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What Is Hypoallergenic Mascara?

A woman applying hypoallergenic mascara to her eyelashes.
A woman wearing hypoallergenic mascara.
Article Details
  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 21 June 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Hypoallergenic mascara is a type of mascara that is marketed as being less likely to trigger reactions in users who have sensitive eyes. It should be noted than the United States, the term “hypoallergenic” is not regulated and any cosmetic manufacturer can use it to describe any product, regardless of the product's ingredients or whether or not the product has been subjected to rigorous testing. In other countries, the term may be more strictly regulated, so individuals who are concerned about choosing mascara for sensitive eyes should research the laws in their jurisdiction. If a person does choose to purchase hypoallergenic mascara, he or she should still review the ingredients to ensure that the mascara is safe to use. In all cases, a mascara user should ensure that any mascara he or she uses, including hypoallergenic mascara, is not contaminated and that open mascara is thrown out after three months, even if there is still product left in the tube.

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Many people are susceptible to advertising claims for various cosmetics. Individuals who have sensitive skin and eyes may be particularly concerned about using cosmetics that contain irritating ingredients. Those who wear contact lenses may also be concerned about wearing mascara that can irritate their eyes and that may flake off and get trapped under contact lenses. It is to these people that hypoallergenic mascara is typically marketed. Due to the fact that the term does not have an official meaning in some countries, it is up to individual users to determine whether a mascara is suitable for use.

Those who have eye problems, or wear contact lenses, may wish to speak to their eye doctor for mascara recommendations, as the eye doctor may be privy to considerable feedback on mascaras from his or her other patients. Another option is to carefully read ingredient labels and eschew mascaras that contain nylon fibers which many experts believe can cause significant problems for contact lens wearers. If the cosmetic manufacturer claims that testing proves that its products are hypoallergenic, the consumer may wish to contact the manufacturer and ask for details about these studies. If possible, those with sensitive eyes may wish to try a sample of a particular mascara before buying a full tube in order to evaluate whether the product is suitable for his or her needs.

Even if someone with sensitive eyes finds a hypoallergenic mascara that does not trigger allergies, it is important to take care of the mascara so that it does not become contaminated with bacteria and other irritants. This means making sure the mascara tube is tightly closed when not in use, and not rinsing a mascara brush under the tap. Mascara should never be shared with other people and should be thrown away immediately if symptoms of an eye infection emerge.

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