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Is DIY mascara safe?

Needleusesman says…This site has recipes for DIY mascara. Not sure if this sounds hygienic and may be risk of getting eye infection?

The Beauty Brains respond:

Listen up kiddies because the message of this post is as close as we get to a public service announcement: Do not use home made mascara!

DIY Danger

Beautylish, the site referenced by Needle, recommends making your own mascara by mixing aloe vera gel with powdered charcoal. Supposedly the benefit of this approach is that you avoid preservatives and “excess chemicals.” Unfortunately, whoever wrote this post is not very well informed about cosmetic science and is actually advocating something that is MORE dangerous, not less. Here is what I would say to the writer of that post:

Aloe Vera gel is not preservative free

First, if your goal is to create s safer product by avoiding preservatives, then you’ve failed from the start because aloe vera gel HAS preservatives in it. Depending on the manufacturer, aloe vera gel can be preserved by a combination of sodium benzoate, sodium sulphate, potassium sorbate, and ascorbic acid. But wait it gets worse: not only are you using preservatives but you’re using the WRONG ones. I couldn’t find any mascaras that use these as preservatives. You should use preservatives which have been tested and shown to safe for use around the eye such as Imidazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, and Phenoxyethanol. You’re creating a formula that may grow dangerous bacteria.

Colorants for eyes need to be tested

Second, the activated charcoal you’re using is not approved as a colorant for use around the eye. The FDA requires that each batch of colorants used around the eye are certified that they comply with safety regulations. A jar of activated charcoal won’t have that safety assurance. Who knows what kind of contaminants it may contain?

The Beauty Brains bottom line

In conclusion let me ask which you think is safer: Purchasing a professionally formulated product with ingredients that have been shown to be safe for use around the eye and that have been tested to ensure it won’t support growth of bacteria that could potentially lead to dangerous eye infection, OR mixing two ingredients, one of which is not properly preserved and the other which is not designed to be used close to your eyes? (Whew, pardon the run on sentence!)

I’m sorry, but you couldn’t pay me enough to risk an eye infection by “protecting” myself from excess chemicals.

Image credit: http://pixabay.com/

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Pilgrim September 27, 2015, 2:50 pm

    the disappointment from the false promises of mascara ads have women wanting to make their own superior mascara. except DIY mascara is, as you say, quite inferior to commercial production mascara.

  • ciera February 24, 2017, 11:15 am

    What if you make a mascara cake and clean your brush everytime after you use it?

  • Jessie May 3, 2019, 8:10 am

    It IS possible to make your own mascara and be safe about it. I use a broad spectrum preservative to combat the bacteria issue (BTSM-50), and then use black iron oxide for pigment, as iron oxides are approved for cosmetic use. Let’s be fair that you CAN make your own, but there are precautions you should follow whenever making anything that contains water (i.e. can grow bacteria).

    • Perry Romanowski May 22, 2019, 10:37 am

      Sure you CAN make it. But I don’t think the risk is worth taking.

      • Kr May 8, 2020, 12:29 pm

        The stuff Jessie mentioned are sanctioned by the FDA and are in store bought cosmetic, so the DIY risk is the same as buying store bought.

        • Perry Romanowski May 14, 2020, 2:12 pm

          The FDA does not “sanction” any cosmetic product.