“New and Improved” with toxic chemicals and no longer my perfect mascara

Naturally Oily Adventures Blog Post
September 28, 2015
Naturally Oily Adventures Blog Post

**Note: It’s taken me awhile to write this blog because honestly I wondered whether I even wanted to after getting down and dirty with my research and learning more about this “new and improved” product.  But after much consideration I realized that goes against what I was hoping to do with writing reviews of natural products.  I felt I owed it to myself and my followers to write an honest review and let you know how disappointed I am in this company.  With that said, please keep in mind when you read the following post that the company I’m referring to is an MLM (direct sales) and there are many people, a lot of whom are Work At Home Moms (WAHM) who depend on the sales from this company to provide for their families.  I do not believe this formula change in any way is a reflection of the women who work so hard representing this company.  If you have a friend who is a presenter, please continue to provide love and support for them.  I encourage you to reach out and contact the company if you are as disappointed in their changes as I am.  I for one will be sending them links to both my original product review and this one so they can see how their decisions impact their customers. Maybe they will listen and have a change of heart, maybe they won’t. But we never know until we try. 

 

So back in May I wrote a blog called I’ve found my perfect (naturally based, cruelty-free) mascara! It was by far my biggest blog post to date! Well, after three months any girl knows it’s time to replace your mascara.  We had a good run but I knew it was time because my gel was getting clumpy and I found that by the end of the day my mascara was kind of flaking off.  So I hit up my friend and trusted Younique presenter, to re-order.

In the 3 months from my original order and blog post to the day I got my new mascara Younique had reformulated their Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lash Mascara.  Now I am historically very resistant to change.  I find a product I love and I tend to stick with it.  But alas, my beloved mascara went the way of the bras I love (Am I the only one who buys my bras in every color because inevitably it will be discontinued by the time I go bra shopping again!?! Surely not. But I digress…) and I was faced with a decision, trust Younique and my dear friend that the new product is every bit as good as the last or start the search all over again.  So I practiced my cognitive restructuring and positive thinking skills (yay for listening to the advice I give client’s every single day!) and set my anxiety aside to try out the new formula.

I was super excited when I got my package in the mail and immediately tossed my old mascara before snapping some pics to show you the differences.  Thankfully, my Younique friend had some comparison pics and allowed me to use them as part of my blog.

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When you first open up your Younique package you’ll immediately see a difference between the old packaging and the new.  The old packaging was this hard case that was wrapped in plastic (top).  The new packaging has a fancy cut out box with the mascara inside (bottom).

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While I am pleased that they did away with the bulky, unnecessary hard case that the mascara used to come in (top) I feel like what they gained by minimizing the materials for the case they lost by adding the fancy cut out box (see previous pic).  So from an eco-friendly perspective they still leave something to be desired with the mascara packaging.  I’d love to see them minimize their mascara’s carbon footprint a bit in the future by doing away with the cardboard box.   It does have some, very minimal, application instructions which could be easily tucked inside the shipping package.

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I admit I do like the more modern, streamlined look of the new containers (right).  Plus, I really like that they new containers have a clear spot in them so you can see when your gel or fibers are starting to get a bit low and it’ll give you an idea of when you will need to reorder.

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They also changed the wand shape.  I’ll be honest, I didn’t love the shape of the old wand (top).  I felt like I was always making more of a mess than I ever did with my old mascara.  But truthfully, the new design didn’t seem to help my mess at all, so pretty sure that’s just operator error at this point. (I have, however, learned that I can take a q-tip with just the slightest bit of fractionated coconut oil on it and wipe off any of the mess I make easily!) I’m pretty sure the new wand is designed to be used such that the large part of the brush hits the lashes on the outermost part of your eye.  This makes sense and presumably helps curl them upwards a bit.  While great in theory, I fail somewhat in execution.  I can do my right eye easily but just can’t contort my hand enough to use it this way on my left eye.  Doesn’t seem to matter too much though.

 

Younique changed more than just appearances though.  They also “enhanced” their gel and fiber formulas. Here’s where you should always read your ingredients before you order.  Here’s the old ingredient list:

“Old” Transplanting Gel Ingredients: Water, Beeswax (Natural Propolis), Carnauba (Brazilian palm glue), Iron Oxide Cl 77499 (Black), Collagen, Acrylates Copolymer, Nylon, Stearic Acid, Propylene Glycol.  See my previous blog post I’ve found my perfect (naturally based, cruelty-free) mascara! for a breakdown of these ingredients.

