My natural mascara post is here! Having been in natural beauty for over 10 years now, I’ve tried my fair share of mascaras. I’m pretty picky when it comes to a stellar formula too. It has to meet some strict requirements. I mean a girl doesn’t want just volume, but length, separation, and maybe even a bit of drama. Who’s with me?! I've written a post like this before but have since updated it and now I'm doing a new refresh all together to give you the complete guide to finding your favorite natural mascara! If I can do it, you can do it!
Have you ever wondered what was in that long tube of black goo we call mascara?
According to Women’s Health, 65% of women wear mascara every day, making it the most popular eye makeup used.
Yet, I would venture to say most women don’t know a thing about what’s in their favorite black tube. Well, I was like most women just enjoying the creative powers of my mascara as it made my eyelashes go from spindly average to va va voom, until one day I did a little research of my own. This research left me flabbergasted…yes I said it, flabbergasted! I mean how much could a little tube really carry …right? WRONG!
Here’s the oh so scary news: Most mascaras contain mercury, coal tar, formaldehyde releasers, petroleum distillates, vinyl, parabens, phthalates, and triethanolamine…can you say scary… three times! And not only does it contain all these big word ingredients but over half of us our putting them near our eyes every single day!
Yes, gasp if you’d like, I sure did. So why don’t we want these big long words in our black tubes? Well, for starters they’re harmful to our health and can accumulate in the body and lead to an array of nastiness in our bodies, such as cancer, liver problems, hormonal disruptions, miscarriages, and birth defects…just to name a few. Now you might be thinking, great I’m going to have to give up my magic tube of goo…But alas, have no fear we live in the 21st century, where choices are abundant and there are many natural options.
I had some standards as I tested out mascara. There have been some mascaras I’ve noticed some people pegging as “clean” but they had questionable ingredients. My top recommendations are completely clean. However, there are a few ingredients here and there in some of the other mascaras that rate a higher score on EWG. In comparison to conventional mascaras, I think they’re pretty good. But that’s a decision you have to make for yourself.
I wanted to dive into mascara and share why it's important to make the switch ASAP! I've heard so many people say that mascara isn't a big deal to use conventional. I beg to differ. I get the one time waterproof mascara you want to use for a wedding or that special event but for the day in and day out grind- get yourself a natural mascara you love!
*I'm also going to share some natural mascaras that I didn't love as well. Hopefully this well help weed out the options so you can find your best natural mascara!
So what's lurking in the conventional mascara tubes? Nothing pretty.
*Your eyes actually have tiny pores around the eyes and can absorb the chemicals your applying to them.
- PARABENS- from Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben. These are known endocrine disruptors(hormone disruptors) and can cause allergic reactions as well as contact dermatitis.
- PROPYLENE GLYCOL- This includes -4, -6, -8…etc) Has been found to be contaminated with 1, 4 dioxane, which is cancer causing. Can cause acne, skin irritant.
- POLYBUTENE– Derived from petroleum and is a plasticizer, used to make adhesives and in this case mascara too- yikes!
- PEG'S– Simliar to propylene glycol, has been found to be contaminated with 1, 4 dioxane, which is cancer causing. Can cause acne, skin irritant.
- SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE- Drying of the skin, skin irritant and has been linked to eczema. Endocrine disruptor and has been found to have 1, 4 dioxane, again cancer causing.
- PARAFFIN- Also known as petroleum. The manufacturing process of petroleum causes it to be contaminated with 1,4 dioxane. This ingredient has been shown to be a known carcinogen and cancer causing. Not too mention, petroleum is a skin irritant, causing rashes and and allergic reactions.
- ETHANOLAMINE- These can come in other forms such as triethanolamine, or be listed as DEA, TEA, MEA. Immune and respiratory toxin. Also, known to cause allergic reactions. Cancer causing as well because they contain nitrosamines.
- BHT- Derived from petroleum and used as a preservative. Not only can it affect your hormones but it also is carcinogenic.
- TALC- Most talc is contaminated with asbestos unless they are third party testing it. The only company doing that is Beautycounter. It's associated with respiratory problems, lung cancer, asthma, and even cancer.
- FRAGRANCE- Can cause photo-toxic reactions and can be photo-allergic. Skin irritants, and has been known as a neurotoxin.
- RETINYL ACETATE- can cause liver damage, brittle nails, & hair loss just to name a few. It's also been shown in high doses to cause problems with skeletal birth defects in developing fetuses.
