May 29, 2014

beauty secrets | the ultimate guide to natural mascaras

Recently, I’ve had several people ask me about my favorite natural mascaras, so I figured it was time to finally reveal the notes I’ve been keeping in my Gmail drafts (yes, that’s how I roll) and share my ultimate guide to natural mascaras to date.

This will be an ever-growing post (similar to the ultimate guide to natural sunscreens and the ultimate guide to natural deodorants), so bookmark this baby to see the various natural mascaras I’ve tried, reviewed and repurchased.

A Note About My Eyes: I’ve said this before, but I have short, stick-straight, half-Asian eyelashes that point straight down. My Shu Uemura eyelash curler is my best friend, and I’m after a mascara that can 1) lengthen; 2) thicken; 3) hold a curl; and 4) not smudge on my oily skin.

Another Note: This little asterisk* indicates I received the natural mascara as a PR sample. So, yes, free stuff as well as paid-for-on-my-own stuff gets honest feedback around here!

Natural Mascaras I Will Not Repurchase

natural mascaras kimberlyloc will not repurchase

100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara

While it didn’t smudge (hallelujah!), 100% Pure’s Fruit Pigmented Mascara felt too dry and flaked off on me after a few hours. It’s extremely natural looking, too, meaning no real length or thickness added. If your lashes are already beautiful, then 1) I hate you and 2) you may want to try this (who knows if it will flake on you).

*Alima Pure Natural Definition Mascara

Alima Pure’s Natural Definition Mascara smudges within a few hours of applying. The lengthening power is nice, but the black spots are not.

Benecos Maximum Volume Mascara

Benecos’ Maximum Volume Mascara hass an extremely wet formula, which leads to crazy smudging within an hour of applying — even if I’m patient and let it dry completely before doing my daily acrobatics workout (this is a joke). For the hour that it’s not smudging, it lengthens my lashes but doesn’t do much to hold a curl or thicken. This is very common for Asian lashes — we need drier formulas that don’t weigh us back down. Any wet-formula mascara is going to be an epic fail for us.

*Dr. Hauschka Mascara

Another natural mascara that’s easily available at my local Whole Foods, Dr. Hauschka’s Mascara smudges on me and offers zero lift or va-va-voom factor.

*Honeybee Naturals Truly Natural Mascara

I tried Honeybee Naturals a looooong time ago (back in my magazine editor days, circa 2008-ish), so unless there’s been a new formulation since then, this baby smudged on me, too.

Ilia Beauty Mascara in Nightfall

Ilia Beauty Mascara in Nightfall is the newest mascara in my collection (see it in this Instagram), and while I’m impressed with how long-lasting it is and appreciate that it doesn’t clump or smudge, I wish it thickened my lashes and held a curl a bit better. I have to re-curl my lashes a few hours after applying this to re-lock the shape. I will say that it has a better-than-natural look about it, so this could be an option for those days when your eye makeup is a little more subtle and you’re really doing up your lips. I could see myself possibly repurchasing this, but for $26, I’d expect it to meet all my needs.

*Jing Ai Eye Paint Mascara

I can’t tell if Donna from Jing Ai still sells her Eye Paint Mascara (I saw it for sale on a different site, but not Jing Ai’s), but alas, this super-inky natural mascara smudged like crazy on me and offered very little volume.

Josie Maran GOGO Instant Natural Volume Argan Mascara

I wanted to love this natural mascara because, I mean, it’s Josie Maran, just look at her, and it’s readily available at my local Sephora, but also it smudges like whoa on my oily skin.

*Odylique By Essential Care Mascara

While this mascara didn’t smudge on me, it didn’t do anything at all for my naturally straight, downward-pointing lashes. After applying it to freshly curled lashes, it actually weighed them down and didn’t help at all in the volumizing department. This is more of a “your-lashes-but-kind-of-darker” mascara. When I’m going for a no-makeup, natural look, I just skip mascara and only curl my lashes. Less work.

