I’ve found my perfect (naturally based, cruelty-free) mascara!

Written by
on May 27, 2015

**Update: Since I wrote this original product review, Younique has reformulated their Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lash Mascara.  Please read my more recent product review of the “new and improved” formula here: “New and Improved” with toxic chemicals and no longer my perfect mascara

mascara comparison

I think makeup artists are amazing and I love to see before and after transformations – they truly are artists! But when it comes to makeup, as much as I love to see my smooth, scar-free complexion and dramatic smoky eyes reflected back at me, I just can’t justify the time and energy on a daily basis.  I guess I’m just SUPER lazy low-maintenance! But the one product I can’t live without is my mascara.  I feel like I’ve tried them all trying to find a way to darken and lengthen my naturally boring lashes.  I used to work for a skincare line in a major department store so had the opportunity to learn about all the different major department store brands of mascara and tried nearly all of them.  But not only am I super low-maintenance, I’m also super cheap frugal! I just couldn’t bring myself to pay department store prices for a product that didn’t work any better than my tried and true CoverGirl mascara which I could purchase at drug store prices…

As I began my adventure in living a natural lifestyle I resisted the urge to look up my mascara on Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database for a long time because quite frankly, I didn’t want to know.  Out of sight, out of mind, right? Until the day I did… Here’s what I found out about the ingredients in my beloved CoverGirl LashBlast mascara:

Propylparaben – EWG rates this ingredient a 7 (“high hazard”) because there was strong evidence that it is an endocrine disruptor, which can cause developmental and reproductive toxicity, as well as being toxic to the environment, according to research done by the European Commission on Endocrine Disruption.  Propylparabens are also an allergy risk with strong evidence that they could be an immunotoxicant. And while parabens are an acceptable ingredient in cosmetics in limited concentrations there is enough concern that they are restricted by the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS).

Petroleum Distillates – Petroleum Distillates are a carcinogen and possible cancer risk as well as potentially toxic to gastrointestinal and liver function.  They also may contain Butadiene, an impurity which is a known human carcinogen and rated a 10 (the highest hazard score) by EWG. There is enough concern that the Environment Canada Domestic Substance List has classified petroleum distillates as expected to be toxic or harmful. In addition, they are persistent in the environment and toxic to wildlife.

Phenoxyethanol – Phenoxyethanol has a moderate risk of skin allergies and immunotoxicity.  Japan has even restricted the concentration of phenoxyethanol used in Japanese cosmetics.

Tocopheryl Acetate – Tocopheryl acetate itself has strong evidence to suggest that it is a skin irritant and allergen but it also has a high contamination concern with an impurity called Hydroquinone, a known carcinogen that EWG rates a 9 (“high hazard”) for organ toxicity.

In addition to the above concerns there’s a whole slew of ingredients that, although they present limited concern, I still can’t pronounce, including Pentaerythrityl Hydrogenated Rosinate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, and Trihydroxystearin…  Whatever those are! In fact, the only ingredients I could pronounce and/or had any idea what they are were Ultramarines (a blue pigment), Titanium Dioxide, Talc, Iron Oxides, and Carnauba Wax…

Now I COULD make my own mascara.  That would be the super crunchy thing to do.  But alas, every mascara recipe I found either got really bad reviews and/or included a whole bunch of ingredients that I don’t usually have on hand.  So I just tried to forget about my guilt and kept on using my beloved (now not-so-beloved) CoverGirl mascara…

I don’t know about you but for a long time I resisted the urge to check out Younique’s infamous Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lash mascara for a couple reasons: 1) I HATE high pressure sales (same reason I resisted Young Living for so long) and couldn’t stand the fact that my Facebook events was cluttered up with sales “parties” that not only did I not want to be invited to but expected me to spend my hard earned money on stuff (like makeup) that I didn’t really need, or want. 2) Most things that look too good to be true usually are.  Hell, they use falsies in mascara commercials for television, which seems like the very definition of false advertising, so I honestly thought they used falsies in all the “after” pics you have thrown at you in your Newsfeed.

