Recently, we’ve been talking a lot about about women’s health and hormones and the things that can wreck them. Did you know that makeup can be a huge source of hormone-wrecking toxicity? If you’re wanting to make the switch to safer, more natural eye makeup, I’ll give you my best mascara suggestions below.
Why I love mascara
But it’s hard to prioritize makeup in the midst of busy days with kids, making healthy meals, homeschooling, and spending most days in sweat pants. Let alone choosing quality, toxin-free makeup.
I felt guilty spending money on myself or even taking the time at the grocery store to stop in on the beauty aisle to try and grab some random, organic mascara while my boys pinched and smacked each other in the cart or wandered off to the gluten-free pizza aisle.
But natural eye makeup makes me feel good. It just does. A swipe of nice mascara on my peepers makes my eyes look more lively and just makes me straighten my shoulders a bit higher.
Ok, I know Audrey isn’t talking about eye makeup here, but the eyes are important. They are indeed the window to our soul, and I like my windows to look lovely when they can. So I set out to find natural eye makeup options.
But let’s back up.
Why natural eye makeup is important to me
For years, I worked as a cosmetologist, using toxic chemicals on client after client’s hair, and using toxic makeup and skincare products on their skin. Which means I was being exposed to chemicals all day long at my job.
I loved using all those toxic chemicals on myself too. I’ve always loved getting dolled up. I have fun experimenting with my makeup and hair; it’s another creative outlet for me. Plus, I like feeling cute. 😉
So when I went the natural route with food, cleaning products, and lifestyle in general, I knew I wanted safer options for my beauty products too. It was a slower process with my makeup, as I felt like it wasn’t as big of a deal as food, plus I had a hard time deciphering and finding good, natural products.
I was wrong. Our skin absorbs the stuff we put on it, which means it goes into our bloodstream, and has the ability to impact our health as much as the food we eat.
When I learned about how important it truly is to choose safer products, I began switching out all my makeup for healthier options.
Let’s look specifically at mascara ingredients and why we’d want to choose natural eye makeup.
Conventional mascara ingredients
Formaldehyde- released by preservatives found in mascara and other beauty products, formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen. It can also cause respiratory disturbances like coughing and wheezing, and may cause burning, watery eyes, burning in the nose and throat, nausea, and skin irritation.
Phthalates- found in synthetic fragrances, phthalates are responsible for a host of health issues, most notably infertility and birth defects.
Parabens- as chemical preservatives found in tons of beauty and personal care products, parabens cause hormone disruptions that lead to imbalances. Parabens have also been discovered in the breast tissues of women with breast cancer. (source)
Propylene glycol- PEGs are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers and may be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, which are both carcinogens. (source)
Retinyl acetate- when used topically, this synthetic nutrient may damage DNA and speed the growth of skin tumors. (source)
BHA & BHT- these fake antioxidants are added to beauty products as preservatives. They may damage the liver, cause cancer, and disrupt hormones. (P.S. you’ll also find them in food!)
So what’s a beauty-obsessed girl to do?
Natural eye makeup showdown: mascara
Over the years, I’ve tried several natural mascara brands, and I’m happy to break down my favorites for ya! I’ve judged them based on ingredients, price, and performance, so you can make the choice that works best for you!
A new favorite, Beautycounter’s Lengthening Mascara is the newest addition to my collection.
Performance: The slim and sleek wand packs a powerful lengthening punch and I was shocked at how much longer my eyelashes looked after just one coat! Not only does it look great, but it’s got amazing staying power, as one of the main complaints is difficulty removing it (it came off easily with coconut oil for me).
It’s been getting good reviews for years, as users say it
- defines and lengthens lashes
- is easily buildable
- does not clump on lashes
- & gives lashes ultimate definition.
I have to agree after recently trying it for myself. But are the ingredients safe? Let’s take a look.
Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Cera Alba/Beeswax/Cire d’abeille,Citric Acid, Gluconolactone, Glycerin, Iron Oxides, Isododecane, Lecithin, Panthenol,Polyglyceryl-3 Polyricinoleate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Sodium Benzoate, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Calcium Gluconate, Ceresin, Cera Carnauba/Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax/Cire de carnauba,Disteardimonium Hectorite, Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Fruit Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Cera Microcristallina/Microcrystalline Wax/Cire microcristalline, Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, Polyglyceryl-6 Polyricinoleate, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Seed Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, VP/Eicosene Copolymer. *Organic/Biologique
Beautycounter carefully selects ingredients based on level of toxicity, choosing safer preservatives. While the ingredients are not perfect, I’m pleased that it does contain lots of organic and botanical ingredients, and is free of the toxic ingredients we talked about above. Bottom line: I feel great about using it!
