What's In It Wednesday: Lancome Definicils Mascara

It's Lancome's best-selling mascara, and it's quite possibly the best-selling department store mascara.

For $24, a tube of Definicils can be yours. I used to work for Lancome and was given dozens of free tubes of this. At the time, I was actually much fonder of Intencils, which has since been discontinued.

If you're a regular reader you know that my quest for the perfect mascara ended last summer when I started using Tarte Lash Hugger. Even better, when Organic Wear's paraben-free mascara came out, I became even more satisfied. Both are more reasonable than the Lancome, with the Organic Wear being $14 less and far superior.

What is in this best-selling Lancome product?



Paraffin--this petrochemical is considered a possible carcinogen

Stearic Acid--surfactant and stabilizes the emulsion. Take note: stearic acid comes from MANY sources. It may be from palm oil, it may be from euthanized cats and dogs. It may just be from coconut oil. It might take time, but when in doubt or if not disclosed, I find myself calling companies' customer servuce lines about this one.

Triethanolamine--emulsifier and pH adjuster; can be especially hazardous when combined with Diazolidinyl Urea. Studies have shown that a large number of cosmetics with TEA (short for Triethanolamine) are contaminated with Nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic. Also avoid labels which say TEA Lauryl Sulfate, as it's the same thing. TEA is also very acidic.

Acacia Senegal Gum--If you're like I used to be, you'd think "Oh, acacia is so NATURAL. It's from a plant." Not so. This film forming agent which comes from the gummy residue of acacia faces restrictions worldwide. There is much concern over its effects on the reproductive system concerning everything from infertility to birth defects.

Beeswax--binder in mascara, A-OK for everyone unless you are Vegan.

Carnauba Wax--Although OK on the skin, this is derived from Carnauba Palm. It's from Brazil where the threat to orangutans isn't as strong. That being said, I no longer use it because I cannot be certain it is sustainable ("sustainable") still a regulated cosmetics and skin care term and there isn't any oversight in the industry.

Simethicone-Anti-foaming. This is very common as an anti-gas and bloating ingredient (such as Phazyme, Mylanta, Gax-X and others)

Sodium Polymethacrylate--more research needs to be done. I would say to err on the side of caution with this binder because the main concerns are the cumulative effects on both the earth and skin absorption. Since this is by the eyes, I would be more cautious. It is NOT a horrible ingredient; just take care with it.

Hydroxyethylcellulose--a binder and helps to form a film--common in most mascaras

Panthenol--Vitamin B5

Polyquaternium-10--film former derived from hydroxyethlcellulose above

Imidazolidinyl Urea--derived from animals and is a formaldehyde releaser

Methylparaben--This particular paraben is used in water-containing products as a preservative. A study 5 years ago in theJournal of Applied Toxicology linked parabens to breast cancer as they may be hormone disruptive and lead to tumor growth. While the jury is still out on paraben safety, I personally find the links too strong and have been paraben free for almost 2.5 years.

Propylparaben-- this type of paraben is a preservative agent against fungus. A study 5 years ago in theJournal of Applied Toxicologylinked parabens to breast cancer as they may be hormone disruptive and lead to tumor growth. While the jury is still out on paraben safety, I personally find the links too strong and have been paraben free for almost 2.5 years.

May contain: Mica, Titanium Dioxide/CI 77891, Carmine/CI 75470, Iron Oxides/ CI 77490, CI 77491, CI 77499, Chromium Hydroxide Green/CI 77289, Chromium Oxide Greens/CI 77288, Ultramarines/CI 77007, B4177/1

FYI: Carmine comes from crushed bugs.


Lady P said...

oh let me say how i appreciate all of the research you do for all of us. lancome mascara has been a fav of mine for quite sometime, until lately, when i just didn't feel like paying that kind of price and began looking at other healthier sources for products to put on my body and face
Karley, you rock, as usual

Karley said...

Lady P,

Thank you for being a loyal reader and enjoying my posts. You're very kind!

Mrs.AOK said...

This is my first time visiting your blog, I stumbled upon your blog while trying to figure out if I've been lied to. I went to an Ulta store looking for paraben-free makeup the ladies in the store assured me that Lancome's Teint Miracle was paraben-free. Since it seems you have a lot of knowledge on the topic do you know if this is true? I was looking at BareMinerals and Tarte but was swayed to Lancome...
Many Thanks!

Karley said...

Mrs. AOK,

Here is the list: No parabens, but full of nasties--

Active Ingredients:
Octinoxate 3%.

Inactive Ingredients:
Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Alcohol Denat, Phenyl Trimethicone, Glycerin, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Bis-PEG/PPG-14/14 Dimethicone, PEG/PPG/Polybutylene Glycol-8/5/3 Glycerin, Rosa Gallica Flower Extract, Talc, Dimethicone, Dimethicone/Polyglycerin-3 Crosspolymer, Methicone, Alumina, Aluminum Hydroxide, Magnesium Sulfate, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Ethylhexyl Hydroxystearate, Polyethylene Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate; May Contain: Red 28 Lake, Red 7, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Blue 1 Lake, Bismuth Oxychloride, Iron Oxides.