Want to take your eyelashes to the next level? You’ve come to the right place! Read on for the low-down on one of the most important tools in any cosmetic bag: mascara.
When mascara was first used in Ancient Egypt to darken lashes (thereby warding off bad energy and evil spirits), it was made of kohl, water, honey and crocodile dung. Today’s mascaras, however, are typically composed of a pigment to darken the lashes; a polymer to coat the lashes; a preservative; and waxes or oils (e.g., carnauba wax, petroleum, paraffin, castor oil) to thicken the lashes.
If you find ingredients such as paraffin and petroleum derivatives as concerning as the crocodile dung, rest assured there are many high-performing natural mascaras that don’t contain potentially harmful additives (see below).
How to use mascara
Different types of mascaras perform different functions. There are varieties formulated to nourish, define, darken, thicken, lengthen, strengthen and/or curl your lashes. Brushes or wands can be made of bristles or rubber and take on a variety of shapes, sizes and lengths to help optimize the mascara’s performance.
Mascara is available in washable and waterproof formulas. Washable mascaras have a greater water content, which makes them easier to remove (most just require water!). They also tend to be more flexible on the eyelashes and therefore better for lash health. One drawback of washable mascaras is that because they don’t fully dry, they may leave dark marks or smudges around the eyes.
Waterproof mascaras, on the other hand, contain less water, so they dry more fully and remain in place through rain, tears, sweat and any other sources of dampness (great for athletes and those with allergies resulting in watery eyes!). Because waterproof mascaras are designed to last, they require an oil cleanser or eye makeup remover for safe, gentle removal. One disadvantage of waterproof mascaras is that they can sometimes cause eyelashes to bind together and appear clumpy.
As you are likely aware, mascaras are available in a wide variety of shades. Black mascaras offer the most contrast and drama, whereas brown mascaras enhance lashes while appearing soft and natural. Don’t be afraid to play with color. Navy mascara, for instance, brings out blue tones in greenish-blue or gray eyes.
Always pay attention to when you purchase your mascara. Unfortunately, it has the shortest shelf life of any of your cosmetics and should be replaced every three months to avoid bacterial exposure and infection.
Natural Beauty Brands: 5 Top Mascara Picks
Ready to try a brand-new, all-natural mascara? Following are five to consider:
1. Honeybee Gardens Truly Natural Mascara in Espresso
This award-winning, lash-defining mascara is weightless and long lasting. “The smooth light-as-a-feather base boasts zero clumping due to the absence of clay in the superior lash-conditioning formula.” Apply a second coat for a dramatic effect!
2. Beauty Without Cruelty Ultimate Natural Mascara in Walnut
Craving long, thick natural-looking lashes? Try this mascara, which contains re-mineralizing bamboo silk powder and organic berry wax. Paraben, PEO and fragrance free!
3. Ecco Bella FlowerColor Mascara in Natural Brown
Get ready to bat your lashes! This lacquer-, shellac- and alcohol-free mascara is “as pure a formula as you can buy.” And did we mention that it’s water-resistant?
4. Mineral Fusion Volumizing Mascara in Jet
If voluminous lashes are your goal, look no further. The gentle, non-irritating “pure mineral color coats each lash to define and brighten eyes.” No flaking, clumping or smudging!
5. Gabriel Color Mascara in Black
Lengthen your lashes without worry! This organic, mineral-based mascara provides coverage you can count on all day long. Plus, it glides on smoothly and easily.