Is Mascara Bad for Your Eyelashes in the Long Run?

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Mascara has taken an important place in a girl’s makeup regime (including mine!). Once you get hold of using it, it becomes your everyday essential, and you find yourself wondering – is mascara bad for your eyelashes in the long run?

My mascara and I share a love-hate kind of relationship. I love how it lifts up my eyelashes, makes them appear voluminous and thick. But on the other hand, I hate how badly it affects my eyes and eyelashes.

In this post, I will discuss the good, bad, and ugly of mascara and if it is bad to wear mascara every day.

Is Mascara Bad for Your Eyelashes

The Negatives of Mascara

When I started using mascara, I got addicted to it and used it daily. It was a washable mascara but water-resistant, which is a bit less harmful than a waterproof one.

Harmful ingredients

Mascara that is entirely loaded with unregulated chemicals like preservatives, petroleum, fragrance, and colorants can potentially risk skin problems like irritation, itchiness, redness, allergic reactions, and eczema.

Risks injury to your eye

When applying mascara in a rush, you can accidentally poke your eyes with the wand and get a scratched cornea (corneal abrasion) that can make your eyes inflamed, painful for days. The risk increases even more when you’re wearing contact lenses.

Demands extra-care for contact lens

Those who wear contact lenses are prone to mascara damage as they need to be extra careful to maintain eye health. Poor hygiene can lead to eye irritation and possibly an infection, but with proper hygiene, the use of mascara can be safely incorporated. Opt for a mascara that works for sensitive eyes and is ophthalmologically tested and approved.

Harsh removal

Removing it was a real pain. I used coconut oil soaked in a cotton pad to remove it. After using mascara regularly for two weeks, I noticed my eyelashes were getting thinner, and what most shocking was they were losing their natural tint. It almost seemed like I had no eyelashes.

What makes a bad mascara?

Your mascara isn’t exactly bad, but its ingredients can be. Harmful ingredients can trigger damage to your eyes.

Let’s took a look at these ingredients:

  • Parabens (used to increase shelf-life that mimics estrogen affecting hormones)
  • Propylene glycol (petroleum that may lead to skin and respiratory issues)
  • Retinyl acetate, aka vitamin A Acetate (known to cause biochemical or cellular changes in the body)
  • Aluminum powder (gives color to mascara and long term exposure can impair essential cell and body functions)
  • Coal tar dye (used as colorant and cancer-causing and toxic to the brain)
  • Fragrance aka parfum (can be irritating for skin and eyes)
  • Formaldehydes aka imidazolindyl urea, DMDM, methenamine, diazuli dinyl urea, and quaternium-15 (a cancer-causing agent that may also cause dermatitis)
  • BHT and BHA (preservatives that may disrupt the endocrine)

These ingredients altogether can lead to itchiness, redness, and inflammation around the eyes. Even worse, they can disrupt your hormones and reproductive system.

What should you actually look for?

ingredients to look for in a mascara

Making the right choices when purchasing mascara will limit harm in the long run. Before purchasing one, look it up on EWG’s Skin Deep database to check the safety, potential toxicity, and a breakup of ingredients.

Rating of 1 to 2 indicates safety, and 3 to 4 is an average. Anything 5 and above is unsafe and should be avoided.

The key is to find a good, ethical brand’s mascara, most preferably cruelty-free and vegan, and stick with it. This also means reconsidering a brand you currently use that isn’t clean.

How to Deal with the Dangers of Mascara

Before getting mascara, I followed a skincare regime and used castor oil on my eyelashes every night. This made my brows and lashes thicker and longer, but my negligence ruined my efforts.

It wasn’t just my mascara’s fault but mine too, so I figured out my own ways to use mascara and still maintain my lashes. These were the ways that helped me revive my lashes:

  • I limited my use of mascara from daily to just every other day. That helps a lot.
  • Save your waterproof mascara for special occasions where you need it to stay longer and withstand moisture but for daily use, choose a strengthening or washable mascara.
  • Whatever mascara you own, including the clear ones, ALWAYS take it off by a gentle eye makeup remover or use olive oil or coconut oil to remove it. Remember not to be harsh and take your time to remove gently.
  • Follow a proper eye care routine to strengthen and moisturize eyelashes.
  • Apply from root to tips and wait till the coat dries for another. Don’t keep on coating more and more layers as it will lead to clumping and serious damage to eyelashes and eyes.
  • Don’t forget to look at the ingredients before purchasing the mascara. Avoid these ingredients: Propylene Glycol, Bronopol, Parabens, Aluminum Powder, Retinyl Acetate, Benzyl Alcohol, Triethanolamine.
  • Clear mascara is a safer choice. They not only make your eyes look natural but well-groomed and neat too.
  • I used an eyelash comb to brush my eyelashes once or twice a day. It helps lashes to distribute natural oils along the length.
  • The dramatic impact of using too much mascara made my lashes thin and almost fall out. After reading up on a lot of reviews, I  purchased and tried RevitaLash Advanced Eyelash Conditioner, which boasted to condition, nourish, and grow lashes between 3-10 weeks. After consistent use for a month and a half, I started noticing longer eyelashes, which was surprising for a girl who had sparse eyelashes all her life. I reduced the usage after getting the desired results.

These were the steps I took to avoid more damages to lashes. I incorporated all of them, and now my lashes are getting back to their original, healthy form.

Most-asked Questions about Mascara

frequently asked questions about mascara

Here are some frequently asked questions about using mascara that I have tried my best to answer with proper research.

Does mascara damage your eyelashes?

Yes, when you overuse it for touchups – especially the waterproof ones as they require more effort while removing. This can result in lashes falling out.

Is clear mascara bad for your eyelashes?

Although it gives a natural and your lashes, but better look, clear mascara contains the same ingredients as a colored one, except the colorants aren’t used in it. They may seem invisible but can pose the same threat to lashes.

Is waterproof mascara bad for your lashes?

Waterproof mascara comes with the added wax and silicone to it making it resist sweat, tear and water. As a result, your lashes lose moisture and dry out. However, you can still combat the effect by taking the time to remove mascara completely but gently.

Does mascara make your eyelashes thinner?

It all boils down to how you mascara – either properly or carelessly. Multiple mascara coats can put a lot of load on eyelashes, making them appear thin and short. Keep those million coats saved for special occasions.

Is wearing mascara everyday bad for your eyelashes?

Using mascara is one thing and keeping it on your eyelashes all the time is another. Using it every day can make the removal process difficult and cause lashes to break, so no, everyday mascara can ruin your eyelashes.

Is mascara good for your eyelashes?

Yes – only when it’s clean and all-natural. Look for formulas that condition, protect and hydrate lashes. However, these mascaras can be a bit heavy on your pocket, but it’s the best ones you can go for to avoid lash damage.

Bottom line

So, is mascara bad for your eyelashes? The answer is, it depends. If you don’t overuse it, maintain a proper eyelash routine, and ensure a quality product with safe (and healthy) ingredients, the mascara won’t play a bad boy to your lashes anymore. Also, make sure you throw it once it expires (mascara has three months of shelf-life).

Have you experienced any damaging effects of mascara? Share with me in the comments.

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