Search form

menu menu
  • Daily & Weekly newsletters
  • Buy & download The Bulletin
  • Comment on our articles

Belgian consumer protection agency warns against carcinogens in some mascara brands

09:01 30/11/2022

Belgium’s consumer protection agency Test Achats is warning makeup users about certain brands of mascara that contain carcinogenic or allergenic substances.

The agency has reviewed 23 different brands of non-waterproof black mascaras and found a carcinogenic substance in two of them and an allergenic substance in one other.

The carcinogenic substance concerned is formaldehyde, which was found in high levels (10 mg/kg) in both Zao Velvet Mascara and Chanel 10 Black Volume.

Formaldehyde is a banned carcinogen that should not be present in makeup in any amount whatsoever.

Nevertheless, some preservatives used in cosmetic formulas may release it.

“In these cases, the manufacturer must state 'contains formaldehyde' on the packaging,” Test Achats explained.

None of the tested mascaras had such wording on their packaging.

A third mascara brand, Max Factor X Divine Lashes Rich mascara, contained 8 mg/kg of nickel, a heavy metal that can cause allergic reactions.

While heavy metals are permitted in makeup, this is only in small traces. While there is no official legal limit, Test Achats found 8 mg/kg to be a problematic level and advises consumers against purchasing this product.

The results of their investigation also included strong criticism for the lack of environmentally-friendly packaging.

“Our analyses have shown that between 15 and 62% of your mascara cannot be used because it is stuck in the packaging. That's a huge amount,” said spokeswoman Julie Frère.

Test Achats said that Belgium’s federal public health services were notified of the results of their investigation.

Written by Helen Lyons