The 7 Best Cruelty-Free Mascaras of 2019

There’s no harm in trying these magic wands

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

If you are in the market for cruelty-free mascara there are thankfully a lot of options to choose from that will get you the same effect without harming animals. From large names to lesser-known brands we have the best cruelty-free mascaras for your eye needs. 

Best Overall: Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara


There’s a reason this mascara is a consistent bestseller for the brand and at Sephora. It does it all—lifts, curls, volumizes, and conditions in just one application. The 360-degree magniLASH wand helps separate each individual lash, making them appear more plentiful. Plus, ingredients such as rice bran and provitamin B5 nourish lash hairs.

The formula is also PETA-approved vegan, which means it’s not only not tested on animals, but there are no animal by-products in the mascara.  

Best Budget: e.l.f. Smudge-Proof Mascara


Thicker, fuller, more defined lashes that won’t smudge or flake, plus a vegan and cruelty-free formula, all for a bargain of a price. We’re not sure how e.l.f. does it, but we’re glad they do.

The black formula covers lashes in smudge-free tubes. The dual-ended brush is fuller on one side to create volume on top lashes, while the skinny bristles on the other end are ideal for painting those teeny-tiny lower lashes—without getting mascara all over your under-eye area. 

Best Drugstore: CoverGirl Flourish Mascara by LashBlast


Yes, even the drugstore giants are going cruelty-free. CoverGirl made big news in 2018 when the brand announced that all of its products are now Leaping Bunny certified (which means they voluntarily agree not to test on animals in any way and bear the bunny logo on their products).

This mascara doubles as a lash treatment. The creamy, highly-pigmented formula defines lashes and allows you to build to your desired volume, while conditioning ingredients such as coconut oil, papaya, and avocado deliver moisture and nourishment to your lashes. 

Best for Sensitive Eyes: ILIA Limitless Lash Mascara


Mascara has always been like the holy grail for those with sensitive eyes. What seems like it should work in the tube often leaves your eyes burning, itching, red, and irritated. But this super clean beauty mascara really does what it promises, without irritation.

The cruelty-free formula is made with 99 percent natural ingredients and doesn’t contain known irritants including nano-particles, synthetic fragrances, soy, and gluten. And it gets Sephora’s clean seal, which means it’s also free of potentially harmful ingredients including parabens, formaldehyde, mineral oil, and coal tar (a colorant that can contain heavy metals).

Instead, the mascara is made with beeswax and carnauba waxes, shea butter, and keratin to condition and strengthen lashes. The formula is buildable and flake-free, which means no flecks of mascara getting in your eyes. Plus, it’s super easy to remove—just rinse with warm water. No rubbing, tugging (and resulting irritation) required. 

Best Volumizing: Beautycounter Volumizing Mascara

Beauty Counter
Beauty Counter 

You might not expect to see a super-dramatic lash look from a clean beauty company, but that’s exactly what you get with this best-selling mascara. In fact, company research shows a whopping 385 percent increase in volume after just two coats. Yes, you read that number right.

The hourglass-shaped brush hugs the curves of your lashes and lifts, separates, and coats even your littlest lashes with a plumping formula made with natural fibers and waxes, and nourishing Bataua oil.   

The company formulates their products without over 1,500 sketchy ingredients. Also on the brand’s “never list” is a vow to never test their cosmetics on animals. 

Best Lengthening: Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extension Mascara

Thrive Causemetics
 Thrive Causemetics

One tube of this mascara sells every nine seconds—and after a few swipes we totally get why.

This formula contains liquid fibers that adhere to lashes, elongating them instantly. Plus, the mascara creates individual tubes around them that don’t smear, smudge, or flake off.

The cruelty-free, paraben-free mascara also contains Orchid stem cells to encourage lash growth. Plus, Korean plant extracts and Piperitum fruit extract (Japanese pepper) to hydrate and soothe.

Even better: With every purchase, the brand makes a donation to a woman in need—cosmetics with a cause.  

Best Waterproof: Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara

 Waterproof mascaras serve their purpose if you want dark lashes that can withstand a dip in the pool or a good cry. But if you want a dramatic, lush-looking fringe, they’re usually not the best formula. Most waterproof formulas make lashes look and feel dry, and they never quite live up to their non-waterproof, volumizing counterparts. Except this one really does.

The waterproof version is just as good as the original formula (the number one prestige mascara). It lifts, separates, curls, and adds an insane amount of volume—only now it doesn’t budge thanks to the addition of water-resistant polymers. And thankfully, we don’t need animals to prove it works—there are thousands of positive reviews on this mascara online.  

Our Process

Our writers spent 2 hours researching the most popular cruelty-free mascaras on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 15 different mascaras overall, screened options from 8 different brands and manufacturers, read over 10 user reviews (both positive and negative) and tested 10 of the mascaras themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.

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