Mascara is a cosmetic product designed to thicken, darken and/or lengthen the eyelashes. It is usually in the form of a liquid, cream or pressed cake. The first use of this type of cosmetic can be traced back to ancient Egypt, but the modern product we know today was not invented until the 19th century. Eugene Rimmel was the first to create a commercially successful modern mascara. The ingredients he used were petroleum jelly and coal, but this was messy and soon better formulations were discovered. Let’s take a look at what modern mascara is made from.
What is mascara made out of?
There are many different formulation of mascara and each company has a slightly different version. However, the 3 basic ingredients remain the same between every brand; oil, wax and pigment. Pigmentation is used to provide the color of the mascara. Carbon black is usually used for black mascara and iron oxide is used for brown mascara. However, other coloring agents may also be used. The oil used in a mascara differs considerably between brands, but mineral oils, linseed, castor, lanolin, sesame, eucalyptus and oil of turpentine are most commonly used. The wax used in mascara is usually paraffin, beeswax or carnauba wax.
The formula for mascara may also include additional ingredients. For example, water-resistant mascara will include a substance to repel water and lengthening mascara often include fibers of nylon or rayon. Other ingredients provide conditioning, stiffening and most manufacturers include preservatives.
Did you know?
An Internet rumor created in 2010 suggests that bat feces (guano) is an ingredient in mascara, but this is not ture. An ingredient called guanine is used in some brands of mascara, but it must be extracted from fish scales.