Monday, May 16, 2011

The End of an Era, or No More Mascara

I am not, by any means, a make-up fanatic. I spent most of my 20's bare-faced, au-natural, going Chapstick minimal - if you will. I didn't do make-up except for Mascara. It sort of became my signature. At 15 I wore Natural Instincts clear Mascara, later - when my dad became more accustomed to the idea of his daughters wearing any sort of make-up I really started piling in on, curing my lashes and adding layers of black to top and bottom lashes. Did I need to do this at 16, 17? No. My lashes were fine enough - but I kept on doing it anyway. A few years ago, I noticed my lashes really weren't growing as long and that they were not as thick. My solution? Buy more mascara. Mascaras that promised thick lovely lashes. Did they work? Not really. Yes they did make my lashes darker and therefore more noticeable, but no, they were not the miracle lash extenders that they advertised to be.

I contemplated trying something drastic like lash extensions, but I heard it was painful - not to mention that it's expensive and can actually cause lashes to fall-out. I thought about Latisse, but seeing as it can cause eye-color to change, I didn't think it was a totally safe option. I figured I was doomed to keep hoping for some miracle mascara.

Then I got sick - for three weeks. ( I know, I know it's a long time to be ill.) During that time I did not wear Mascara, I did not curl my lashes - and something happened...

My lashes grew. I mean they REALLY GREW. Longer, thicker, even my bottom lashes grew out. I noticed this, but what truly tipped me off that the growth was significant was that the hubby noticed it - and really he doesn't even notice big changes like when I dye my hair. Then Friends, and co-workers have noticed.

How could this be? Why was this happening? It couldn't be a coincidence that my lashes grew when I stopped using Mascara. So I did some research...and while not conclusive (and since I don't have a lab, nor willing subjects to really test my theory out)...here are some things I found that support my theory that my overuse of Mascara and eyelash curlers is what damaged my lashes and that having stopped using Mascara and my curler - allowed my lashes to grow.

* Overuse of mascara can cause eyelash dryness which in turn can lead to the possibility of lashes falling out.

* Some mascara formulations have ingredients that may cause allergic reactions, or clog the hair follicles, stopping growth.

* Removing mascara can damage the delicate skin under the eye because the process often requires rubbing or swiping to remove the product completely.

* If mascara is not completely and thoroughly removed along the lash line the remaining remnants can clog the hair follicles and prevent future lash growth.

* The use of mechanical eyelash curlers can damage the lashes, potentially leaving them broken or distorted.

* Repeated breakage caused by the use of mechanical curlers can actually permanently stunt the growth of lashes.

Kind of scary stuff here. I think that with the dramatic change I've seen in my lashes I may never wear Mascara or curl my lashes again. In fact, my lashes are long enough now that I do not need to. I realize that really we do not need to have long lashes, and that it is a societal beauty standard, but it is a look that I like - and somehow I've been able to attain it with out all of the products that are being sold to us to attain such a look - and that in fact I did so in spite of them. I wonder how many other innocent seeming 'beauty' products and practices out there are more damaging than helpful.


  1. I'm not particularly surprised of these side effects, and I commend you on your path to stop using it. It's a path maybe we should all follow

  2. Well that makes me sad, because it is only recently (the last two or three years) that I really started loving and using mascara. But I also find that black eyeliner makes lashes look fuller too - so hopefully that isn't full of ill effects as well!

    Chic on the Cheap

  3. I love this post. And I'm glad you didn't get extensions and that your lashes grew back!!!! The beauty industry has most definitely had successful advertising - soooooooo many beauty myths. Alot of the products (though deemed safe) are irritating to our skin....which we then try and "correct" with more products. Thanks for the post Suzz, it was really eye opening (sorry, bad joke)

  4. I agree. I have very long, naturally curled eyelashes and the one phase when I started using mascara, I swear the tips would break off or stop growing or something!