in

Does Mascara Have Metal in It? Is It Bad For Your Health?

LuxeLuminous is reader supported. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

We all love mascara! It packs a punch on dull, short, and boring lashes.

Most of us wear mascara every day and feel naked without it.

But does Mascara have metal in it? Could your mascara actually be doing you harm? Here we look into just what mascara contains and how to ensure we use it safely.


What Are Heavy Metals?

Heavy metals have a high atomic density and are naturally occurring. Therefore, all the heavy metals can be found on the periodic table of elements. 

Common metals found in mascara can include:

  • Zinc
  • Mercury
  • Lead
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Cadmium

The bad thing here is the fact that some metals are actually toxic. Iron, however, is an essential nutrient. This is a great example of how things listed as natural are not always safe. Exposure to heavy metals is often harmless at low levels.

They can become toxic for those who apply makeup every day, including lipstick, mascara, and other items. Daily regular, constant, small exposures to heavy metals through makeup add up.

Daily regular, constant, small exposures to heavy metals through makeup add up.


Does Your Makeup Contain Heavy Metals?

Heavy metals are commonly found in cosmetics. Are you surprised? Us too!

Cosmetics can be contaminated by heavy metals in two ways: during manufacture or by contaminating natural colors used in their formulation.

Heavy metal exposure can’t be seen, smelled, tasted, or felt in most cases.

As consumers, we tend to assume all products are safe. Unfortunately, not all products are safe, and some are even life-threatening. You are at risk of kidney disease and even breast cancer.

The FDA regulates these things and limits the amount of metals in various types of makeup. But that limit is not zero, and they don’t look at a whole face-full of makeup. They just look at one individual piece.

Then there’s knockoffs, many of which look super similar to the real thing. Those aren’t regulated at all, so there’s a chance you’re getting a megadose from knockoffs.


What Metals Are Found in Mascara?

Mercury is the common metal that is found in mascara. It contains germ-killing properties and is used as a preservative in mascara.

Mercury is the common metal that is found in mascara. It contains germ-killing properties and is used as a preservative in mascara.

The Food and Drug Administration in the US allows the use of up to 65 parts per million when used in eye make-up.

The metal prevents fungi and bacteria from forming that might spoil the product and cause damage to the eye. Unfortunately, they are an effective preservative, and their use is supported.

Hey, at least it’s not bat poop!

Is Mercury Dangerous?

Mercury is a neurotoxin. In high concentrations, this contaminant can damage the nervous system and kidneys. Even low concentrations can cause brain damage to a fetus if exposed to a pregnant woman. 

The low concentrations found in mascara or other eye make-up have not been the subject of any scientific studies.

But for many people, we’re talking repeated exposure, day after day, for years.

Do you really want something so harmful in your mascara, even in the smallest doses?


Should I Buy Natural Cosmetics?

Some of us see something labeled natural and think it is better for us. Unfortunately, this is not automatically the case.

Clay and talc are the two main ingredients in many “natural” cosmetics. In some cases, these minerals can contain heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, or cadmium, too!. These enter the product through the manufacturing process. 

So it isn’t always the cosmetic companies knowingly poisoning us with contaminated products. However, if they are not testing the finished product, they cannot be sure if it is safe.

Hopefully natural-branded cosmetics are better for us, but natural doesn’t automatically mean healthy.

Natural doesn’t automatically mean healthy.


Does a Bigger Price Tag Mean Better Ingredients?

Nope.

Just like we said above, natural and synthetic ingredients can be contaminated with metals through manufacturing.

Buying fancier products often means there is a bigger ingredient list. Unfortunately, this can mean more chances for metals to get into the make-up.

Buying fancier products often means there is a bigger ingredient list. Unfortunately, this can mean more chances for metals to get into the make-up.

High-end boutique cosmetics aren’t known for their safety. They are even more likely not to test for heavy metal contamination.

The FDA conducted a survey on heavy metals in cosmetics. It was found that cadmium, arsenic, lead, mercury, chromium, and nickel were found in both cheap and expensive brands. Eye make-up contains more heavy metals than other types of make-up.


Aren’t Heavy Metals Everywhere?

There is no doubt that heavy metals are everywhere, from the water to the air. So we should take proactive steps to keep them out of our bodies. It is crucial to understand how and when toxicity develops. For example, consider how many personal care items you use every day:

Body wash, sunscreen, body lotion, shampoos and conditioners, lipstick, etc. There are even heavy metals in our clothing.

We are exposed to heavy metals each day in so many ways.


Conclusion

Yes, most types of mascara contains some level of various heavy metals. The levels should not be harmful, but you still should be regularly taking a break from mascara, especially if you’re using other makeup at the same time.

You can always just bust out the heated eyelash curlers every so often and use those in place of mascara to give your body a break.

Is Lip Gloss Makeup? Where’s the Line Between Makeup and Lip Care?

Does Black Hair Dye Fade? How Long Does The Drama Last?