Pregnant

There are a few ingredients found in makeup that you may want to consider avoiding altogether during your pregnancy.


Parabens are used in makeup products as they prevent the growth of harmful bacteria in products.

Research has shown that parabens emulate estrogen and disrupt hormone function.

 In addition, they have been linked to reproductive toxicity, endocrine disruption, organ system toxicity, neurotoxicity, and skin irritation. They are among the most toxic chemicals used in the beauty industry.

You can spot them as they will appear as words ending in -paraben, for example, butylparaben.


Phthalates are chemicals that are used to make certain products more pliable. They are found in foundations, lotions, and lipsticks.

When phthalates are absorbed by the body, they can disrupt hormone function. They have also been linked to cancer and developmental and reproductive toxicity.

 These chemicals can cross the placental barrier which means they can enter the developing baby’s body too.

On the labeling, phthalates may be written with the word -phthalate appearing at the end or it may appear as an acronym such as BBP or DBP.


Retinols should also be avoided during pregnancy. They are a form of vitamin A and are an active ingredient in many products due to their purported age-defying properties.

However, they can be damaging. They can lead to congenital disabilities in infants.

Not only that, but research has found that they can speed up the formation of tumors when exposed to the sun.

On packaging labels, they will appear as retinol, retinyl palmitate or vitamin A.


Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are commonly used in makeup products to prevent oxidation and increase shelf life. 

However, studies have shown that these chemicals can lead to endocrine disruption and organ system toxicity. Pregnant women are especially susceptible to their effects.

They will appear as butylated hydroxyanisole, BHA, or butylated hydroxytoluene, BHT on the label.

Heavy metals 

Heavy metals are frequently used in makeup as colorants (especially metallic shades). These can be toxic if absorbed into the skin. 

Including lead, mercury, and cadmium, these heavy metals can cause skin irritations, reproductive harm, and even cancer.

In the United States, heavy metals are regulated for use in cosmetics, but occasionally other products can become contaminated.

They won’t appear on the ingredients list as they’re usually a contaminant. Avoiding bright-colored cosmetics as much as possible is the best way to avoid them.

Salicylic Acid

Some foundations and concealers contain salicylic acid.

This can be beneficial if you’re prone to acne.

But high doses can cause complications for you and your baby.

If you’re already using a face wash or moisturizer with salicylic acid in the formula, then it might be best to avoid it in your makeup.

This ingredient will appear as salicylic acid on the labeling.

Safest Eyeliners To Use When Pregnant

Here is our roundup of a few eyeliners on the market which contain no harmful ingredients and should be safe to use while pregnant. 

However, if you are worried, please seek advice from a medical professional.

Honest Beauty Liquid Eyeliner

Honest Beauty Liquid Eyeliner

Easy to apply, this liquid eyeliner glides on effortlessly. 

Free from parabens and carbon black pigment, this eyeliner has low toxicity and is safe to use when pregnant.

Infinity Waterproof Eyeliner

Infinity Waterproof Eyeliner

Formulated without parabens and phthalates, this smudge-proof eyeliner is powered by Semi-Permanent Micropigment Technology. 

The ergonomically angled smudge tip allows for smooth effortless blending, while the shea butter enriched formula conditions.

Mommy Makeup Waterproof Stay Put Gel Eyeliner

Mommy Makeup Waterproof Stay Put Gel Eyeliner

This eyeliner from Mommy and Me is smudge-proof and waterproof and comes in 12 shades. It is paraben-free making it a good choice in pregnancy.

This long-wearing gel eyeliner is good for when you want a really defined eye.

Aveda Eye Liner

Aveda Eye Liner

This product uses the petals of jasmine and the leaves of geranium to create a wax with a petal-soft texture that gives a vibrant color while being gentle on the delicate skin around the eyes.

It contains no toxic ingredients, making it safe to use throughout pregnancy.

Burt’s Bees Nourishing Eyeliner

Burt’s Bees Nourishing Eyeliner

With a blend of jojoba oil, meadowfoam seed oil, and natural waxes, this liner is gentle and nourishing. 

Formulated without parabens and phthalates, this eyeliner is a safe choice to wear during pregnancy. It is available in three distinctive shades and easy to apply.

Pregnancy Safe Make Up Brands

Pregnancy Safe Make Up Brands

Look out for the brands below, all of which are good options if you’re trying to use ‘clean’ products during pregnancy:

Gabriel Cosmetics 

Gabriel Cosmetics pledges to produce clean beauty products using 100% natural ingredients. 

Their products use no synthetic chemicals or animal by-products. All of this without compromising on aesthetics, functionality or accessibility.

Clove + Hallow

This vegan brand has enjoyed increasing popularity due to the integrity of its products. From Clove + Hallow, you can expect all-day wear makeup, luxe textures, and rich shades. 

They pledge to deliver all of this using no more than 15 key ingredients in any product.

Rejuva Minerals

Cosmetics produced by Rejuva Minerals rank among the best natural and organic makeup on the popular Think Dirty app.

They use ingredients that have been screened to ensure that they are free from behavioral toxins, carcinogens, developmental toxins, endocrine disruptors, heavy metals, neurotoxins, high-risk pesticides, and reproductive toxins to name a few.


Cocokind strives to provide clean, conscious, and accessible beauty for all, including moms-to-be.

Not only does it offer a natural skincare line, but Cocokind also offers highlighters, brow balms, and tinted sticks all formulated with plant-based ingredients like maca root or mushroom extract.


Amareta is on a mission to get us to adapt to our hormones and cycles, especially during pregnancy. Its line of MadeSafe cosmetics is paraben and retinoid free. 

It also doesn’t have any questionable essential oils which could be harmful to your baby’s health. 

If you’re dealing with added sensitivity or irritated stretch marks, Amareta can offer plant-based solutions that work for many skin types.

100% Pure

100% Pure opts for fruit-pigmented makeup as an alternative to synthetic dyes and colors.

Including eyeshadow and liquid lipsticks among their range, each product is nontoxic and natural but also made to last. 

With lots of products and shades on offer, there are countless ways for you to highlight that gorgeous maternity glow.

So, there you have it.

If in doubt about how safe your eyeliner is to use during pregnancy, exercise caution and opt for a liner from a brand that uses only natural and safe ingredients.

You can enjoy beautifully defined eyes and peace of mind that you are doing the best you can for yourself and your baby.