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If you’re anything like us, mascara is a non-negotiable staple in your daily makeup routine. Even on the most bare-faced of days, you better believe our lashes are getting a swipe from our trusty tube. And while products such as deodorants and face moisturizers may be more talked about in the clean beauty space, natural mascaras deserve a place at the table, too.
The inky formulas that lift and lengthen your lashes are often filled with a laundry list of potentially harmful ingredients. We’re talking parabens, a petroleum derivative called polybutene, carbon black (a dark powder used as pigment that’s made from coal tar and contains heavy metals), as well as synthetic colors and dyes. And that’s not even mentioning the preservatives used to keep these formulas from becoming bacteria breeding grounds. But now for the good news. While it’s still a fairly new-ish category in the natural makeup arena, there are plenty of clean mascaras that don’t contain these questionable ingredients but will still leave you with the long, full, fluttery, glossy fringe you crave.
Need proof? Swipe on any of these best natural mascaras and see for yourself.
Best Overall: W3LL People Expressionist Volumizing Mascara
One coat of this plant-based formula leaves lashes soft and fluttery; swipe on a second for va-va-voom volume and a bolder look. A dense, hourglass-shaped brush packs the product onto every lash, without clumping. Plus, not only are the ingredients clean, but it’s also made using sustainable energy. You’ve gotta love that.
Best Budget: Honest Beauty Extreme Length Mascara + Primer
Our wallet-friendly pick gives you get two products for the price of one. The dual-sided tube houses a primer on one end, the perfect prep step to ensure the mascara on the other side goes on smoothly and stays put. Brush through lashes with the primer first, wait 30 seconds, then apply the mascara. It’s free of parabens, synthetic fragrance, silicones, and mineral oil, but does have jojoba esters, which help condition the hairs.
Best Wand: Ilia Limitless Lash Mascara
The brand tested over 100 different brushes before they landed on the final design of this innovative wand. Look closely and you’ll see that one side has curled, shorter bristles that pack on more product for lots of volume, and the other touts longer, straight bristles that pull through each lash for mega-length. Couple that with a formula that doesn’t smudge or flake and is easily buildable, and this is one of our favorite mascaras, ever.
Best Waterproof: Ere Perez Avocado Waterproof Mascara
Finding a formula that’s both natural and waterproof is no easy feat, but this one checks both boxes. The stay-put color—it touts a 24-hour wear time— is infused with avocado oil, considered to promote lash strength, and which also gives it a nice glossy finish. And the minimal list of only seven ingredients is squeaky clean.
Take a look at our best waterproof mascaras article for more options.
Best for Sensitive Eyes: Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara
Not the newest kid on the block—it’s been a fan favorite for over a decade—this is a staple for those with easily irritated eyes. It’s both ophthalmologist and dermatologist-tested, hypoallergenic, and safe for contact lens wearers, too. Mineral oil, paraben-, and phthalate-free, it’s also just a great all-around formula that lengthens, curls, volumizes, and conditions.
Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best natural makeup products.
Best Vegan: Inika Long Lash Vegan Mascara
Using 100%, natural, plant-derived ingredients, this is certified both vegan and cruelty-free (many natural formulas utilize beeswax, making them not vegan). Mineral pigments deposit plenty of color, though it is a bit of a wetter formula, so be sure to let it set for a few minutes in between coats.
Take a peek at some of the other best cruelty-free mascaras you can buy.
Best Volumizing: Beautycounter Volumizing Mascara
We’re not surprised this is one of the brand’s best-sellers; it increases volume by a whopping 385% (yes, you read that correctly). Credit the hourglass-shaped brush which simultaneously plumps and separates lashes. Also nice: In a consumer test, 100% of women said it lasted all day. And to the point of clean formulas, the company adheres to strict guidelines by which over 1500 questionable ingredients are banned from their formulas.
Check out our guide to the best volumizing mascaras available for purchase.
Best Lengthening: Kjaer Weis Lengthening Mascara
This option gets a lot of love in the natural mascara world—and for good reason. The spiky wand and creamy formula keep lashes lifted and clump-free, and many of the ingredients are organic. But we think the packaging alone is worthy of a shout-out. Not only is the tiny tube compact enough to stash in even your smallest clutch, but it’s also made of sustainable material and refillable, too.
Check out our picks of the best lengthening mascaras available for purchase.
Best Conditioning: RMS Beauty Defining Mascara
Made with certified organic butter, waxes, and oils, this not only imparts a glossy sheen but also moisturizes and conditions lashes, too. A very good thing given that these itty-bitty hairs can quickly become brittle and prone to breakage. This particular variant separates and defines fringe, though there’s also a volumizing option for those who prefer added fullness.
Best Shade Range: 100 Percent Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara
Using totally natural pigments that come from black tea, berries, and cocoa, this lengthening mascara has the added benefit of coming in four different shades. Yes, you’ve got your classic black, but there’s also a denim blue, deep plum, and chocolatey brown, all of which are surprisingly wearable and flattering on a wide array of eye colors. It’s also water-resistant and free of toxic petrochemicals.
Best Drugstore: Physicians Formula Organic Wear Natural Origin Mascara
As a general rule of thumb, there aren’t that many natural mascara options to be found at the drugstore; this is one of the exceptions. 70% of the total ingredients are derived from organic farming, and there are no synthetic preservatives. We also like the brush, with ultra-soft plastic bristles that comb through each lash (and also happens to be recyclable).
Take a look at our selection of the best mascaras at Walmart.
Best Natural Look: Lily Lolo Natural Vegan Mascara
There are days when you want ultra-bold, ultra-dramatic lashes…and then there are days when you just want a little something to make your fringe fluttery and fanned out. For those days, reach for this tube, which offers a completely natural-looking volume and length. Rather than relying on synthetic preservatives, it uses organic botanicals with anti-bacterial properties to keep it fresh.