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The Best Cruelty-Free Mascara, Including Vegan/Drugstore Options—and How to Find the Right Pick for Your Look

Cruelty-free cosmetics have come a looooooong way in the last few years, and the cruelty-free options we currently have are far better than they used to be—if fact, many of them are just as good as the “regular” versions, if not even better.

There’s still a lot of misinformation about cruelty-free products, though, and definitely about cruelty-free mascaras.

So below, we take an in-depth look: we discuss our favorite cruelty-free options, including our two picks for the best cruelty-free mascara overall, but we also answer a lot of questions people have, like… How can you tell if the mascara you’re interested in is actually cruelty-free? And how do you pick one? Are they different than regular mascaras? And what does “cruelty-free” really mean, anyway?

This is one of our posts where we take a really close look at things, so let’s get right to it. When you're done, you may want to check out our post on mascara for eyelash extensions, which are another cruelty-free way to enhance the look of your lashes.

Reviews: Our Picks and Why We Like Them

Here are our favorite cruelty-free options…

Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara

CoverGirl Lash Blast Volume Waterproof Mascara

Pacifica Beauty Stellar Gaze Length & Strengthen Mascara

Honest Beauty Extreme Length Mascara + Lash Primer

Tarte Cosmetics Lights Camera Lashes 4-in-1 Natural Mascara

INIKA Bold Lash Mascara All-Natural Formula

…and here’s why we think they’re worth a look:

Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara

Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara hails from Germany, and we think it’s the top cruelty-free mascara in the “for beginners” category. The Lash Princess mascara has cultivated quite a following online, and we’ve been seeing it pop up more in brick-and-mortar stores—a good sign that it’s growing even more popular.

It comes in a curvy tube, features a wand with a traditional spoolie on top, and it’s designed to volumize lashes and make them look as good as falsies. And, we should provide a bit of clarity here—the name is slightly misleading, in that it’s not necessarily a mascara for false lashes—it’s designed to volumize so thoroughly that your lashes look like falsies.

The spoolie on the wand features tightly packed bristles—tight but not too tight, in our estimation—designed to retain a level of lash separation, for lashes to have a fanned-out look. The end of the brush is very slim, and that can be a good thing for beginners—it can give some added control to people new to mascara, who may struggle with a less wieldy brush.

Essence states that Lash Princess is cruelty-free, gluten-free, paraben-free, and even ophthalmologist-tested to be safe for those with sensitive eyes. We should note, however, that it’s made with a bit of softening beeswax—which unfortunately means it is not vegan. It’s not waterproof, either, but Essence does make a vegan, waterproof version (Lash Princess False Lash Waterproof Mascara Vegan & Cruelty Free) that you may also want to check out.

Recommended for: beginners looking for an easy-to-remove mascara with an intense effect.

CoverGirl Lash Blast Volume Waterproof Mascara

When CoverGirl made the switch to cruelty-free (with Leaping Bunny certification, nevertheless) was a joyous day for us, since they make some of our favorite mascaras. We consider the Lash Blast Volume Waterproof Mascara to be one of the best cruelty-free mascaras with a waterproof formulation, and certainly one of the best drugstore varieties.

CoverGirl fitted Lash Blast Volume with a thick plastic wand meant to give extra volume. Despite the fact that it’s a volumizing mascara, the plastic bristles are designed to separate lashes nicely, and when used correctly, they can provide a clean, natural look. The only potential drawback to this construction is that it can get a little messy to use, because the large wand may deposit product on the lid if used without care.

We absolutely love when CoverGirl says a mascara is waterproof, because in our experience, that means it doesn’t budge. Your mileage may vary, of course, but we’ve always found CoverGirl mascaras to have some serious staying power. The only downside to that is that they can be difficult to remove at the end of the day, so you might need a heavy-duty makeup remover, and they might not be a good match if you’ve got sensitive skin that feels jostled by removing waterproof mascaras.

If you have lighter hair and a preference for natural-looking makeup, you may be happy to learn that CoverGirl made Lash Blast Volume not only in black and very black but also in brown and black-brown.

Recommended for: those who want volume and separation in a truly waterproof formula, but have a bit of experience to control the thick wand.

