The Environmental Cost of Pretty Lashes

This might be a tough thing to face on a day like Halloween when makeup and false lashes run wild, but as someone who “can’t live without” mascara, I had to investigate what happens to it once it washes off my lids and what impact it has on marine life. CLICK HERE TO READ

I’m not a makeup artist nor a fashionista by any stretch. But I do have a routine and there is a piece of it I think I can’t part with. After showering, dressing and putting a comb through my hair, I engage in a behavior so ingrained in our society that it’s as important as regular hygiene. Mascara. Everyday, I get up and I paint my eyelashes in order to make my face “ready” for the day.  I’m not the only one. I once heard a woman refer to mascara as her “confidence”. Considered the rare type of hair on a woman that’s actually desirable, long luscious lashes are perceived as especially feminine and for centuries, we’ve associated dark, ample lashes with womanly beauty.

In the late 19th century, an operation involving a needle and human hair was used to transfer hair from the head to the eyelid.  In Ancient Rome, full lashes were the sign of the (chauvinistic) and desirable chastity, on a woman, as the loss of eyelashes are a consequence of diseases, like syphilis.

The first mascara, made from coal dust and Vaseline jelly was developed for Queen Victoria and when Queen Elizabeth was throned, women tried to dye their eyelashes to match her red-hued hair.

A woman accomplishing an incredible, circumnavigation by sailboat and without modern technology- a feat that several throughout history have attempted and failed, was asked by a reporter, not about her skills but whether she packed waterproof mascara.

As mouths got covered up for the better part of the COVID-19 pandemic, eye makeup sales increased by over 200%. The eyelash extension market is projected to reach over 2.25 billion by 2028. Eyelash tinting, a semi-permanent dye treatment that lasts about 3-4 weeks, maintains popularity as it promises simplified routine, offering the ability to ditch the mascara wand altogether.

Faces touting mascara, end each day (ideally) with soap carrying the chemicals off our lashes and into the waterways. Eyelash extensions begin to fall out, floating into the environmental ether. The dye for eyelash tint breaks down little by little, releasing the chemicals out into the world. And then what? It’s a small daily habit but if it doesn’t degrade, where does it go? One little bit, two little bits, three… READ THE ENVIRONMENTAL COST OF PRETTY LASHES HERE

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