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Mascara – a list of chemicals that may surprise you

Mascara has an ingredient list that includes a range of chemicals: Petroleum distillates, shellac, acrylates (strong irritants), phenylmercuric acetate (preservative made from benzenes and mercury that can cause blisters, skin irritation and allergic reactions), parabens (hormone disrupters, allergens), quaternium-22 (preservative, allergen), quaternium-15 (eye irritant) and pentaerythrityl (resin additive made from formaldehyde).

Lash-extending products can contain plasticizers, such as polyurethane, that cause cancer in animals, and polystyrene sulfonate which can irritate eyes and may be a hormone disruptor.

Frightening, isn’t it? I can’t recall ever bothering to read a mascara label ¬ñ most of the time the packaging goes straight into the bin and the ingredient information is gone forever.

It is wise to use mascara products sparingly. There are a few natural mascaras on the market which may be worth tracking down. For many women, this is a product that is used without a second thought ¬ñ a ‘staple’ in the world of cosmetics. This also means that it is worth taking a second look at the product label the next time you are buying.

Avoiding chemicals is the answer to everything from how to cure hives to treating skin irritations – how chemical free are your cosmetics?

Read more about cosmetics testing on animals.

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Lindy Schneider is a writer and researcher with a keen interest in health, wellbeing and natural childcare. She is an advocator of a chemical-free lifestyle in the best interests of her family, the community and a sustainable world. She lives in the Yarra Valley with her partner and two young children.

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