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The Life Cycle of Mascara
Transcript of The Life Cycle of Mascara
There are many different formulas for mascara, but most consist of a mixture of pigmentation, oils, waxes, and water.
Mascara is in fact not made from bat poop! It is made from "guanine," derived from the Spanish word guano, which means "dung." Guanine is used as a colorant and shimmering or light diffusing agent. Guanine, however, is made from fish scales, not bat dung!
There are two main types of mascara currently manufactured. One type is called anhydrous, meaning it contains no water. The second type is made with a lotion base, and is manufactured by the emulsion method.
Anhydrous— In this method, all waxes, oils, and pigments are mixed, heated, and agitated simultaneously in formulated ratios, creating a semi-solid substance that is ready to be packaged, shipped, and sold.
Emulsion— This method also creates a semi-solid substance, but the process is very different. In this method, water and thickeners are first combines. Separately, waxes and emulsifiers (substances used to keep liquids from separating) are mixed and heated. Pigment is then added individually to both mixtures, which is then agitated in a homogenizer.
After the mascara solution has cooled, it is moved to a filling machine, which pumps a measured amount of the mascara into glass or plastic mascara bottles. The bottles are usually capped by hand. Samples are then removed for inspection, and rest are prepared for distribution.
Most drugstore mascaras are packaged in plastic on thin sheets of cardboard, but other higher end mascaras are sometimes packaged in boxes made from similar materials.
Mascara is one of the most ancient cosmetics known, having been used in Egypt possibly as early as 4000 B.C. Egyptians used a substance called kohl to darken their lashes, eyebrows, and eyelids. The Babylonians and ancient Greeks also used black eye cosmetics, as did the later Romans.
The mascara wand wasn't invented until the early 1960s. Early mascara usually took the form of a pressed cake and was applied with a wetted brush.
Transportation and Distribution
Once mascara is put in tubes and packaged, they're shipped by plane, truck, or railways to grocery stores, drugstores, salons, and other locations. Mascara is also sent large warehouses for online orders. This transportation requires fossil fuels, which can have a negative effect on the environment.
A tube of Maybelline's iconic Great Lash mascara is sold about once every second somewhere in the world. Imagine how many tubes of all the brands of mascara are sold each day!
If properly stored, mascara can last 3-6 months. It is recommended to dispose of mascara after 3 months or as soon as it starts to dry out. Using old mascara can cause infections such as pink eye, due to the bacteria that is spread between the mascara wand and your eye. Leaving the mascara tube not closed tightly or pumping the wand in and out can dry it out, shortening its lifespan.
Disposal and Recycling
When it is time to dispose of mascara, it is usually best just to toss it in the trash. Curbside recycling programs don't accept mascara tubes, due to the type of plastic used. However, some stores such as Origin and M.A.C have their own recycling programs for their own products that you can use. Another alternative is "TerraCycle", a program you can send your used cosmetic containers to to be recycled into new products such as paving stones, notebooks, and pencil cases. By recycling mascara tubes, you can reduce the environmental impact by preventing waste.
You can extend the lifespan of a tube of mascara by adding 4-5 drops of saline solution to it. This will re-moisten the formula, allowing you to continue using it until it dries out again.
Beauty products account for 1/3rd of all landfill waste. Millions of plastic jars, tubes, compacts, and other containers and packages are thrown out each year, and because the plastic used for packaging products is non bio-degradable, it will take hundreds of years for them to break down.
Pigmentation— Today we use carbon black, instead of the soot or ash used in ancient mascara.
Oils— Oils used in mascara include linseed oil, castor oil, and eucalyptus oil.
Waxes— Waxes usually found in mascara are praraffin wax, carnauba wax, and beeswax.
Variation in ingredients depends on the type of mascara. For example, waterproof mascara use substances that rebuff water and are not water soluble, such as dodecane. Mascaras designed to lenthen or curl the eyelashes often contain nylon or rayon microfibers.
By Mikayla Humphrey