Did you know there’s a smartphone app called Think Dirty that will show you a list of ingredients in commercial beauty products? If you’re like me, you want to know exactly what’s in the product you’re using. Most commercial mascaras are filled with a long list of toxic chemicals. According to Medical Daily, these four are particularly bad. And if you want to avoid exposure to these toxins, and save money at the same time, it’s easy enough to make your own vegan mascara.
Prep time: 10 min
Ready in: 10 min
Yields: About 2 months’ worth of use
- empty mascara tube and applicator brush
- small stiff brush – such as used for shaping eyebrows
- oil – such as olive, coconut, avocado, etc. (I prefer organic coconut oil)
- nontoxic soap – such as Dr. Bronner’s
- 2 food-grade activated charcoal capsules – can be bought in health food store
- small glass bowl for mixing
- isopropyl alcohol for sterilizing
- Wash and dry your hands thoroughly.
- If using an existing tube, wash it and applicator brush with any mild nontoxic soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s soap). Allow it to dry thoroughly. Disinfect the tube and brush with an alcohol-soaked cotton swab. Alternatively, you could buy a new empty container.
- Empty charcoal capsules into your glass or ceramic dish.
- Pour out a few drops of oil into your glass or ceramic dish. Mix with the brush until no clumps remain and the mixture is a smooth, thick paste.
- Test mascara by applying a little to your lashes with the brush. If the mixture is too stiff, add a drop of oil. If the mixture is too loose, you can refrigerate the dish for about 15 minutes, or add a bit more charcoal until you get your desired consistency.
- Once you reach the desired consistency, make a sufficient amount in the same proportions (remember you’ll use slightly more of this than the commercial varieties). Use the brush to pack the mixture into the old tube. Don’t fill more than 2/3 full or the mascara will overflow.
- Put the applicator into the tube and close tightly.
Tips for Making Your Own Vegan Mascara
- Homemade mascara can change consistency in heat or cold. You can place it in the refrigerator overnight if it becomes too hot. Rub briskly between your hands to warm it up if it becomes too cold. I recommend storing homemade natural mascara in the refrigerator to keep it fresh. Mascara is a natural breeding ground for bacteria, so storing your mascara in the refrigerator will slow down the growth of bacteria. Every two months you should empty your homemade mascara.
- Vegan mascara does not have all the stabilizers, waxes, etc. Therefore I recommend that you use an eyelash comb after applying it to separate your lashes and distribute the color evenly. Cleanup is accomplished with nontoxic soap and water. This mascara is not waterproof—that would involve bringing in the toxic chemicals again—so you’ll have to reapply it if you sweat or cry.
- You can also try mixing in a very tiny amount of melted, unprocessed wax to make a thicker consistency and add stability, however, this will no longer be vegan unless you find a suitable vegetable-sourced wax, such as bayberry wax or carnauba wax.