Mascara – lashes of inspiration


New mascara trends include false lash effect products, growth accelerators, conditioning mascaras and permanent mascaras. Efficacy is optimised through interaction between the formulation and applicator.

The formulation and application of mascaras has developed significantly in recent years. Rosemary Collins examines new trends in mascara technology

According to market research conducted by the NPD Group, total prestige make-up dollar sales in the US show an increase of 8% compared to this time last year. Last year also marked a distinct revival for the European colour cosmetics market.

Eye make-up and treatment products are strong performers in today’s eye care market. 2012 catwalk collections featured dramatic, smoky eyes and statement lashes. The mascara segment continues to grow; in recent market research 65% of respondents surveyed reported using it. The demand for lush and extended lashes continues.

Formulations evolved from the first mass market cake mascara, released in 1917, to the first lotion-based formulation, created in 1957 by Rubenstein. Soon after, a grooved rod was developed and patented, representing a progressive step towards the modern mascara.

From the 90s to the present day, we have seen evolution through coloured mascaras, lengthening/defining/volumising and curling mascaras, volumising by numbers, long lasting waterproofs (up to three days), washable waterproofs, Carbon Black to give intense black effects, dual layer products for enhanced volumisation and, most recently, false lash effects.

Mascara formulations fall broadly into two categories: semi-solid, wax/oil in water emulsions and anhydrous formulations.

Semi-solid, wax/oil in water emulsions are usually formed by generating stearate soaps, eg triethanolamine stearate. Generally these formulations will additionally contain pigments, gellants, humectants to aid pigment wetting, preservatives, a chelating agent, and potentially a volatile, non-aqueous solvent to control drying time. The wax/oil phase will be comprised largely of waxes. Oil levels must be minimal to prevent smudging. Their creamy textures are capable of depositing a heavy coverage on the lashes, so they are used widely in volumising, lengthening and curling formulations. Enhanced with effective and ever evolving film formers, these formulations also offer flake and smudge resistant wear, and a degree of water resistance. They are relatively easily removed with oil-free eye make-up removers.

Raw material launches in 2011 included aqueous solutions of polyurethanes -34 and -35 (Bayer), for additional water resistancy; and, from natural sources, galactoarabinan (Lonza) from the larch tree which has the potential to form tough, flexible films; and pullulan/sorbitol/trehalose/acacia gum (Sensient) a blend which generates an elastic, supple film, however water resistancy is low.

Anhydrous formulations are based on gelled solvents, eg petroleum distillate, isododecane. These formulations tend to be very durable and are waterproof. They are less volumising and require an oil-based make-up remover.

Innovations in this category have been driven by a quest for improved volumisation and easier removal, and so we have seen the development of washable waterproofs, utilising advances in polymer technology.


This is a small extract of the full article which is available ONLY to premium content subscribers. Subscribers sign-in (top right) to read the article.
Subscribe now to premium content on Cosmetics Business