The Manufacturing Process of Mascara

Many different mascaras are on the market, designed to thicken and lengthen your eyelashes. They may also color, curl, or otherwise enhance them.

Most formulas contain a carbon black or iron oxide pigment for darkening and polymers to form a film that covers the lashes. Some also have thickening and preservative waxes like lanolin, candelilla wax, carnauba wax, mineral oil, paraffin, petrolatum, and castor oil.


Most mascaras contain a mixture of pigments, oils and waxes to help the formula coat individual lashes. They also often include a polymer to support the product stay in place and prevent smudging during application.

So what is mascara made of? Most ingredients are natural or synthetic, depending on what type of mascara you’re after and your budget. Some are entirely safe and can even help promote healthy lash growth.

Some are not so great, though, and can harm your health. For instance, parabens are widely used as preservatives in cosmetics and are associated with breast cancer.

Some of these chemicals can also be harmful to fish and other wildlife. Other ingredients to avoid include formaldehyde-releasing preservatives such as diazulidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea and quaternium-15.


Mascara typically contains a solvent as the base, a pigment to darken lashes, a polymer to form a film that coats the lashes, and a preservative to limit microbial growth.

In addition, mascara often comes with a fragrance to mask any unpleasant smells from the formula. However, the fragrances used in many popular drugstore brands can be toxic and can cause irritation, dizziness, headaches, allergies and cancer!

Other ingredients in mascara that should be avoided include aluminum powder, thimerosal and parabens. All three are known neurotoxins linked to breast cancer and can interfere with the nervous system.


Water is used to make various products, including cosmetics and mascara. It is also used in irrigation, agriculture and fisheries.

There are several different types of mascara, which vary in their consistency, texture and color. Some are water-based, and others are oil-based.

Some of these water-based mascaras are waterproof, which means they will last longer and won’t smudge as easily. However, this type of mascara may be drying for your eyelashes and can cause them to fall out more quickly.

The first secret to waterproof mascaras is dimethicone copolyol, a silicon that prevents water from reacting with it and gives a shiny finish to the product. This makes it a good choice for dry or sensitive skin.


Oils and waxes are used to create mascara. Some of the more common oils used in mascara include mineral oil, lanolin, castor oil, eucalyptus oil, and paraffin.

Various soft waxes are also used, including beeswax and carnauba wax. These waxes help bind the ingredients together and make it easier for the mascara to stick to the lashes.

Carbon black is another ingredient that is often found in mascara. It is used as a black pigment and helps give the product its rich, dark color.

Preservatives are added to mascara products to keep bacteria at bay and extend the product’s life. Unfortunately, many of these preservatives are unsuitable for your health or the environment.


The wax used in mascara is a hydrophobic material, which means that it repels water. This makes it the perfect ingredient for creating waterproof mascaras.

Several types of waxes are used in mascara, such as beeswax, carnauba wax, and paraffin. They help bind ingredients in a formula and keep the product smooth.

Pigments (coloring substances) are also usually included in mascaras. These are often derived from iron oxide, coal, or ash.

Guanine is another common addition, as it diffuses light and helps make mascara shinier. Fish scales are often crushed and soaked in alcohol before they are used.