All Eyes on Mascara


Formaldehyde in hair salons, lead in lipstick, toxins in your supposedly non-toxic nail polish. The attention on chemicals hiding in our personal care products is only growing stronger. And now, mercury in your mascara? Well, maybe. The UN got the conversation started this month after 140 countries signed a new treaty to ban mercury in cosmetics and soaps. All good, but the kicker? Mascara and eye makeup are exempt. Currently in the U.S., the FDA permits the use of mercury in eye cosmetics in a tiny concentration and doesn’t require ingredients that make up less than 1 percent of a cosmetic product to be divulged on a label. Does mercury have any business as a preservative in your mascara? Of course not and it likely isn’t in your favorite tube. The bigger question is what is? Preservatives are prevalent – gotta keep the product on the shelf and prevent it from building bacteria that could infect your eye – but are they doing more harm than good? With more attention on the bad stuff, more natural options are cropping up. There’s the 99.8% organically-sourced Kjaer Weis, which is one of my favorite mascaras –natural or otherwise. It does wonderful volumizing things for lashes and smells of lavender and roses. ILIA also launched a new formula that bears no sketchy ingredients (and check out that brush!) In this case, knowledge is power (Scientific American has the full skinny.)

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