Nine ingredients.  All of which I could live with.  Here’s the new list of ingredients (new ingredients in italics):

“New” Moodstruck Transplanting Gel Ingredients: Water/Eau, Butylene Glycol, Iron Oxides (Ci 77499), Acrylate Copolymer, Stearic Acid, Polyvinylalcohol, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Tromethamine, Beeswax, Bentonite, Microcrystalline Wax, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Alcohol, Allantoin, Silica, Dimethicone, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Phenoxyethanol, Ppg-2-Deceth-30, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Dehydroacetate

Seriously!?! They went from 9 ingredients to 23!?! And not only that, they added alcohol(s), Silicones, and Sulfates??? All ingredients I’ve tried desperately to throw out of my beauty and hygiene routine. Honestly, the ingredient list is now worse than my old school Cover Girl mascara ingredient list. Le sigh. Here’s a breakdown of all the new ingredients from Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Skin Deep Database:

  • Butylene Glycol – On the ingredient list, Butylene Glycol is described as a humidifying and delivery ingredient.  According to the EWG, Butylene Glycol is a small organic alcohol used as solvent and conditioning agent.  It has limited data but the overall hazard rating is only a 1 (out of 10).  I can live with that.
  • Polyvinylalcohol – On the ingredient list, Polyvinyalcohol is described as a gel acts as a film former and binder, and helps improve endurance of the product.  According to EWG, Polyvinylalcohol is a polymer of vinyl alcohol crosslinked with glyoxal that acts as a bulking agent.  They have no real data on this ingredient but the overall hazard ratting is only a 1. Again I can live with this but another alcohol?
  • Tromethamine – On the ingredient list, Tromethamine is described as a neutralizer to control the pH balance of the Transplanting Gel.  According to EWG, Tromethamine is an aliphetic compound commonly used as a fragrance ingredient, pH adjuster, for buffering or as a masking ingredient.  It has a fair bit more data on it than the previous two ingredients and is listed as a 2 for overall hazard.  So still, not too concerning.
  • Bentonite – Here’s another ingredient I’m actually happy to see on the list because not only do I know what it is and that it is non toxic but it’s naturally based and an ingredient I can pronounce.  Bentonite is an absorbent clay often used in DIY and naturally based beauty products.  Younique states that they add Bentonite to their Transplanting Gel to help absorb oils and as a thickening agent.  Cool! Why can’t they add more stuff like this!
  • Microcrystalline Wax – On the ingredient list, Micorcrystalline Wax is described as a highly refined wax and gives products a more solid texture.  According to EWG, Microcrystalline wax is a hydrocarbon wax derived from petroleum and often used as a binder, bulking agent, emulsion stabilizer, and viscosity increasing agent.  It has limited data available but does have a low overall hazard score of 1.  But petroleum is generally something I avoid in my beauty products as it is comedogenic (meaning tends to cause acne breakouts) and there is some concern that it could be linked with skin cancer.  Not sure how I feel about a petroleum derivative…
  • Glyceryl Stearate – Glyceryl Stearate is a lipid used in cosmetics as a surfectant and emulsifying agent. The name is hard to pronounce and sounds scary but overall this ingredient is thought to have a low risk of toxicity and environmental impact.  EWG rates it a 1 for low risk due to limited data.
  • Cetearyl Alcohol – Cetearyl Alcohol is a mixture of cetyl and stearyl alcohols that can come from vegetable or synthetic sources.  Younique adds it to their mascara as a thickener and an emulsion stabilizer. I usually try to avoid products with alcohol in them because of the skin drying properties of alcohol.  Younique claims to be naturally derived but I would be curious where they source their cetearyl alcohol from since it can also be synthetically derived.
  • Alcohol – According to Younique, alcohol acts as an anti-foaming agent and helps to decrease sticky residue.
  • Allantoin – Allantoin is a naturally occurring nitrogenous compound used as a skin conditioning agent.  However, according to PETA’s Caring Consumer, while also found in plants (like comfrey) this ingredient is derived from uric acid which is often harvested from animals, specifically cow urine.  So if it’s a vegan product you are after, you may want to write Younique and find out exactly where their allantoin is sourced from. That said, it is not suspected of being hazardous to health or an environmental toxin and again gets a rating of 1 on EWG’s Skin Deep Database.
  • Silica – Silica is the most common constituent of sand.  It is added to the gel as an absorbent powder and acts as a thickening agent.  Since it’s not being used in an aerosol product the concern for Silica as an ingredient is low.
  • Dimethicone – Dimethicone is a silicon-based polymer used as a lubricant and conditioning agent.  Younique claims to add it to their transplanting gel because it slows the loss of water from the skin by forming a barrier on its surface.  But part of my crunchy granola motivations in living a more natural lifestyle was to eliminate sulfates, parabens, and silicones from my beauty and hygeine products and yet here is a company I trusted adding it as a new ingredient! What’s worse is according to EWG, the Environment Canada Domestic Substance List classifies Dimethicone as “expected to be toxic or harmful” and as a suspected environmental toxin earning it a rating of 3, or Moderate Hazard, on the Skin Deep Database.
