Blog - Mascara facts - Unity Cosmetics

By Team Unity Cosmetics

Mascara facts

Fun facts about mascara.

Almost every woman uses mascara at some point. But what is it, where does it come from and how do you use it? You can read it here!

Mascara is a make-up product that is used to accentuate, darken, lengthen and/or give volume to lashes. It is a cream-like product that usually comes in a soft tube or hard container. The cap of the tube/container contains a brush. When the cap is screwed on the tube/container, the brush is 'locked' in the tube/container. Once you remove the brush from the tube/container, there is mascara on the brush and you apply the mascara by moving the brush along your lashes.

The origins of mascara

Already in ancient Egypt, black charcoal was used as a basis for darkening eyelashes. The charcoal was mixed with other ingredients such as honey and water to make it stick better to the lashes. Darkening the lashes created a kind of 'mask'. The Egyptians were convinced that the mask protected the soul and kept evil spirits at bay. Both men and women dyed their eyelashes darker! In addition, dark lashes were considered a symbol of youth and beauty. When the strong Egyptian empire came to an end, the ritual of darkening the eyelashes fell into oblivion.

In Europe, the look came into prominence during the Victorian era, between 1850 and 1900. Women invented all kinds of ways to beautify their appearance. For example, they made their own concoction of ash and moisture and used it to beautify their eyelashes.

Around 1900, a better formula was devised, mixing charcoal with petroleum jelly. However, it remained a messy business to apply it to the lashes, and there was still no easy product to use. There was much experimentation with new formulas, in some cases resulting in blindness, as chemically aggressive ingredients were sometimes used. Eventually, around 1960, a formula was developed whereby a cream-like liquid was applied with a brush. Film stars such as Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich and Bette Davis loved it! The mascara of that time was very similar to the mascara we use today. The brush was further developed and eventually resulted in a nylon mascara brush. So, although historically women (and men) have been beautifying their lashes for a very long time, mascara as we know it has only been around for about 50 years!

What types of mascara are there?

Mascaras can be distinguished by their colour, effect, brush, and whether or not they are waterproof. Here is a short explanation:

Colour: Although black, followed by brown, is still the most commonly used colour, in the current fashion image colours such as blue, green, purple and silver are not shunned either.

Effect: In addition to colour, mascaras nowadays can also add length or volume to your lashes through the use of modern techniques: Microscopic nylon microfibres are added to the mascara, and these fibres then attach themselves to the end of your lashes or between your lashes to create an optical effect of length or volume - or both.

Brush: The brush of the mascara is very decisive for the effect of the mascara. There are brushes made of nylon (the "old-fashioned" black brushes), but also of rubber. A rubber brush has the advantage that the lashes glide through the brush more easily and are separated more nicely. There are also brushes in all shapes, from straight to a small ball, the shape determines which movement you can easily make with the brush and what the effect is. A straight brush is suitable for the upper lashes, a small ball is suitable for the lower lashes (you 'dot' them), a curved brush is suitable for the top and bottom, etc. Which brush you like best is often a matter of taste and depends on the shape of your eyes.

Waterproof or not waterproof: Most mascaras are water-based. This means that the mascara is easy to remove, but it also means that the mascara can run when you swim, shower or get caught in the rain. This is why there are also mascaras that are "waterproof" nowadays. Such mascaras can withstand a swim or a heavy shower and are more difficult to remove. This often means that you have to "scrub" your lashes with a special remover before they are completely clean. An intermediate form are the mascaras that are "water-resistant"; these are mascaras that are easy to remove, but that can withstand a little drizzle of rain or splashes of water on the face.

Ingredients: Although each brand uses different ingredients, almost all mascaras contain as basic elements pigments (to give colour to the mascara), oil, (bees) wax and preservatives. The distinction is drawn in particular on the nature of the preservatives and the nature of the added microfibres.

How long can mascara last?

Mascara is a highly perishable product. As you move the brush over your lashes, a little bit of dirt (such as eyeshadow powder particles that have been lying on your lashes) gets on the brush. The brush is put back into the tube/container, including the dirt particles. The dirt can no longer be removed from the tube/container, and over time the dirt will have multiplied and the mascara will reach the point of spoilage.
The shelf life of mascara is indicated on or under the mascara tube/container, which for most brands is 6 months. This shelf life is valid after the mascara has been used for the first time (from that moment onwards, dirt particles get into the mascara). Bad mascara can generally be recognised by a distinctive smell (very stale), an unshiny colour (dull and greyish) and the texture (more clumping). If in doubt, discard the mascara, as using tainted mascara can, at worst, cause a persistent eye irritation or inflammation.

How to apply mascara

Mascara is best applied in two coats. Leave about 20 seconds between each application; if you wait any shorter the mascara will be too wet and you will actually smudge it off the lash, and if you wait any longer the mascara will have dried too much and be prone to clumping. By using the mascara brush in a zigzag fashion, you can create volume with any mascara without it being too thick.
Although sometimes described as trendy, the so-called 'spider legs' are a phenomenon that most people consider 'too much of a good thing'. These spider legs occur when mascara is applied in many layers, with the remnants of the previous day's mascara not properly removed creating a "clumpy" appearance. The lashes appear up to 5 times thicker and the tips of the lashes stick together.

Mascara of Unity Cosmetics

Unity Cosmetics has a black mascara and two brown mascaras. The mascaras are hypoallergenic, perfume-free, paraben-free and fibre-free. So the mascara has no lengthening or thickening effect. The advantage is that no fibres can fall off the lashes, minimising a possible hypersensitive reaction to this mascara. The mascara has a rubber brush in a long shape, which makes it easy to reach all lashes and keeps the lashes nicely separated. The mascara is not waterproof (although it is water-resistant; it can withstand a little rain, but not prolonged showering) and contains calming castor oil, nourishing beeswax, and anti-inflammatory provitamin B5, among other ingredients. After the first use, the mascara will last for 6 months.


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