mascara

Mascara. It’s non-negotiable for a lot of women, taking eyes from barely there to powerful peepers. It darkens, lengthens, thickens, and some even curl, gloss, strengthen and multiply those lashes. But, have you ever taken a close look at what’s in most conventional mascara? It’s more often than not chock full of none too healthy ingredients, including triethanolamine, parabens, diazolidinyl urea, BHT, coal tar, petroleum based ingredients, ethyl acetate and more, giving rise to concerns about cancer, allergies, immunotoxicity, endocrine disruption and reproductive toxicity.

With this in mind, will you think twice next time you reach for that magic wand? Will mascara be that last bastion of dirty make-up in your arsenal, your one vice? It doesn’t have to be. Non-toxic mascara has come a long way from the early formulations that barely coated and ran like the Mississippi at the first sign of moisture or heat.

Check out these top sevem healthier mascaras made by sustainable brands. You just may find that you’re ready to dump your volatile version to make room for something better.

1. 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.

2. Coleur Caramel Cils Longs Mascara – $24.25 – A favorite among make-up artists 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.

3. Lavera Double Black Mascara – $23 – I love the double brush, allowing you to separate and reach even the tiniest lash, while also building volume and length. The clean, moisturizing formula is easy on sensitive eyes, prevents flakes and lends a high gloss to your fringe.

4. Organic Glam Mascara – £20.95 – It just may be worth the 5 year wait. A super luxurious mascara by The Organic Pharmacy, this formula features organic Aloe, beeswax and vitamins A, E and C for a top performing product that curls, lengthens and conditions all in one. Yes, that currency is in pounds. Some things are just better from across the pond.

5. 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. Even better, sales of the Go Go Mascara support cancer patients and survivors at the City of Hope.

6. Benecos Maximum Volume Mascara – $16.49 – Delivers rich, dark color and very good volume and length at a great price. Layers well without clumping for additional oomph. Rich in vitamin E, lashes receive a good dose of moisture and color stays put. Formulated specially for sensitive eyes.

7. 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 at a low price point, making it easily accessible and affordable.

With all mascara, it’s going to take a little fine tuning to figure out the details, like how much product to leave on the brush when applying, how fast it dries when layering, and how it stands up to the challenges in your life. Start slow, wiping off as much as you can on the edge of the tube, and apply by starting at the roots, wiggling up toward the tips as you go. Use a brow brush to separate lashes while product is still damp to minimize clumping and remove excess, then layer from there for more drama. Assume it’s not going to stand up to a serious tear jerker, a monsoon or complete submersion, and take steps to minimize water contact. With this in mind, you should be feeling pretty good about ditching that toxic tube for something cleaner.

Image: laurapandora