If you flew across the world today and you’re a beauty guru or enthusiast, you’d probably pop into Sephora. With Kat Von D, Huda Beauty, Fenty Beauty, Cover FX, It Cosmetics, Zoeva, YSL, Hourglass, Sephora Collection and so much more (!!) all in the flesh, it’s a beauty emporium of glitz and goth, and everything in between. Sure, Debenhams is great and Selfridges’ choice of luxury beauty is a treat upon every trip into London, but UK beauty lovers can all agree: Sephora is where it’s at.
And, when you combine this selection of brands with wide-eyed, eager-to-beautify staff furnished in black branded tops and intense glitter cut creases floating around as if this is their perfectly polished living room and you’re the first guest they’ve had in years, it’s hard not to get swept up in the Sephora experience.
But, while the beauties at work celebrate the makeup that pushes boundaries, innovates and entrances, and encourage you to do so too with every ‘babe’, ‘hun’ and ‘gorgeous’, they are masking a darker reality. That is, maybe sometimes a Sephora product might be shit… and might give you a violent rash that looks like cracked red nail polish smudged across your eyelids. Yes, that happened to me.
I purchased the Sephora Collection Extra-Gentle Bi-Phase Makeup Remover For Eyes & Lips with such optimism. I believed it may be Lancôme Bi-Facil Eye Makeup Remover dupe I dreamed of. Alas, I was wrong.
My insensitive skin took a battering. Confused and concerned, I did some research.
This ‘extra-gentle’ formula contains 1,2-hexanediol. 1,2-hexanediol is a humectant and coupling agent composed of seemingly harmless chemicals, like anti-inflammatory compounds. But it has been criticised and challenged because it is known to irritate skin and even cause dermatitis – especially around the eyes.
Let me iterate, my issue is not with Sephora but rather with myself. I didn’t do my homework. Like many beauty-interested individuals, I believe what I am told and pursue what I assume. Which is largely okay, but I must say, a silly choice where your eyes are concerned.
It is okay to believe a bronzer is ashy and test it to find it oxidises orange. It is okay to believe a set of lashes are wispy to wear them and discover the opposite. But I jeopardised a very delicate area of skin, around a very vital organ.
After learning about 1,2-hexanediol, I raided my bathroom shelf to discover that it is not in any of my other make-up removers or gel cleansers. Perhaps if I was aware of the chemicals I already use and don’t react to, and researched the new ones I was investing in, I would have avoided a scaly, inflamed rash and days of painful blinking.
But I only have myself to blame. The lesson learnt from this is that I should be more vigilant about what I am putting onto delicate and raw skin. Rather than considering the consequences of new eye-skincare without checking the ingredients, I chose to join the cut-crease babes in dancing around their perfectly polished counters like I was the first guest they’ve had in years.
The Sephora experience gobbled me up and spat my eyes out, but I have learnt my lesson.