- DIAZOLIDINYL UREA- Releases formaldehyde in products. Can be found in facial moisturizers, facial cleansers, eye creams, foundations, shampoos, acne treatments, after shave, lip balms, mascara, sunless tanning products, antiperspirants/deodorants, cuticle treatments, and nail polishes.
- ALUMINUM POWDER- This is a neurotoxin and nothing you want close to your eye.
*I can't tell you how many people after switching to a natural mascara, stopped getting styes in their eyes! I don't think it's a coincidence. These harmful ingredients make their way into the eye and can cause a variety of infections.
I get a lot of questions on waterproof mascara options and formulas in clean beauty. So I thought I would share how waterproof mascara is made. To make a mascara waterproof often companies use an ingredient called dimethicone copolyol.
Here's what their research and development team had to say:
There are actually many different ingredient combinations that can work to make a mascara formula “waterproof”, and it is much more complex than simply adding “dimethicone copolyol” to formulate a mascara with this feature.
Bottom line: waterproof mascara can be filled with many unknown chemicals and it's not always clear what exactly is lurking in the tube.
The more I looked into dimethicone copolyol I learned that it's a derivative of silica and it repels water. Silicones are really important when it comes to making a waterproof mascara work. Since we know oil and water don't mix, and silicones are made of fat(oil) this helps the mascara to stay on the lashes instead of run down your face. You will notice in many waterproof formulas there's not water or very little and more oil. That's because oil repels the water. That's also why it's so hard to remove waterproof mascara because it's made from oils and just water isn't going to remove it but you'll need an oil based eye makeup remover. The problem I learned is that since waterproof mascaras are harder to remove, many people just don't. Unfortunately, this causes bacteria to build up on the eye and can cause styes and infection.
There aren't waterproof formulations in natural mascara formulas. There are some “water resistant” formulations- but not a true waterproof formula. Using a waterproof mascara over and over again not only causes eyelid dermatitis but can lead to drying out your eye. Since waterproof mascara takes a while to get off, often people have to use harsher eye makeup removers to remove the mascara. Another reason to ditch the waterproof mascara on a daily basis.
*Below I'll highlight some water resistant mascara options if waterproof mascara is your thing.
The thing is it's super easy to find a stellar formula these days. Back when I was transitioning to clean beauty(10 years ago) there was one formula…yes I repeat one formula that worked. And even then it wasn't perfect but it was all that was out there. These days not only can you have your cake but you can eat it too when it comes to natural mascara! In 10 years the clean beauty industry has gone from making one ok formula to SO many. With my help you can find your new natural mascara bestie.
Let's dive into ALL the natural mascara options- cuz' there's a lot! I am breaking them down by formula, smudge factor, flaking, brush and price. I have several budget friendly options that I think you'll love.
*Oh and side note- if you're looking for a natural eye makeup remover, check out Beautycounter's! It's the best. Any former Mary Kay eye makeup remover lovers out there? Yeah, I was one of them. I loved that stuff. Beautycounter's Instant Eye Makeup Remover reminds me of Mary Kays- so good! Get it here.
After trying so many natural mascaras I must say I have 3 that really stand out for me, remember I love bigger/ fuller lashes, you might like something different:
Natural Mascara Picks
Honest Beauty Mascara(FAVE- after trying so many I still go back to this one, it checks all the boxes for me)
Formula- Ok, so I did try this mascara when it first came out years ago and I didn’t like it. It stung my eyes pretty bad and there wasn’t anything amazing about it. However, they re-did the formula a couple years ago and I have to say it is completely different and I LOVE it! This is hands down my favorite natural mascara in clean beauty currently. I know, that says a lot but it’s true. The formula checks all the boxes. It offers thickness, length, separation- it’s just awesome! The formula isn’t too dry or too wet and I love that I don’t have to apply 5 coats of mascara to see product on my lashes. In just two coats my lashes are instantly lengthened, thicker and have overall more volume. I’m sold! On one end of the mascara wand is a primer and the other the mascara color. I apply the primer first and then the mascara.
Smudge factor/Flaking- Doesn’t flake or smudge!
Brush- The brush is longer and thinner, with a slight curve.
Price- $16.99 on Amazon.
