- Mascara is a cosmetic applied to the eyelashes to make the lashes thicker, longer, and darker.
- It 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.
- Egyptian kohl was probably made of galena or lead sulfite, malachite, and charcoal or soot.
- The Babylonians and ancient Greeks also used black eye cosmetics, as did the later Romans.
- Cosmetics of all sorts fell out of use in Europe after the fall of Rome, though eye cosmetics continued to be important in the Arab world. The use of cosmetics was revived in Europe during the Renaissance.
- Early mascara from the modern era usually took the form of a pressed cake. It was applied to the lashes with a wetted brush.
- There are many different formulas for mascara. All contain pigments.
- In the United States, federal regulations prohibit the use of any pigments derived from coal or tar in eye cosmetics, so mascaras use natural colors and inorganic pigments.
- In formulas for this type of mascara, beeswax is often used, as is carnauba wax and paraffin. Oils may be mineral oil, lanolin, linseed oil, castor oil, oil of turpentine, eucalyptus oil, and even sesame oil. Some formulas contain alcohol.
- 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 it is manufactured by the emulsion method which contain water.
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