Pacifica Beauty Stellar Gaze Length & Strengthen Mascara

Moving out of the drugstore brands, Pacifica Beauty Stellar Gaze Length & Strengthen Mascara gets our vote as the top cruelty-free mascara that’s cruelty-free AND vegan (if you’re surprised that a cruelty-free mascara is also automatically vegan, we discuss that in more depth below). Pacifica had this mascara certified by PETA, which has some very vigorous standards when it comes to animal cruelty / vegan labelling.

For their Stellar Gaze mascara, it looks like Pacifica Beauty focused on length and separation rather than volume, which can be a wonderful feature for those who want lashes that look naturally glorious, and not heavy and “decorated.”

The Stellar Gaze mascara is made with some excellent skin and lash-nourishing ingredients, including soothing and moisturizing coconut oil and panthenol (a type of Vitamin B) which is a humectant that can hydrate the lashes and can encourage natural cell growth in skin. We think that sort of thing is just lovely.

This mascara was formulated to be easy to remove with water and cleanser, so we think it could be a great fit for those with sensitive eyes, but Pacifica also makes a related water-resistant version (Pacifica Aquarian Gaze Water Resistant Mascara Abyss) for those who may need better hold.

Because this is designed to be a more natural-looking mascara, you may need to apply multiple coats on days when you’d like a bit more drama. They also make it available in brown, for those who prefer an ultra-natural look.

Recommended for: those with sensitive eyes who’d like a vegan mascara with natural effects.

Honest Beauty Extreme Length Mascara + Lash Primer

If, in addition to cruelty-free, it’s also important to you that your mascara be all-natural and free of potentially harmful chemicals, then we might suggest the Honest Beauty Extreme Length Mascara + Lash Primer.

Honest Beauty manufactured this mascara without parabens, paraffin, silicones, mineral oil, and synthetic fragrances, and then took the extra step to have it certified as cruelty-free by PETA. In addition to leaving out all of these nasties, Honest Beauty also has the Extreme Length Mascara dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested, so it’s designed to be safe for people with sensitive eyes.

Clean mascara formulations have a reputation for being pretty mediocre, so we’re super impressed with the way the Extreme Length Mascara performs. It was formulated to offer a lot of length to the lashes, and designed with molded plastic bristles to promote separation.

Honest Beauty actually made this mascara as a two-in-one, with a built-in primer, which is how it manages to offer a fair amount of volume. The idea is that you first you apply the primer (which bulks up the lash), and then you follow it with the mascara (which goes over the primer to add color and length). Pretty clever!

They also added jojoba esters and glycerin to the mix, so the mascara may help moisturize brittle lashes.

Recommended for: clean beauty fans and anyone with sensitive eyes.

Tarte Cosmetics Lights Camera Lashes 4-in-1 Natural Mascara

Tarte Cosmetics Lights Camera Lashes 4-in-1 Natural Mascara is, in our estimation, one of the best cruelty-free mascara in the “high-end” category. It’s designed to be a high-performing mascara while also featuring a totally clean and vegan formulation, and it’s really hard to pull all that off.

Drugstore mascaras can usually focus on one benefit—lengthening, volumizing, or curling—and rarely can they do all three. High-end mascaras, on the other hand, are specifically designed to do all three, and that’s what Tarte is trying to do here—all while not smudging or flaking throughout the day.

One of the decisions that makes Lights Camera Lashes unique is the wand: it features a fairly slim brush, but with densely packed bristles, which we love—it encourages precision while still thoroughly coating the lashes, and that can be more difficult to do when you’re using a traditional wand. It can be a great choice for those who like extreme-looking lashes, or if you just want a little extra “pop.”

While it is not waterproof, it does hold up quite well against a bit of water (but Tarte also made a similar mascara that’s totally waterproof—Tarte Lights, Camera, Splashes! Waterproof Mascara—so you may want to check that out if you’re looking for a waterproof option.

Tarte had their mascara certified by PETA for being cruelty-free, so we can check that box off, and it was formulated without any animal-derived ingredients, so it’s also totally vegan, as well. This is one of our favorite high-end options.