Get Beautycounter Lengthening Mascara here.
I’ve also starting using another popular botanical mascara, 100% Pure’s Maracuja Mascara, and have been pleasantly surprised with it as well.
Performance: The marajuca mascara gives a nice definition and the blackberry color that I’ve been using has a nice pop of subtle, deep purplish color.
While it doesn’t make my lashes super long, it adds nice volume, plus you can easily build on it with multiple coats for longer length. My very favorite thing is that the blackberry scent is pretty strong so it smells like candy when I use it. 🙂
Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Wax, Extracts of Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry) Fruit, Ribes Nigrum (Blackcurrant) Fruit, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit, Coconut Stearic Acid, Pantothenic Acid (Pro-vitamin B5) and Fucus Vesiculosus (Seaweed) Powder, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Passiflora Alata (Maracuja) Seed Oil, Extracts of Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe Juice) Leaf*, Oryza Sativa Germ Powder (Rice Powder), Theobroma Cacao Extract (Cocoa Powder), Coffea Arabica Seed (Coffee Beans), Origanum Vulgare (Oregano) Leaf, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Flower/Leaf, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower/Leaf/Stem, Hydrastis Canadensis (Goldenseal), Passiflora Alata (Maracuja) Seed, Lonicera Caprifolium Flower and Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower, Vegetable Glycerin, May Contain Iron Oxides * Certified Organic
100% Pure selects safe, botanical ingredients, including herbal preservatives like oregano, thyme, and rosemary. Bottom line: I’m 100% comfortable using their makeup!
Get 100% Pure’s Maracuja Mascara here.
Another natural mascara I’ve been using for a while now, I’ve been really happy with the Pacifica Beauty Dream Big Mascara. Pacifica is a safer brand that sources some botanical ingredients.
They make divine-smelling perfumes, but I’m unable to find for sure whether or not they use phthalates, unfortunately.
Performance: The Dream Big mascara is a fun, unique mascara because it’s a lengthening and volumizing mascara in one. First, you lengthen, then you twist the wand to shorten it and add volume. Or maybe it’s the other way around. I don’t know.
I honestly usually only use it on the lengthening setting. Overall, I’ve been happy with how it looks and holds up. Recently, however, the tube broke, which is a bummer because it probably has months of use left in it.
Ingredients: aqua, glyceryl stearate se, jojoba esters, glycerin (vegetable), myristoyl pentapeptide-17, tapioca starch, stearic acid (vegetable), cellulose, phospholipids, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, copernicia cerifera (carnauba) wax, euphorbia cerifera (candelilla) wax), arabic/acacia gum, potassium cetyl phosphate, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, panthenol (vitamin b), gluconolactone, macrocystis pyifera (brown kelp) extract, hydrolyzed lupine protein, hydrolyzed oryza sativa (rice) protein, sodium benzoate. May contain: Iron oxides CI 77499.
You’ll see the ingredients aren’t perfect, but it’s free of parabens and seems to be free of phthalates and the other harmful ingredients we discussed and also contains some lash-nourishing ingredients like jojoba. Bottom line: I feel fine using it, but there are cleaner options.
Get Pacifica Beauty Dream Big Mascara here.
Physician’s Formula Organic Wear
I’ve bought organic and natural mascaras at the grocery store for years, but have never been very impressed with their performance. The one I most recently purchased was Physician’s Formula Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin FakeOut™ Mascara.
Performance: While it looks about as nice as any other mascara, I was appalled to find that it often smeared and smudged after a couple hours. Nothing like walking into the restroom between classes at homeschool coop and discover you’ve got a raccoon eye thing happening.
It was this mishap that ultimately sent me on a mission to find better natural eye makeup.
Ingredients: Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Water*, Glycerin*, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Beeswax*, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax*, Tapioca Starch*, Hydrolyzed Corn Starch, Stearic Acid, Jojoba Esters, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Powder*, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract*, Ceiba Pentandra Fiber Powder, Cellulose, Nylon-10/10, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract*, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract*, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil*, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract*, Glycerin, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Water, Glyceryl Caprylate, Leuconostoc / Radish Root Ferment Filtrate May Contain: Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide
The ingredients are pretty clean, but I do note there are corn and soy products, making it less allergen-friendly than other natural options. Bottom line: I personally felt fine using it.
Get it here.