Finding Natural Mascara

Finding Natural Mascara
by Jolene Marty, Co-Admin of Eco-Friendly baby/family products MADE in the USA


I’ll be honest this was the toughest area to find something in. I was determined though because let’s face it, I enjoy wearing makeup from time to time and after finding out all the junk that was in what I was using at the time (although I thought it was completely safe), I said forget it, I’m just not wearing any. I have tried several, I have researched even more. Every time that I thought I had found one, there were harmful preservatives in them, even the ‘natural’ ones. I had to stop researching mascara’s and start researching WHY everything had ‘junk’ in it. Because mascara is a liquid product, you HAVE to have a preservative of some sort in the product. Trust me, you want one if you expect to use it more than a few days, it keeps bacteria from growing. I do not want that on or near my eyeballs either! For this reason I know of at least two of our best of the best makeup companies on that list refuse to make mascara because they do not want any part of making something with preservatives! Mascara also needs an emulsifier to keep it from separating. There are many types of mascara out there that have all wonderful ingredients but their one (and often times up to THREE) preservatives in their product, has me escaping out of their web page quickly and with no looking back. There are some preservatives that I will NOT touch such as Japanese Honeysuckle, Grapefruit Seed Extract (both sound natural right?), Phenoxyethanol, Polysorbate, Sorbic Acid, and the list goes on. There are some preservatives that rate a 0-2 on EWG that are a better option. When I see preservatives used in makeup that rate a 7+ on the scale and are KNOWN carcinogens, it really makes me ill to think that they market this stuff as natural and wonderful and something you want to put on the largest organ in your body. So far I have found FOUR mascaras that I will recommend at this time. One company I was so, so excited to find and did so by chance through an article on natural makeup (I am an avid article reader; I think you could say that I am addicted 😉 ) . Another is a company that, especially as of late, has become a bit taboo in their ability to truthfully label their items. However, they were the only other one (after I did research on what all their ingredients actually are) that I could find that would work. The other two are ones that are known companies that are making wonderful headway in making some of the safest makeup out available. There are many, many endorsed mascaras out there from many natural and eco-friendly groups such as us. Due to that research “already being done” I thought I was going to have an easy time, only to find out even those mascaras had some horrible ingredients too! It is for this reason, I have provided the EWG ratings after each ingredient. I have also written a little note about each of the ingredients people might be concerned about or might not know much about.
So here are two that I recommend in order of my preference. I am also providing a DIY recipe from a very helpful blog that gives out a recipe for cake and liquid mascara. Keep in mind, DIY stuff will want to be made every 1-3 days and keep it in the fridge for best luck of keeping bacteria out.

**I no longer put a rating of preference simply because in strict terms of ratings, I feel that all of these are comparable and everyone loves each one of these the most, for different reasons. Also because I have no tried each one of these (yet) so cannot give personal testament to how great these work versus their good ratings.

Poofy Organics Mascara ($20)
This mascara is made by one of our favorite companies off of our Master List of the safest companies to buy from. They are a company who truly believes in the well-being of their customers and work hard to make sure they offer the safest products available while making a quality product. I do not have any concerns over any of the ingredients in their list and feel you cannot go wrong in wearing something that has ingredients that rate so low in EWG. *I also wanted to mention that this mascara IS available through our Buying Club or through the link here:
List of ingredients with their EWG rating in parenthesis:
Water (Aqua) (EWG0), Chamomile Hydrosol (Matricaria Recutita)* (EWG0), Cera Alba (Beeswax)* (EWG0), Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax (EWG0), Mica (CI 77019) (EWG2), Coffea Arabica (Coffee Powder)* (EWG0), Oryza Sativa (Rice) Powder* (EWG2), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil (EWG0)*, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch* (EWG0), Lecithin, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Acetic Acid, Origanum Vulgare Leaf Extract, Thymus Vulgaris Extract, Cinnamomum Zeylanicum Bark Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis Flower Extract, Hydrastis Canadensis Root Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Extract*. May Contain: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77499), (CI 77491), (CI 77492). (*Certified Organic)

