Most women consider a swipe of mascara to pose no danger to their health. And although today’s mascara products are carefully formulated to reduce the risk of eye problems and diseases, they still do contain questionable ingredients such as methylparaben, aluminum powder, benzyl alcohol, and even mercury. Luckily, you can make your toxin-free homemade mascara easily from scratch.
I did some researching online to find a safe and preferably nourishing mascara recipe and found this one from Wellness Mama. The recipe caught my eye because it contained black mineral powder in addition to bentonite clay to create that hardened mascara finish I’ve been looking for. Most other recipes call for beeswax which I found smudged too easily and did not provide the desired finish.
Why Regular Mascara is Bad
Cosmetic products are loosely regulated by the FDA, and this is why cosmetic companies have the freedom to add ingredients that are not-so-good for your health. Typically, mascara consists of natural and synthetic waxes, water, glycerin, kaolin, iron oxides, preservatives, and polymer film formers.
Most of these ingredients don’t cause any problems in the vast majority of mascara users, but some may develop allergies to certain ingredients. Furthermore, a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science found that using mascara beyond its expiration date poses a risk for eye infection due to bacteria overgrowth in the mascara.  However, pink eye and similar infections rarely occur from using expired mascara.
Other than that, some ingredients often found in our favorite mascaras are considered dangerous for human health in higher doses. A good example is mercury, which is allowed to be used in eye makeup in small doses but not in other products such as the best eye creams. 
Long-Term Use of Mascara
Other than containing harmful ingredients, mascaras can also thin out your lashes after long-term use. A study published in the International Journal of Trichology found that those who used mascara on a regular basis had greater eyelash fall out than those who did not. 
An explanation for this is that mascara can be very drying to the eyelashes, removing protective oils and causing the lashes to break. And while most studies show that moderate mascara use is safe, the studies on long-term mascara use find that mascaras are bad for your eyes.
A study published in Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery reports three cases of eye problems caused by long-term mascara use. The women in this example developed dry eye, irritation, and obstruction of the tear duct. 
The Benefits of Homemade Mascara
Luckily, you can get around these mascara problems by investing in some natural mascara, such as this Josie Maran Argan Black Oil Mascara. Alternatively, you can make natural mascara from scratch. All you need is safe natural mascara-making ingredients, a small spatula, a mascara container, and a medicine dropper.
The ingredients used in most DIY mascaras are a combination of conditioning and coloring agents, so you get the best of both worlds. The glycerin added can also provide antibacterial protection in addition to being good for your eyes, as this is a very common ingredient in lubricating eye drops.
DIY Homemade Mascara
- 1 Tablespoon Black mineral powder – Provides the best texture, but you can use black clay or activated charcoal instead. However, keep in mind that activated charcoal tends to be a bit drying.
- 1 Tablespoon Bentonite or other cosmetic clay – Prevents the mascara from smudging and helps it harden.
- 1/2 Tablespoon Vegetable Glycerin – Helps the ingredients stick to the lashes. Otherwise, works wonders on fine lines and wrinkles.
- 1/2 teaspoon Aloe Vera – Conditioning and improving texture
- Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl until you get a smooth consistency. Make sure to use only a small amount for one mascara container.
- Using a spatula, transfer mixture into a medicine dropper and from there, into your mascara container.
- You can transfer the mixture directly into your mascara container using the spatula, but it is a bit tricky. Alternatively, you can simply put the mixture into a small jar and wipe it with any old mascara wand you have lying around.
Here’s to natural homemade mascara!
Impressions and a Couple of Tips:
I find that this mascara looks best when using an eyelash curler beforehand. The mascara isn’t smudge-proof, so, avoid touching your eyes at all costs or you’ll end up with raccoon eyes. Otherwise, the wear is pretty good for a natural mascara, and the coverage is impressive.
Although you will get a lot of product in one mascara container, it is best to throw it away after three months as you would a regular mascara. There is always a chance of bacteria from your lashes being transferred onto the wand and into the container, so be careful.
Make and Use Homemade Mascara
You can do it safely from scratch and it’s easy! Plus you get to choose the ingredients to your personal preferences. The DIY mascara versions are free of preservatives, and some may find that concerning. However, adding antimicrobial ingredients such as glycerin can prevent your mascara from becoming contaminated. But to play it safe, it is best to discard your mascara after 3 months. Considering that when you buy the ingredients for your DIY mascara, you’ll get enough for 15 batches – the endeavor could even help you save money.
 Giacomel, C. B., Dartora, G., Dienfethaeler, H. S., & Haas, S. E. (2013, May 22). Investigation on the use of expired make‐up and microbiological contamination of mascaras. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ics.12053/abstract
 Consumer Health Digest. (Spring). Eye Creams: Find The Best Eye Cream That Really Works! Retrieved from https://www.consumerhealthdigest.com/eye-creams
 Kadri, R., Achar, A., Tantry, T. P., Parameshwar, D., Kudva, A., & Hegde, S. (2013, July). Mascara induced milphosis, an etiological evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24574694
 Ciolino, J. B., Mills, D. M., & Meyer, D. R. (2009, July/August). Ocular manifestations of long-term mascara use. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19617808
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