Clean Mascara And Our Beauty Editor's Favorites | Oscea | Clean Beauty

Clean Mascara And Our Beauty Editor's Favorites

Mascara contains some of the most toxic chemicals in cosmetics including PFAS 'forever chemicals'. Here is everything you need to know. 


Mascara is part of the everyday routine for many people. Since this cosmetic product comes into direct contact with the eyes, it should be free from potential toxins for this reason. Unfortunately, this is not true for all mascaras. Waterproof mascaras, especially, can contain various dangerous “forever chemicals” to give them the ability to resist smudging. In order to ensure our toxic body burden does not overflow, we need to be more conscious about what’s in our makeup, starting with mascara. The following chemicals are seen in most mascara products, but should be avoided.

What Toxins are Included in Common Mascaras?

PFAs: These long-lasting, plastic chemicals are used in mascara to give it water-proof, smudge-proof properties. These chemicals are not only harmful to human health but have been named “forever chemicals” because this group of plastics break down extremely slowly over time in the blood and environment. There is a large list of health effects that come with PFA exposure. It has been linked to decreased fertility, developmental effects and delays in children, and increase in various cancers such as kidney, prostate, and testicular. 

Parabens: Parabens are used in mascaras as a preservative, but have been known to increase the risk of breast cancer and are a known hormone disruptor. Look for any ingredient ending in the word paraben, and if found it is best to avoid the product. 

Vitamin A Acetate: This synthetic chemical is ranked 9 on EWG, the second highest level hazard score possible, but is also used as a conditioning agent in mascaras. This is a known human reproductive system toxin and can cause cellular changes in the body implicated in cardiovascular disease. 

Thimerosal: Thimerosal is used as an antibacterial agent in mascaras. This toxic chemical is 49.6% mercury by weight. This ingredient in cosmetics poses as a potential allergen and particularly dangerous to the brain. It has been banned from vaccines for children because of its harmful effects, but is still seen in eye makeup. 

What are Toxic Free Options?

It is also important to note that different mascaras are formulated differently based on whether they are waterproof or non-waterproof; with non-waterproof products typically containing less toxins in general. Many natural mascaras are formulated with clean or even organic ingredients to give you the same defining effect but without the harmful chemicals. Whether the goal is to have length, volume, thickness, or anything in between. There are many options that cater to a more clean, safer alternative. 

Think Big All-in-One Mascara | Beautycounter
Image is BeautyCounter All in one Mascara

Beautycounter continuously has some of the cleanest beauty products one the market. Their Think Big All-in-One Mascara is no exception. This best seller is formulated without the harmful ingredients commonly found in other popular mascaras. Nourishing  tripeptide technology works to support stronger, healthier lashes. Giving the individuals benefits after removal of the product. When it comes to the mascara pigment, true black pigment provides a rich black color to lashes without the harmful potential carcinogens and organ disruptors. With users finding that this longwear and smudgeproof product gives excellent results. These include 97% saw fuller lashes and healthier looking lashes, and 93% experienced longer, defined, and separated lashes. All these benefits and a cleaner ingredient list, make this mascara one of our favorites!

Expressionist Volumizing Mascara | Well People
Image of Well People Mascara

Well People is a brand that we have mentioned previously and for good reasoning. The Allure Best of Beauty Award Winner Expressionist Volumizing Mascara is another one to mention. This mascara is available in both brown and black. Cruelty free and dermatologist-developed, this mascara is formulated with only the best of ingredients that you are sure to love. Castor Oil is first on their ingredient and has major lash benefits. These include conditioning and hydrating the lashes, making them look and stay healthy. Cellulose Plant Fiber works to naturally thicken and assist to plump the lashes. Sunflower Seed Oil  lastly works just like Castor oil to nourish lashes by providing essential fatty acids. All of which are plant based. Free from parabens, talc, sulfates, GMO’s, and thousands of other toxic and harmful chemicals, this mascara is one to try!

Natural Lengthening Mascara | Mineral Fusion


Image of mineral fusion mascara

Mineral Fusion is dedicated to providing their consumers with top quality, yet organic and safe cosmetics options. The Natural Lengthening Mascara is one nonetheless. This product is sourced with ‘luxurious botanicals’ that work in amazing ways. Plant based ingredients assist lashes to provide nourishment and length. This mascara is fragrance , paraben, and phthalate free, just to name a few. This formula is flake, smudge, and irritant free. What an awesome product!

Mascara - Lengthening Mascara Makeup | Honest
Image of honest beauty mascara

A mascara and lash primer combo? Yes, Honest Beauty’s Extreme Length and Lash Prime truly does it all. Available in black, this mascara is Amazon’s #1 clean mascara and for good reason. Created without harmful toxins such as Parabens, Paraffins, Synthetic Fragrances, Silicones, and Mineral Oil. Wow! Formulated with Jojoba Esters to strengthen, lengthen, as well as provide a smooth black color to intensify the lashes. Just as the rest of Honest Beauty product packaging, the packaging component is made from recyclable tree-free paper made with upcycled sugarcane. We recommended adding this winner to your list!

Extreme Volume Mascara + Bold Lash Primer | Honest
Image of Honest Beauty Mascara

Another one of Honest Beauty favorites, the Extreme Volume Mascara and Bold Lash Primer. Similar to the previous one mentioned, this mascara has a dual ended component, mascara on one and blue pigment primer on the other. This product works to provide extreme volume by using plant-based waxes and nourishing castor oil. The blue primer pigment enhances to rich black color, only adding to the extreme lash effect. Certified clean, safe for sensitive eyes and contact wearers, this option will be added to our list of favorites!

Avocado Waterproof Mascara | Ere Perez 
Image of Ere Perez Waterproof mascara

While wanting a clean and safe mascara option is key for some, finding a waterproof alternative may be a challenge. Just be considering what is included in waterproof mascara. The Credo Beauty by Ere Perez’s Avocado Waterproof Mascara is just for those looking for a safe waterproof mascara. This product is water and smudge proof with a black color formulation. Made with avocado and mamey oils, this mascara works to encourage lash growth and promote lash strengthening. Said to be 24 hour wear friendly and a great option for those with sensitive eyes. Free from toxins commonly found in popular mascara options today. Not to mention is mascara is Credo Clean Standard, which translates to being free of ingredients found on “The Dirty List”. What an amazing waterproof mascara option!

Finding your go to mascara is already a challenge for many. Let alone including a toxin free option. There are many awesome non toxic substitutes that you will want to add to your daily routine. No matter what your lash needs are, you too can find a safe alternative. 


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