Deciphering Mascara Claims

In spite of the inconveniences of the mascara, most of us just cannot live without this biatch - and i perfectly feel your pain.

In retrospect, I think my life would have turned out better if I had thick, long, voluminous lashes - i could have argued convincingly and albeit charmingly to my teachers into having straight A grades; I could as well have given the right mating signal to the perfect guy without being mistaken to have mislocated contact lenses;  I could have woken up and just be instantly fabulous- heck!

Speaking of the perfect man, I heard a good joke lately- 
Why are men like parking spaces?  
Because all the good ones are taken, and the available ones are either too small or handicapped. 
So, in the camaraderie of our common pain, here is to help with your mascara quest - some tips to help sniff out the bullshit out of 'em good 'ol mascara claims.

The plastic molded brush is an "innovation" as far as production technique is concerned - but NOT repeat, NOT performance.

This is just because they found a way to mold plastic to take on this complex form and thus, does not have the limitations of the hair wound on wire. 

So theoretically, they can have any form, any color they want that the mold design limitations allow.  Yeah- plastic brushes are sssssexy (if like me, plastics are your kind of thang, and I can explain that).

Now the thing is, before they can see if a new plastic brush can perform well for real, they have to invest millions in a mold or an expensive prototype which works in "theory".
And if it doesnt work in practice, you think we will throw the million mold away?
Hell no! That is where the magic of the priestesses of bullshit comes in.

The hope for droopy lashes, common with, for example - Asian lashes, are curling mascaras. They have a resin in the formula that makes lashes sort of curb up - but it can only do so much.
The fact that curling mascaras have a curved brush is just plain marketing BS. It is but a mnemonic that doesn't add to its performance.

This is bad shit. As in really!*
These are harmful to your lashes and with continued use makes them wither and die. As well, the formula has nothing to do with its non-waterproof version. We only say it is the water proof version of our best selling mascara so that the good sales and brand equity rubs off on it. (And it works!)

But of course, as marketing-know-all-geniuses, we do not listen to our lab people's warnings and we make a killing on waterproof mascara during the summer months - especially on those who want to look fabulous at all costs in land and in water. We figure, if you use it only during the summer months, chances are you will not trace the demise of your lashes to this product- so everyone, that means mainly us - are happy.

Water resistant is the industry's alternative to the waterproof mascara. They are never 100% smudge-proof- just smudge resistant but we have our way of putting that into words that make you believe that they are- try -weather proof, life proof, city proof- depends how devious the copywriter is.  Well, at least it is not as toxic.

This is a black pigment which is blacker than most. But this is banned in the US and Latin America- so you only get this in Europe. Well at least, that is so, the last time I checked. So Americans, take the chance to buy your mascaras, sparkly eyeshadows when you next go to Europe- as regulations there are more lenient with what you put on the eye as you have in America.

Now, there is a very important technicality in naming products that we, bullshitters play up all the time.
I can call  my mascara Rowena's Lash Growth mascara without having to give proof that it does make your lash grow.  Why?  Because the "Lash Growth" is considered a product name, NOT a product claim.

It may be called the lash growth mascara but never will it appear in the claims that it makes your lashes grow.   And as far as lash growth mascaras are concerned, they are pure BS.  But I am sure you know that!

This is as well a trick used with "Lifting" skin care products.  You will see that the product name has some "lift" in one way or another figured into it but never will it say "lifting" in the claims.  Slimy eh?  Just slightly.  There is more to it in my next blogs.

* This initially said, "toxic" shit.  But since the word can be misconstrued to mean "teenage mutant ninja toxic" and not "britney spears toxic" and since i do not aspire to inspire havoc a la Annie Leonard, I have since modified the word "toxic". 


  1. i SO hope your followers are just multiplying. and I'm SO glad that someone logical out there laid out the truths behind cosmetics---esp mascaras.

    totally didn't realize waterproof formulas were handled so gingerly in the labs. good to know!


  2. Goodness, and to think that I've been using waterproof mascara every day since the beginning of this year... It's a miracle my eyes haven't fallen out yet!!!
    Thank you so much for spilling the truth, I'm going out to buy some new mascara RIGHT NOW!!!