  • Hydroxyethylcellulose – Hydroxyethylcellulose is a modified cellulose polymer; used as a gelling and thickening agent.  It’s another ingredient that sounds scary because no one can pronounce it but its assumed risk is low.
  • Phenoxyethanol – Phenoxyethanol has a moderate risk of skin allergies and immunotoxicity, earning it a rating of 4 for Moderate Risk on EWG’s Skin Deep Database.  Japan has even restricted the concentration of phenoxyethanol used in Japanese cosmetics.  Younique has chosen to add it to their formula as a preservative and to help prevent microbial growth and spoiling.  But if it wasn’t necessary in the old formula, why is it necessary now?
  • Ppg-2-Deceth-30 – Okay, so how alarming is this? Ppg-2-Deceth-30 wasn’t even listed in the Skin Deep Database, but I was able to find it under EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning where it rated a C due to Some Concern for asthma and respiratory issues, skin allergies and irritation, developmental and reproductive toxicity (including the potential for genetic defects), cancer risk, and environmental concerns! Apparently it’s used as a sufactant and an emulsifying agent in some cleaning agents. Younique uses it to help stabilize liquid formulations, but why?  I wouldn’t want this in my cleaning products let alone a beauty product I use near my eye!
  • Ethylhexyglycerine – Ethylhexylglycerin is a glyceryl ether used as a weak preservative and skin conditioning agent which, while still rating a low score of 1 on the Skin Deep Database, does have the potential for irritation and toxicity of the eye according to the European Union, Classification & Labelling division.  And yet, Younique has added this ingredient to their mascara!?! A product used around the eye!  They claim that it is added as a skin conditioning agent that helps deliver and preserve the formula of their new transplanting gel but I have to wonder why they couldn’t have found an alternative means of preserving the product.  It does appear that the old formulation used Propelyne Glycol as a a humidifying and delivery agent.  An ingredient that did have a higher rating of concern in the database and that Younique chose to get rid of.  While I’m pleased with that choice it seems they replaced it with several other concerning ingredients thus nullifying the relief I might have felt otherwise.
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate – I admit, I’m most alarmed with the decision to add Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) to Younique’s new transplanting gel formula.  I’ve spent years trying to rid my shampoo, body wash, soap, and other home, health, and beauty products of this ingredient and yet here it is showing up in my mascara! Why do I feel so strongly about SLES?  Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) are strong detergents and sufactants that are often used in shampoo and other body cleansers to help create a lather and increase the effectiveness of their cleaning power.  In fact, they are so effective at cleaning that these ingredients are commonly found in industrial cleaning agents such as engine degreaser and industrial strength detergents. It’s also widely known as a skin irritant!  EWG’s Skin Deep Database rates SLES as a 3, or Moderate Risk, due to strong evidence that it is a skin and eye irritant.  There are also contamination concerns that SLES could contain Ethylene Oxide (which rates a 10, or the highest possible hazard due to being a known carcinogen with organ toxicity and cancer risk) as well as 1-4 Dioxane (which rates an 8, or High Hazard, and another possible carcinogen). Younique’s website claims that SLES was added as an emulsifying agent.  But why in the world would they need to add such a controversial ingredient to a product that quite frankly worked better before being reformulated!?!
    • I pointed this ingredient specifically out to my friend and Younique presenter who contacted support. This is what she was told: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is not actually part of the formula for 3D Fiber Lashes+; however, it is used as a processing aid in the production of an ingredient in the formula, and, as such, European Union policies require the placement of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate on the label panel.  She was told there are several ingredients listed for this same reason.
    • She pressed the issue and was told by Bryce H from Younique Support that “Unfortunately, I would not be able to answer that as I do not have the needed information, however I can transfer you via email to a Product Related Specialist. Would that be okay?” She asked to be transferred to a product specialist and never received any new explanation of why Younique would choose to use SLES in the manufacturing of a product, despite pointing out that it didn’t seem safe or “in the best interest of our customers.” I have to say, customer service is huge to my (another reason why I love Young Living) and I’m very disappointed that Younique doesn’t care enough about their presenters to give them more information to settle the mind of a concerned customer.
  • Sodium Dehydroacetate – Sodium Dehydroacetate is an antimicrobial ingredient used as preservative.  According to EWG there is moderate concern over toxicity when used in products designed for the lips or around the mouth.  Overall it rates a 1 on the database, however, so the concern is low for this ingredient.

