I can understand why makeup brand Flirt would want Heather Morris with her increasingly popular Britney tribute on Glee as its celebrity face. What I can’t reconcile is why such a wholesome young woman would allow her perky ponytail to front a makeup brand that blithely uses such hair raising ingredients. In her recent US Magazine revelation of what’s in her makeup bag, Heather’s beauty picks are a mixed bag at best.

First, here’s what I don’t like about Flirt. Let’s take Flirt Dreamy Eyes Eyeshadow. The very first ingredient is talc, which Senator Edward Kennedy has tried to get banned by the FDA because of possible links to cancer. Then there’s bismuth oxychloride. This isn’t even a very useful ingredient since its large molecules can cause it to slide off the skin unless frequently “buffed”.  More worryingly it has a similar chemical composition to arsenic and is a known irritant. Ferric ferrocyanide, a pigment, is a member of the cyanide family and doesn’t dissolve easily (so it can become toxic if it ends up in the water system). Flirt’s Dreamy Eyes also has chlorphenesin, a preservative that is restricted in Japan and pregnant or nursing women are dissuaded from using it.

I can only hope that Heather Morris isn’t tempted to use Flirt Dreamy Eyes before an important date or attending an award ceremony.

Ms Morris isn’t much better off with MAC Natural Mineralize Skinfinish. Arguably worse, since she isn’t even being paid to wear it. Like Flirt's eyeshadow, Skinfinish also gets into high gear with talc and then adds in retinyl palmitate, which has recently been linked to cancer (at least, when subjected to sunlight). Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate is known to excess reactive oxygen species that can interfere with cellular signaling, cause mutations, and lead to cell death.  There are the usual suspects in the preservative department, including four parabens.

Heather, according to US, totes around Colorescience Corrector Palette ($50) and initially I assumed (since I am a fan of Colorescience’s Sunforgettable Sunscreen)that I would give Ms Morris a nod of approval for this. I do, but unfortunately not a very vigorous one. Colorescience Corrector Palette is also marred by the bulking agent, bismuth oxychloride. The dominant ingredient, titanium dioxide gives cause for concern because it is a photosensitizer that can promote the formation of free radicals. It is in Sunforgettable too, but at least it plays a positive role as a sunscreen. In Corrector Palette, I can’t help but think it doesn’t need to be here. Colorescience Corrector Palette is somewhat redeemed by a carrot seed oil with its antioxidant beta carotene, and an interesting moisturizing lipid, phospholipids.

Of course, you can’t go wrong with Burt’s Bees and Heather is right to create some celebrity buzz for the lip balm ($3). Apart from potentially irritating lanolin, there is nothing to detract from what is deservedly a drugstore bestseller.

Ingredients in Flirt Dreamy Eyes

Talc, mica, titanium dioxide, iron oxides, bismuth oxychloride, ferric ferrocyanide, chromium oxide greens, manganese violet, yellow 5 lake, chromium hydroxide green, ultramarines, zinc stearate, carmine, blue 1 lake, octyldodecyl stearoyl stearate, isostearyl neopentanoate, tocopheryl acetate, silica, tetrasodium edta, chlorphenesin, potassium sorbate

Ingredients in MAC Skinfinish

Talc, Nylon-12, Dimethicone, Polysorbate 20, Isopropyl Palmitate, Jojoba Seed Oil, Yeast Extract, Tocopheryl Actetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Magnesium Aluminium Silicate, BHT, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben

Ingredients in Colorescience Corrector Palette

Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, Bismuth Oxychloride, Iron Oxide, Mica, Ethylhexyl Hdroxystearate Benzoate, Carrot Seed Oil (beta Carotene), Stearic Acid, Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Canana Odorata (ylang Ylang), Santalum Album (sandalwood), Rose Geranium, Phospholipids, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate.

Ingredients in Burt’s Bees Lip Balm

Beeswax, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, mentha piperita (peppermint) oil, lanolin, tocopherol, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, glycine soja (soybean oil), canola oil.