7 Harmful Ingredients in Mascara That You Should Avoid ...


Mascara is probably one of my favorite make-up products; however, I don’t love the harmful ingredients in mascara. Until recently, I never thought twice about putting on mascara. It makes my eyes look brighter and all of my features stand out more. Yet, when I discovered there are harmful ingredients in mascara, I became concerned. After all, no one wants to have harmful ingredients near their eyes. Avoiding the following ingredients in mascara will help you steer clear of anything harmful.

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Coal Tar Dyes

Coal tar dyes are just some the harmful ingredients in mascara that you will want to avoid. These dyes contain heavy metals and are carcinogenic. Although you only put the mascara on your eyelashes, some of the harmful ingredients can still be absorbed into your bloodstream. To avoid coal tar dyes, look at the label for FD & C Blue no. 1. Also, you may find them listed as five digit number that is preceded by a Cl. While looking for these ingredients in the ingredient list may seem tedious, it will help you avoid these harmful dyes.


In addition to coal tar dyes, other harmful ingredients in mascara are parabens, phthalates, fragrances, formaldehyde, and preservatives. Parabens are used as preservatives in mascara and can cause skin irritation and can disrupt hormones. Phthalates are used to help the mascara stick to the lashes and can cause reproductive problems. Fragrances can cause skin irritation and can contain allergens. Formaldehyde is a preservative that can cause skin irritation and can be a carcinogen. Preservatives can cause skin irritation and can also disrupt hormones. All of these ingredients should be avoided when purchasing mascara.



Surprisingly, some mascara contains fragrance. I never thought mascara had fragrance in it, but it is generally added to cover up the scent of coal tar dyes. Fragrance can be very irritating, especially to the eyes. Therefore, it is best to avoid mascara that has fragrance in it. You will see it listed as fragrance or parfum on the ingredient label.


Fragrance is often added to mascara to cover up the unpleasant smell of coal tar dyes. Unfortunately, this fragrance can be very irritating to the eyes and skin. It can cause redness, stinging, and even allergic reactions. Fragrance can also be a source of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, which can be dangerous to your health. If you are looking for a mascara that is free of fragrance, look for one that specifically states "fragrance-free" on the label. It is also important to read the ingredient list to make sure that there are no hidden fragrances or synthetic fragrances included.


Formaldehyde Releasing Preservatives

Until recently I thought my only contact with formaldehyde was in high school biology class during dissections. As it turns out, formaldehyde is used in mascara as a preservative, and I have had daily contact with it for years. Since it is a known carcinogen, formaldehyde is not something I want near my eyes. On the ingredient label it can be listed under several different names, including DMDM hydantoin, diazuli dinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, or methenamine and quaternium-15.


Formaldehyde releasing preservatives are used in many cosmetics, including mascara, as a preservative to prevent the growth of bacteria. These preservatives can be listed on the ingredient label under various names, such as DMDM hydantoin, diazuli dinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine and quaternium-15. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and can be absorbed through the skin, so it is important to avoid these preservatives when shopping for mascara and other cosmetics. It is also important to check the ingredient label of any makeup products you buy, as some companies may use formaldehyde releasing preservatives without listing them on the label.



Parabens are found in many products, including mascara. People are becoming increasingly aware of the harmful effect parabens have on hormones. You will actually find many products listed as paraben free. However, there are many mascara products that still contain parabens, so it is important to read the label carefully.


Parabens are a type of preservative used in many products, including mascara. They are known to disrupt the body's hormones, including estrogen, and have been linked to a variety of health issues. The European Union has banned the use of certain parabens in cosmetics, but many products still contain them. It is important to read the labels of any product you purchase to make sure it is paraben free. Additionally, look for natural mascaras that are made with plant-based ingredients and are free of synthetic chemicals.



BHA and BHT are preservatives that are derived from petroleum. Both BHA and BHT can affect hormones negatively, are carcinogenic, and are harmful to aquatic and land animals. Steering clear of BHA and BHT is a good idea because of their harmful effects to a person’s health and the environment.


BHA and BHT are often found in mascaras and other cosmetics, as they are used as preservatives. However, these ingredients have been linked to health risks, such as hormone disruption and cancer. Additionally, these petroleum-derived ingredients are not biodegradable, and can cause harm to aquatic and land animals. For these reasons, it is important to check the ingredients list of your mascara and avoid mascaras that contain BHA and BHT. Additionally, it is recommended to look for mascaras that contain natural preservatives, such as rosemary extract or grapefruit seed extract.


Propylene Glycol

Propylene Glycol is a liquid that absorbs water. While the FDA considers it “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS), it can cause dermatological and respiratory issues. Some of the problems it can cause include acne, eczema, and rashes, none of which are desirable.


Propylene Glycol is a common ingredient in many mascaras, but it can cause skin irritation and respiratory issues. It has been linked to acne, eczema, and rashes. Additionally, it can cause eye irritation and dryness. The FDA considers Propylene Glycol to be safe, but it is important to be aware of the potential risks associated with its use. It is best to avoid mascaras that contain Propylene Glycol and opt for natural, non-toxic alternatives instead.


Retinyl Acetate

Because it is a form of vitamin A, retinyl acetate may seem harmless, but it is not. In fact, its use is restricted in Canadian cosmetics. You want to avoid retinyl acetate because it is a carcinogen and can cause developmental and reproductive problems.

Mascara is like the icing on the cake for your eyes. Unfortunately, there are harmful ingredients in mascara that are not as appealing as icing. Avoiding these ingredients does take a little diligence, but it is possible to find nontoxic mascara. Do these harmful ingredients concern you?

Sources: foodbabe.com, atsdr.cdc.gov, ewg.org

Feedback Junction

Where Thoughts and Opinions Converge

ya I would like a recommendation also

which brand don't contain harmful ingredients?

since you put this article up, are you going to recommend mascaras without these ingredients?

Physicians Formula mascara is 'safe' and works

This article is scary true....I always use the skin deep database before I but something. It tells you all the ingredients in makeup and other things that could harm you.

My God I Need Too Be Careful

are there any mascaras you would recommend that don't contain these ingredients?

so, what brand doesnt contain any of these in the list?

instead of telling us the problem - offer a solution ! it's no good telling us how bad something is if your not prepared to write about alternatives !

recommendation on 'safe' mascaras would be highly appreciated :)

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