What Your Mascara Really Says About You (Ingredient Alchemy Lab #9)

Today we talk about a basic every girl owns and some girls NEED. It’s worth reading for gentlemen as well: your panda-eyed sweetheart will l-o-v-e your new insights.

The best way to start improving our lifestyle is to find one easy, practical way to improve once a week.
You can speed up later, but for beginners, one step per week is huge – and all the way MORE than nothing.

Last week it was one simple trick to help you build a “switch” for work mode on/off; today it’s a very basic beauty item 99% of women own and use and love, and some even think they need. Familar line: “I basically have no eyes without it.”

First, let’s have some fun the judgemental way!green-eyeSo, check the following points, which of these (multiple choice) do apply:

☐ You use waterproof mascara daily.
☐ Your mascara contains Methylisothiazolinone and/or Methylchloroisothiazolinone.
☐ You’ve kept the (clean) brushes of your long gone mascaras.
☐ Your current mascara has been with you for longer than 6 months.
☐ When you wake up in the morning, you still wear some of your yesterday’s mascara.
Now, how many YESses have we got?


1. You said YES to “You use waterproof mascara daily”:
Congrats! You’re a mermaid!
Or have some serious control issues, girl. Are you of the weeping kind? If you’re neither a mermaid/ sailor/ fisherwoman/ dancer in the rain nor a crybaby, your urge to use waterproof mascara is symptomatic of a control freak. There’s hope for you though if you only use it on your lower lashes. You’re exused, because that’s actually pretty smart.
Just make sure your waterproof goodness does not contain nasty toxins and irritants, please.

2. You replied YES to “It contains Methylisothiazolinone and/or Methylchloroisothiazolinone”:
You’re a smarty pants!
You have clearly paid attention and chose a magic wand sans parabens. Those are nasty, hormone-disruptive buggers and we don’t want them anywhere near our skin and mucosa.
Sadly, for standard mascara it very often means this: Methyl-iso-thiazolinone or Methyl-chloro-iso-thiazolinone. They’ve got to preserve that thing, after all. There’s a cure for that: choose certified organic brands.

3. You said YES to “Kept the brush”:
Jokes aside, this is actually very clever of you.
You can use it for your eyebrows, or to peel your lips, or to cleanse… something – tiny? (I’m not an expert on this one, God knows.) So you’re frugal.
Downside: if you’ve kept more than 3 different brushes, you’re likely a hoarder. Dare I ask how many cats live with you?

4. Your answer to “Your mascara is older than 6 months” was YES:
My guess is red, puffy, dry eyes for you that you blame on bad air quality in the big city or your office.
It’s not an industry trick to lure you into buying more mascara (though frankly it does sound like one). Think logically: the same brush is in daily contact with your hair and skin (that’s what lashes and eyelids are), daily more oxygen and more bacteria and more dried skin cells and more stuff keep getting into your mascara.
Makeup pros like to say that “if you don’t notice a change of smell, it’s probably safe to use it”. Well, if you have a perfumed mascara, it’s very hard to tell.
TIP: You could improve your eco mascara’s quality by storing it in the fridge and using an extra brush (pro or from an old mascara tube) that you can easily cleanse for applications.

5. It’s early in the morning, you woke up, and your mascara’s still on:
you’re either on a film set or one very lazy lass.

Also: broken lashes. Sand in the eyes feeling. Red eyes. Panda undereye circles. Dirty pillow. And no, girl: it ain’t grungy-and-rock-chic-sexy. It’s just sad, sad, sad. Don’t do that.
No excuses!blue-eye


This is a reminder of what shouldn’t be sitting in your mascara tube. These are the worst offenders in my opinion, but if you think the list misses something big and bad, let me know in the comments!beautycalypse-mascara-tox-check-version1So, which mascara do you use?
Do you think you can improve something? A beauty habit?
Have you checked it with EWG’s skin deep (North America) or Codecheck (Europe)?

Let’s talk 😉


Geeking out about all things truly green, healthy and ethical over at BEAUTYCALYPSE.com (Avatar illustration by A. Goncharenko)

29 Responses

  1. […] In the meantime, here is something lovely and funny for your reading and cooking pleasure from the archives (chances are you’ve missed it or forgot the recipe along the way, or are new here): 1 Why indie is the new sexy and ads have no power over me | 2 Sick of stupid Valentine, but fancy a date? | 3 Ridiculously simple, sugar-free vegan orange curd | 4 What your mascara really says about you […]

  2. This is a great post! Though I’m too afraid to check what’s in my mascara now. And yes, I don’t have eyes without it… It’s true!
    Currently I’ve got a very, very black kind of mascara that needs so much water to get off. Djeeze, never buying that again…

  3. I don’t use mascara. For awhile, a few years back, I had my eyelashes tinted. It looked good but it was probably toxic stuff. It used to sting like mad if it got in my eyes.

          1. Justified complaining in my opinion. During my time in Egypt ,and for years afterwards, I suffered from blepharitis. The condition has gone now but I am wary of setting it off again, so if I did bother with mascara etc I would have to be extra diligent about cleaning and , really, it is simplest not to bother.

              1. Yes, for those who want to wear it, it should be cleaner than clean. Thinking for a moment here about all those women ( and children) in the world who use kohl on their eyes.

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