Maia’s Mineral Mascara ($18)
This is mascara that I found that I have not personally tried. In fact, I saw this on my last round of frustrating research on mascara. I really thought I was going to give up and this little bottle, while not perfect (because NO mascara ever will be), is definitely a great choice!
The one potential concern with this mascara is the Soy Lecithin. It can be derived from plants or animals and if it is derived from plant then you would worry about GMO’s in this ingredient. Here’s why I’m NOT worried about it. First, this is a vegan product so we know it is NOT animal derived (I don’t know about you but I do not like anything derived from animals on my face) which means that it is plant derived. They use ORGANIC Soy Lecithin therefore GMO’s is a non-issue. The EWG rating on the soy lecithin is based on the fact that it might come from an animal source and is based on the non-organic version. I feel that this rating is too high for a vegan organic version, however this was the only information that EWG has available on it so far.
List of ingredients with their EWG rating in parenthesis:
Organic Jojoba Oil (EWG0), Carnauba Wax (EWG0), Cetearyl Alcohol (An Emulsifying Wax) (EWG1), Stearic Acid (EWG1), Iron Oxide (EWG2), Organic Soy Lecithin (EWG3-4), Vegetable Glycerin (EWG0), Sodium Carbomer (EWG0) and Distilled Water (EWG0)

Where to find:

Ava Anderson Non Toxic Mascara ($17.95)
This mascara is a mineral mascara. I have never tried this product but there are many rave reviews on it. The only thing that I do not like about this mascara is the use of Geoguard Ultra and that they do NOT disclose what that is. According to the EWG, Geoguard Ultra is comprised of Gluconolocatone and Sodium Benzoate. Gluconolocatone rates a EWG 0 however; there is very limited information on it. More specifically there is NO data for these two ingredients together, otherwise known as Geoguard Ultra. Most people know that Sodium Benzoate is a preservative. It receives an EWG1 rating and has Fair Data information. While many in the natural community is okay with using this, some are not and I wanted to bring this to attention. The one concern with Sodium Benzoate is organ system toxicity. This is most certainly not the worst of the preservatives and considering that mascara has to have one, this is a better option than most out there. If you are interested in the Truth in Aging article on Gluconololactone here is their link:
Here is a list of ingredients with their EWG rating in parenthesis:
aloe barbedensis leaf juice extract (organic aloe) (EWG0), cetyl elsters wax nf (vegetable based wax) (made from Cetostearyl Alcohol) (EWG1), vegetable glycerin (EWG0), Glyceryl Stearate se (palm kernel source) (EWG0), iron oxide (filtered) (EWG2), (77499) (mineral based colorant) (EWG2), mica (77019) (mineral based colorant) (EWG2), titanium dioxide (77891) (mineral based colorant) (EWG1-3), geogard ultra (EWG1).

Where to find: – color cosmetics|ALL&Qty=1

Jane Iredale Purelash Mascara ($16)
This mascara also has preservatives in it but rate very low and many people love their products. Jane Iredale offers THREE mascaras…I do NOT recommend any other mascara than their plain ‘ole Purelash because there are concerns with ultramarines, carmine, etc that I do not feel comfortable recommending. There is one thing I will disclaim about this mascara (that they disclaim on their website) this mascara has wheat protein in it. If you cannot eat, wear, touch, etc wheat or gluten, then I would not recommend you try it. For the rest of you, this can be a great option and priced comparatively.
Ingredients with their EWG rating in parenthesis:
Water (EWG0), Algae Extract (EWG0), Carnauba Wax (EWG0), Glycerin (EWG0), PVP (EWG0), Glyceryl Stearate (EWG0), Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein (EWG1), Stearic Acid (EWG1), Panthenol (EWG0), Vanilla Tahitensis Fruit Extract (EWG0), Sweet Almond Seed Extract (EWG0), Hydroxyethylcellulose (EWG0), Bisabolol (EWG0), Phospholipids (EWG0). May Contain: Iron Oxides (EWG2).