Ilia Beauty Limitless Lash Mascara(sensitive eyes)
Formula- This is a newer natural mascara find and I've been loving it. They created a patented brush. One side is for curling and the other side is for lengthening. It really does give my lashes a curl boost and makes adding length to them even easier. The formula is a little on the wet side, but not too wet that it smudges all over. I'm really able to build length with this mascara too. They also have a smaller travel size too! I love this option. You can easily try it out without breaking the bank.
Smudge factor/Flaking- I don't have flaking with this mascara or smudging, it really stays in place.
Brush- I really like the brush for it's unique patented sides. Having one side for length and the other side for curling. It really works! It's not so fat either, so makes it easy to get in the smaller corners.
Fitglow Good Lash + Mascara
Formula- It gives my lashes volume, separation and some drama. It definitely lifts them up and creates a lash that you can’t help but notice! I love how you can build the formula on top of your lashes. The formula is overall thicker but easy to apply to the lashes. I felt the formula looked a little too worn in by the end of the day. It didn't hold up as well as others. It gives your lashes a dose of vitamins and antioxidants with their nourishing formula.
Smudge factor/Flaking- I did have some flaking and smudging.
Brush- The brush on it is different than any other I’ve used. It starts out wide and then gets narrower. Great for getting the bitty lashes in the corner of the eye.
Beautycounter Volume Mascara
Formula- The formula is drier overall and thicker. It takes a couple coats to get the product on but one you do it really builds and you can get a thicker lash. It doesn't give my huge vixen lashes but some good volume and pigment.
Smudge factor/Flaking- I didn't notice a lot of flaking until the tube got to the very end. The formula seemed extra dry and it would flake easier on me.
Brush- The brush is a larger fat brush that goes in slightly in the middle.
Inika Long Lash Mascara(vegan)
Formula- The formula is pretty wet. It gets better the more air gets to it. Once I apply the first couple coats I move to the next eye and then come back to the first eye. Then it's easier to build it up more. It really gives great length and separation, not as much volume.
Smudge factor/Flaking- It did smudge a little if I wasn’t careful letting it dry since the formula is on the wet side. But no flaking.
Brush- It comes with a long brush.
Crunchi Shattered Mascara(vegan)
Formula- This is Crunchi's new natural Mascara formula and it basically kicked everything up a notch! It gives more volume, length and overall drama to the lashes. It does this all without needing to apply several coats of mascara too. I find one or two coats gives me instant lift and separation. It's a very goopy formula overall- lots of product on the brush. If you want to look like you have mascara on and have those big lashes- this is your mascara.
Smudge factor/Flaking- It does tend to flake on me by the end of the day. Especially if I workout. However, I've learned some tricks in getting it to stay put- check out my free download to learn my tips!
Brush- Love the brush! It's bigger but not too big and a little smaller at the tip.
Hynt Beauty Nocturne Mascara(gluten free)
Formula- The formula is drier. It takes a few strokes to get the product on your lashes. But once on you do you can really build it up on the ends to lengthen. It gives my lashes separation, volume, and length. Plus, some thickness.
Smudge factor/Flaking- Overall the smudging is minimal to none. I don’t notice smudging as much as flakes sometimes as I’m nearing the end of the tube. I think it's more because the formula is drying out. It’s a good reminder to switch it out.
Brush- It comes with a thick, fat spoodle brush. Love the brush!
Hush And Dotti Mascara(sensitive eyes/water resistant)
Formula- The formula is a great mix of dry and wet. It goes on so easy and doesn’t require a ton of applications. Gives my lashes thickness, length and separation. A good building natural mascara. I was surprised how much I loved this one. It reminds me of Maybelline's original Great Lash Mascara. FAVE!!!
Smudge factor/Flaking- It doesn’t smear on my eyelids or flake at all.
Brush- It’s a smaller standard mascara brush. It gets smaller towards the end of the brush.
100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara(sensitive eyes/water resistant)
Formula- This natural mascara is especially great for lengthening. It also does an amazing job of separation. It builds up quite well too after you let it dry for 30 seconds and go back and add some more. It’s a wetter formula overall. It doesn’t claim to be waterproof but water resistant, which is pretty awesome for a mascara in natural beauty.
Smudge factor/Flaking- It can smear a bit if you don’t let it dry first. Once you let it dry though it doesn’t flake.
Brush- The brush is curved a bit, thinner and longer.