Recommended for: ethical and clean beauty lovers who want a mascara that offers lengthening, volumizing, or curling properties.

INIKA Bold Lash Mascara All-Natural Formula

Our last pick is our other favorite: the INIKA Bold Lash Mascara All-Natural Formula. We’re big fans of INIKA—we’ll explain why in a minute—and we think this is one of their best offerings.

So, as we just discussed, high-end mascaras are supposed to deliver—length, volume, curl, separation. But there's something else that's great about high-end mascaras: not only are they designed to beautify your lashes, but many are designed to fortify your lashes. They're formulated not just to give you a specific look, but to strengthen your lashes as well. And that's one of our favorite things about the INIKA Bold—it's made with Vitamin E (widely researched to provide skin benefits), sunflower oil (same), and Certified Organic Magnolia Bark (which has powerful anti-inflammatory properties). We look at a lot—a lot a lot—of ingredient lists, and Magnolia Bark is pretty rare. That's a really nice touch.

The spoolie on the end of the wand has a great design—it's a traditional shape (a little bit wider than the wand itself), but the bristles are designed to be thick enough to coat individual lashes, but not so thick that they'll glob mascara onto them. The packaging itself sleek and streamlined—and as usual, we get almost as obsessed with packaging as we do with the cosmetic itself—and it's a got a very "clean" look, with thin base that tapers upward and outward and comes to a right-angled flat top. It looks a little bit like a vase.

And, most importantly—they’re all the things we’d hope to see in a cosmetic: they’re cruelty-free, certified organic, 100% vegan, and they made some big promises when it comes to ingredients. This is our other favorite cruelty-free option.

Can be a good option for: anyone looking for a high-end mascara that’s cruelty-free, vegan, and certified organic, that offers some great skin care/lash care features.

How to Find Out if a Mascara is Cruelty-Free

This is a good place to start. “Cruelty-free” mascara can mean different things to different people, and when we talk about “cruelty-free” cosmetics, we’re really talking about standards determined by a couple of specific organizations.

At the time of this post, there are two main bodies that certify that brands are cruelty-free: PETA and Leaping Bunny. The aim of both is to guarantee that products are not tested on animals at any point during—or after—production. Both standards keep lists of brands from all over the world that they can guarantee are cruelty-free, so if there’s a brand you’re curious about, you can visit either of those sites to see if it’s listed as “cruelty-free.” It’s worth noting that a brand might genuinely be cruelty-free even if it isn’t on PETA or Leaping Bunny’s lists, so you may need to do some detective work if there’s a mascara you think is cruelty-free, but isn’t on either of those lists.

Many brands will maintain that they themselves never conduct animal testing, but that may not be the whole story, and that doesn’t take into account whether their products are tested on animals by a third party. Sneaky, right? In recent years, certain countries have started banning animal testing, including the entirety of the European Union, BUT—that doesn’t necessarily mean that European cosmetics that you buy in counties outside Europe are cruelty-free, because European companies can manufacture cosmetics outside of Europe, where animal testing is allowed, and then sell those products outside of Europe.

So, unfortunately, it can get tricky, and some cosmetics companies aren’t quite revealing the whole story about their products. Your best is usually to visit PETA or Leaping Bunny and see if the cosmetic you’re interested in is listed there, and to do a little detective work as well.

Does “Cruelty-Free” Mean Vegan?

Not necessarily, although a lot of cruelty-free cosmetics are in fact vegan (and they’ll almost always say so on the labelling, because they want you to know!).

Sometimes animal products are used in cruelty-free makeups, and one example of such a product would be beeswax. Many cruelty-free mascaras are made with beeswax, which is a byproduct from honey production, and not used in any actual testing on animals (and the requirement for “cruelty-free” usually only looks at actual testing on animals). So it’s definitely the case where there are some cruelty-free cosmetics that are not vegan.

Again, do your research, and make sure what you’re using meets your requirements.

