Wanting to make your eyes to look amazing is nothing new. In Biblical times, women painted their eyes:
- “Then Jehu went to Jezreel. When Jezebel heard about it, she painted her eyes, arranged her hair and looked out of a window.” – 2 Kings 9:30
- “What are you doing, O devastated one? Why dress yourself in scarlet and put on jewels of gold? Why shade your eyes with paint? You adorn yourself in vain.” – Jeremiah 4:30
- “When they arrived you bathed yourself for them, painted your eyes and put on your jewelry.” – Ezekiel 23:40
Today women use eyeliner, eye shadow and mascara, but we’ll never be absolutely sure what ancient women used to paint their eyes. Imagining ancient advertising campaigns for mascara makes me chuckle – I can’t quite imagine the women having a product that lifts, separates, and adds volume to their eyelashes.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Recently, the Environmental Working Group ranked 613 different mascara products for safety. And unlike the surprising safety of eyeliners, there are many toxic varieties of mascara on store shelves. In fact, 24 different types have been rated as high health hazards.
So what are the dangerous ingredients in these toxic tubes of mascara?
- The common offender is one or more parabens used in a single product – including propylparaben, butylparaben, and isobutylparaben. Parabens accumulate in breast tumors and are toxic to your developmental and reproductive systems.
- Benzyl Salicylate disrupts your endocrine system and is an ecotoxin.
- Coumarin is a known human immune system toxicant and is banned from use in the European Union.
- Garaniol is an ecotoxin.
- Hydroxycitronellal aggravates allergies.
- Lilial aggravates allergies and disrupts your endocrine system.
- Retinyl (vitamin A) acetate is toxic to your reproductive system and organs.
The worst of the worst
The most hazardous mascaras include the following toxins:
- Banned from cosmetics in the European Union, BHA disrupts the endocrine system, is a known human toxicant, and aggravates allergies. BHA is found in Rimmel Lash Accelerator Mascara and Love My Eyes Mascara.
- Classified as toxic or harmful in both the European Union and Canada, morpholine is believed to be a human skin toxicant. Morpholine is found in Love My Eyes Mascara.
- As the worst toxin in mascara, thimerosal is a derivative of mercury. (You may remember it as the toxin so debated in vaccines.) In case you’re not sure about the dangers of thimerosal, it’s a known human nervous system toxicant; its use is restricted in cosmetics in both the U.S. and Canada; it’s an environmental toxin; and there’s limited evidence that it’s toxic to your blood, cardiovascular system, endocrine system, gastrointestinal system, immune system, kidneys, liver, reproductive system, and respiratory system. Thimerosal is found in Love My Eyes Mascara.
Even though 24 mascaras are high health hazards, the good news is that 100 mascaras are low health hazards and considered safe. (And a whopping 487 mascaras are ranked as moderate health hazards.)
To know if you’re shopping for a safe or toxic mascara, though, you need to check out the safety ranking first.
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