I honestly think I’m still in shock but you’re not going to believe the ingredient I found in my mascara.

I’ve been using a high end designer mascara for almost a decade. I love it and I used to get excited to just get this simple tube of mascara each Christmas from my grandmother.

Earlier this month I was in Dallas for the Beautycounter leadership convention and the founder Gregg Renfrew mentioned that many mascaras still have Formaldehyde in them.  

Although I have switched most of my cosmetics to Beautycounter (if you missed that announcement head here), I still hadn’t replaced my mascara.

Honestly? I had lash extension put on earlier this year so when I partnered with Beautycounter I didn’t need the mascara but once they fell out, I went back to my old designer mascara and I noticed how much my eyes were bothered.

I thought “There’s no way that formaldehyde could be in my mascara, just no way!”


Guess what? My mascara did have formaldehyde in it!

The funny thing is when I got my lash extensions I did research to find a place that was formaldehyde free so how did I not think to look for it in my mascara!?

There’s no way I would have known because most beauty products come without a way to easily find ingredients. That’s part of Beautycounter’s goal of bringing safer beauty products into all of our hands and why I’m excited to partner with them to not only use safer beauty products myself, but pass that education and those awesome products on to you!

So what can you do about it?

Here’s where I looked to find the ingredients

1. Download the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Healthy Living App

I couldn’t find my mascara on this app but many are listed here. This is the quickest and easiest way to see how safe your mascara (or any beauty product is).

If your mascara isn’t on there, try these next steps…

2. Google the ingredients

This could seem basic but I know I haven’t necessarily taken the time to look at ingredients while I’m at Sephora getting most makeup, let alone my mascara! My mascara didn’t have ingredients listed on sephora.com so in a simple “[Mascara name] Ingredients” google search I found the ingredients on Beautyproof.com.

3. Scan the ingredients

Look over the ingredients and see if you see formaldehyde in it. Keep in mind, it is often listed under alternatives names like quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea (that’s what was in my mascara), sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol (Bronopol), according to Beautycounter’s Never List.

Why don’t you want formaldehyde?

Besides the fact it makes me think about embalming a body, according to Beautycounter’s Never list formaldehyde is “A known carcinogen that is also linked to asthma, neurotoxicity, and developmental toxicity.

4. Check the ingredients on the EWG

If you don’t find them on there, take each ingredient + search the Environmental Working Group (EWG) “Skin Deep” Database. They also have an easy to translate rating so you know how safe products are for you!

Although I already knew about the Diazolidinyl Urea, I learned that there were a few other problematic ingredients that caused hormonal disruption, which is something I’ve been trying to avoid since my body experienced hormonal collapse last year, and several other types of irritants that I think were causing my faux-allergy itchy eyes.

The solution?

First, don’t freak out. I know it’s super gross when you realize things you wouldn’t want to think about are in your mascara. And I was mad too!

Honestly? I felt mad at both the company for not doing better and at myself for not knowing better.

The only thing we can do is to take action and decide to make the change. For myself, I decided to purchase the Beautycounter Lengthening Mascara. It doesn’t give me the babydoll eyes exactly like my designer mascara but my lashes still look great!

Now you’ve calm down and are ready to take action, I just recommend doing your research when you go to purchase your next mascara. Hopefully some of the resources I mentioned above are a good starting off point!

I’d recommend checking out Beautycounter’s Lenthening Mascara!

It was awarded Allure’s “Best of Beauty” and although it doesn’t have the effect my old mascara had, I know I felt ok giving up the fake lash look to know my eyes and body would be a bit safe. No formaldehyde and not tested on animals, plus it’s free of the 1500 ingredients on Beautycounter’s never list 

I’d love to hear from you – have you ever looked at the ingredients of your mascara and have you cared to make the change so your cosmetics are safer for you? Can’t wait to hear your experience below!


P.S. Keep an eye out: The Month of June I’m going to be doing 30 days of Safer Beauty over on Instagram #SafeBeauty30 so make sure to follow me so you can be in the loop and get not only some of my favorite beauty tips but some great education on how you can do it safely (i.e. in a non-toxic way that’s better for your body + the environment!)