What makes eyebrow pens waterproof?

What makes eyebrow pens waterproof?

It's 90+ degrees in the middle of May here in New York City, which means it's time to switch out your 'Frozen' palette for waterproof makeup that will literally stay put through river-rafting. But if you're like us, you've probably wondered at one point in time just what ingredient makes your favorite waterproof makeup... waterproof? Is it safe? Does it bioaccumulate like phtalates (tha·layt)?

The answer is that it depends on the makeup. However, acrylates copolymer is one of the most widely used ingredients in waterproof makeup, followed by various waxes and esters that are less performative. We delve into why Acrylates Copolymer is such a beloved ingredient to help you understand why we use it in Amaze Brow.

What is Acrylates Copolymer?

Acrylates copolymer is a waterproofing film former used in different cosmetic formulations for different purposes. In shower gels and brow pens, it increases viscosity to enable a rich lather. In translucent sunscreen, Acrylates Copolymer is used as a texturizer to achieve a soft feel texture.

How does Acrylates Copolymer work?

On a molecular level, Acrylates Copolymer swells up to 1000 times its original volume and 10x its original diameter when its mixed in with other ingredients that have a pH above 4.

Acrylates copolymer is ubiquitous. If you have ever used a cult-favorite water-proof fiber brow gel or a transfer-proof curling mascara, check the ingredient list for it. There is a high likelihood that Acrylates Copolymer will be listed. It is often referred to by its derivatives, which include:

  • Acrylates/Ammonium Methacrylate Copolymer Acrylates Copolymer
  • Acrylates/Hydroxyesters Acrylates Copolymer

  • How is Acrylates Copolymer used in Skincare?

    Its strong water resistance properties, shine, and ability to adhere to surfaces make it a useful, clean ingredient to formulate into eye and nail makeup. It adds a medium level of stiffness and unparalleled resistance to humidity to extreme hold styling gel during humid summer months. In formulations that demand a high level of translucence and spreadability (think translucent sunblock and foundation), Acrylates Copolymer is a must-have.

    Is Acrylates copolymer safe for skin?

    Yes, acrylates copolymer is safe as used when formulated to avoid skin irritation.

    Acrylates Copolymer has been extensively studied for decades. In 2002, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) published its findings on the safety of acrylates copolymer in cosmetic formulations. The panel identified a potential source of skin irritation in substances that contained a higher-than-normal concentration of copolymer and unreacted monomers. However, the panel concluded that since cosmetics 

    Is Acrylates copolymer good for your face?

    Acrylates copolymer does not have any long-term benefits per se, but its a prized ingredient that is used to enhance how products feel on your face and skin. Could you imagine using a shampoo or shower gel that didn't lather? Or a hair gel that didn't have staying power? Products would be much less interesting and useful without a versatile ingredient like Acrylates Copolymer.

    Is Acrylates copolymer bad for hair?

    No, there is no evidence that acrylates copolymer bioaccumulates or causes irritation when used on hair.

    Is Acrylates Copolymer the same as acrylic?

    No. Acrylic is a thermoplastic that is created through a process of emulsion and polymerization. This process can yield a wide variety of compositions with varying monomer levels, including a product with minimal residual monomers. Acrylates copolymer has minimal amount of residual monomers.

    Is Acrylates copolymer bad for the environment?

    No, acrylates copolymer is biodegradable and processed effectively by wastewater treatment systems.


    While other ingredients are also used to waterproof makeup and skincare products, there are few that are as versatile as Acrylates Copolymer.

    What holy grail waterproof makeup can YOU not live without? so that you can choose the best ones for your needs

    Back to blog

    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.