Physician’s Formula Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin FakeOut Mascara

Like its sister formula below, this natural mascara from Physician’s Fornula isn’t too bad overall, but it dries out very quickly and flakes a bit. Too bad because this could have been a winner (especially at such an affordable price). Oh the balance between being a not-too-wet and not-too-dry mascara!

Physician’s Formula Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin Jumbo Lash Mascara

You can read my in-depth review of this natural mascara, but the short version is that this budget-friendly natural mascara from Physician’s Formulas is clumpy and smudges by the end of the day. It’s not too bad overall (to last all day without smudging is quite a feat!), but it’s not a repurchase for me.

*Pür Minerals Big Blink Mascara

This natural mascara from Pür Minerals lengthens and doesn’t smudge, but it doesn’t fatten up my lashes unless it’s doing so by making them extremely clumpy.

RMS Beauty Mascara

I’m a bit on the fence when it comes to RMS Beauty’s Mascara. It didn’t flake or smudge, but it didn’t give me that “Wow!” look; it’s just a nice, clean, natural-looking mascara that’s comparable to Ilia Beauty’s. Quite honestly, I guess I could just copy and paste my Ilia review and stick it here (I mean, even the packaging is quite similar!). I just expect a bit more from a $28 natural mascara. I’m going to keep it in my arsenal and continue to play with it, perhaps even layering it over or under Ilia’s to see if I can create a texture and hold that I like.

Tarte Lights, Camera, Flashes Statement Mascara

On a whim, I decided to try this updated version of my beloved Lights, Camera, Lashes to see how Tarte could improve upon its already-winning formula. Sadly, I was disappointed not in the formula, but in the packaging of this mascara. First, the mascara tube is awkward to hold.  There’s extra material on the edges of the wand handle (the bit of fabric outside the stitching — zoom in on the picture on the Sephora product page) that makes it super-cumbersome to hold and even more annoying to brush your lashes. Second, Tarte has redesigned the brush for this mascara so that there’s a variety of shorter and longer bristles on each side, which is supposed to better deliver product without allowing it to clump, but Tarte directs you to brush the mascara on in such a way that you’re constantly rotating the wand in a basically impossible way (see complaint No. 1 about the excessive packaging design). According to Tarte, “the shorter, denser side of the brush delivers the optimal amount of mascara to volumize and coat each lash perfectly. Then the longer, firmer side lengthens and separates for maximum volume without clumping.” If you didn’t get the application motion down pat, then the mascara is rendered useless and your lashes sad and short. Instead of this mascara, try the two I mention in my repurchase list below!

Natural Mascaras I Will Repurchase

(Once I Learn To Quit Obsessing Over Trying to Find Something Better Than These)

*BareMinerals Flawless Definition Mascara

At first application, I thought BareMinerals Flawless Definition Mascara would be another “natural look” mascara. Not so. It’s extremely buildable yet doesn’t clump thanks to all the fine little lash separators in the wand. BareMinerals Flawless Definition Mascara really does lengthen and lift the lashes, and when applied in even coats, gives you that bit of thick, dramatic fullness.

*Lily Lolo Black Vegan Mascara

The skeptic in me didn’t have high expectations for this natural mascara, but after so many disappointments, can you blame me? My introduction to Lily Lolo, though, has been nothing short of fantastic. The new black vegan mascara easily rivals my beloved BareMinerals and Tarte. It holds a curl, lengthens, defines and even amps up the volume of my stick-straight lashes. Even more impressive for a new-ish formula, Lily Lolo natural mascara didn’t flake on me until, oh, 10 hours of wear. That’s a crazy feat! This is a definite repurchase, and I’m looking forward to trying more from Lily Lolo makeup.

