So what do we want from a green, all-natural mascara?


Not all mascaras are created equal, and when it comes to eye makeup, green beauty industry is still hanging behind. Most natural mascaras that we have tried (including Miessense, Dr. Hauschka, Lavera, Nvey Eco) always lacked that little something that makes someone repurchase a makeup product. Either a texture is too runny, or a smell is off, or it flakes into contact lenses. Aveda and MAC make acceptable formulas without parabens and obnoxious synthetics.

So why won’t you just grab some bestselling tube with a magic wand that will separate, elongate, curve, nourish and de-clump your lashes, singing a happy song in a process? Because, as you take a look at the ingredients of some of the most popular mascaras, the contents are far from pretty.

In addition to a potent blend of ingredients that may cause eye irritation and contact dermatitis (quaternium-22, shellac), all conventional mascaras we checked in our local drugstore contain nitrosamine-forming triethanolamine and formaldehyde-releasing quaternium-15. While the amounts of each ingredient are minuscule, lots of mascara ends up in our eyes when we wash it off, cry or smudge it.

Here are some of the noxious ingredients I found in a classical mainstay of cosmetic bags worldwide, Maybelline Great Lash mascara (non-waterproof): triethanolamine, propylene glycol, methylparaben, butylparaben, quaternium-15, quaternium-22.

What gives the mascara its color? Lots and lots of color pigments. In this case, we find various iron oxides, mica, titanium dioxide, chromium oxide – so far so good. Vegans won’t be happy about use of Carmine CI 75470 which is derived from crushed cactus louse beetle, but it’s not toxic. So was I wrong about FDA-certified colors? Are they safe? One of the ingredients in conventional mascaras is Ferric Ferrocyanide CI 77510. This inorganic dye, also known as Prussian Blue, has been awarded code S24/25 by database of chemicals Chemblink. S24 – Avoid contact with skin. S25 – Avoid contact with eyes. Does that mean we should keep this mascara away from our eyes?

So what do we want from a green, all-natural mascara?

The good natural mascara should not be runny. Nothing ruins the mood than imprints of upper lashes on the eyelid. One of the recent discouraging finds that is incredibly runny is UNE All-Purpose mascara – it’s not good even for eyebrows.

The good natural mascara should not smell funny. Leave the essential oil fragrances for sensual massage lotions. The eye product must not be scented. Period.

The good natural mascara should contain least possible amount of alcohol, for it can dehydrate sensitive lashes – that’s why Dr Hauschka mascaras are not really fitting the bill.

Natural mascaras – of course! – should also not contain any FD&C colors. Ideally, all pigments in my perfect mascara should be minerals and iron oxides, with an occasional addition of some plant dyes.

Green mascara should not be literally green. It has to be purest black, but should wash off easily (so please don’t load it with oils – the problem with Lavera mascaras).

If you happen to find a really remarkable natural mascara, please be a green sport and drop us a line!

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