They also  changed the ingredients in the fibers.  One of the bigggest reason I liked the old formula was that the fibers were 100% natural derived from green tea.

“Old” Natural Fibers Ingredients: 100% Natural Fibers taken from Green Tea.

One ingredient.  Just ONE! But now they’ve replaced that one ingredient with 9.  Seriously!?! Again, I feel like we are going backwards here.  Here are the “new” fiber ingredients:

“New” Moodstruck 3D Fibers Ingredients: Rayon, Carbon Black CI77266, Squalane, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Iris Pallida Leaf Cell Extract, Ubiquinone (CoQ10), Caprylic Capric Triglyceride, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate

According to Younique, the new fibers are coated in Younique’s Uplift Eye Serum which is what adds all the extra ingredients to the fiber list.  But I have to wonder, why is this necessary?  Here’s the breakdown of these ingredients according to EWG’s Skin Deep Database:

  • Rayon – Rayon is a composition of synthetic fibers and filaments composed of regenerated cellulose.  Younique puts a nice spin on it stating on their website that their Rayon is “made from plant cellulose, is environmentally friendly and made of biodegradable material that delivers longer-looking lashes and increased volume.” I’m not really worried about rayon though, it doesn’t particularly have any risk concerns.
  • Carbon Black CI77266 – Carbon Black CI77266 is a fine black powder used as a colorant in cosmetics.  It’s not even listed in EWG’s Skin Deep Database but was commonly listed as an ingredient in other products during a cursory Google search.  I did find out, however, that there is a potential for eye irritation and as of January 2014 the Nanotechnologies Industry Association (NIA) was calling for the Scientific Community on Consumer Safety to revisit their ruling that Carbon Black CI77266 was safe in it’s nano form.  You can read more about that here: http://www.cosmeticsdesign-europe.com/Regulation-Safety/Nano-industry-calls-for-another-look-at-carbon-black 

The ingredients below are the added ingredients due to coating the fibers in Younique’s Uplift Eye Serum:

  • Squalane – Squalane is a naturally occuring lipid in both plants and animals often used in lubricating creams and lotions.  It is assumed to be a low risk and rated a 1 on EWG’s database.  However, Squalane is listed in the PETA’s Caring Consumer guide as primarily derived from animals, especially shark liver oil.  According to Younique, their squalane is sourced from Sugarcane and is added to their fibers to help with cell support.
  • Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E) – I used Vitamin E all the time in my DIY beauty products so I never would’ve considered giving this another thought except I was looking up all the other ingredients so thought I would look this one up too.  Apparently, Vitamin E in it’s form Tocopheryl Acetate (other forms include: alpha-tocopherol, tocopherol, tocotrienol) warrants a rating of a 3, or Moderate Hazard, on the EWG’s Skin Deep Database due to potential for allergies and immunotoxicity as well as the potential of contamination with Hydroquinone, which is rates a 9 (out of 10) or High Hazard due to being a skin irritant and is restricted in use in cosmetics.
  • Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (Vitamin C) – According to Younique Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate has “multi-functional properties provides antioxidants, nutrition, and other age-defying benefits and is already present in our bodies and skin.” It is presumed to be relatively low risk, rating a 1 for Low Hazard by the EWG.
  • Iris Pallida Leaf Cell Extract – Another ingredient not listed in EWG’s Skin Deep Database but a quick internet search indicates that Iris Pallida Leaf Cell Extract is of limited health concern. Younique claims it helps provide a more youthful appearance.
  • Ubiquinone (CoQ10) – The chemical name, Ubiquinone, sounds scary but is a skin conditioning agent with a low overall concern. In fact, CoQ10 is a popular supplement taken to promote cell growth and maintenance.
  • Caprylic Capric Triglyceride – Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride is a mixed triester of glycerin and caprylic and capric acids often used as a skin conditioning agent.  It rates a 1 or Low Hazard on EWG’s database.
  • C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate – C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate is composed of benzoic acid and long-chain (C12-15) alcohols and is primarily used as a skin conditioning agent.  It also rates a 1 for Low Hazard but has limited data available.

