By Dina Fierro

Though early mascaras had fright-worthy ingredients like coal -gasp – and tar -oh my! – many formulations today boast lengthening, strengthening ingredients that can keep lashes moisturized, flexible and healthy.

Joli Baker, founder of Pur Minerals, insists that “Longer lashes are achieved by the addition of natural waxes (olive oil based, rice bran wax, carnauba) and film formers.” She urges women to look for ingredients like olive oil derivatives, which protect and D-panthenol, bamboo extract and vitamin E, which help to moisturize lashes, keeping them strong and elastic.

While essential for weddings, funerals and screenings of Pan’s Labyrinth, waterproof mascaras can promote dry, brittle lashes. According to Baker, waterproofing agents also make mascara more difficult to remove, again promoting drier lashes, unless you use the appropriate remover formulations.

A few healthy, lash loving mascaras to try:

Pur Minerals Lash Enhancer is free of tar and fibers and perfectly safe for contact lens wearers and those with sensitive eyes. The mineral formulation gives lashes a glossy, natural looking finish perfect for office or day wear. (


Highly pigmented, with a soft and thick brush, Sue Devitt’s Amplifying Mascara creates a feathery, full lash line. The daring can try it in Zaire, a shimmering plum that looks divine on green or brown eyes. (


Be sure you read the instructions before applying Bare Escentuals’ Big Tease Mascara. The double sided applicator requires a bit of practice but once you have the hang of it, movie starlet lashes can be yours. Give this opthamologist-tested formulation an extra moment to dry before applying the rest of your makeup. (


Originally published February 2007
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