Pacifica Stellar Gaze Length & Strength Mineral Mascara

To be honest, I didn’t have very high hopes for Pacifica’s Stellar Gaze Length & Strength Mineral Mascara when I got it in a recent Goodebox. However, I was pleasantly surprised. This coconut oil-infused natural mascara didn’t run or flake on me, and I found that because the formula is a bit drier, it helped hold the curl in my stick-straight lashes while defining and lengthening every last one of them. The thickness and volume of my lashes with this mascara wasn’t va-va-voom, but it wasn’t paltry, either; it’s actually pretty comparable to Tarte’s performance!

Perfekt Lash Perfection Gel

As noted in this makeup of the day post, Perfekt’s Lash Perfection Gel has a medium-sized brush that’s brilliant at coating each and every lash with the perfect amount of mascara that helps you achieve both length and thickness.

*Studio 78 Paris We Flirt Around: Double Effect Mascara

I’ve heard a lot of hype around Studio 78 Paris’ “We Flirt Around: Double Effect Mascara,” and it’s for good reason — it works! Marissa at BeauTeaBar sent me a sample to try, and while I’m always a skeptic, I was wowed by the performance of this natural mascara. It’s not too wet and not too try; this is another one that’s very comparable to Tarte and is almost a hybrid of Tarte and BareMinerals — but with way chicer packaging. It held my curl and didn’t flake or smudge on me. Hello for another win!

Tarte Gifted Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara

It was only by chance that I tried this mascara, as it was a free gift with purchase of another Tarte product, but I’m so thankful I got it. It’s a fantastic volumizing, lash-blackening mascara that is said to increase lash volume by 406 percent! I don’t do crazy math like that, but what I can report is that this mascara delivered in the va-va-voom department and didn’t flake on me at all. I may even dare to say that I like it better than my go-to Lights, Camera, Lashes, especially because the cool wooden packaging and wand are easy to hold and look nice in my cosmetics bag. Tarte, you have my heart!

Tarte Lights, Cameras, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara

I’ve repurchased Tarte’s Lights, Cameras, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara several times; it’s my go-to when I’m frustrated by the natural mascara hunt. You can see me wearing it in this makeup of the day post, but I’ll go ahead and tell you again that this is a staple because of the lengthening, curling, defining and thickening it offers.

What are some of your favorite natural mascaras? What do you look for in a great natural mascara? What picks in my “will not repurchase” list are on YOUR repurchase list? Tell me in the comments section!

 

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  • http://amber-allnaturallybeautiful.blogspot.ca/ Amber Karlson

    This post is incredibly helpful! I love the Perfekt Lash Perfection Gel – I haven’t looked at the ingredients but from what I remember it isn’t 100% natural? I’ve heard good things about the Pure Anada mascara….I will be testing it out very soon!

    • http://www.kimberlyloc.com/ kimberlyloc

      Thank you, and so welcome! Perfekt is a mainstream clean brand. I feel comfortable using it and endorsing it. Here’s the ingredients:

      Aqua/water, (CI 77499) Iron Oxide, Rice Wax/Oryza Sativa, Hydrogenated
      Olive Oil Stearyl Esters, Stearic Acid, Cyclopentasiloxane, Alcohol,
      Carnauba Wax/Copernicia Cerifera, Glycerin, Triethanolamine, Candelilla
      Wax, Acacia Gum/Acacia Senegal, VP/VA Ethylhexylglycerin, Ascorbyl
      Palmitate, Ceramide-3, Vitis Vinifera Seed Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate,
      Retinyl Palmitate, Olive Glycerides, Nylon 6/12

      Pure Ananda is definitely dominating the convo. I will have to give it a try! Let me know how it works for you, too :)

      xo

      • http://amber-allnaturallybeautiful.blogspot.ca/ Amber Karlson

        Thanks Kim!

        I’ve been using the Pure Anada mascara for two days now and it seems to be working well – lasts all day, no smudging and no flaking. The only thing is that it creates a super natural look. I find that I have to do 3-4 coats to get the look that I am used to with mascara.

