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What’s in my makeup? Benefit’s ‘They’re Real!’ Mascara

What’s in my makeup? Benefit’s ‘They’re Real!’ Mascara

What’s in my makeup? Benefit’s ‘They’re Real!’ Mascara

Benefit They're Real MascaraI use this mascara every day, although I should probably throw it out because it is most certainly past its shelf life. I am quite fond of this product, I find it easy to remove and it applies well.

I’ve painstakingly researched every ingredient using the Skin Deep website and google. In hindsight there are a lot of ingredients that make up this product and the list is ridiculously long, so I’ve underlined the things you should know.

The ‘Good’
products that will not negatively effect you

  • Water (Aqua)
  • Beeswax
  • Hydroxyethylcellulose. Used for thickening and gelling. Fun fact: this is used as the main lubricant ingredient in KY Jelly
  • Sericin. Protein derived from silk by silkworms, this has very little data but could cause irritation or allergies
  • Calcium Chloride. Used to control viscosity, it is an inorganic salt.
  • Sodium Hyaluronate. Derived naturally from cartilage, used for skin conditioning. Not PETA friendly.

The ‘Bad’
products that may have negative effects

  • Paraffin. Paraffin is FDA approved for consumption and only poses a low risk to your body.
  • Polybutene. Defined as a plasticizer and viscosity agent, Polybutene may cause irritation.
  • Styrene/Acrylates/Ammonium Methacrylate Copolymer. That one is a mouthful… Simply put, this provides the form for the product. It is a low risk.
  • Palmitic Acid. A naturally occurring fatty acid from plants or animals. Could be an environmental toxin. Not PETA friendly.
  • Acacia Senegal Gum. Occurs naturally, used as an adhesive or fragrance. Data provides that it is a human skin toxicant or allergen.
  • Phenoxyethanol. Used as a preservative. Limited data shows that this restricted in Japan, Classified as Toxic by the European Union (for products such as lip gloss.) Can cause irritation to the skin, eyes or lungs.
  • Tetrasodium Edta. Used as a chelating agent (something to reduce activity of metal ions) Fair data shows that it is classified as toxic for use around eyes by the European Union. Designated as safe in food by the FDA.
  • Butylene Glycol. Used as solvent and conditioning agent, could cause irritation.
  • Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E). Used as anti-oxidant/ skin conditioning agent. Studies show that high doses of vitamin E led to tumor growth in animals. Risk of impurity causes it to be more toxic.
  • Sodium Laureth-12 Sulfate. Cleansing agent, limited data shows that this could be toxic and could cause irritation. If it is impure and contaminated with Ethlyene Oxide or 1,4 Dioxane it is considered under the ‘ugly’ category.
  • Glycerin. Derived from animal fat and used for many things including viscosity agent. Restricted in Canadian Cosmetics, approved by FDA for food additives. Not PETA friendly.
  • Citric Acid. Another Chelating agent, restricted use in Canadian Cosmetics. Limited usage allowed.
  • Sorbic Acid. Used as preservative, human skin toxicant or allergen.

The ‘Ugly’
Avoid these products; proven to have negative effects

  • Triethanolamine. Used for pH adjustment, fragrance, and emulsifying agent. This ingredient rates high for allergies and immunotoxicity as well as Organ system toxicity. However, it is approved by the FDA for food additives
  • Bht. Used as a preservative, allergen, human skin toxicant. Limited data shows that could lead to mutations and tumor formation at high doses.
  • Chromium Oxide Greens. Colorant, Restricted for use in lip products.
  • Chromium Hydroxide Green. Colorant, Restricted for use in lip products.
  • Titanium Dioxide. Used as colorant, opacifying agent. Data shows could be a human carcinogen (Cancer) in aerosol form. Expected to be toxic or harmful.

There are seven ingredients that had no data, therefore I’ve neglected to include them.

In Summary

After going through the research for all these products, I was shocked to find that there are so many natural products (like Vitamin E) that can have negative effects. However, I definitely believe that there’s more companies can do to avoid the bad and ugly ingredients.

I was especially concerned to see the use of Phenoxyethanol and Tetrasodium Edta which are toxic to the eyes being used in mascara! I love Benefit, the company itself is great but surely they could avoid these ingredients. What do you think?

Do you have a specific makeup product that you’d like reviewed? Let me know!

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  • I’ve just found your blog and so far I’ve read this post and your last one- I have to say you’re absolutely brilliant! I adore how even though this is a beauty post, it’s not a typical one. You’re so original and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this <3

    • Thanks! That’s what I’m going for 🙂
      Your comment means a lot to me!

  • Isn’t it scary what goes into beauty products? I just recently discovered Beautycounter and I love that they promote safe ingredients. Such a great post, thanks so much for sharing!

    xo, Rachel
    A Blonde’s Moment

    • I’ll have to check that out! I’ve never heard of it. Thanks for the comment 🙂

  • It’s crazy what’s in things these days and you do wonder how many of them are actually necessary? It’s always interesting to learn this stuff so thank you for writing this Lindsey!

  • Tash

    It is so great to know what is in stuff! More people need to know these things 🙂


  • Wow, I never knew a mascara couldhave that mnay harmful products in! Thank you for sharing, great, creative post!

  • Pingback: What’s In My Makeup? Covergirl Super Sizer Mascara* |()

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