Here’s a not-so-secret secret: Even natural beauty divas tend to cheat when it comes to their lashes, coating them in Maybelline Great Lash or lust-worthy DiorShow.
But there are more and more reasons not to with the ever improving category.
“Natural mascara has always been the sad little holdout that the greenest of green girls just couldn’t use,” says Spirit Demerson, founder of the pioneering online natural beauty store, Spirit Beauty Lounge. “Now even pro makeup artists can send natural mascara down the red carpet—it’s that much better.”
We lined our lashes with the latest crop of natural mascaras to see which resulted in as much volume, length, and drama as their chemical counterparts.
Here are ten great natural mascaras we wouldn’t bat an eye at. —Melisse Gelula, Molly Gallagher, and Lisa Elaine Held
Updated: May 17, 2015
Kjaer Weis Mascara ($38)
The natural scene’s unbeatably chic mascara comes in a red Cartier-like box, and it has luxe associations that others just don’t. The formulation, created by makeup artist Kirsten Kjaer Weis, is completely natural and 99.8% organic. After three months, you slip a refill ($28) into the stainless steel packaging. The clutch-purse-friendly size has tiny lash-grabbing wand, and a flat side on the handle makes it function better too. It wears as beautifully as it’s made.
(Photo: Kjaer Weis)
W3ll People Expressionist Bio Extreme Mascara ($23.50)
The “eco warriors” behind this edgy brand worked tirelessly to create a formulation with great ingredients, and it delivers the kind of results that likely has Maybelline execs trying to replicate it. The amazing brush (almost the shape of a skinny football) gets your lashes to their fullest and longest in one go. And though it goes on wet, it dries well. It may smudge a bit if you don’t use a little powder around your eyes (at least in my case), but it’s otherwise pretty flawless.
(Photo: W3ll People)
Ilia Beauty Mascara ($26)
Sascha Plavsic started her line with natural lipsticks a NARS-loving woman would fall for, with packaging and colors to match. Her natural mascara followed the convention: It comes in four stylish colors—from a coppery Macao to a gray-ish Asphalt Jungle. It goes on a bit dry, making it incredibly easy to apply after a workout (less chance for mess) and the smart oblong brush gives you makeup artist moves.
RMS Beauty Volumizing Mascara ($28)
It took the cult-fave line what seemed like ages to get on the clean mascara bandwagon, and then makeup artist-founder Rose-Marie Swift debuted two: A Volumizing and a Defining Mascara. Go with the former. It’s a little high maintenance at first: The brush is skinny and spiky. So to get volume, you need to patiently build a couple coats. I haven’t noticed much smudging, but over the day it can lose its oomph. Reapplying does the trick.
(Photo: RMS Beauty)
Lovers of the wet, black jet look of drugstore mascaras will find this one seriously competes. Only while it coats your lashes in a deep black pigment, it also conditions and strengthens them with argan oil and bamboo at the same time. The funky “five-ball brush” does a solid job of applying the mascara in a way that helps lengthen and hold curl, but it can be a little flaky over the course of the day.
(Photo: Josie Maran)
The brush, shaped kind of like a cone, creates long and separated lashes, without making them look too thick. It also reaches those hard-to-get lashes at the corner of your eye. The black, but not too black, pigment hits the spot for daytime-to-evening makeup perfection. And the hydrating ingredients (aloe, shea butter, and a mix of vegan waxes) mean it doesn’t flake.
(Photo: Juice Beauty)
The curved brush provides nice length, while the blackberry hue gives off a nice slightly chrome, slightly purple color (it also has a subtle, yummy fruit scent). The formulation is made with B5, vitamin E, oat and wheat proteins which condition your lashes, while making them stand out, too.
(Photo: 100 Percent Pure)
The shorter brush gives just the right amount of definition if you’re worried about overdoing it. It comes in a jet black, and a slightly mauve/brown color, which is great for a no-makeup look. Alima uses more than 90 percent naturally derived ingredients for it—and the natural waxes and oil protect and strengthen your pretty lashes. It doesn’t use wheat proteins, making it a gluten-free choice.
This brush is so killer, you can forgo your lash curler. The formula goes on slick and feels nourishing (must be the seaweed extracts), and it comes in a squeezable tube, which means I can coax the mascara toward the brush instead of jamming it into the tube (pumping drying air into it), attempting to scrape the edges. It’s the kind of mascara that converts even the pickiest prestige-loving cosmetics junkie.
Super high performance, and 60 percent organic. That’s the promise of this UK-made mascara, which regularly sells out. It coated my lashes quickly, dried without clumps, and stayed that way until I removed it—and even then it required little elbow grease. It’d be right at home on the beauty floor of Bergdorfs. (Photo: www.theorganicpharmacy.com)