How to Choose the Best Cruelty-Free Mascara for You

Mascaras come in all kinds of colors, shapes, and formulas, and while that’s a wonderful thing—it can also be a little bit overwhelming! Because there are so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to figure out what you need. So here are all the features you’ll need to keep in mind when choosing a mascara for your lashes:

Find the Right Color, which is Usually…

Brown or black. Colorful mascaras keep coming in and out of fashion, and clear mascaras are always an option, but generally, most mascaras will come in brown or black, occasionally with brown-black or very black as an option. Most makeup lovers will opt for the blackest black mascara available since it gives the most intense color, but for some people, the black can seem too intense, especially if you have naturally fair hair and tend to wear lighter makeup.

If you do have naturally light hair and lashes, brown mascara is usually your best bet. Blondes and redheads, in particular, often opt for the more natural brown, especially when wearing lighter makeup (though with heavier looks, black mascara can still work, but it can take some practice—so be sure to try out a new look before a big night out).

If you have darker hair, black is usually the wiser option, and people with dark hair are lucky, in a way, because they can still maintain a natural look even while wearing black mascara.

As for colorful mascaras in every shade that’s not black or brown… be as outrageous as you like! With colors all across the spectrum, it’s basically a question of creativity and your own personal style—whatever type of aura you want to project. Yellows and oranges and pinks can be a ton of fun, just… be sure you’re wearing it for an appropriate occasion! Makeup can be powerful, and bold colors should be reserved for when you really want to do stand out.

There are two other things we should mention about color before we move on: for regular makeup looks, it’s better to stay away from colored mascaras like blue or purple, which should instead be saved for when the urge to get really creative strikes. Lastly, it’s worth noting that blue mascara, in particular, can look very dated unless it’s paired with a very conceptual and editorial makeup look, so it’s better to give it a try only if you’re very confident in your makeup chops.

Find Your Wand but Look at the Spoolie

Most mascara wants are pretty similar, really, and it’s the spoolie at the head of the wand—the little brush at the top—that makes a difference in how you apply your mascara. The shape and design of the spoolie at the top of your mascara wand can actually have a big impact over the final result, so choose the one that will suit you best. Here are the most common types—a traditional spoolie, a large spoolie, and a curved spoolie:

Let’s take a closer look.

The Traditional Spoolie

The traditional mascara spoolie is probably the go-to tool you’ll most often find. It’s made with nylon bristles that are usually a liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiittle bit wider than the wand itself, and it can be a great tool that lengthens, volumizes, and separates lashes nicely. This has been the go-to shape for mascara wands for decades, and if you are looking for a middle-of-the-road effect that gives you a little bit of everything, this is the type of wand to choose.

The Large Spoolie

Larger mascara wands, especially if they are packed with bristles, tend to give the eyelashes the most volume. It doesn’t take many coats to reach intense effects, and coating the lashes with them is usually a quick process. However, the major drawback is that the larger the wand, the harder it is to control, and the easier it’ll be to make a mess. If your main goal is dramatic lashes at any cost, then go for a bigger wand, but if you have smaller lashes or eyes you may find it very unwieldy.

The Curved Spoolie

Curved mascara wands are said to help enhance the curl of your lashes. We haven’t actually seen any evidence that they do that, but there are plenty of people who swear by them. Curved wands are actually a really nice option for those who have smaller eyes, because they make it easy to cover the entire lash line without making a mess—while still offering the intense effects of straight wands. Plus (and this is our own personal opinion, but we think it’s true), there’s something graceful and glamorous about a curved spoolie.

Other Types of Spoolies

So those three—traditional, large, and curved—are the most common types of spoolies. There are also:

  • Tapered Spoolies: Tapered spoolies look like a little cone, and are fat at the bottom and narrow down to a point, to help you coat those small lashes at the inner corner of your eye;
  • Micro Spoolies/Small Spoolies: Smaller spoolies are very thin—thinner than the wand—and can be great for those who have smaller lashes or who prefer a more precise look. They tend to be easier to control and they are less likely to make a mess or apply mascara all over your top lid. However, they also tend to be less volumizing, though they can be quite good at separating the lashes. A small brush is also a great choice for the bottom lashes, assuming you’re okay with using two different mascaras on the top and bottom eye;
  • Ball Spoolies: As you guessed, these look like a little ball at the end of your wand, and they allow you to focus on only a few lashes at a time, letting you cover the root of your lashes to the tips. Sometimes there are multiple balls (two or three) at the end of the wand. They can be very effective, but they can add a lot of time to your beauty routine; and
  • Corkscrew Spoolies: These are increasingly in popularity, and Kat Von D has a few of these that we like; they have a sort of "double-helix" shape and they're designed to maximize coverage and add a lot of volume.

