Mascara has been here since the 19th century, making the lashes longer, thicker, blacker and eyes more alluring. But did you ever wonder what’s inside that tube?
Is there bat poop inside mascara? To settle down your thoughts, no. There is no poop of any kind in mascara. That is only an urban legend where people probably mistake guanine for guano. Even though guanine can actually be found in bat poop (guano), it is not harvested from it.
Cosmetic companies mostly use fish scales to get their guanine or cheaper alternatives like a synthetic pearl, bronze particles, mica or aluminium. Aluminium is usually used in extremely small amounts. However, it can irritate some people’s skin but there are products on the market which are aluminium-free.
It typically includes a carbon black or iron oxide pigment which darkens the lashes. It also includes a polymer that forms a film that coats the lashes, a preservative and thickening oils or waxes. Mostly it’s lanolin, mineral oils, paraffin, petroleum or castor oil. From waxes, carnauba and candelilla are most common.
In the 1930s mascaras were quite dangerous, as they contained ingredients like turpentine, lead and aniline which is found in most hair dyes. This resulted in many women going blind but fortunately, the strict regulations changed the situation. Now, the ingredients have to be safe to be applied in the eye area. However, watch out for Thimerosal – which can sometimes use a rash or conjunctivitis.
Waterproof – Yes or No?
To know how easily your mascara will flake or run, check how much water it has. The lower the water percentage, the less likely it will be smeared.
However, the usage of waterproof mascara should be limited. The extra effort which it takes to remove it could damage the lashes and cause them to break and fall off.
How is it made?
Basic ingredients are wax, water, pigment and binders. To prepare the first oil phase, usually, 4 types of wax are mixed. Vitamin E is also added to mascara to help the lashes to get a smooth texture and conditions them.
Additional chemicals are added into the oil phase, then it gets heated so the mixture can be completely unified. In the water phase, cold water and emulsifier are mixed with pigment with cosmetic powder to make the mascara silky and compound which balances PH levels.
Mascara can’t be too acidic or too alkaline. In the end, the water mixture is heated and the oil phase is slowly added into the mix. When the mixture is complete, the sample is tested for quality, PH levels and others.