Until one day I asked a friend who always has amazing lashes (and brows – total brow envy!) what she used.  Much like how my Young Living adventure started, my friend had just started selling Younique products and told me that she used their 3D Fiber Lash Mascara and told me why she liked their products – specifically that they were paraben free, gluten free, cruelty free, hypoallergenic, etc.  Okay, now she had my attention!  She showed me her before and after pics and assured me that even I, the makeup minimalist, could do it.  She told me that she was having an online party and (here’s the key) ASKED if I would like to be invited.  So I said sure.  But as you may have guessed I didn’t just jump online and order the mascara, no, I’m way too skeptical for that.  So I did my research.

Here is what I found.

While Younique is not a brand that is searchable on the EWG’s Skin Deep Database, which is always my first stop, they do make their ingredient list available publicly on their website (I liked that).  This ingredient list is copied verbatim from their website:

Transplanting Gel Ingredients: Water, Beeswax (Natural Propolis), Carnauba (Brazilian palm glue), Iron Oxide Cl 77499 (Black), Collagen, Acrylates Copolymer, Nylon, Stearic Acid, Propylene Glycol. .23 FL OZ / 7 ml

Natural Fibers Ingredients: 100% Natural Fibers taken from Green Tea. Net WT .02 OZ/ .5g.

Collagen is a type of protein that works with elastin to give skin its texture, structure, and appearance. It contains antioxidants, and may help add volume and shine to the appearance of eyelashes.

Water (Aqua) is the liquid of life! Hydrates and cleanses the skin, and works as a natural spreading component, helping to distribute other ingredients evenly over the skin.

Beeswax (Natural Propolis) is a brownish, resinous material collected by bees and believed to have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Carnauba (Brazilian Palm Glue) is extracted and refined through a pressing and crushing process that turns the palm glue into an oil, creating the sticky nature of the transplanting gel. It is also believed to act as a natural preservative.

Iron Oxide Cl 77499 (Black) is a technical name for Black Iron Oxide. This naturally-occurring mineral acts a colorant, giving the gel its striking black color.

Acrylates Copolymer is an adhesive and binder, as well as a suspending agent.

Nylon is a powder substance that is used as an absorbent and thickening agent.

Stearic Acid (also known as Palmitic Acid) is an organic nutrient derived from palm trees that is often used to soothe and soften the skin.

Propylene Glycol is a humidifying and delivery ingredient.

Sounds great! But I’m a natural born skeptic so I took it upon myself to search each of the ingredients individually.  I knew what collagen, water, beeswax,  carnauba wax, and iron oxide was (in fact many of these are used in DIY mascara recipes) so skipped these and focused on the later half of the ingredient list.

  • Acrylates Copolymer sounds scary because I can’t pronounce it and that’s always my first red flag when a product claims to be “all natural” or “naturally based/derived.” While it is essentially plastic, according to EWG, acrylates copolymer is generally regarded as safe for use in cosmetics because it is assumed to have low absorption.  They score it as a 2 (“low hazard”) on their 10 point scale.
  • Nylon is another synthetic ingredient and never something I ever considered to be in cosmetics.  But apparently nylon is quite commonly added as an absorbent and thickening agent just like the Younique website states.  EWG rates it as a 0 for hazard risk.
  • Stearic Acid occurs naturally in vegetable and animal fats but has to undergo an hydrogenation process to convert it to the final product that is used in food and cosmetics.  It has a “low hazard” risk of 1 on EWG primarily due to some concern that it might be an environmental toxin but there doesn’t really seem to be much supporting evidence.  In fact, it’s approved by the FDA as a food additive (not that that is saying a whole lot, as I’m generally distrustful of the FDA, but at least I know I could eat it and not die…).
  • Propylene Glycol is the most concerning ingredient listed, often feared as a toxin, especially by particularly crunchy crowds, but even it only scores a 3 (or “moderate hazard”) by EWG for potential skin irritation.  It is actually a form of mineral oil that is produced through fermentation of yeast and carbohydrates.  If you’re interested, read more on propylene glycol here from Natural News: http://www.naturalnews.com/023138_propylene_glycol_products_natural.html 

