Friday, May 18, 2012

On the hunt for "PARABEN-FREE"...

So if you've read my last post, you know that I've decide to part ways with all things containing parabens, at least, to the best of my ability (because, let's be honest, there is no way to go completely paraben free since they put these preservatives in medication and other things...).

What the heck are parabens you ask? According to Wikipedia, parabens are chemicals used as preservatives in cosmetics and pharmaceutical products. Check your bathroom, as parabens are often found in shampoos, moisturizers, shaving gels, spray tanning solutions, makeup and even toothpaste! They are also used as food additives.The main concern with METHYLPARABEN, PROPYLPARABEN, BUTYLPARABEN, ETHYLPARABEN, and ISOBUTYLPARABEN is that these can mimic estrogen and can act as potential hormone (endocrine) disruptors. For me, parabens can cause contact dermatitis :( Apparently, some of these parabens can react with UVB (i.e. when your skin is exposed to sun) and can cause skin aging and DNA damage as well.

But enough of the scary stuff!
Knowledge is power, and having that knowledge makes us smarter consumers. First, read labels! Second, know what you're looking for (or not looking for in a particular product). I went on a hunt...

My first "victim" - MASCARA! Though I don't wear it every single day, I wear it enough for my eyes to turn red. So this week, I was on a mission: I wanted to find out whether it's possible to find affordable paraben-free mascara at our local drug store/box store, etc. I've gone through the ingredients in the most readily available brands at our local Shoppers, Wal-Mart, and Uniprix (let's face it, sometimes the stores on the other side of the river offer interesting selection!). The paraben-free mascaras are preserved with PHENOXYETHANOL. Sounds awful, doesn't it? But it looks like it's a safer (albeit still not natural) alternative to parabens.

Anyhow, there were a few surprises and a few disappointing revelations... Namely, I've been using Cover Girl mascara for a while now, always thinking "mascara doesn't have to be expensive to last and look great!" And I admit, it was/is affordable and looks great... BUT turns out Cover Girl does NOT offer any paraben-free mascara! The rivals hanging side by side with CG do - and many of them are affordable even though their mascara isn't marketed with the "paraben-free" angle.

Here is what I found (please forgive me if I've missed something, but I tried my best!) :)
(where it says UNKNOWN, I just couldn't find that particular mascara in any stores that I checked)

CONTAIN PARABENS: * One Coat Nourishing Thickening, * One Coat Nourishing Triple Effect

PARABEN-FREE: * Intense i-color (all shades), * One Coat Dial Up, * One Coat Get Up & Grow(Washable & Waterproof)

UNKNOWN: * One Coat Lengthening, * One Coat Nourishing Triple Effect (Waterproof)


PARABEN-FREE: * BADgal Lash (Brown & Plum & Waterproof), * Prrrowl Mascara & Lipgloss, * They're Real! (Regular & Deluxe)

CONTAIN PARABENS: * Super Volume, * Lash Gel (Clear)

PARABEN-FREE: * Divide & Multiply, * Big & Curvy (Washable & Waterproof)

CONTAIN PARABENS: * LashBlast 24HR, *LashBlast Fusion (Regular & Water Resistant), * LashBlast Length (Regular & Waterproof), * LashBlast Luxe, * LashBlast Volume Blasting (Regular & Waterproof), * LashExact Eye-Brightening (Regular & Waterproof), * LashExact (Regular & Waterproof), * LashPerfection, * NatureLuxe (Regular & Waterproof), * Professional All-In-One (Regular & Waterproof & Curved Brush), * Professional Natural Lash (Clear), * Professional Super Thick Lash


UNKNOWN: * Fantastic Lash (Regular & Waterproof & Curved Brush)

CONTAIN PARABENS: * Féline Mascara HD, * Mascara Wow

PARABEN-FREE: * 24 hrs Glam, * Dramatique Lash Booster, * Féline Mascara HD (Waterproof), * Lash Booster Duo, * Mascara Total

CONTAIN PARABENS: * Cosmetics Eyes Extra-Volume Collagen (Washable & Waterproof), * Double Extend Carbon Black, * Double Extend Eye Illuminator, * Double Extend Lash Boosting, * Lash Boosting Serum, * Telescopic Carbon Black, * Telescopic Carbon Black Explosion, * Telescopic Clean Definition, * Telescopic Original, * Voluminous False Fiber Lashes, * Voluminous (Washable & Waterproof), * Voluminous Million Lashes (Waterproof)

