As I’m continuing to live life more sustainably I have found myself being more mindful of the ingredients used in my everyday products. This is because oftentimes ingredients that aren’t good for yourself, more often than not, aren’t good for the planet or other beings co-inhabiting our home. I’m not one to wear a lot of makeup, mostly because I don’t really know how to do it and find it to be somewhat of a chore but I do love my simple routine or when someone else glams me up. This got me thinking, what is in the makeup we use, specifically my old reliable mascara.
After doing some research, I was mortified. Synthetic dyes, aluminum powder, formaldehyde, Petroleum distillates, parabens and MORE can all be found in everyday drugstore mascaras. These chemicals can cause neurotoxicity, organ system toxicity, allergic reactions and are known to be an endocrine disruptor. The FDA very loosely regulates the cosmetics industry. There is a great deal of freedom for the beauty industry in the formulation of cosmetics. A freedom that I am not so appreciative of, so where I can I like to take things into my own hands!
Here is a list of some common ingredients found in mascara:
- Petroleum distillates: Used as a cheap emollient in mascara (and other beauty products), petroleum distillates are a mixture of unpredictable hydrocarbons sourced from petroleum. And while it ranks moderately for cancer and overall hazard concerns, it can still be linked to contamination, organ system toxicity, and bioaccumulation.
- Aluminum powder: Considered a high concern on the EWG’s Cosmetics Database scale, aluminum powder could be lurking inside your favorite formula. Used as a colorant in beauty products, the potentially dangerous ingredient can cause neurotoxicity, enhanced skin absorption, and more.
- Parabens: While these preservatives help keep bacteria at bay, they can also cause some serious damage to your body. According to the Breast Cancer Fund, the preservatives are a known endocrine disruptor — meaning they can mimic or disrupt estrogen.
- Ceteareth-20: Ceteareth-20 is a mixture of particular fatty alcohols, and is used as an emulsifier in a variety of cosmetic products and self-care products.
- Benzyl Alcohol: Benzyl alcohol is also typically used as a preservative in beauty and skin care products. However, the effects on your skin can actually be that of drying and irritation. Benzyl alcohol can also strip the skin, causing further irritation.
As you can clearly see it is important to be aware of anything you choose to put on or in your body. Sadly, harmful ingredients can be lurking around in all of your favorite products. Most of the time, these ingredients don’t help with beauty at all but service some other purpose such as preservation or creating a certain color or consistency within the product. You can opt for a more natural and organic brand but you will be paying for it and sometimes, even then, the ingredients can be better but not best. This is why I’d rather save my money, and my health by making my own mascara I can trust!
Why I Love My DIY Mascara
This mascara does a great job and darkening, conditioning and lengthening my lashes. I wouldn’t call it waterproof but after a sweaty gym sesh I can confidently say I do not leave with racoon eyes. The hardest part about this recipe is getting the product into the mascara tube, I tried pouring it in over my sink and made a mess. I recommend using either a reusable syringe or funnel to get the product into its container.
Let’s get into the recipe:
DIY all natural homemade mascara
What you’ll need:
2 tsp coconut oil
4 tsp aloe vera gel
1/2 – 1 tsp bees wax pellet
1/4 tsp or 1 – 2 capsules of activated charcoal (for black) or cocoa powder (for brown)
A clean mascara container (like this)
*Due to temperature differences you may want to add more beeswax to give more “hold” to your mascara. Keep in mind that coconut oil is a liquid above 75 degrees. I’d increase the beeswax to 3/4 or even 1 tsp if it’s really warm where you live… or if you want more of a “waterproof” mascara.
**Activated charcoal can be found in most health food stores or online. This is not the same stuff you use to get your grill going, okay? Also, some people may be allergic to activated charcoal so if you have sensitivity around the eyes go with the cocoa powder to be safe.
- Put coconut oil, aloe vera gel, and grated beeswax in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until beeswax is completely melted.
- Open 1 – 2 capsules of activated charcoal (depending on desired color, about 1/4 – 1/2 tsp) and pour into oil mixture. Stir until completely incorporated. Remove from heat.
- Pour mixture into a syringe or add the funnel to the top of your mascara bottle, and fill.
- Place the inner cap in place and then twist the wand on tightly. Viola! Homemade mascara!
Make sure to keep the lid on tightly or this homemade mascara will dry out.
Hopefully this article helps remind you to be more cognisant of the ingredients used in your everyday products. If you’re like me, you’ll find that the reward of having done it yourself is almost as satisfying as knowing you’ve eliminated all those harmful chemicals from your routine. And bonus, your wallet will thank you, a pattern we’re seeing in a lot of my posts. Let me know if you try it and how you like it.
(Resources: EWG, SkinDeep, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, FDA.GOV, )