Why homemade mascara? For some time now my entire makeup routine has been a dab of lip balm and a quick brush of mascara. But I still wondered if these two little “makeup essentials” were really good for me. Being the hippie-lovin’-green-livin’ type gal that I am, I was pretty sure the answer was “no.” And that’s why I’m here to share my all natural homemade mascara recipe with you.
In this article, I’ll give you a rundown of mascara, including its history and why you might want to avoid it in your beauty routine. Then, I’ll give you a recipe for some DIY homemade natural mascara that will have your eyelashes thanking you (as well as your wallet).
What is in mascara anyway?
Mascara dates back to ancient Egypt. Most formulas contain the same basic elements: pigmentation, oils, and waxes. But most mascaras on the market these days have plenty of other “stuff” lurking about them. This stuff is what you need to be concerned about, especially if you are looking for an all-natural body and skin care routine.
Cosmetics are very loosely regulated by the FDA. There is a great deal of freedom for the beauty industry in the formulation of cosmetics. There is some concern for some ingredients found in mascara since they have been found to cause cancer in mice, and others are known to be highly toxic to the human body. (source)
I’ve been using an organic “all natural” mascara for the past couple of years. In fact, I made the switch long before I ditched all my other toxic beauty products. My old “volumizing” mascara made my eyes red and itchy. Apparently allergic reactions are common with mascara users. These reactions are usually attributed to methylparaben, aluminum powder, ceteareth-20, butylparaben, or benzyl alcohol that are often found in mascaras. (source)
Let’s take a quick look at these chemicals so you can see why you should be avoiding them:
Methylparaben: Methylparaben is an anti-fungal chemical which is used in many personal care products. There is concern out there as to whether it is safe to use. While it is approved by the USFDA, this debate continues. Some studies have suggested that methylparaben use on the skin may react with ultraviolet in order to accelerate aging effects.
Aluminum Powder: Aluminum powder is a metallic compound which is used to color certain cosmetics. The primary concerns with aluminum powder are related to potentially hindering your body’s ability to excrete mercury, which leaves more of this compound in your body.
Ceteareth-20: Ceteareth-20 is a mixture of particular fatty alcohols, and is used as an emulsifier in a variety of cosmetic products and self-care products.
Butylparaben: Butylparaben is typically used as a preservative in cosmetic products, which is meant to extend their life and prevent the growth of bacteria. However, any chemicals that are put into beauty products also have direct contact with your skin, and your body can absorb these potentially hazardous chemicals
Benzyl Alcohol: Benzyl alcohol is also typically used as a preservative in beauty and skin care products. However, the effects on your skin can actually be that of drying and irritation. Benzyl alcohol can also strip the skin, causing further irritation.
And that’s just to name a few. Clearly, you should always be paying pretty close attention to what’s in your beauty and skin care products, because you don’t know what you might find.
In fact, the chemicals in your beauty products don’t always have to do with “beauty” at all, but rather serve functional purposes such as extending the life of the product. And while this may sound useful, it can have potentially adverse effects on your skin and your body.
However, even if you make the switch to an organic brand of mascara that might not contain many of these potentiallyharmful ingredients, it is almost certainly going to be more expensive. Additionally, while it is “organic”, that doesn’t mean that it is free of hazardous ingredients altogether.
So why not try to make something yourself that you know you can trust? I’ve been on a “make your own” kick lately, so why not homemade mascara?
Why I love my homemade mascara
My first attempt at homemade mascara wasn’t very impressive. It worked, but the results were so subtle that it didn’t seem worth the time. I played around with the mixture, added in some beeswax, and am much happier with what I now have. I can’t call it “water proof,” but I haven’t had any unfortunate raccoon eyes… even after a sweaty dance class. (You can always add more beeswax than what I have in the recipe below to get more of a thicker, waterproof mascara.)
This homemade mascara does a great job darkening, separating, and conditioning the lashes. And my eyes feel so much better using it! I probably won’t be asked to model for Maybelline anytime soon, but I think it does the job nicely. ?
The recipe is really easy. The hardest part is getting it into the blasted mascara bottle. If you have a long syringe (like this) that would probably be best. But I think I’ve come up with a handy little way to get your homemade mascara where it belongs if you don’t have one. Check it out:
Okay, back to the homemade mascara recipe. You ready?
DIY all natural homemade mascara
What you’ll need:
2 tsp coconut oil (where to find coconut products)
4 tsp aloe vera gel (like this)
1/2 – 1 tsp bees wax pellet (like this)
1 – 2 capsules of activated charcoal (for black) or cocoa powder (for brown)
a clean mascara container (like this)
* Update: Due to temperature differences you may want to add more beeswax to give more “hold” to your mascara. Keep in mind that coconut oil is a liquid above 75 degrees. I’d increase the beeswax to 3/4 or even 1 tsp if it’s really warm where you live… or if you want more of a “waterproof” mascara.
**Activated charcoal can be found in most health food stores or online. This is not the same stuff you use to get your grill going, okay? Also, some people have responded in the comments that activated charcoal might not be good to use close to your eyes. If you’re worried, go with the cocoa powder to be safe.
- Put coconut oil, aloe vera gel, and grated bees wax in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until beeswax is completely melted.
- Open 1 – 2 capsules of activated charcoal (depending on desired color, about 1/4 – 1/2 tsp) and pour into oil mixture. Stir until completely incorporated. Remove from heat.
- Pour into a small plastic bag, pushing the mixture down to one corner. Then cut a very small hole in the opposite corner of the bag.
- Fold the corner with the cut whole until you have a small tip that you can push into the empty mascara tube. (It’s much easier if you have an extra set of hands nearby to hold the tube in place!) Make sure the tip goes far enough into the tube or you’ll have a big mess on your hands!
- Keep the small-hole-end securely in the tube (or get your helper to hold it in place). Begin pressing the mascara mixture toward the tube. Don’t move too quickly or it will come out and you’ll have mess to deal with(I highly recommend doing this with a paper towel or napkin underneath.) Keep moving the mixture into the tube until it’s all in.
- Place the inner cap in place and then twist the wand on tightly. Viola! Homemade mascara!
Note: Like all mascaras, it is important that you use this homemade mascara wisely. Proper use of mascara includes disposal of tube and brush after four to six months. Homemade mascara should also be disposed of if found to smell different, strange, or especially pungent. It is unlikely and unusual, but all mascara does have the capability to grow bacteria.
Make sure to keep the lid on tightly or this homemade mascara will dry out.
There you go, a homemade mascara that is easy-to-make and actually works. Trust me, once you make something on your own, you’ll find that the reward of having done it yourselfis almost as satisfying as knowing you’ve eliminating all those harmful chemicals from your routine. Not to mention all the money you’ll save.
Hopefully this article has opened your eyes to all the benefits of making your beauty routine an all-natural one. Not only will this help cut out the harmful chemicals that are found in so many beauty products, but it opens up a whole new world of DIY products. I find a real sense of reward in making something myself, and I hope that you will too. And bonus, your wallet will thank you.
But I want to know what you think as well. Have you tried this homemade mascara? Do you have any other recipes you like as well? Let me know, I love to get the feedback and I love to perfect my DIY recipes even further!
What do you think? Are you up to trying homemade mascara?
UPDATE: I had enough people ask to see what the mascara looks like on. So, here you are. I am not wearing any other makeup, just the mascara… so keep that in mind.