Here it is (finally, I know), the battle to find the best clean mascara! I know this was a long time coming, but there were a few big clean mascara launches last year (namely from Tower 28, TOK, Saie and Milk), and I wanted to give them all a fair shot. And rather than provide you a ginormous list of natural mascaras to weed through, I’m going to give you my top 3 favorite clean mascaras that battled their way to to top of the pack, plus a few others that I highly recommend for particular reasons. I’ll also share a few that did NOT work for me.
Clean mascara has come a long way, baby
Mascara is one of the products I get asked most about, and it was definitely one of the first things I started researching when I switched to clean beauty. It’s proven to be one of the tougher products to replace (oooh, how I miss my K-beauty waterproof fiber mascara!!!), and here’s just a few reasons why:
- My lashes don’t hold a curl. Seems ridiculous as my hair is curly, but there it is. Which means waterproof mascara has always been my friend as it keeps those lashes UP. But as of now, there’s no such thing as a clean waterproof mascara (water-resistant, but not waterproof).
- I live in a humid climate, so during the warmer months I’ve got to have something that will withstand moisture and not smudge or droop (refer back to #1 re: waterproof mascara).
- I have short lashes, so mama likes some serious lengthening in her mascara (thus my love of fiber mascaras).
- While my skin is dry, my moveable lid is oily. Which means mascaras smudge really quickly for me (again, waterproof mascara saved the day).
So let’s just say that I’ve tried MANY a clean mascara over the past 6 years, and while I will admit to briefly cheating and going back to my aforementioned conventional favorite at one point for certain occasions (non-waterproof mascaras don’t do well with face masks – your breath steams up your lashes, making them droop!), clean mascara has come a long way in the past couple of years, and I LOVE my current favorite!
I won’t get on my soapbox about why you should be using a natural mascara, as I’m assuming if you’re here you’re already on the bandwagon. But suffice it to say that conventional mascaras can have some real nasties in them: things like parabens, phenoxyethanol, propylene glycol, Carbon Black (which can contain heavy metals and arsenic among other icks; also can be listed as “Ci 77266”) and aluminum powder.
To be the best clean mascara for me, it needs to handle my 4 lash issues, plus not break the bank
To recap, mascara for me needs to be: 1. Non-toxic, 2. Water-resistant at a minimum, 3. Hold a curl, 4. Lengthening, and because I can, 5. Nourishing (if anyone is going to make a mascara that’s good for your lashes, it’s the wonderful green and clean beauty brands!). I’d also prefer it not cost a fortune.
This past year, the battleground narrowed down to 3 main contenders for best clean and non-toxic mascara in my book. Below you’ll find the winners! In addition I’ll share a few other terrific nontoxic mascaras, including an outstanding budget-friendly pick, most innovative and eco-friendly option, and a terrific dual-purpose clean mascara and lash treatment, along with a few others that really are outstanding but just don’t work for my oily-lid-having self.