Where to find:

DIY Mascara
There is a super helpful Etsy lady named herbanluxe that gave me the DIY address of Eco Etsy. She has on there a wet and dry (cake) mascara recipe, along with an FAQ, on making your own if you are more comfortable doing that. I haven’t tried any yet due to time constraints however, I would recommend looking these over and giving them a shot.


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gigi
    Dec 11, 2013 @ 01:21:50

    Ever tried out Alima Pure products? They sell mineral makeup that seems safe (mica, iron oxides, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide) and have a mascara that seems alright except that one (or two, I can’t quite remember now) of the ingredients is not at all on EWG and others are rated 0 but have no data. For all that, it’s also priced at $22…

    • ecofriendlymamausa
      Dec 11, 2013 @ 13:32:44

      I’ll have my co-admin Jolene check into it, she’s the make-up expert! Thanks, will let you know what she thinks!

    • ecofriendlymamausa
      Dec 12, 2013 @ 19:57:10

      Here’s what Jolene says after looking into the make-up: “Ozokerite can either be mineral or petroleum derived and the website doesn’t specify. Sodium Hydroxide is a EWG3 and it says that it is highly reactive, it is not something I recommend. I have no idea what Sodium Carboxyethylsilanetriol is and I can’t find much info on it…but I do know that it is synthetic. Over all, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this because there is almost zero data on half of their items that they use and that makes me uncomfortable to have that many ingredients have almost no to zero information on how it really reacts. Also if that first ingredient I mentioned is petroleum derived then it’s a HUGE NO in my eyes.”

  2. Shell E
    Feb 24, 2014 @ 22:11:29

    Just shared this on my blog regarding US-made Mascara. Pacifica recently added makeup to their line of products too. I have not tried the mascara yet but they offer a mineral mascara. Thanks for the information!

  3. Sierra
    Mar 20, 2014 @ 17:39:25

    Physician’s Formula makes 4 organic mascaras. I’ve only tried the beige tube with green top. They’re under $10 at drugstores. It flakes if I don’t use a waxy eye primer before application. EWG score of 1.

    Poofy looks pretty good but I see they use ultramarines in their foundation, which is what I’m researching for today. I currently use Bare Minerals but want to avoid the Bismuth Oxychloride. Do you have a recommendation on mineral makeup line?

  4. Aaron Hale
    Sep 23, 2014 @ 03:26:50

    I used to be recommended this web site via my cousin. I am not
    certain whether this submit is written by means of him as no one else
    recognize such precise approximately my problem.
    You’re incredible! Thank you!

  5. Kaley
    Jan 06, 2015 @ 18:47:40

    Ava Anderson Non Toxic has removed Geogard Ultra from all of their products 🙂 just FYI.

  6. Candice
    Feb 08, 2016 @ 15:01:54

    I see that lots of make up has Lecithin in it… how would you know if it’s a safe amount? I’m not sure I feel comfortable with putting that on my face without knowing the % they use…

    “Although Hydrogenated Lecithin has been given the GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) rating by the FDA, there are some concerns over its carcinogenic properties and its ability to penetrate the skin. Although this ability allows it to be an effective product ingredient, it needs to be used with caution concerning the other ingredients in the product. It has the ability to deposit harmful chemicals below the skin if used in high concentrations. Therefore, Hydrogenated Lecithin is considered safe in concentrations up to 15%”

    • ecofriendlymamausa
      Feb 09, 2016 @ 22:05:52

      Good question Candice. My assumption is it’s a very minimal amount, how much could a tube of mascara possibly contain? But best advice I can give you is to reach out to any vendor using it to get their “official” response. And if you want to share anything you find out, I’d love to have you share it here. Thanks!

%d bloggers like this: