Thursday, August 21, 2014

Bat Guano In Mascara, Fish Scales In Lipstick, True Or False?


Fact Or Fiction As It Is Presented On Social Media Sites


I had to laugh when I started seeing these supposed little factoids scroll across my Facebook feed, only to learn it is also being splashed across Instagram and Twitter.  This of course gives the presumption that this was something really gross and is a common practice in the cosmetic industry.

I really don't know how some of this crazy stuff gets started, but nonetheless it is out there and can really cause one to pause if you wear lipstick or mascara.  So I thought it would be fun today to share with you what I know is true within the beauty industry in relation to these tidbits passed off as facts.

The idea that bat guano can be in mascara can send shivers down one's spine.  Even the idea of fish scales being used in most lipsticks will make my skin crawl and could make even the most diehard fan of a favorite brand run screaming for the natural stuff.

Unfortunately, some MLM companies that profess all natural are the ones that begin spreading this junk and then of course it goes viral across the internet by those that reTweet it or post on their Facebook wall. 

And yes the myth or fact is perpetuated a million fold until it resonates with the public.

Fact Or Fiction - Bat Guano Is In Mascara


Well we can all breath a sigh of relief as I am pleased to inform you this is an internet myth and bat guano is not used to color your mascara or to provide lustrous sheen to those luxurious lashes.

This began as an urban legend creating the fear of the use of bat guano as one of the ingredients of mascara, when it is guanine, not guano.  Funny how things get turned upside down or interpreted to suit the needs of the person spreading the myth.  In today's modern society, Guanine is the actual authorized color additive for cosmetics that is allowed by the FDA and European regulations, and it must be extracted from fish scales, not bat guano.

Now maybe many many moons ago in ancient Egyptian times this was the thing to do, smear a little bat guano on the lashes, but that is a whole other story and I don't really care, frankly.

So bat guano in mascara is total FICTION!

Fact Or Fiction - Fish Scales Are Used In Lipstick


Well let's just say that based on our last factoid then you already sort of know the answer to this.  Fish scales are a byproduct of the Herring Fishing Industry and this silvery substance has been used for years in cosmetics which gives the shimmery look to nail polish, ceramics and none other than lipsticks and glosses.  But to say they are in "most" lip colors today is not really a true-ism by today's standards.  Perhaps still in some, but not the rule.

We really shouldn't be shocked by this because "carmine" is also a bright red colorant in many lip colors and it comes from the cochineal beetle.  This dye has been used for decades to color candy, ice cream, popsicles and jello as well.  Yet on the label we won't see the ingredient "cochineal beetle" since the name alone doesn't do much for product public relations.  It is identified as carmine, natural red 4, crimson lake or E120.  I should mention that advocates for label change are working to reference this shade of red as coming from the beetle since some can have a severe allergic reaction, so we do need these things spelled out in plain English, not a euphemism for the actual source of color.

Needless to say you won't see "fish scales" either, but guanine, pearl essence or pearlescence to describe this ingredient.  But let me just assure you, that today the majority of these types of ingredients are mainly created synthetically. 

We have wonderful substitute ingredients that create shimmer effects or colors without using these ingredients at all.  For example for getting a nice sheen or shimmer we can use mica, bismuth oxychloride, boron nitride and in the case of more shine in lip gloss, just a higher ratio of oils to butters will give off a nice sheen to the lips.

So in this instance it is FACT, yet with a caveat, Fish scales are not typical in today's market, but you may still want to check the list when buying your next lip shade or mascara because some may still use the real thing, especially if manufactured and imported from overseas.  

When in doubt however, there are always the natural brands available, which includes our lip colors if you want to be absolutely sure of what is in your next purchase of these cosmetic products.

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Want A Tattoo? FDA Has Latest Warning On The Dangers!


Tattoos, Love Them Or Hate Them


Although I am not a huge fan of sporting a tattoo, I also believe in "to each his own" and "live and let live".  However, when it comes to my readers health, this latest FDA warning is not something I wished to allow to go unshared, no matter my personal beliefs on the practice.  I just can't wrap my head around having a needle stuck in me, no matter the purpose for it's use, let alone electing to do it.  I grow faint and nauseated when they take blood for crying out loud!

I did an article on Tattoos several years back titled "The Dangers Of Permanent Makeup, AKA Cosmetic Tattooing".  There are so many unspoken risks to using inks from who knows where, that I wanted to at least show the repercussions of deciding to have permanent makeup tattooed onto our skin.  The risks are very real, which include allergic reactions, infections, staph and many others that can compromise our immune system or create sepsis in our blood.

Don't Ignore The Safety Precautions Or Recalls


Aside from all of the warnings, many are willing to take the risk and most turn out okay.  Yet we are now being notified of a recall on a certain brand of ink that has been shown to have bacteria within "unopened" bottles.  White and Blue Lion, Inc. recalled contaminated products on July 11, 2014, but FDA is still concerned that consumers and professional tattoo artists may be purchasing or using contaminated home tattoo kits and inks from other distributors.

“Reporting an infection to FDA and the artist is important in order for FDA to investigate, and to enable the artist to take steps to prevent others from becoming infected,” says epidemiologist Katherine Hollinger, D.V.M., M.P.H., from the Office of Cosmetics and Colors.

Take the advice in this scenario and practice self awareness when and if you should decide that permanent makeup or an artistic tattoo is for you.  It is vital when dealing with many of these inks coming here from overseas, that we make sure we protect ourselves through due diligence and taking the FDA's advice in regard to assessing the safety of these inks and / or the professional using them.


This information may very well prevent someone from choosing poorly and if they do, then the information on symptoms of being contaminated with the "bad ink" can help you know if your health is now at risk.  The FDA link also shows you what to do and how to report an incident.

Choose wisely and take this warning to heart because no amount of pretty ink is worth your well being.

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