NEW ORLEANS --Many women can relate to this: You spend lots of money to look good for a special occasion, and something goes wrong -- terribly wrong.
One woman is sharing her beauty debacle that cost her $30, several hairs, and lots of heartache and pain, and you might be surprised at what you'll find inside your beauty bag.
"I went to the mirror, my eyes are puffy, swollen and my eyelids are red. Of course I'm a nurse. I touched them. They were tender to touch and I was like, 'Something's not right,'" nurse Tamara White said.
For White, fake lashes to enhance her beauty revealed the ugly truth about the process used by lash specialists at many malls and salons across the country.
She went to a mall to get lash extensions for special occasion. The next day she woke up to red, puffy, tender eyelids -- the pain was so unbearable, she attempted to take the lashes off.
"It didn't come out as normally, you know, how it would with the normal glue. If you put baby oil on it, these wouldn't come out. So I ended up having to yank them out so of course I lost all of my eyelashes," she said. "I looked like an ostrich for about two weeks."
She went back to mall and had an eye-opening experience.
"I saw that it was hair glue on the counter so I put two and two together and realized that they used hair glue on my lashes so that's why I had the reaction the way I did," she said.
Bonding glue is used to adhere hair to the head. It's made from latex, water and ammonium hydroxide. The bottle clearly reads "Avoid contact with eyes."
Many women seeing eye to eye are turning to social media, sharing similar horror stories.
"It can be the adhesive that has certain chemicals. Formaldehyde is a great preservative," said Tulane Dermatologist Andrea Murina.
Murina said trace amounts of heavy metals and dangerous chemicals are found in most cosmetics and personal care products -- lead in lipstick, mercury in skin creams, bacteria in mascara and formaldehyde in hair straighteners to name a few.
"In the case of lead and mercury, those when they accumulate to higher levels those can cause significant neurotoxicity, meaning they can cause brain damage. And in children, lead and mercury can cause developmental delay," says Murina.
"A lot these problems you won't even be aware of them. So it's really important to get the child's lead (levels) tested," Dr Adrienne Katner, assistant professor at Louisiana State University.
She said the focus is on women of child-bearing age and children below age 6 -- as lead can a be transferred from mother to unborn child.
A Food and Drug Administration study tested 400 lipsticks, finding lead in 99 percent. Purple lipsticks had the highest amount of lead and while none of the levels were above the FDA standards, Katner said "a lot of these regulations don't really take in to account using multiple cosmetic problems at once so that's an issue."
Both Katner and Murina said over time, even small amounts of lead build up and if you think organic or natural makeup is the way to go, think again. Comparing regular make up to organic or all natural is like splitting hairs.
"When you look at all these ingredients, I think there's probably not a big difference in terms of allergens, irritants, and toxins," says Murina.
A grain of salt is what the doctor orders when it comes of buzzwords like "organic" and "all natural."
Two free beauty apps, Skin Deep and Think Dirty, make it easy to identify toxicity. Just scan the bar code or type in the product's name as most skin whitening creams, soaps and shampoos, contain measurable amounts of lead.
"The main thing is that consumers are aware of what is present in their products, to demand that manufacturers look into this, and have the FDA determine what levels are really safe for us," said White. "I love to get dolled up. I love wearing makeup, lashes, the whole nine, but you have to be mindful of the products that you're using because some of the effects can be harmful."
While some manufacturers have eliminated their use of mercury in many consumer products, many items found in specialty stores or bought overseas contain mercury as a main ingredient.