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Mascara: What is in it? 

It feels great, not dry, and it smells nice. I really like this stuff. All my make up comes right off.

Julia Kang, author

Daily makeup for the eyes

Many different anecdotes on the first modern mascara are doing the rounds. One tells of a girl, Maybel, whose heart was broken so, her brother, a certain T.L. Williams, popped into his lab to make some mascara. Maybel, of the later brand Maybelline, applied the mascara and she literally looked so dazzling, she immediately won back the heart of her boyfriend.

Another version says that it was Eugene Rimmel who produced a kind of mascara in the nineteenth century already, with petroleum jelly as basic ingredient. Who or what the reason or the first manufacturer was at the time, from the mid-twentieth century, modern mascara forms part of the fixed range cosmetic products which many women use in their daily make-up ritual.

Mascara with an applicator: A story of economic success

The first mascaras were packed in a compact box and were applied with a separate brush that had to first be dipped in water. 50% soap flakes and 50% black pigment were mixed together, sent through a mill several times, and this was then compressed into a type of cake. In the search for a more liquid, and therefore easier brush-on version, creamy mascara was created, a mix with lotion. This was sold in tubes, and in the beginning you also had to push it out on a brush to apply it. In terms of usability it took until the 1960s, when the mascara applicator eventually appeared on the market. The invention was due to Helena Rubinstein; the applicator ensured that an equally large amount of mascara was used with every application. Thanks to this 'new' packaging, the use of mascara increased by leaps and bounds, lasting to this day. Given the limited shelf life of the current mascara (only up to 3 months), selling it is a very profitable business.

Pigment, oil and wax, synthetic or 100% natural

What raw materials are found in mascara? Each brand obviously has a different composition, but most brands have three basic ingredients:  pigment, an oil emulsion and wax.

Black carbon is the pigment in most mascara recipes; iron oxide provides both a black and a brown colour. Iron oxide often contains nickel, an allergen. Other mascara colours contain allergens, even more when no natural pigments are used. The wax is often beeswax, carnauba wax (Carnauba palm – the INCI name is Copernicia cerifera) or paraffin wax. The oil can be mineral oil, lanolin, flax seed oil, castor oil, turpentine oil, eucalyptus oil and even sesame oil. If mascara is waterproof, it can for example contain dodecan. If mascaras promise to curl or extend your lashes, there may also be nylon or viscose in it. Hardeners, like for example Ceresin, methyl cellulose or tragacanth gum, take care of the fixation of the volume, curls or extended eyelashes. Finally, some mascara contains alcohol. Of course, you can also choose ‘natural’ mascara – but then you must read the label well to ensure that it is 100% natural.

How do you remove mascara from your lashes?

Removing mascara from your lashes should anyway happen with some sense of refinement. Your eyelid and your eyelashes are sensitive places on your face. The skin of your eyelids, for example, is very thin; your eyelashes are delicate hairs that easily break or fall out.

Removing eye makeup too forceful or doing it with aggressive products are both acts that you should better avoid if you want to keep the skin around your eyes and your lashes in good condition for long. Cleansing with Alana is the most gentle, most efficient and most nourishing method. In addition, Alana, the cleansing oil by Amanprana, is also bio oil:  you will only find good ingredients in there, directly out of nature.

Alana Make-up remover
Alana Make-up remover
  • Allergen-free for sensitive skin and eyes
  • 0% chemicals, 0% alcohol, 0% parabens
  • Nourishes with vitamin E and over ten types of carotenes
  • Does not irritate or sting
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How do you remove mascara from your lashes? With Amanprana Alana