  3. Reading through all your previous posts (as I am a new follower) and this has actually scared me quite a lot! I use waterproof mascara EVERYDAY (watery eyes are a bitch!)- and not just for a little while - I think I have been using it everyday for nearly 10 years!!
    No lack of eyelashes yet but now I'm going to be looking at them, panicking and waiting for the day I wake up lashless!!
    Damn u for enlightening Rowena! hehe.
    Sam x

  4. Like manths, I'm also reading through previous posts, and . . . and, and, you're kidding about the waterproof mascaras, right? RIGHT??! I ONLY use waterproof because I shower in the middle of my day quite a bit, and I haven't NOTICED the withering, the dying, the radioactive decay of my lashes. Yet. Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

  5. Hi Frey Manthis-

    Please relax. Waterproof mascara is bad shit but it is not deadly shit.
    It is toxic in the Britney Spears kind of way- not in the Teenage Mutant Ninja turtle kind of way. (Remember, I am a marketing biatch, not Annie Leonard).
    Your lashes will not start talking to each other and do Ninja moves, your unborn babies will not be gay (that is what the regulations are requiriing companies to test em rabbits for, to not have deadly shit). I am pretty certain though that you will die, but because you are mortal, not because of the waterproof mascara.

    Have you seen a young woman who has "old hair" because of years of maltreatment? Your lashes are hair! Imagine if you cover your hair with non washable "toxic" coat all the time.

    But at the end of the day, it is for you to decide. You will know what is best for you. You might have to spend much before you find it, but you will know once you found it.

  6. Wait. I also SHOULDN'T be coating my hair in a non-washable toxic sheath? When will the madness end?? ;) Thanks for the reply Rowena. I do use a primer under said radioac--erm, "harsh" waterproof mascara, so hopefully the barrier btwn the formula and my lashes helps. Or thickens that non-washable toxic sheath.

  7. Haha Frey!
    Beauty has its risks!
    When we in the "biz" discuss about animal testing, we would joke (and yes, bad joke)- ah, to die for beauty is the most noble thing.

  8. Hi,
    can you tell me why the carbon black is banned in the US?! That's quite scary. I work for a big brand in the UK and I have wondered about this whole carbon black thing for aaaagggeeess. Will deffo not be recommending it now. Is it just too harsh?

  9. Hi YallaBambi- first, welcome to the blog!

    The US just tends to be stricter with the ingredients/colorants that they would allow around the eyes. For example, the sparkles, they are as well strict.
    First, let me just tell you that I am no chemist- I am just the one who gives a spin to the facts that chemists tell me so that you will buy more.
    That clarified, I personally will have no qualms about using carbon black. I have read that the ingredient kohl is even much more potent (50%lead content is what my research is indicating but i have to verify that data with my friends at the chemists corner- so do not panic yet). And to think this is a stuff that the Indian mothers apply to their kid's eyes- so, what's courting a little danger?
    If I may inspire the daredevil in you, I recommend watching this video-

  10. I just found your blog and having an "aaaaaaah!!" moment upon reading your take on waterproof mascara. For almost a year now I live in a hot & humid place that makes waterproofing everything a necessity. I guess I have to start using my non-waterproof ones.... thanks for the notice anyway. :)

  11. Hello Music-
    Oh yes, hard to win the hot and humid game with mascaras.
    When I am in Asia, i just f*ck it altogether- but then they ignore me in department stores, thinking i am some kind of household help.
    Ah- how to win this game?

  12. ya no wonder my eyes water and itch like shit everytime I put on a waterproof mascara!!!

  13. Ah I hate being looked down upon in department stores, or worse - spoken to rudely once they realise I'm not buying anything!

    Do you think that's part of the marketing plan - make you feel worthless without makeup so that once you wear it - 'you're worth it'? :P

  14. Hi Sevara T.
    oh gawd, sorry to hear that! you know what else is itchy- those semi permanent eyelash extensions. some glues they use are crap.

  15. Hi Lisa- Dang those snooty saleswomen!
    What i notice is they check your bag. When I have my ultra expensive bag with me, even if i look and feel like shit, i get some respect.
    But if i had my bag made of recycled rice sack on- whoah- i am so not worthy!
    BTW, i will have posts on these subjects as well in a new sub section-
    Purse and prejudice!

  16. Greetings Rowena,

    I found myself becoming curious about waterproof mascara after seeing some old high school friends on their way to attend a friend's wedding. Mind you, I was not really the makeup type of gal until most recently and I was getting some tips about makeup earlier this year with the help of a neighbor. I've been using Rimmel London Scandaleyes Show Off and I haven't had any problems. I wanted to thank you for writing a blog that is not only informative, but entertaining as well. Keep on writing!


    P.S. You have scarred me and saved me from sacrificing my lashes ;-)

    1. You are welcome Eva, and sorry for this delay in my reply.


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