Ladies will attest to the fact that having thick, long eyelashes is a beauty must in order to achieve a classic and dramatic look. Mascara, one of the 10 must-have items in a woman’s makeup bag, is an easy way to go from plain Jane to a pin up queen in seconds, says Discovery Health. The eyelash enhancing product has seen a boost in sales in the global market with an estimated figure of around one billion units sold annually, reports Premiumbeautynews.com. In the United States, mascara is ranked as the second most used every day cosmetic by 65 percent of women, while lip gloss and lip stick is ranked as the most used every day product by 75 percent of women. The rise in daily makeup usage by American women is attributed to the fact that nearly half of the women surveyed by The Beauty Company believe wearing makeup gives them an advantage at work and makes them feel more in control. While a mascara wand can provide self-confidence by throughg longer and voluminous lashes, the toxic ingredients found in this beauty product can be absorbed into the body and potentially have a negative impact on your health.

Four Common Ingredients Found In Commercial Mascara

Eye cosmetics such as mascara, can easily deteriorate your vision, especially if you use them daily and aren’t hygienic about it. If you don’t frequently change your cosmetic products, bacteria and fungi are most likely to grow and leach onto your eyes if you keep reapplying the beauty product. Not only is it essential to get rid of makeup that is months old, it is just as important to know what ingredients are in your daily makeup products.

As a go-to beauty staple to achieve fuller, longer looking lashes, commercial mascara brands often contain ingredients that are cheap to obtain and are harm for your health. The hazardous toxins found in American top brands such as Cover Girl, Maybelline New York, and Neutrogena, among many others, can get into your skin and lead to a variety of health problems.

Parabens

These preservatives in cosmetics are used in mainstream beauty products to prevent bacteria from growing in mascara. The hygienic preservatives have been linked to mimic or disrupt estrogen in the body, also known as an endocrine disrupter, says the Breast Cancer Fund. High concentrations of parabens have been found in human breast tumors by Dr. Philippa Darbre, a research scientist at the University of Reading in the UK. In a study that mimics Dr. Darbre’s original 2004 study, Darbre and her research team found one or more types of parabens in 99% of the tissue samples, and all five were measurable in 60% of the samples. Parabens found in foods, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics are getting into the breast at high rates.

Mascaras With Parabens: L’Oreal, Cover Girl, Avon, Bobbi Brown, Clinique, Maybelline, Neutrogena, Revlon, Chanel, Lancome

Aluminum Powder

This metallic substance is used as a cosmetic colorant and is a neurotoxin, rated as a high concern by the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG’s) Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. This neurotoxin is considered to be far worse than mercury because it has been linked to interfere with a variety of cellular and metabolic processes in the nervous system and other tissues, says a study published in the journal of Pediatrics. If there is long-term exposure of aluminum powder, it can impair the body’s ability to excrete mercury and as a result, can make whatever amount of mercury that is in your system more toxic.  

Mascaras With Aluminum Powder: Cover Girl and Estee Lauder

Propylene Glycol

This mascara ingredient, although deemed safe by the FDA, appears to cause severe skin irritation and sensitization in people. Individuals who may be sensitive to this product can be exposed to a special form of irritation – allergic contact dermatitis, an allergic skin reaction caused by direct contact with an allergen. According to Dermapproved.com, this allergic reaction will show up as a red, inflamed rash that is accompanied by itching and minor pain. In severe cases, painful blisters may form on the skin and could potentially spread to other areas of the body.

Mascaras With Propylene Glycol: L’Oreal, Mineral Fusion, Rimmel, Avon, and Maybelline

Retinyl Acetate (Vitamin A Acetate)

This harmful mascara ingredient is ranked as a high concern by the EWG because it can cause biochemical or cellular level changes. Retinyl acetate can produce excess reactive oxygen species that interfere with cellular signaling and can even cause mutations in your genes. While there is restricted use in cosmetics where beauty companies must meet recommendations or requirements in the U.S., the use of this toxic ingredient is prohibited and restricted in Canadian cosmetics.

Mascaras With Retinyl Acetate: Elizabeth Arden, Almay and Revlon

Natural Mascara: The Safe Alternative

To have fuller, longer looking lashing without exposing your skin to commercial mascara’s harmful chemicals, natural mascara provides a safe and healthy alternative for your skin. Sarah Oechsil, blogger from The Naked Label, affirms that the ingredients found in this type of mascara are not only natural, they also have a wide range of antioxidants derived fruits and vegetables that give the same beautifying effect as commercial mascara without the harmful chemicals.

As an added bonus, the ingredients in these natural mascaras smell like dessert, are smudge proof and even nourish your lashes by preventing them from falling off.

Oechsil’s budget-friendly natural mascara top pick is paraben-free, gluten-free, and mercury-free is Pure Anada.

To learn more about what ingredients in your favorite brand of mascara, visit the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG’s) Skin Deep Cosmetics Database