Does Mascara Cause Your Eyelashes To Fall Out?

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Mascara is one of our most used and beloved cosmetic items.

It’s the perfect finishing touch to every look, from au Naturelle to full-on glam.

And how many times have you had to run out in a hurry and didn’t have time to put makeup on?

A quick hairbrush and a swipe of mascara are all you need to make yourself “presentable”.

But as much as we can’t seem to live without it, can our favorite beauty bag staple actually be doing more harm than good?

One only needs to do a quick Google search to be led down the rabbit hole of mascara rumors.

From those asking “Is mascara made of bat poop” to “Can mascara make you go blind?” It’s no wonder that one of the most popular mascara-related searched terms is “Does mascara cause your eyelashes to fall out?

In short, no. Mascara should not cause your eyelashes to fall out.

However, there are some mascara ingredients you should avoid which can damage lashes.

And if you are not using or removing mascara properly, there is a potential to do damage to your lashes. This could potentially cause lash loss.

In this article, we are going to look into mascara. This includes what ingredients to avoid. Aw well as give you tips on how to prevent lash damage when using mascara. So you don’t have to worry about them falling out.


Does Mascara Cause Your Eyelashes To Fall Out?

As we mentioned above, a good mascara, if used and removed properly, should not cause your lashes to fall out.

That said, there are a lot of issues that can result from wearing mascara. This includes the gamut from irritation, swelling, and lashes becoming thin, brittle, and weak. As well as bacterial infections, dry eye disease, and yes, lashes falling out.

Some of these issues can arise from the ingredients that can be found in some mascaras. We will get into those ingredients you want to avoid a little further down.

But even using a “good mascara”, free of the potentially damaging ingredients, can potentially lead to lashes falling out.

These problems associated with wearing mascara. This includes lash loss, are more to do with “user error” than the product itself.

Using mascara past its expiry date, improper use, handling, and storage, or not removing it properly, regardless of how “good” it is, will ultimately put your lash and eye health at risk.

Mascara Ingredients to Avoid

There are certain ingredients you want to avoid when looking for a mascara. Some of which can potentially lead to lashes falling out.

Avoid mascaras that contain the following:


Parabens are known irritants that can cause rashes, swelling, and redness.

Parabens in your mascara can be indicated on the list of ingredients as propylparaben, benzyl paraben, methylparaben, or butylparaben.

Propylene Glycol

Propylene glycol is used in mascara to maintain its liquid consistency. But, the reason you want to avoid it in your mascara is that it’s an irritant and can cause allergic reactions.

Coal Tar Dyes

Coal tar dyes used in mascara can be listed in different ways on the label. Look out for something that looks like this: FD&C Yellow 5, Red 3. They may be listed as a Colour Index number with a CI, followed by a 5-digit number, like CI 77489, CI 77491, CI 77492.

They may also be labeled as aminophenol, diaminodenzene or phenylenediamine, PPD, benzenediamine, paraphenylenediamine, or aminoaniline.

Coal Tar dyes contain heavy metals. This can trigger skin reactions. This includes lesions, redness, rash, itchiness, and irritation. In extreme cases, can cause skin ulcers as well as lash loss.


Now although nickel is not completely banned in cosmetics, products sold in the US must be tested to ensure it falls at or below one part per million of bioavailable nickel — i.e. 1ppm (0.0001%).

This low amount of nickel is not going to do you any harm. But you may run into issues if you are buying cosmetics from Asia. These may contain far higher levels of nickel. This can cause serious allergic reactions in some people.

Nickel may be listed as niccolum, or by its chemical symbol Ni.


Rosins are used to help the color in mascara to adhere to your lashes. Rosins can cause eyelid dermatitis. It is a condition that causes the skin on or around the eyelid to become dry, itchy, and irritated. This also results in lash loss.