  • http://genuineglow.com/ Lilly

    I just purchased a refill for the Kjaer Weis mascara, and I think that you would like it too. It’s my everyday, go-to mascara because it’s organic (I like to go completely natural for my every day routine) and it comes off nicely when I remove it. It’s not waterproof, but it does not smudge nor flake. You would have to actually cry or go swim for the mascara to come off, and when it comes off it dissolves and does not leave black shadows under your eyes.

    I do agree about the bareMinerals Flawless Definition. It’s exactly what I use when I have to do something special (events, weddings and such). I use the waterproof version of that one. It’s amazing for holding the curl!

    • http://www.kimberlyloc.com/ kimberlyloc

      How would you describe your lashes, Lilly? Yours seem so long and lush naturally! Do you have a before and after pic to share? I really want to try Kjaer Weis, I’m just a little nervous since I’ve been disappointed so many times before. You know how that goes!

  • http://ourownkind.blogspot.com/ Joana

    My sister raves about Tarte’s Lights, Cameras, Lashes Mascara, too. You just gave me the metaphorical thumbs-up to purchase it tomorrow :)

    http://www.ourownkind.blogspot.com

    • http://www.kimberlyloc.com/ kimberlyloc

      Great! Let me know how you like it. It’s a staple for me :)

  • Rebecca Magee

    Was literally just googling “natural mascara” and thought I’d check your site just in case – total fate that you posted this today! Thank you a million for this list and for saving me from buying something that won’t work.

    I haven’t thought of Bare Minerals or Tarte as a truly natural though. Will have to look more into those brands. I think I might be tempted to try the Ilia one though!

    Thanks Kim!

    • http://www.kimberlyloc.com/ kimberlyloc

      So glad you came to me! Let me know what you try. I agree that BareMinerals and Tarte aren’t the cleanest of the clean, but they’re not loaded with a ton of nasties the way that drugstore brands are. Those are my go-to brands for “mainstream clean beauty” that’s easily accessible.

      How would you describe your lashes?

  • Laura

    My favourite is kjaer weis as it lengthens and thickens and does not clump at all. W3ll isfine too.

    • http://www.kimberlyloc.com/ kimberlyloc

      Been seeing a lot about these two … will get them on my to-try list!

  • http://2ndnaturebeauty.blogspot.co.uk/ 2ndNatureBeauty

    Great post Kimberly! I’ve found a good natural mascara to be a bit of a holy grail but I love the Kjaer Weis one, have you tried it? Great to know what to cross of the list and am definitely keen to try the Tarte mascara (it’s only just been introduced to the UK)! xx

  • http://beautybybritanie.com/ beautybybritanie

    You know I am LOVING this post after we realized that we basically have the same eyelashes (haha). All of the ones that haven’t worked for you also haven’t worked for me…. except the Dr. Hauschka… I have a love/hate relationship with that mascara because it will sometimes make my lashes look very thick and other times it’s really wet and flattens them. Its the strangest thing. It’s as if it changes formula’s each time I apply it. I do find if I apply it and then curl my lashes again after applying (like you mentioned for the Ilia) that it works much much better BUT I don’t like to have to curl my lashes after I have already curled them and applied mascara because it just does not seem very good for the lashes at all. I really enjoyed the Kjaer Weis mascara at first but after a few times of wearing it noticed that my lashes looked barely visible. It also doesn’t give me much volume if any at all. I am using the Tarte mascara now but want to try the water proof version since my lashes can’t hold a curl for anything. I also need to get the BareMinerals mascara now that I know it works for you. If I could just find a natural or even semi-natural version of Lancome Hypnose or CoverGirl LashBlast mascara I would be a very happy girl!! it feels as though my mascara hunting days won’t be over for a long time…. it’s a bit of an obsession.

  • http://wonderfelleworld.com/ Elle

    Just catching up – thanks so much for this! My lashes are similar (though until recently I had extensions) and I can’t find anything natural that I REALLY like… currently using Tarte’s but sort of just feel meh about it. Will have to try Bare Minerals next! Have you tried the waterproof version?

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