So, convinced that this product was indeed way more crunchy than my trusted mascara I decided to bite the bullet and drop the $29 to support my friend in her new business venture and to give the product a shot.  I ordered the product on Friday, May 22 and was pleasantly surprised by how quickly it arrived on my doorstep by Tuesday, May 26. So, naturally this morning I was excited to try it out and see if I got the same kind of results that people were raving about all over the internet.

When you open your package you will discover that Younique’s Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lash Mascara actually comes in two tubes (that come packaged in cute but totally unnecessary carrying case  – kind of like you would carry your glasses in) that looks like this:

 

US-1017-00-alt1

The largest tube is their Transplanting Gel, which is pretty much just a typical mascara.  It honestly looks good even by itself but wasn’t the same kind of dramatic results.  Basically this gel is applied just like your regular mascara from the root to tip of your lashes (optional: you can choose to do this over your regular mascara but that seemed like an unnecessary step and quite frankly this already adds extra steps to my morning routine so I didn’t want to add any more.  Plus, why bother?).  This wets your lashes and acts like a glue for the natural fibers (somehow made from green tea apparently) in the second tube.  They look like this:

 

 

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So after you’ve applied your first coat of the Transplanting Gel over your entire lashes you gently brush the Natural Fibers over just the tips of your lashes.  This is what creates the extra length. If you are like me you will immediately second guess your decision and wonder if you just wasted $29 of your hard earned money.  But then you take the Transplanting Gel again and “seal” in the natural fibers.  This smooths out the little fluffy bits that were clinging to your lashes and somehow makes them longer, smooth, and beautiful.  It’s like magic!  You can repeat this process as many times as you’d like to get more dramatic results.

Seriously, if I can do apply this mascara, you can too! Here is my comparison of my natural (boring) lashes, using my CoverGirl mascara. and using Younique’s Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lash Mascara (on the eye pictured on the right in the bottom pic).

mascara comparison

I only used two really quick applications to get the length you see pictured above.  This was also the very first time I tried applying it so you could get a sense of what it’s like for a newbie. I’m sure I could take the extra time to get wicked amazing looking lashes if I had an event I wanted to get all dolled up for (like the wedding we are going to this weekend). But if you want to know more, here’s a how-to video on how to take that extra step to get amazing lashes using Younique’s 3D Fiber Lash Mascara.

Final Verdict: I’m sold! Here’s my celebratory selfie so you can see how it looked as I left for work this morning!

new mascara selfie

Nothing but no-poo hair, my DIY Facial Serum, and my new mascara! 

So, to summarize, here is my pros/cons list of Younique’s Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lash Mascara:

Pros:

  • Naturally based
  • Cruelty Free
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Paraben Free
  • Safe for contact lens wearers
  • Amazing looking lashes
  • NO Falsies needed! 

Cons:

  • Cost – $29 (plus shipping) vs $7-8. But since this is the only real makeup I wear on a daily basis, I feel I can justify the cost.
  • Time – It does take a little bit of extra time, especially if you want wicked awesome lashes.  But the little bit of time to get the added length I got from just two quick applications is worth it to me.
  • Mess – This mascara does seem to be a bit messier than my old mascara, easily corrected with a q-tip, but I think it’ll diminish as I get better at applying it.
  • Unnecessary packaging

Want to try out Younique’s Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lash Mascara for yourself? Shop for it and other Younique products (and support my friend) here: https://www.youniqueproducts.com/savannamcgrew/ 

Want to know how your mascara (or other cosmetics) measure up? Check them out here: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ 

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