I had already spent my hard earned money on the product so I decided to go ahead and use it.  Plus, I didn’t do my research (shame on me) until I was well beyond the 14 day “Younique Love It Guarantee” and couldn’t get my money back and as y’all know I don’t really wear much makeup and had already decided I wasn’t ever going to buy the Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lash Mascara ever again (unless they reformulate it or even better go back to the old formula) so a product credit wouldn’t do me any good… So, in case you were still wondering, below is my impression of the new formula after using it for awhile.

This was after my first couple attempts.  I was pretty bummed because I really didn’t like how clumpy my eyelashes looked.  It wasn’t so bad when it wasn’t a close up photo and once I had my glasses on but I really wanted a more natural look.  So I sent a message to my friend and Younique presented and asked for some advice.  Here’s what she said:

So the new formula has a different gel and it takes a little getting use to. I like to thin mine out a little bit with rose water. I prefer a thinner, wetter mascara. And I scrape a lot of the gel off by pulling the wand out at an angle. Then I do a thin layer of gel one eye first then fibers. I pack the fibers down on the wand and apply only to my tips then move to the next eye with gel. After I do fibers on the second eye I deal with gel on the first.

I suppose it’s telling when even the presenter doesn’t love the new formula, but that’s what I love about her – she’s honest and not just trying to sell you on a product.

I had heard a lot of buzz lately about adding Lavender essential oil to your mascara in the oily community.  Apparently it is supposed to help strengthen and lengthen your lashes and keep lash mites away.  I didn’t have any rosewater as my friend suggested but thought the Lavender eo might just do the trick so I added 2 drops to my new tube of the Fiber Lash gel. When adding any liquid to your mascara, do NOT pump your wand up and down but rather swirl it around to mix the oil and the mascara up.  Pumping your wand in your container adds air and will dry your mascara up quicker (and if you’re buying any high $ mascara you want to make it last as long as possible!).

So much better after adding the Lavender eo! I’ll be honest, even if I didn’t have the concerns I do about the lengthening list of potentially toxic ingredients, I much preferred the old formula.  While I still love the length I can add to my lashes, which really makes my eyes pop, especially when I have my glasses on, I’m really disappointed in Younique’s decision to reformulate their Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lash Mascara.  What drew me to the company to begin with was that they prided themselves in being  naturally based and cruelty free.  But I feel like they are straying from their values by adding potentially toxic ingredients.

Do you use Younique’s 3D Fiber Lash Mascara? What do you think of the new formula? Share your review below for readers to see!

Do you have a natural, non-toxic, cruelty-free (and bonus if it’s Vegan for some of my readers) brand of mascara? I’d love to know what it is so I can try it out.  Extra bonus points if it’s a drug store brand that won’t cost me half my paycheck.

I also ordered some of Younique’s Bb cream to try out at the same time I ordered the new mascara.  I’ll do a separate blog post on that soon so keep your eye out for it! Don’t want to miss any posts? Be sure to follow my blog by clicking on the link below my picture!

**Update: I sent an email to Younique’s Customer Service with links to both my original product review as well as this one and received the following email in response:

NOV 09, 2015  |  05:45AM MST
Kelsey G replied:

Hello Celia,

Thank you for contacting Younique Support.

We greatly value your insights and suggestions, especially when it comes to our products. We love receiving feedback and try to take it into account as we move forward as a company. I have recorded your comments, and concerns regarding the Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes+ look forward to hearing more from you in the future.

Please let us know if there is anything else we can do to assist you.

Thank you,

Kelsey G
Younique Support Team

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