The Chemistry of Mascara

YouTube Video

I chose to research the eye make-up mascara. It can be black or brown and it is applied to your eye lashes.  It defines them and makes them more voluminous. you apply the make-up with a little brush.I chose this substance because I use it everyday  and it’s a apart of many girls’ everyday life.
Composition of ...
    • Iron oxides, carbon black, ultramarine blue, pigments, waxes (beeswax,  carnauba wax, and paraffin), water, color additives,thickening polymers(ceresin,gum tragacanth, methyl cellulose), oils (linseed oil, castor oil, eucalyptus oil, lanolin, sesame oil, and oil of turpentine).

Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components

  • The two main components of mascara are  Carbon Black and Beeswax.

    • Carbon Black: pure elemental carbon in the form of finely divided pellets or powder.  It is produced by the incomplete combustion of gaseous or liquid hydrocarbons.  It is used in tires, rubber and plastic products, printing inks, and pigments.  It’s Formula Name is CH4.
    • Beeswax: Made of fatty materials of various kinds., Esters of long-chain fatty alcohols with long chain fatty acids, carbohydrates like the honey sugars; fructose, glucose, and sucrose.  Beeswax can be used in paintings and it comes from bees.  It’s Formula Name is C15H31CO2C30H61.

Chemistry's Role

    • Carbon black is created in a lab.  It’s manufactured by the incomplete combustion of a heavy aromatic feedstock in a hot flame of preheated air and natural gas.  Beeswax however is naturally made.  Bees collect nectar from flowers and bring it to their hive where it becomes beeswax or honey.  Worker bees develop special wax making glands on their abdomens.
    • Mascara is a man made product.  Chemistry is involved in mascara by the fact that some mascaras are hydrophilic meaning they are soluble in water (non water proof) and have weak hydrogen bonds. The other kind (waterproof) is called  hydrophobic. This kind has stronger hydrogen bonds and is non polar.

Background Research

    • All mascara basically contains the same components of pigments, oils, waxes, and preservatives
    • The founder of the cosmetic company, Maybelline discovered the modern day mascara using charcoal and Vaseline.
    • Mascara comes from a plant raised in the Amazon Rainforest called the Mascareen plant. The plant is pink but has many pods on the inside full of black liquids.
    • Eugene Rimmel invented what we know as Mascara in the nineteenth  century.
    • It works by darkening, defining, and lengthening one’s eyelashes.


About the Author

Natalie Dietrich is a junior at Senior High.  She loves animals and traveling.  She enjoys going boating and the warm summer weather.  Hanging out with her friends is always a favorite thing to do on the weekends.