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GR8NESS expert Expert Reviewed
woman checking ingredients label of mascara ingredients
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What’s in Your Mascara?

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Beautiful eyelashes can completely transform your face. No wonder that when asked to pick only one makeup product, women always reach out for the mascara. Dramatic eyelashes can quickly turn drab into fab. Mascaras have been around since the 19th century, and today, millions of women around the world are using them. However, have you ever paused for a moment and thought what are the ingredients in mascara? Does your favorite wand contain any unsafe ingredients?

What’s in Your Mascara?

Years ago, women ground pigments and applied them to their eyelashes. Back in the day, coal dust and ashes were the other popular choices. Eventually, the make-up industry began using petroleum jelly as one of the mascara ingredients. Today, cosmetic pigments, oil, and waxes are the key ingredients used in mascaras. These base ingredients are the real reason why mascaras are now available in liquid as well as creamy formulations.

A majority of mascara pigments use either iron oxides or titanium oxides to give a mascara the desired color. Between iron oxides and titanium oxides, the latter is the more popular choice. Linseed oil, Eucalyptus oil, Lanolin, Turpentine oil, and Castor oil are some of the famous oil choices for mascara ingredients. The answer to ‘what’s in your mascara’ also depends primarily on whether you use a water-resistant or non-water-resistant mascara.

Water-resistant mascaras contain hydrophobic ingredients. The most common choice is a liquid alkane hydrocarbon called Dodecane. Non-water-resistant mascaras, on the other hand, use water-soluble base ingredients. Similarly, the ingredients used in a mascara also depend on the function of the mascara. As an example, curling mascaras use nylon or rayon microfibers to lengthen and curl eyelashes. Most mascaras also use ceresin and methylcellulose as stiffeners.

Here’s What Your Mascara Should Not Have

Now that we’ve discussed what your mascara should contain, let us also take a moment to establish what you mascara must never have. Always stay away from mascaras containing parabens. Parabens are used in mascara formulations to enhance their shelf life. Unfortunately, parabens are endocrine disruptors that play havoc with your hormones. They have been linked with breast and skin cancer as well as reproductive problems.

Similarly, if you have sensitive skin, avoid using mascaras with propylene glycol. While propylene glycol is FDA-approved to be used in make-up products, it is a potent skin irritant and has been linked with skin and respiratory issues. Aluminum powder is another ingredient to be avoided in mascaras. Aluminum is a neurotoxin that can hamper the body’s ability to get rid of heavy metals, such as Mercury naturally.

A Note from GR8NESS

Mascaras are a makeup essential — it’s simply impossible to avoid them. Most mascaras are harmless products too. Unfortunately, some mascara formulations contain ingredients that disrupt physiological functions. Women should, thus, make deliberate efforts to make well-informed choices about the mascaras they use.

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Matt
GR8NESS Writer
Matt is a GR8NESS contributing writer on such subjects as pets, CBD, pain relief, sexual health, time management, and family & parenting. When he's not placed in the awkward position of referring to himself in the third person, Matt tries to keep two Dachshunds, an 18-year old daughter, and one wife blissfully happy but not necessarily in that order.
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