We’ve discussed dozens of different mascaras here at TIA. We’ve talked organic, one-handed, long-lashed, and more. And while all the articles include lists of ingredients, we haven’t really covered the importance of examining the components of your mascara. Actually, Preksha, who is essential to the TIA team, inspired this article; she has been using Lancôme Hypnôse Drama Mascara for about seven months now, and while she loves it for its ability to separate, thicken and lengthen lashes, there is a problem. Every time Preksha removes her mascara, multiple eyelashes fall out. She has determined that other mascaras and her makeup remover are not to blame. Could the fault lie in Lancôme Hypnôse’s ingredients?

As with many large cosmetic companies, it was impossible to find the mascara’s ingredients on Lancôme’s website. However, I was able to find them on a different website. Surprisingly the ingredients (see below) don’t look awful. The only thing that really stands out (other than phenoxyethanol) is PEG/PPG-17/18 dimethicone. The cosmetic safety database considers it a moderate hazard, primarily because there is some evidence of organ system toxicity. Still, that is probably not the cause of Preksha’s lost eyelashes.

Many times, a loss of lashes indicates an allergy to your mascara. It can also mean that you are scrubbing at your eyes a little too harshly when trying to remove makeup that you’ve applied a little too thickly. Mascara tends to stiffen your eyelashes (thanks to ingredients like gum), which also may make them more brittle and breakable. Staying clear of waterproof mascaras is also another way to avoid eyelash issues, as the waterproof variety contains dimethicone copolyol, which acts as a water repellant and is very difficult to remove.

So what ingredients should you be looking for – and avoiding – in mascaras? Components that moisturize (such as aloe and vitamin E) and nourish are always nice; eyelashes are hair, after all. TIA’s list of 5 best mascaras can be found here. Now, in terms of ingredients to avoid, I would first and foremost be weary of mercury. Though it probably should be, it is not illegal to use in cosmetics in the U.S. (though it is severely restricted to 65 parts per million for eye makeup only). However, Minnesota recently banned the use of mercury in all cosmetics, citing the fact that the toxin causes neurological damage in even tiny quantities.

Other things to avoid, besides the usual culprits (parabens, for example) include fragrance, aluminum powder (linked to cancer, allergies, and neurotoxicity) and triethanolamine (TEA), which has been linked to respiratory toxicity, allergies, and cell mutations. For a list of mascaras, their ingredients and safety ratings, visit the Environmental Working Group’s cosmetic safety database.

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Lancôme Hypnôse Drama Mascara Ingredients:

Aqua/Water/Eau, Paraffin, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Cera Alba/Beeswax/Cire Dabeille, Cera Carnauba/Carnauba Wax/Cire De Carnauba, Acacia Senegal/Acacia Senegal Gum, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycerin, PEG/PPG-17/18 Dimethicone, Steareth-20, Simethicone, Sodium Polymethacrylate, Phenethyl Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil, Hydrogenated Palm Oil, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Panthenol, Polyquaternium-10, Phenoxyethanol . May Contain/Peut Contenir : CI 77266/Black 2, CI 77499/Iron Oxides.