I am always on the hunt for ‘clean’ cosmetics, so when my sister gave me the top selling ‘clean’ mascara in the UK for my birthday , I was pumped! Don’t get me wrong, back in the bad old days before I knew any better, I used to adore my old mascara - DiorShow, by Dior. It made my lashes seem miles longer and fuller and all that fluttering had me suppressing the harsh reality that department store mascaras were probably NOT the best choice.
But I knew the end of my love affair with DiorShow was close at hand when I began researching the commercial cosmetics industry and quickly uncovered the ugly truth. It was and still is a very under-regulated industry and even the Food and Drug Administration does not have the legal authority to approve cosmetics before they go on the market. In fact, cosmetic companies can use almost any ingredient they choose. If you think that is bad enough, the FDA does not have the authority to recall possible unsafe products. Oh dear….
According to the Skin Deep Cosmetic Database which is a fabulous resource compiled by Environmental Working Group (http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ - check it out), there are many toxic chemicals that go into the melting pot when it comes to cosmetics. Did you know you that cosmetics can contain formaldehyde, a known carcinogen or diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA), chemicals that combine to form nitrosamines - also carcinogens? In her book, “The Detox Solution”, Dr Patricia Fitzgerald cites that of the makeup products tested by the FDA, and by the way they do approve colour additives (not good), 37% contain these nitrosamines
Of course I wanted to check my old friend, DiorShow by Dior on the EWG’s make-up website and wouldn’t you know it, 5 of the following ingredients were on EWG’s High Concern list: So I did some more digging and found other popular mascaras that also are Maybe your mascara is listed below...?
Concerns: Allergies, immune toxicity, irritation of the skin, eyes (funny!) or lungs, organ system toxicity. Mascara brands that contain fragrance: Yves St Laurent, Dr Hauschka, L’Oreal
Concerns: Development and reproductive toxicity (know anyone trying to have a baby), hormone level disruption (early menopause anyone), allergies. Mascara brands that contain Propylparaben: Revlon, Covergirl, Physician’s Formula, Dr Hauschka, Elizabeth Arden, L’Oreal
ISOBUTYLPARABEN & BUTYLPARABEN
Concerns: Cellar level changes, developmental and reproductive toxicity, hormonal disruption , allergies and immune toxicity. Mascara brands that contain isobutylparaben & butylparaben: Neutrogena, Physician’s Formula, Maybelline, L’Oreal
Concerns: Allergies, immune toxicity and system toxicity. Mascara brands that contain cinnamyl alcohol or geraniol: Maybelline, Anna Sui
Well I know my baby-producing years have passed but I don't need my hormones to be messed around with and I certainly don't wish any allergies to kick in or my immune system to be knocked down.
That DiorShow mascara hit the bin faster than a model hitting the runway. I had to face it - not everything glamorous and glitzy was as fabulous as it would like to appear!
BUYING YOUR ‘CLEAN’ MASCARA
When you decided it's time to kick your toxic mascara to the curb, start by checking out EWG’s site: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ - you might want to look up your tossed mascara (just for old time sake) or take a look at the mascaras that are cited for low concern levels to find one you might like the look of. Or shop online at sites such as http://www.thedetoxmarket.ca/ or http://www.pureanada.ca/ offering natural mascaras
TIME TO DO THE ROAD TEST
If you don’t have the time or inclination to shop around, I've done that for you (my pleasure). I have tested a brand called, “Raw Mascara” by earthlab which is widely available and claims to be paraben free, botanical based and 100% natural formula. It also claims, “No clumping, flaking or smudging”. I didn’t find that to be true.
I currently use (2nd tube) and LOVE the brand “100% Pure” and two of my favourite colours are Black Tea and Dark Chocolate. It definitely does not clump, flake or smudge and gives a pretty good dark lash look that last throughout the day; When I'm heading out for the evening I apply two coats to get a more dramatic effect (trying to recreate my old DiorShow days…). Amazingly, even Amazon carries it! It claims to be 100% natural and vegetarian and is coloured with black tea and berry pigments that are antioxidants and nourish the lashes. Who knew!
So, next time you shop for a mascara, give the 'clean' mascaras a second look - your eyes will definitely love you.