W3ll People Exressionist Pro Mascara(gluten free)
Formula- At first I didn’t really like this mascara but after giving it two solid weeks I really liked it. Initially, it was hard to get the product off the brush. In my opinion, it gets better the more air is exposed to it. It gets a little more goopy and helps the product to be able to build on your lashes. It didn’t give me quite as much length as I would like but definitely gave my lashes a bit of drama and thickness. It’s not a lightweight mascara, you can see there is product on your lashes. Overall, definitely a great product. There is a couple ingredients in it that scored a 5 or higher on EWG. However, they don’t seem significant enough, especially with some data gaps. They also have a mini version of this which is great for travel and nice if you want to try it out without breaking the bank.
Smudge factor/Flaking- It didn’t flake on me until the end of the tube. Then I noticed some flakes around my eyes.
Brush- The brush wasn’t my fave- it’s the new high tech rubber brush. I’m more into the old spoodle brushes.
Lily Lolo Mascara(vegan)
Formula- This mascara definitely gets some good product on your lashes. It gives your lashes some drama and lift. It's more of a wetter formula. A little harder to build the product on the lashes unless I wait a minute or two for the first coat to dry, since the formula is more wet. The only thing I noticed was some irritation when my eyes would water-which was randomly when I had my second baby-hormones are real people! I feel the formula got thicker and better the more I used it and air got to it. It will make your lashes stand out for sure.
Smudge factor/Flaking- It does smudge a little the first week or so because the formula is wetter. However, once you use it more the formula thickens and I didn’t have a problem with smudging.
Brush- The brush is a big fat brush- just the kind I like!
ZuZu Luxe Mascara(gluten free)
Formula- This a great everyday mascara, for someone who doesn’t want anything too dramatic. However, it does add great color definition and builds well too. It comes off easy at the end of the day. It’s a great pick for those who have sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers. It isn’t going to give you the drama or vixen lashes but a great option for those wanting something a little subdued and have sensitive eyes. I also love how easy it is to find. They sell it at most Whole Foods and natural grocery/health food stores.
Smudge factor/Flaking- It doesn’t smudge or flake on me.
Brush- The brush is a standard mascara wand. Not big and gets smaller at the tip of the brush.
W3ll People Expressionist Volumizing Mascara(gluten free)
Formula- I wasn't super impressed with this at first. However, it got better as time went on, just like the original formula. It adds a good amount of product on the lashes. It isn't as wet as the original formula, more of a dry formula overall. It can really build. It gives a good amount of volume on the lashes and can build the length the more you apply on the tips of lashes. They also have a mini version of this one, so a great idea to try out before purchasing a large one.
Smudge factor/Flaking- It doesn’t smudge or flake on me.
Brush- The brush is a large fat brush all the way around
Natural Mascara Fails-
I wasn’t impressed with it. The formula was so wet and it left my lashes more limp than vixen. It smudged and came off easily too. At $33.20 a pop, I was disappointed in the overall performance of this mascara.
This was probably the biggest flop. If you’ve been around natural beauty long enough you know RMS Beauty. Their products are so good. However, it unfortunately didn’t translate into their mascara. The product is almost invincible on my lashes. I had to coat them but even then you could hardly see the product or a difference. It flaked too. Not worth it at $28.
This is similar to RMS mascara in my opinion. It was hard to see the product on my lashes or even notice I had on mascara, it was so subtle. If you like your mascara to look as natural as possible then this would be your mascara. But for me I want some drama in my lashes! $24
Juice Beauty Photo-Pigments Ultra-Natural Mascara-
This did absolutely nothing for my eyelashes- like nothing! It’s such a wet formula and doesn’t build, add volume or anything. Wouldn’t recommend this at all. $24
Ere Perez Natural Almond Mascara-
This didn't do anything for my eyelashes. It hardly gives much pigment on the lashes. I really had to coat them several times to get anything on them. I like to look like I'm wearing something so it didn't work for me. It claims to be waterproof too but it smudged on me. If you like something that looks really natural and is for sensitive eyes you may like it. Just not my cup of tea. $27.30
Lola Lash Too Antonym Mascara
Didn't love the formula. Too wet and couldn't get any build from it. It didn't add length or volume. Just added some wet pigment. It smudged too since it was so wet. I didn't love the brush either. $26
That sums up my mascara post! I hope it helped you have a better idea of what mascara you should go for. Let me know what mascara you’re loving!
If you liked this post, check out past posts below: