Originally quoted from The Beauty Isle Insider by
The Creators of The Beauty Brains
~Image from: Makeup Geek~
What's in mascara and how does it work? Here's the science-y scoop.
History of MascaraFirst, a quick bit of background. we know that mascaras have been around since at least 4000 BC because historical records show that Egyptians used charcoal and other minerals to darken their lashes and eyelids. In modern times, mascara first appeared in the form of a pressed cake that was applied by wetting a brush, rubbing it on the cake and then applying it to eyelashes. The cake consisted of a mixture of black pigments and soap chips.
The next innovation in mascara involved a lotion-like version of the soap cake that was packaged in a tube and squeezed onto a small brush to apply. Mascara as we know it today was created in the 1960s with the invention of a grooved brush that could apply a consistent amount of the pigment. This is the basic form that's still used today.
Common IngredientsThe primary ingredients in mascara are pigments — the chemicals that provide colors. Because U.S. federal regulations only allow certain colorants to be used in the area of the eye, only natural colors and inorganic pigments are used. Carbon black and iron oxide provides black, brown and red colors; ultramarine blue provides blue and green shades. These pigments are mixed together in a cosmetic base that is an emulsion of oils, waxes and water. For example of these waxy ingredients, let's look at the ingredients list from Maybelline Great Lash:
water, beeswax, ozokerite, shellac,
glyceryl stearate, triethanolamine,
propylene glycol, stearic acid, sorbitan
sesquioleate, methylparaben, quaternium-15,
quaternium-22, simethicone, butylparaben,
iron oxides (may contai), titanium dioxide
(may contain), ultramarine blue
The beexwax, ozokerite, stearic acid and shellac provide the main body of the mascara and give it it's waterproof and smudgeproof properties. Glyceryl stearate and triethanolamine are added to make sure the mascara can be washed off. The propylene glycol, sorbitan sesquioleate and simethicone, added as processing agents, help control the consistency of the product while methylparaben, quaternium-15, quaternium-22 and butylparaben are preservatives that keep the mascara free of "bugs". Finally, the iron oxides, titanium dioxide and ultramarine blue are the pigments.