Your guide to do-good mascara GO NAT­U­RAL

Once an en­dan­gered species, nat­u­ral mas­caras are on the up. Get coat­ing

Women's Health Australia - - BEAUTY & STYLE / MAKE-UP - By Meirav Devash

Planet lovers, re­joice! We’re liv­ing in the golden age of green beauty, in which more than half of Aussie women ad­mit they pre­fer to use nat­u­ral prod­ucts over their syn­thetic coun­ter­parts, ac­cord­ing to a 2017 sur­vey by Sukin. De­spite this, there’s lit­tle over­lap be­tween mascara en­thu­si­asts and clean-beauty devo­tees (eg, most women are not in love with nat­u­ral mas­caras). Even the most vir­tu­ous eco-con­sumers cheat.

Why? His­tor­i­cally, nat­u­ral mas­caras (the first launch­ing on the mar­ket in the early 2000s) gen­er­ally weren’t inky enough, and “for­mu­las were ei­ther too wet, which weighed lashes down, or too dry, which crum­bled off and fell onto your cheeks”, says Katey Denno, one of Hol­ly­wood’s most out­spo­ken green make-up artists. The rea­son? The OG for­mu­las were “made up of nat­u­ral oils, waxes and pig­ments”, ex­plains cos­metic chemist Ni’kita Wil­son. The nat­u­ral oils didn’t dis­perse pig­ments very well (which ex­plains the muted colours). And with­out some­thing known as film for­m­ers – for which there have been no true nat­u­ral equiv­a­lents – there’s noth­ing to seal mascara onto lashes and pro­vide wa­ter re­sis­tance.

At the time, green make-up was con­sid­ered a fad. But once com­pa­nies saw that women were de­mand­ing th­ese prod­ucts, sup­pli­ers got on board, and then the im­pos­si­ble hap­pened: some­one fi­nally cre­ated a green mascara that was ac­tu­ally, truly good. Launched in 2008, Physi­cians For­mula Or­ganic Wear 100% Nat­u­ral Ori­gin Mascara ($24.95, at Price­line) was one of the first or­ganic for­mu­las to hit the mass mar­ket, and it won ac­co­lades from make-up pros (in­clud­ing Denno) and beauty ed­i­tors. The bench­mark was set and, since then, cos­metic chemists have pushed for­mu­las fur­ther, en­hanc­ing stay­ing power.

There are now a few ways to cir­cum­vent those film for­m­ers,

by us­ing nat­u­ral al­ter­na­tives such as pul­lu­lan, a polysac­cha­ride made from fer­mented yeast that dis­solves in wa­ter. It’s not as pow­er­ful as the syn­thetic stuff, but it can still out­last a sad-movie cry-athon. Chemists are also tweak­ing the ra­tios of plant-based waxes and oils to find the long­est-wear­ing com­bi­na­tions. Too much hard­wax causes flakes; too much oil creates smudges; but the right mix dis­perses the min­eral-based pig­ments bet­ter, too (which is how the dull-hues prob­lem was solved). Some com­pa­nies also add plant­based starches, such as tapi­oca or corn, to help ab­sorb nat­u­ral oils. Th­ese swell up around the lashes, which make them look thicker and helps the for­mula stay put longer.

But be­fore you rush out to buy, know that most green mascara for­mu­las aren’t en­tirely nat­u­ral – they’re a combo of nat­u­ral and nat­u­rally de­rived in­gre­di­ents – and some eco brands do use se­lect syn­thet­ics for health pur­poses.

Also, beauty prod­ucts con­tain­ing wa­ter re­quire preser­va­tives to pre­vent harm­ful bac­te­ria growth. There are nat­u­ral ex­tracts with an­tibac­te­rial prop­er­ties, such as fer­mented radish or cel­lu­lose, but they’re not as proven as syn­thet­ics are for thwart­ing bac­te­ria.

That said, we’re go­ing with whichever one takes our lashes to their fullest po­ten­tial – and thank­fully we now have a choice.

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