PARABEN-FREE: * Voluminous Million Lashes, except“Very Carbon Black” shade contains parabens

UNKNOWN: * Lash Out (Washable & Waterproof), * Voluminous Full Definition

CONTAIN PARABENS: * Xtension Plus (Lengthning + Curling) ,* Volume Precision, * Power Volume, * Ultimate Lash, * Lash Xtreme


CONTAIN PARABENS: * Define-A-Lash Lengthening (Washable & Waterproof) , * Define-A-Lash Volume (Washable), * Full 'N Soft Mascara (Washable & Waterproof), * Great Lash Mascara (Washable & Waterproof & Curved Brush & Clear), * Illegal Length Fiber Extensions (Washable), * Lash Stiletto Ultimate Length (Washable & Waterproof), * Lash Stiletto Voluptuous (Washable & Waterproof), * Pulse Perfection by Define-A-Lash, * Volum' Express One-by-One (Waterproof), * Volum' Express The Classic (Washable & Waterproof & Curved Brush), * Volum' Express The Colossal (Waterproof), * Volum' Express The Falsies (Washable & Waterproof), * Volum' Express The Falsies Black Drama (Washable & Waterproof), * Volum' Express Turbo Boost (Washable & Waterproof), * XXL 24HR Bold, * XXL Extensions (Washable), * XXL Volume (Washable & Waterproof)

PARABEN-FREE: * Great Lash Lots of Lashes (Washable), * Illegal Length Fiber Extensions (Waterproof), * Volum' Express One-by-One (Washable), * Volum' Express The Colossal (Washable)

UNKNOWN: * XXL Curl Power (Washable), * XXL Curl Power (Waterproof), * XXL Extensions (Waterproof)

CONTAIN PARABENS: * AquaWear (Waterproof), * Mineral Wear Talc-Free Mineral, * PlentiFull Thickening, * Plump Potion Lash Plumping & Stimulating, * To Any Lengths Lash Extending

PARABEN-FREE: * Organic Wear 100% Natural Lash Boosting, * Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin Jumbo Lash, * Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin, * Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Duo, * Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Duo (Glam Collection)

CONTAIN PARABENS: * 360°, * Miraculous Lash

PARABEN-FREE: * 90°, * Lash Extra-vaganza, * Lash Revolution, * Pump Up The Volume


PARABEN-FREE: * CustomEyes (Washable & Waterproof), * Fabulash (Waterproof), * Grow Luscious Plumping (Washable & Waterproof), * Grow Luscious, * Photoready 3D Volume

UNKNOWN: * Lash Fantasy Total Definition (Washable & Waterproof)

CONTAIN PARABENS: * Extra Super Lash, * Lash Accelerator, * Lash Accelerator Serum , * Lycra Lash Extender, * Sexy Curves (Regular & Waterproof), * The Max Volume Flash (Waterproof)

PARABEN-FREE: * Extra Wow Lash, * Glam'Eyes Day 2 Night, * Sexy Curves Full Body, * Volume Accelerator, * Volume Flash ScandalEyes, * Volume Flash The Max Bold Curves

UNKNOWN: * Extra Super Lash (Curved Brush)

OTHER PARABEN-FREE Brands include Dr. Haushka, Coastal Classic Creations, Rejuva Minerals, Real Purity, and many others (c'mon, there is NO WAY I could look through all that's available out there). So there you have it! Some brands such as Cover Girl, Maybelline and Marcelle were very dissapointing (though it's true, 2 of its mascaras are perfume-free, Marcelle claims to be hypo-allergenic!!!). Other brands such as Revlon, Lise Watier and Benefit were a delightful surprise. Some are high end ($40+), but you can also find a paraben-free mascara on sale for $6! The point is, read the ingredients :)

Finally, I leave you with some interesting online resources:
* Truth In Aging
* EWG's Skin Deep Database



  1. Thank you so much for this article! I've been trying to go paraben free as I need to replace my products and my mascara was the next up. :) I can't tell you how much I appreciate this list!

  2. In the US there are also the brand Neutrogena, I just bought their "healthy volume mascara" and it's paraben free and it's perfect, goes on well and does what it says. I'm very picky about mascara but I would definitely recommend it.

  3. Thanks for this article! Each woman should buy cosmetics without toxics products in the future!

  4. Bernie M. I'm very allergic to parabens. Finding products without them very difficult esp waterproof mascara. Boots used to do a few years ago but disappointingly ceased. Find it very hard to get remover that doesn't tear your eyes out too. Thanks for your info