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We are drawn to glitter and swoon over everything that’s “glittery”. We probably would never have associated glitter as anything remotely dangerous.

Perhaps it’s time to think about this again.

Mother-of-two Erica had to have her eye removed because a speck of glitter went into her eyes and got infected. Read on to find out more about the ordeal she suffered and read till the end to find out if you are in risk if you use glitter eyeshadow.

Erica Diaz lost her eye because of a speck of glitter

Erica Diaz was cleaning up after working on a craft project with her daughter, when a small speck of glitter got into her eyes by accident. This speck of glitter cut her cornea, which become infected later. Unfortunately, the infection spread throughout her eye and caused that eye to suffer a complete loss of eyesight.

Erica had to go through two cornea transplants, both of which were unfortunately unsuccessful. After the surgeries, injections, drops, and antibiotics, Erica’s doctors had to remove her entire eye because she was in risk of contracting sepsis. Sepsis is a condition that happens when the body causes injury to its own tissues and organs, as a response to infection. This condition is life-threatening.

Erica now has a prosthetic eye, after her eye was removed.



The treatment procedures that Erica went through involved strong chemicals, which means she had to suffer further side effects including the loss of her hair, eyebrows and eyelashes. Erica’s medical insurance company also refused to cover her for these procedures. Their reason? The removal of her eye was a “cosmetic preference” and not a “medical necessity”.

Thankfully, Erica managed to get by with the help her friends, including one who helped her set up a GoFundMe page, which had raised close to USD5,000 so far.

Sharing her story on Imgur, Erica warns readers to wear eye protection if they had to handle glitter.

Is it dangerous for me to apply glitter eyeshadow?

There’s always risk involved when you apply anything near your eyes, however there are some ways to minimise risk as far as possible.

1. Use cosmetic glitter instead of craft glitter

You may have seen YouTube tutorials especially for dramatic looks that use craft glitter instead of cosmetic glitter in order to achieve a more vivid look. If you’ve been following these tutorials and are intending to try it for yourself, we would certainly advise you not to.

Cosmetic glitter are made differently compared to craft glitter. First of all, cosmetic glitter are usually made of a special plastic or some form of polyester that are non-toxic; and may even be safe to ingest if it’s in small quantities (though we’re definitely not encouraging you to do it.)

Cosmetic glitter gets its colour from pigment instead of dye. What this means is that it is unlikely to stain. It also is much finer compared to craft flitter, with its individual pieces in a more rounded shape that are less likely to cut; craft glitter tend to be in a hexagonal shape, which means it has “sharper” edges.

Finally, the manufacturing of cosmetic glitter also assumes a higher standard of cleanliness, which involves consistent maintenance of machines to make sure there’s no rust.

What we are saying here is that cosmetic glitter that you find in your beauty products are relatively safe to be used on yourself, and you should never use craft glitter for makeup.

2. Use glitter in a gel or adhesive

Avoid using “loose glitter”. Besides it not being able to stick well, it also move around too much, which means you can’t control where it may go to. To be safe, you should look out for glitter beauty products that are suspended in a gel, adhesive or gloss. The vehicle it is in makes it more stable.

3. Remove glitter makeup thoroughly

Glitter makeup can be more resistant to removal, but don’t let laziness get the better of you. Always use an oil-based makeup remover on a cotton pad to clean away glitter makeup. Here are a few easy tips to ensure a thorough and “safer” cleanse:

  • If you are removing it from your eye area, remember to clean it away from your eyes, instead of towards them.
  • Always use a new piece of cotton pad (or a new side) for every swipe that you take to remove the makeup
  • If you feel that there’s fallout that has went into your eyes and is irritating it, do not rub your eyes. Instead, use an eye drop to try to rinse it out. And if the irritation and/or redness persist, visit a doctor immediately.