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Making Your Own Mascara is a Bad Idea

By HERWriter
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it's a bad idea to make your own mascara Design Pics/PhotoSpin

Ever gotten inspired to make your own facial mask, hair conditioner or lip gloss? These products can be made safely.

However, nix any idea of making your own mascara. Anything used so close to the eye needs special consideration.

Beautybrains.com is a website that helps consumers look at the science behind why various products have certain ingredients and helps us decide whether the claims a product advertises can really deliver.

They recently posted a warning for people not to follow the instructions on this site as to how to make one’s own mascara.

There are several problems with making your own mascara.

First, the aloe vera gel the writer suggests has these preservatives in it: potassium sorbate, citric acid and xanthan gum.

Usually people make their own makeup to get away from the preservatives in commercial brands.

However, not only are there preservatives used in this aloe vera gel, but these are not the typical preservatives used in regular mascara, according to beautybrains.com.

Typical preservatives for mascara are: imidazolidinyl urea, methylparaben, propylparaben, and phenoxyethanol.

That means that using this aloe vera gel for eye makeup exposes your eye to more risk of irritation from chemicals not used in products applied to eyelashes.

Next, activated charcoal is not a substance that is approved as a colorant for near one’s eyes. The FDA requires that companies use colorants for mascara which are certified to be safe for use so close to the eye.

Activated charcoal is a gritty coarse substance that may have other contaminants in it since its intended use is to absorb poisons or toxins that have been swallowed or as a material to filter liquids.

There are written safety precautions used by companies that sell chemicals that warn to keep activated charcoal away from one’s eyes due to irritation risk. If activated charcoal gets in the eye, thorough flushing is needed and medical attention should be sought.

Add a Comment8 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

All of those typical preservatives for mascaras are harmful and dangerous. If you go so strongly against aloe vera and its preservatives you should have at least mentioned that.

October 25, 2015 - 7:03am
EmpowHER Guest

So true.Ms. Blacksberg obviously puts a WHOLE lot of faith in the FDA's "approval, when most peole, even ones who aren't super aware, know that the FDA approves whatever/whoever pays the most and the can still get away with(so it can't be "in your face," immediate adverseeffects). Let me state it real simply, FDA approval means nothing, other than "bettter check into this yourself."
PS this website makes my computer do weird things , like making my cursor bounce around, typing is about 5 seconds delayed from the keyed entry (I can't see what I've typed until 5-10 seconds after I type), and it's almost impossible to go back and fix typos so I'm sending it the way it is. Hopefully my computer doesnt crash after visiting this site.

September 16, 2015 - 8:01am
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

Hello Anon,

Perhaps you misunderstood my quotes around approve.  Literally, the FDA does not formally sanction the use of over the counter products other than making sure they do no harm.  

The FDA does not "approve" products.  The leave it to individual companies to provide the safety information and the onus is on the companies themselves.  Companies cannot boast health benefits of their products. That the FDA sends letter out to the companies to cease or their product will be pulled.  

It would be nice if there was a true approval system to determine effectiveness but that would be very very costly. So the FDA focuses on approval of drugs/medications which are more likely to do great harm. That process take years as drugs must go through clinical trials of larger and larger test populations. 


September 16, 2015 - 8:33am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Michele Blacksberg RN)


I am wondering where did you get your RN degree from? A cereal box? Since when are parabens safer for the eye? Please stop promoting this sort of BS.

September 20, 2016 - 8:40pm
EmpowHER Guest


I guess i'll use ground coffee or pure cacao powder and a natural oil (coconut), instead. I'll try coffee first, as it is easier to obtain.

I must mention this:
Aloe vera gel (that I know) is gel directly from the leaf and not from a bottle. Many people have access to aloe (we grow aloe, actually) from the leaf. We use the pure aloe gel on skin and hair and even boil it to drink as a tonic (it's a cultural thing and it tastes awful). I've never heard of it being used on eyes, nor do I think anyone should buy the ones sold in stores with additives.


November 11, 2014 - 4:31pm

Hello Anon,

Let me state it real simply.

1. The FDA does not "approve" over the counter products. The FDA "approves" products will not do harm.  Neither activated charcoal or Aloe vera gel are "approved" (safe) to put near your eyes.

2.  You only have 2 eyes. You do not want to do anything to risk your vision in either one. 


August 26, 2014 - 8:09am
EmpowHER Guest

This article is so silly I can barely bring myself to comment. Don't use activated charcoal because it's not sterilized. Neither is site bought. Don't use this aloe Vera gel because it's preservatives aren't "approved", like METHYLPARABEN, which IS approved but incredibly toxic?? And approved by whom, you ask?? That's right, the FDA, who cannot be trusted to keep that harmful crap out of our skin products or food!! Good God, this site needs an editor.

August 25, 2014 - 10:56pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

You have no idea how much I agree with you. The FDA actually let's the makeup companies have a lot of freedom. To be honest, I would rather use things that I know the components or ingredients of, than things that can have a bunch of toxic trash.

April 15, 2015 - 5:59pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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