We Have a Unicorn


The first vegan mascara with both refillable packaging and formulation tested for PFAS (forever chemicals) <10 ppm

We are excited to announce the launch of our new refillable mascara system! 

Tested inside and out for PFAS means that not only are there no detected toxic forever chemicals potentially going into your body but also that there is not an excess washing off into our environment.

The SAPPHO mascara is made from naturally derived and sustainable ingredients, and is made to be gentle, long-wearing and smudge free. The bonus is that now with this elegant refillable packaging, you can reduce your environmental impact.

Mascara Tubes and Recycling

The exact number of mascara tubes that end up in landfills is not known, but it is estimated that millions of them are disposed of each year.  

Since mascara tubes are not recyclable, these tubes end up in landfills where they can take hundreds of years to decompose. The more materials fused together to make the tube, the larger the environmental footprint, and that even includes different kinds of plastics!

Our original mascara tube, for instance, is plastic and metal fused together: two recyclable materials but, as we found out, unrecyclable because the energy needed to separate plastic from the metal is too costly both energetically and financially to make it worthwhile.

Mono plastics are usually made of a single type of plastic, which makes them more easily recyclable than other plastic items. However, mono plastics, like our new refill insert, are usually not as durable as other mixed plastics, and plastic (not ours) is often a source of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances).

PFAS are used to make plastic more durable and resistant to water, oil, stains, and other substances, but these chemicals can have a disastrous impact on human health and the environment, so, we feel it is important for companies to test any of the plastics they use in the packaging of personal care items, and to tell you what those numbers are. 

SAPPHO has tested this mascara inside and out for markers of PFAS contamination.

Are Refillable Mascaras Zero Waste?

No they are not BUT they are a step in a much needed direction.

No mascara tube is currently recyclable as tubes of all sorts are considered too hard to clean and the worry is that the chemicals left in the tubes would contaminate other plastics or clog machines.

The SAPPHO outer case is made of lightweight aluminum and is recyclable. The inner tubes are not (more on this below) however their plastic has been tested for your safety at undetected <10ppm for PFAS/organic fluorine.

In developing this innovative product, we considered multiple facets of the challenge this poses. Mascara tubes and wands were invented because they work well for the intended use of mascara formulas: coating the lashes to make them longer. With this in mind, we looked at how we could offer a similar function with a wand and silicone tip to use our mascara, but without the extra layers of fused packaging.

The result is perhaps a simpler looking inner tube (the refill) to which there is significant benefit: utilizing a single plastic material, less of it, and more lightweight. The aluminium case serves the dual purpose of a more sturdy, durable, outer packaging, that is also beautiful, minimalistic object design.

In fact, we don’t mind if you don’t buy the case. While it’s nice to have something that is more durable and gives some stability to your wand for application, but really in the end... it’s still the same mascara!

We even looked for ways to label or shrink wrap the inner tube, for looks, however it appears that labels are the least environmentally friendly part of packaging and we did not see the point, until we can find a solution that fits our ethos.

In the end, we did not brand the inner tube BUT that white wand is very special. Let's tell you more about that a little further down...

Where to Recycle

In addition to cutting down plastic waste, SAPPHO has joined PACT, a nonprofit collective driving systemic change to reduce beauty and wellness packaging waste. 

PACT has both a mail-in program for rural areas, and drop-off boxes in larger cities. The boxes are 'brand agnostic' meaning they will accept our mascara tubes. Below are some links to drop-off sites as well as mail-in instructions. We will have a page designated to PACT over the next few weeks. We will have more details at that time, however in the meantime any SAPPHO cosmetic packaging that meets their criteria can be dropped off - including this mascara. 


Getting Greener As We Grow  

Our promise has always been to “get greener as we grow”. Our practice has been to upcycle packaging rather than discard it, to keep waste to a minimum, to use glass when we can, and every time we run out of packaging, we look to replace it with something better for our world. 

We are super excited to take another step forward! 

Testing the Wand: 2.5 Inches of Trouble!

Having worked on this for over a year and a half, we would have had it ready for production much earlier, but it cost time and money getting all the components tested for organic fluorine, the gold standard of lab testing to detect PFAS (forever chemicals) in makeup and packaging.

The black portion of the refill tube itself, where the formula lives, tested undetected for Organic fluorine right away (as PFAS free as you can get), however... the 2.5 inch wand did not!

The first black wand tested at 18 parts per million of organic fluorine which means, over time, that wand could leech dangerous PFAS into the formulation.

Both Noemie and I made a firm promise to you and to ourselves that we would no longer put out new product that had not been tested for organic fluorine, and this means both the product and the packaging.

So back to the drawing board, we had two more black wands made and tested. Results came back at 12 ppm and then, oh so close, at 11 ppm.

Meanwhile, we also had a white wand meant for a lip gloss tube in development, so we had it tested and it came back UNDETECTED PFAS <10 ppm, which is the smallest that is testable for cosmetic ingredients and packaging at this time. All this took months of making new prototypes and sending them out for PFAS testing. 

But we finally had our wand! We finally had our refillable system!

The process has been a lot slower than anticipated and so much more expensive than expected as well. The white wand did not seem as elegant as a black wand at first, but then acknowledging that it stood for PFAS free made us realize just what a beauty she is. 

The SAPPHO Refillable Mascara System

Easy to use: Keep the outer shell and replace the inner cylinder with wand as needed, every few months
  • Recyclable via mail-in or drop-off at any participating PACT retailer
  • PFAS Tested: undetected <10 ppm Organic fluorine
  • Outer shell: Aluminum, light weight, sturdy
  • Designed to last
  • Recyclable locally

We are investing in a limited number of each the full unit and the inner refills to get started.

Why a Pre-Sale?

Clean beauty was imagined to save lives.

We are offering a pre-sale at a better price to get the ball rolling, see what our customers prefer, and to generate revenue that can be reinvested in creating the next generation of clean makeup. Truly clean, as it was always meant to be, and more green so we can all do better by our planet and for ourselves.

Sales from pre-orders of the Maximum Intensity Refillable Mascara will go towards paying for manufacturing, shipping and further testing for PFAS, as well as developing other innovative or refillable packaging, and creating new PFAS free makeup.

We are a small two-woman company working to get the word out and help create a community...

- Where funds are used for testing for safety 

- Where companies are transparent about their ingredients and can be trusted

- Where women are no longer the canaries in the coal mine, for yet another venture capitalist group to buy themselves another boat, private jet and bigger house

Think of it as our own small-scale "kickstarter" campaign, destined to benefit you and the world, to have a safe place to turn to for makeup. Make a purchase, pass this on - we could use the leg up!

Mascara Pre-Sale Offer

- The full mascara (metal case + refill) for $32.00 USD
- The refill cartridge for $25.00 USD
plus $10.00 shipping*
Prices will be going up after the pre-sale
Delivery will be June 15th-30th 2023


    * For shipments to Canada and continental United States only.