Sunday, September 24, 2023

The Best Clean Mascara Brands for Long, Full Lashes


For lifting, volumizing, curling, and lengthening — we’ve got the best clean mascara that money can buy. Cruelty-free and toxin-free lashes never looked so good.

The right mascara is a makeup kit essential. After all, nothing makes your eyes pop quite like thick, long, and lustrous lashes. For lifting, volumizing, curling, and lengthening, we’ve got the best clean mascaras that money can buy, without paying for any toxic nasties or animal ingredients.

What’s lurking in your mascara?

Not all mascaras are created equal. Take a glance at the ingredients list on your favorite tube of mascara and you’ll see why. 

That’s right, mascara can harbor a number of toxic and unsafe chemicals. These include preservatives added to beauty products to boost their shelf life, such as parabens, synthetic antioxidants BHT and BHA, and formaldehyde. Many formulas even use coal tar dyes, which can contain heavy metals, or synthetic dyes to give mascara its rich, dark color.

A 2021 study published by the American Chemical Society found that the vast majority of mascaras contained high levels of fluorine, which contain toxic chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Researchers tested 231 waterproof mascaras and found that 75 percent of them contained fluorine.

Thrive Causemetics mascara
Thrive Causemetics bridges clean beauty and cause marketing | Courtesy

Studies have linked PFAS to a host of health issues, including impaired immune function, endocrine disruption, and certain types of cancer. “They appear to be harmful to every major organ system in the human body,” Canadian toxicologist Elsie Sunderland said of the findings.

“At this point, there is very little regulatory activity related to PFAS in cosmetics,” she added. “The best thing to happen now would be for consumers to indicate that they prefer products without PFAS and to demand better transparency in product ingredient lists.”

The best way to avoid PFAS exposure is to use products that are based in clean, natural ingredients. Look for products that don’t boast “long-lasting” type of claims.

Best clean mascara

Trust us, your eyes are ready to ditch parabens, synthetic dyes, silicones, and artificial fragrances. For long, full lashes, toss the toxic tubes in favor of these clean mascaras. They’re the best of the best.

dime mascara

1. Volume Mascara – DIME Beauty

Pump up the volume with this smudge-proof mascara. Featuring a tapered brush for easy application, the volume mascara contains nourishing ingredients like squalene, which helps to boost shine and prevent breakage, and cacao extract, which is packed with antioxidants.

thrive causemetics mascara

2. Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara – Thrive Causemetics

This best-selling mascara is clump-, flake-, and smudge-free. Infused with shea butter and castor seed oil, it’s also free of icky ingredients like parabens, sulfate, phthalates, and synthetic ingredients. And it removes easily using only warm water, no makeup remover or soap is needed.

athr mascara

3. The Big Bang Volumizing Mascara – Athr Beauty

Vegan and cruelty-free, this beauty brand has banned more than 2,700 toxic ingredients from its formulas, using fair-trade and organic ingredients whenever possible instead. The company’s lash-volumizing mascara is long-wearing and comes in recyclable packaging. And it features plant-based ingredients like quinoa and jasmine plant extract. Your lashes will thank you later.

milk makeup mascara

4. Kush High Volumizing Mascara – Milk Makeup

For lashes so thick they look like falsies, opt for this ultra-volumizing mascara, which features vegan beeswax and hemp-derived cannabis seed oil. Boasting Sephora’s Clean Seal, which prohibits more than 50 unsafe ingredients, Milk Makeup is committed to using ethical and responsible sourcing for all of its formulas. 

rose inc mascara

5. Ultra-Black Lash Lifting & Lengthening Serum Mascara – Rose Inc.

For sustainable makeup essentials, including lash-lifting mascara, shop Rose Inc., which was founded by English model and actor Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Featuring an ultra-black pigment and recyclable packaging, this lengthening mascara contains superstar ingredients like argan oil and goji berry oil extract.

Is mascara vegan?

Not always. Conventional mascara can contain a range of animal-derived ingredients including beeswax, collagen, shellac, and lanolin. Mascara that’s labeled as clean or natural can also contain animal ingredients, typically beeswax, in place of synthetic chemical ingredients.

Is mascara cruelty-free?

That all depends on which brand you’re buying from. Many conventional makeup brands are still required to submit to animal testing to sell products in China. So while they may not be testing on their U.S. products, they can test to be compliant in other parts of the world. Most brands that are cruelty-free will denote on packaging and on websites.

Looking for lashes as clean and sustainable as your mascara? Read about Velour’s hemp lashes. For more sustainable makeup essentials, click here for Ethos’ complete guide to carbon-neutral skincare.

Related on Ethos:


From Rosemary Shampoo to Oil, Does This Hair Health Trick Really Work?

It's been six months since Mielle's Rosemary Mint Scalp & Hair Strengthening Oil first went viral on TikTok. And the trend shows no sign of slowing down as products from rosemary shampoo to rosemary oil continue to fly off shelves.

It’s Not Clean Perfume Unless It’s Ethical, Too: How to Spot the Difference

If you're shopping for clean fragrances, here's how to make sure your perfume is ethical, too.

Sephora, Credo Urge EPA to Enforce Natural and Eco Label Claims: ‘Make It Easier for Consumers’

A coalition of 39 businesses, NGOs, and investors have sent a letter urging the EPA to expand the scope of its Safer Choice eco-certification program to encompass beauty and personal care products.

5 Biodegradable Soaps to Help You Lather Up While Also Keeping the Planet Clean

From liquid to bar soap, lather up with these biodegradable soaps that are better for your body and the planet.

These Clean Beauty Eye Creams Help You Fake a Good Night’s Rest

These are some of the best clean beauty eye creams to shop for a little under-eye TLC.