There’s one of variation we should mention, and that is…

Spoolies with Plastic Bristles

In recent years, plastic spoolies on mascara wands have become very popular. They haven’t totally replaced the old school nylon spoolies, but we see them a lot more than we used to. The main benefit of plastic mascara wands is that they are a little thicker at the base and then tapered at the end, so they do a better job of separating the lashes while still giving good length and volume, and that’s wonderful—if you have very dense lashes and require a lot of separation, they may be a good option for you.

However, this only applies when the plastic wand is well-constructed. Wands where the bristles are too far apart can be pretty useless, and mascara will build up between the gaps and make the lashes stick together and look clumpy—the opposite of what you want. That, perhaps, is one of the most important things to look for in a spoolie—the distance of the bristles from each other.

Make Sense of Mascara Buzzwords

Mascaras are usually made with four main claims: that they lengthen the lashes (or make the lashes look longer), that they volumize them and make them look thicker, that they separate them so they look individual and unique, and/or that they curl the lashes. Good mascaras should deliver on one or more of these claims, whereas poorly-made ones will not. Here’s a closer look at each buzzword and what it means:

Lengthening. “Lengthens lashes” is probably the most common description you’ll see, and a lot of mascara brands—and we mean, a lot a lot of mascara brands—will say that they lengthen lashes, because… well, that’s what many people want! Some do a better job of providing lengthening looks than others, and most people have to search around a little before they find something that works for them. It’s commonly thought, however, that tubing mascaras are usually best when it comes to lengthen effects—and that’s been our observation, too.

Volumizing. It’s between “volumizing” and “separating” where things can get complicated. Volumizing mascara is meant to coat the lashes in order to bulk them up and make them appear thicker. Unfortunately, volumizing mascaras can often cause lashes to clump together, which ends up making it look as though one has fewer lashes that are very thick, or, alternatively, it can lead to the dreaded “spider eye” effect. Ideally—and you may need to do some experimenting to find one that works for you—you want a mascara to add volume, while not clumping.

Separating. A separating mascara, sometimes marketed as being “defining,” is meant to help fan out the lashes, to make them look simultaneously plentiful but also soft and natural. Separating mascaras will rarely give the same level of volume, although many can still make lashes look thicker.

Curling. This one is pretty simple.

Find Your Optimal Texture

Cruelty-free mascaras tend to have one of two textures: thick and creamy or thinner and more liquid-y. If you prefer more natural and separated looking lashes, a thinner mascara is going to be the right cruelty-free mascara for you, while if your focus is on volume it’s better to choose a thicker formula.

Here’s a “pro-tip” about texture: thin mascara tends to hit a “sweet spot” a few days after it’s been opened, when a bit of the liquid evaporates, and the mascara becomes a little thicker and more volumizing. Thicker formulas, on the other hand, are often great when they first come out of the tube, but as the formula dries, the mascara thickens up too much and becomes clumpy. Something to keep in mind!

Consider Mascara Removal, and What Works for You

This is the last factor we usually recommend considering: how to take your mascara off when you’re done with your day.

There are four main ways to differentiate mascaras when it comes to removal. First, are the waterproof mascaras, which are the most long-lasting and difficult to remove. Waterproof mascaras will hold up through rain or a visit to the pool, but once the end of the day comes, they can only be removed with a strong and ideally oil-based makeup remover. And that can be a good thing—they’re designed to stay on, and that makes them tough to get remove.

Then there are water-resistant mascaras, which do hold up against some water… but not as well as waterproof mascaras. These mascaras may not suffice for a day at the beach, but if your eyes tear up from wind or if you work up a sweat at the gym, they should stay put without smudging or smearing. Water-resistant mascara can generally be removed with any makeup remover, including gentler ones.