You’ll want to avoid mascara with rosins. This may be listed as any of the following: colophonium, colophony, resin terebinthinae, tall oil, abietic acid, methyl abietate alcohol, abietic alcohol, abietyl alcohol.


Paraffin is a petroleum derivative. Most often found in waterproof mascaras. It is a type of wax used primarily to make mascara waterproof and helps it cling to your lashes.

Paraffin also helps keep the lashes separated and thickened. It makes them stiffer while retaining flexibility.

Paraffin can clog the oil glands in the eye. This can lead to irritation, and in some cases, infection and dry eye disease.


“Fragrances” may fall under proprietary confidentiality as a manufacturer’s secret formula. So they don’t need to list exactly what it contains.

You will want to steer clear for the same reason they stopped making scented toilet tissue and feminine products. They found “fragrance” was a major irritant and caused all sorts of skin reactions in people.

Any Silicone, Oil, or Petroleum-Based Mascara

Most waterproof mascaras are silicone, oil, or petroleum-based and should not be used daily.

What makes the mascara waterproof also makes it damaging to the lashes. It also makes it a lot harder to remove, which in turn can cause even more damage.

Using waterproof mascara once in a while for a special occasion is not going to harm your lashes. But using a waterproof mascara as your daily go-to will damage your eyelashes. This can lead to lashes falling out in the long term.

What Is The Healthiest Mascara For Your Eyelashes?

Provided you use it and remove it properly, all of the following mascaras are ophthalmologist-tested. Each is safe for sensitive eyes and does not contain any of the items on our list of ingredients to avoid.

How to Prevent Lash Damage When Using Mascara

Even with mascara, free of potentially harmful ingredients, improper use can cause a myriad of issues that could potentially lead to lash loss.

We’ve put together some mascara tips below. So you can wear mascara without worrying about eye or skin problems, or your lashes falling out as a result.

1. Properly clean lashes. Before starting your mascara application, soak a cotton pad in your favorite makeup remover. Then make sure you have removed any residual dirt or traces of leftover makeup.

2. Don’t pump the wand in and out of the mascara tube. Pumping your mascara will force air and bacteria into the tube. They will then become trapped. This can lead to eye infections and will also make the mascara dry out and break down faster than it normally would.

3. Don’t use mascara past its expiry date. We all want to make our product last as long as possible. We can’t bear the thought of throwing something away if it’s not finished. What a waste!

But the shelf life of mascara begins when you open it. so whether or not there is still mascara in the tube and it’s past its expiry date, it’s time for a new one. The shelf life of mascara is about 3-6 months. Check your packaging.

4. Don’t add water. Trying to remoisten a drying-out mascara by diluting it with water will mess up the formula. Water can also introduce bacteria into your mascara and lead to an eye infection. Do not add water inside the tube.

5. Don’t use too many coats. The more coats you apply, the more they will weigh down your lashes and can even cause them to fall out. Most mascaras should have no more than two coats applied.

Pro Tip: To avoid clumping, wait 30 seconds and let the first coat of mascara dry before adding the second!

Adding too many coats also makes mascara harder to remove. Excess friction from scrubbing can damage your lashes and cause them to fall out.

6. Always remove mascara before going to bed. This is one of the most important steps in maintaining good eye and lash health. Mascara makes the lashes stiffer. Being squished into a pillow can cause bending, breakage, and lash loss.

You also run the risk of flakes of mascara. A dried, stiff eyelash may also get in your eye and scratch the cornea.

7. Be Gentle. When you are removing any eye makeup, don’t rub. This can cause lash damage and loss. Use a gentle, water-based eye makeup remover on a cotton pad and rest the pad on your lashes for a few seconds. This will give the remover a chance to loosen the mascara and it should come off much more easily and gently.

8. Give Your Lashes A Rest. Even the ‘cleanest’ mascaras can take a toll on your eyelashes if you are wearing mascara 365 days a year.

Promote healthy lash growth by giving them the weekend off from mascara every once in a while.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).