The One Thing You Should Know Before Using Those Glittery Face Masks

In this world, there are skeptics and there are believers. The believers watched the Instagram teaser of Too Faced’s upcoming glitter-laced face mask in awe, instantly convinced it was the most magical skin-care must-have they’d ever laid eyes on. The skeptics, after seeing the same product in action, couldn’t help but ponder the safety concerns related to coating your face in tiny plastic particles of vague material and origin. Those skeptics may not be much fun, but they’re not totally wrong.
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The mysterious Too Faced mask was the first to have fans buzzing earlier this week, but just a day later, GlamGlow also confirmed via Instagram that it was set to launch a glitter mask of its own, officially kicking the trend into high gear. Where the untitled Too Faced version looks like it contains tons of fine particles that give it an overall shimmering effect, the aptly named #GlitterMask is packed with straight-up glitter in all shapes of sizes. Both come in peel-off form — you spread the mask on as a thick, viscous gel, wait for it to dry, and then peel it off and discard, no rinsing or scrubbing necessary.

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Too Faced and GlamGlow both assured concerned fans in the comments that their cosmetic-grade glitter was completely safe for application, but as anyone who’s ever had to use an oil-based makeup remover and a lot of elbow grease to scrub glitter from their skin the day after Halloween already well knows, those little particles can be really abrasive, particularly to sensitive and reactive skin types. So we asked dermatologist Ted Lain, MD, for his professional opinion on all things glitter.
First things first: “Glitter is not an FDA-approved ingredient in cosmetic products, and therefore its safety cannot be ensured,” Dr. Lain says. “I’m also concerned about glitter applied around the eyes, since certain-sized glitter particles can actually scratch the cornea.”
As far as glitter as a potential skin irritant, however, Dr. Lain doesn’t seem too worried overall. He says that you should always apply the product to a small area of the face at first and use it as directed on the label, and if there’s no negative skin reaction after that, you’re most likely in the clear. Like many ingredients in skin care, it all depends on your individual skin type — but for anyone who was worried that they’d have to choose between non-irritated skin or the joy of a face temporarily coated in 10 different types of glitter, this is very good news.