Next, are the regular mascaras, which are mercifully easy to remove, though they will only stay intact if things stay dry. In other words, if you’re going to run into any moisture in any forms, chances are your mascara may move a little bit. If a mascara doesn’t say “waterproof” or “water-resistant,” it may be a “regular” mascara. If you really hate all the effort that goes into removing a waterproof or water-resistant mascara, these can be a nice option.

Finally, there are tubing mascaras, which are quite unique. Tubing mascaras coat the lashes with an elastic layer, or a “tube,” if you will, and they’re extremely water-resistant—until it’s time to remove them. When you want to remove them, you massage them with warm water, and they’re designed to simply slide right off of the lashes in (you guessed it) tubes. Tubing mascaras are really fascinating and they have a lot of fans, because they don’t come off if you tear up or sweat, but removing them is extremely easy. They can be a great option for those with sensitive eyes, and that leads us to one last thing we should mention, before we move on:

If you have sensitive skin and are more concerned about keeping it calm during the removal process, washable cruelty-free mascaras are usually the way to go, because taking them off won’t irritate the eyes or the skin around them. They’re designed to come off easily, so they don’t include some of the ingredients that make them adhere to the skin. All-natural mascara formulas tend to be washable, and they also are usually gentler for those with sensitive skin.  

How to Apply Cruelty-Free Mascara Like A Pro

The secret to consistent, well-measured lashes is application. Here are some things to practice, in order to achieve the look you want:

  • Mascara should come toward the end of your makeup application, and definitely after you’ve put on all powder products. If you apply powder after mascara, the powder will stick to your lashes and cover all of your hard work;
  • For an impactful, open-eyed look, use an eyelash curler to curl and lift your lashes right before it’s time to put on mascara;
  • When you’re ready, get into position to comfortably apply your cruelty-free mascara, ideally with a counter or handheld mirror that you can hold a little bit below your face and look down into;
  • Open your mascara tube, and wipe any excess mascara off of the wand over the lip of the tube;
  • If the mascara wand is very saturated with the product, wipe it off on a tissue to avoid having your lashes clump together;
  • When it’s ready, bring the mascara wand as close to your lash line as possible, from below;
  • Wiggle the wand a bit in order to get its bristles nestled nicely in between your lashes;
  • With a combination of a wiggling and pulling motion, bring the wand upwards to coat your lashes with mascara;
  • Move the wand a little outwards, and repeat the wiggling and pulling process on the lashes closer to the outer part of the lash line;
  • Apply two or more coats of mascara in the same fashion, especially if you’d like to amp up the volume, length, and overall drama of your look;
  • Make sure the tip of your mascara wand is extra clean, and then use it to coat the small lashes that grow closer to the inner corner of the eye;
  • If your lashes look a little clumpy despite your wiggling motions, use a clean spoolie to brush them in order to separate them a little more;
  • When applying mascara, always have a cotton bud on hand. If any of the mascara smudges over your lid or below your eyes, you can dip the cotton bud in some foundation or makeup remover to get rid of the errant smudge;
  • If you’d like to apply mascara to your bottom lashes, which is not mandatory, make sure the mascara wand doesn’t have too much product on it, and then do pretty much the same thing you did with the top lashes—bring the wand close to the bottom lash line, and wiggle it downwards to coat the bottom lashes;
  • This time around, though, don’t add more coats or you’ll end up with spidery, overly made-up bottom lashes; and finally...
  • Once you’re happy with how your lashes look, finish off the rest of your makeup and hopefully you should be good to go!

How to Remove Mascara Safely

When it comes to makeup, removal is just as important as application, and that’s especially true for mascara. Taking mascara off properly is integral to keeping your lashes and eyes in good shape, and here’s the process we’ve developed over the years:

