What woman doesn’t wish for longer, thicker, darker lashes? Maybe there are a few fortunate ones who have them naturally, but for the rest of us, mascaras do the magic.
Mascara is often that one conventional (read: toxic) beauty product that’s the hardest to trade in for a healthier option, and for good reason. It’s hard to make mascaras that darken, thicken, lengthen and stay put using natural non-toxic ingredients. But lucky for us, several great brands have stepped up to the challenge to provide good options that are far healthier than your mainstream mascara formulas.
In no particular order, here’s your guide to good options that deliver good color, shine and performance without clumping, flaking or immediately dripping down to your chin:
1. Alima Pure Natural Definition Mascara – $22 – The new kid on the block, this pure minerals pigment formula definitely fits the bill. A great molded brush helps to reduce flake and maintains color after several coats without the glop. Provitamin B5 and natural oils condition lashes and leave them healthy. Do take care when applying to avoid smudging, as this formula tends to go on wet. Fan ‘em before you flutter.
2. Pacifica Stellar Gaze Lenth & Strengh Mineral Mascara – $14.00 – Also newer to market, this “shoot for the stars” formula stays put all day and feels light on the lashes, two qualities I really like in a mascara. Infused with coconut oil and vitamin B to strengthen, lengthen and hydrate, it’s lash friendly and easy to layer. One swipe to keep it natural and light for day; two to three passes for more extreme volume at night. An excellent, soft brush makes clump free application a snap.
3. Organic Glam Mascara – £20.95 – Five years of research and testing proved worth the wait for this lash conditioning, organic aloe and beeswax based formula, enriched with vitamins A, E and C for a high performance mascara that’s a treat for your lashes. Ideal for sensitive eyes, it’s free of artificial colors, preservatives and fragrances. Well worth the conversion to U.S. currency and shipping from across the pond!
4. Josie Maran Go Go Instant Natural Volume Mascara – $22 – Goes on beautifully for well defined, clump-free, dark, thicker looking lashes. Water resistant formula wears well throughout the day for a glossy, define fringe that can really take a beating. Even better, sales of Go Go Mascara support cancer patients and survivors at the City of Hope.
5. Physicians Formula Organic Wear Lash Boosting Mascara – $9.99 – While I’m not sure about the long term, lash enhancing benefits when you’re not wearing it, it performs well as a mascara, delivering good color in a non-clumping/flaking, volumizing formula. The Organic Wear collection is widely available at drug stores and a low price point, making it easily accessible and the most affordable option on the list.
6. Jane Iredale Longest Lash Thickening and Lengthening Mascara – $33.00 – This petroleum-free formula contains a blend of seaweed lipids to condition, moisturize and protect lashes while reducing splitting and breaking. Interestingly packaged in a squeezable tube with an oversized brush to prevent clumping and to create separated, defined lashes. Will stay put without runs throughout the day unless you plan to get super sweaty at the gym after work.
7. Dr. Hauschka Volume Mascara – $29.95 – Gentle and soothing way to add full volume to lashes while still keeping it smudge-free. It may take a few applications to achieve a very noticeable look, but if you’re going for day-to-day au natural this is a good choice. Contains beeswax, rose and candelilla waxes to plump and protect your black beauties. Black tea extracts take care of the delicate skin around the eyes while neem leaf extract strengthens lashes.
8. Tarte Lights Camera Lashes – $19.00 – While not as super-natural as some of the others on this list, this 4 in 1 formula is a great, less toxic option for newbies switching from conventional mascara to something cleaner. It conditions, thickens, lengthens and curls, just like your favorite tube of dirty mascara. It also won’t run or flake for hours and creates great volume after only one coat. Infused with olive esters to condition, treat and protect lashes, this paraben, mineral oil, and phthalate-free formula is also gluten-free.
9. Honeybee Gardens Truly Natural Mascara – $11.99 – Inexpensive, USA-made, vegan and paraben-free formula boasts a light as a feather base and zero clumping due to the absence of clay. Botanically enriched recipe includes palmetto fruit and avocado butter to condition lashes from base to tip. Has a good amount of staying power – work out with it on – but don’t jump in a pool and expect to have vibrant lashes when you get out!
10. Devita Absolute Length Mascara – $23.95 – Great for sensitive eyes, the advanced brush and synthetic preservative free formula strengthens and lengthens. Additives such as biotin-D and carrot oil keep your lashes healthy while pure pigments of black tea and pomegranate with iron oxides add rich, deep chemical free color. Free from coal tar, TD&C colorants and other mainstream mascara toxins. Only downside: oddly, the wand sometimes is hard to get back into the tube.
11. 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara – $18 – glosses, conditions, colors and enhances with fruit pigments, proteins and vitamins, this formula is a favorite for many and smells amazing (not in a perfume on your eyes way, but in a fruity goodness way). Works well for just about everyone, including those with sensitive eyes and contacts. Decent staying power unless you plan to sweat a lot or get wet.
12. Coleur Caramel Cils Longs Mascara – $24.25 – a favorite among make-up pros with a penchant for natural, the formula is rich in plant based active ingredients to pamper lashes. The brush is a wee bit stiff, but it layers well, taking you from subtle to glam in a few swipes with rich color and good definition. Stays put for regular daily activities.
A last piece of advice: you’re not committed to the wand supplied. Find one you like that coats without clumping, and perhaps another that helps to separate lashes. There’s no monogamy required here! In fact, using a wand other than the one supplied may even make your mascara last a little longer and stay a little fresher, keeping the tube free from bacteria that can be transferred from lashes to tube with each dip & swipe. Here’s to creating your best fringe yet!
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Top image: starlights, all other images appear by courtesy of the brands