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Bat Poop in your Mascara

Tarte Mascara
Here is a question someone asked me.

"Is mascara made from bat poop!? For real, my dad told me this yesterday!!"

I don't know where this is coming from. People are suddenly asking me 

"is there really bat poop in my mascara"?  

NO!  There is no bat poop, aka bat guano, in mascara! 

Crushed bugs (carmine), maybe. Bat poop, no! 

I have read that this urban legend is due to a confusion of the ingredient guanine and guano.  

Guanine is an iridescent substance derived from fish scales. After further investigation,  I found that guanine also occurs in guano (from bats and birds), yeast and sugar beets. Guanine from fish scales is the source for cosmetics though, not guano. 

A French rosary maker named Francois Jaquin extracted the pearl essence (which was crystalline guanine) from fish scales to mix up a pigment to use on round beads to create artificial pearls way back in 1656. 

Guanine was then used in bath and skin care products, nail polish and eye shadow to give that beautiful pearly iridescent effect. 

I have not seen guanine listed on mascara due to the fact that it is an eye irritant, but am sure it was in mascara at some point. I have seen it listed as an ingredient in nail polish, not very recently, though. 

Some of the iridescent ingredients used now in cosmetics are mica, synthetic pearl, (bismuth oxychloride), and metals such aluminum powder, copper power and bronze powder.

Guano is being used in skin care, though. Nightingale droppings, aka guano, are used in the Japanese Geisha Facial to give you brighter, softer skin. You can have one done at the Shizuka spa in New York for $180 if you really want to!

What is in your mascara is:

Wax, such as carnuba wax, paraffin and beeswax
Gum, such as acacia senegal and xanthan gum
Oils, such as jojoba and vitamin e
Polymers which are plastics, such as polyester, nylon, rayon, poly acrylates copolymer
Minerals such as, mica and silica
Preservatives, such as parabens and vitamin e
Pigments such as, black 1, black 2, iron oxides and carmine

That's it. No bat poop! You may find the crushed bugs in there, though. You may want to avoid controversial ingredients such as parabens which are a frequently used preservative in mascara. Try natural brands such as Bare Minerals and Tarte Cosmetics that don't use parabens.

Shop for Cruelty Free Mascara on Amazon

       Don't fear your mascara! 
        Have a Beautiful Day! 
Licensed Cosmetologist, Esthetician, Makeup Artist

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  1. very informative and interesting! Who comes up with some of the ideas for additives?


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