  • To start, choose an appropriate makeup remover for your mascara. Oil-based or bi-phase makeup removers are usually best, but they can also leave behind a greasy residue. If your mascara is washable, then micellar water or an oil-free makeup remover can do the trick;
  • Thoroughly saturate a cotton pad with your make up remover;
  • Hold the cotton pad over your eye for 5-10 seconds, in order to allow the makeup remover to permeate through the mascara and start to break it down;
  • Then, gently wipe the cotton pad downwards over your lashes—this should remove about 75% of your mascara, though it might also leave some dark streaks under your eyes;
  • Wipe at the lashes again with the cotton pad, this time going downwards and outwards in order to remove some of the makeup off of the skin, as well;
  • Finally, look up, and wipe at your under-eye area and lower lashes to get rid of all makeup residue on the bottom;
  • This should be enough, but if not, you might have to saturate a new cotton pad and repeat the whole process, especially if your mascara is very persistent;
  • When you’re done removing your mascara off of one eye, you can move over to the other eye and do the same thing again; and finally...
  • Once you’re done, you can wash your face normally or use micellar water to get rid of the residue of your makeup remover.

Other Mascara Tips and Tricks Worth Knowing

We always have a few professional secrets up our sleeve, and here are our pro-tips regarding mascaras:

  • Our first tip is one that’s already well-known by makeup artists, and that’s to bend your mascara wand before using it so that the spoolie is at a 90-degree angle to the wand. This way, when applying mascara, you can hold the wand a little below your eye, which is a more comfortable position (especially when taking mirrors into account) and it makes for an easier and cleaner application;
  • In a pinch, your cruelty-free mascara can substitute for liquid eyeliner. Run a clean eyeliner brush over your mascara spoolie to load it up with color, and then apply it just like you would a liquid eyeliner—it’s can be a little fussy, but it’s great if you’re on a trip and forget your liner at home;
  • The way you apply your mascara can actually help shape your eye! You can elongate the eye by applying mascara gradually so that it’s a little more natural near the inner corner of the eye and gets progressively thicker outwards, so the lashes near the outer corner of your eye are longest;
  • On the other hand, to achieve an open, “doll eye” effect, concentrate and build up the mascara so your lashes are longest at the center of the lash line, just above the pupil. It can round out the eyes and make them look larger than they are;
  • Even if you’re a fan of false lashes it doesn’t mean that mascara doesn’t have room in your makeup bag. In fact, a coat of mascara can help to marry your natural lashes with your false lashes, leading to a much more natural and seamless look;
  • Some mascaras are very thin and wet when they’re first purchased, which can make them a little messier to use, and may also take away from their thickening and lengthening effect. If you find your mascara is too wet, leave it open somewhere clean for about 15 seconds. A bit of the liquid may evaporate, and the formula may become thicker and easier to use;
  • You can pick up a heated eyelash curler, which you can use after you’ve applied mascara, to increase both lift and separation;
  • You can combine different kinds of mascaras, in order to achieve a combination of effects. For example, you can start out with a coat of lengthening cruelty-free mascara, and then bulk it up with a coat of a volumizing one, or you can start with a coat of a very separating mascara, and then follow it up with a more volumizing mascara after the lashes have been separated, for a dramatic but natural look;
  • Another option is to start out with a coat of clear or white eyelash primer, which will add volume, and follow it up with your mascara of choice;
  • This next tip is a little odd, and it does put you at risk of ending up with spider lashes, but when done carefully, the effect can be amazing: after you apply your first coat of mascara, while the lashes are still wet, dust them with a bit of makeup powder. Then use a clean spoolie to separate the lashes, and finish off with another coat of mascara. The result is significantly more length and volume;
  • It’s super important that you know the expiry dates of cruelty-free mascaras! Mascaras usually go bad three to six months after they’ve been opened, and natural, cruelty-free mascaras are likelier to go off on the shorter end of the spectrum because they’re usually made with weaker preservatives. Once your mascara expires, throw it away, lest you risk damaging your eyes; and finally...
  • This one is an anti-tip: never ever put eye drops, water, or makeup remover into your tube of mascara, even if it’s starting to get dry. This tip is recommended in a lot of places, but in reality, once a mascara goes dry it is expired, so using it can irritate the eyes or cause infection. Do not do!

Find the Right Option for You

Cruelty-free cosmetics have come a long way in recent years, and they’re no longer a “secondary” cosmetic—good ones are every bit as effective non-cruelty-free versions. Hopefully we’ve opened your eyes to the world of cruelty free mascaras, and helped you find what you were looking for. Have fun, good luck, and happy makeup!

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