why posts on cruelty-free and otherwise “green-ish” mascaras might be necessary and matter

Aside from the usual needs: because there’s a fair amount of misinformation, misreading, and pubvertising pseudo-articles around the place.

See for example this recent exchange on the MUA Green Board (a little over a week ago):

Someone asks for “recs for some mascaras (everything out there on the mass market just seems so harsh)”

They get two responses; the first referred to a fairly recent post. Which would have been findable by searching the board. Discussion-board etiquette, guys… But hey.

The second, from vs0000:

Here are more to check out


I had a mosey over and a look around. Was not very impressed; not just cos I do actually know something about mascara and advertising-copy, but also because this was feckin typical Martha Stewart patronising guff.

truth matters

Also: note for record that this is the green board. FFS.

I did actually wonder if this was taking the piss, or deliberate provocation to get hippy chicks all angry. You know, trolling. But decided to be as calm and neutral as possible, in the circumstances:


I’ll try to be fair, though, as there are some positives.


(1) If someone’s never used mascara before or is from outer space and has never met the stuff–sure, a useful basic guide. Without making any digs about poor old MS and her unfortunate days out of touch behind bars…

(2) Other pro: there’s some good sense here.

(3) Useful stuff: Of the 40, a lot are TTBOMK cruelty-free though not all are particularly green/eco on the ingredient front *
Almay (but quibbling on testing status, them and parent co., Revlon)
Bare Minerals (but Shiseido)
Benefit (but LVMH)
By Terry
Fresh (but LVMH)
IT Cosmetics
Jane Iredale (go for the one in the squeey tube, though)
Josie Maran
Merle Norman
Physician’s Formula (the only decently-priced “greener-ish” one listed)
Revlon (but quibbling re. exact testing status)
TIGI (I think???)
Trish McEvoy
Urban Decay (though IMHO a poor choice, the weakest of all their mascaras)
VMV Hypoallergenics


(1) there’s common sense and then there’s the blindingly obvious. Or: obvious to anyone who’s ever used mascara–I’ve seen YouTube videos by 14-year-olds showing a more sophisticated and encyclopedic knowledge of mascara!

(2) Fails to take into account individual lash difference re. choice of brush and formula.

(3) Then there’s the hilarious: this must be the only place I’ve ever seen Guerlain referred to as “the environmentalist” or that Neutrogena crap as the best choice available for “the sensitive” (on which, there’s no such thing anyway: massive range of sensitivities, plural).

(4) Most of the descriptions are lifted straight from marketing copy (I know cos I’ve seen the script before) and the mascaras haven’t actually been tried out. Ex. Chantecaille. This is not an article, it’s advertising.

(5) Not a particularly “green” list (but then, that’s not its intention) and some (Lancôme etc.) are about as far from green and eco as it’s humanly possible to get. Though I think you’ll find many of the greener options here (JI, Tarte etc.) all been discussed in previous posts on here about mascara; see superfille’s link, and in there, the links c/o my reply

* I don’t know the cruelty-free, ingredient-sourcing, sustainable etc. status of some of the MFers there, maybe someone else can fill in the blanks as they’re less commonly available and expensive… though I’ve at least tested out many-to-most of these, I’d have put only a couple of them in a top 100 let alone 40. Different strokes for different folks.

For all 40 of them, see here:

All of which was clearly the wrong thing to say. Or rather, more probably: some of which, the rest having possibly not been read, or not been read properly, fully, carefully? Hell, I should have just stuck with LOL and not offered any nuanced comment…

What doesn’t work for you, MIGHT work for others. I can’t use those eco-friendly products full of “natural extracts”, because they’re irritating and harsh for me, so basic chemicals work for me. I know other folks who are the same way. Neutrogena may be crap for you, but it works for me. And many others.

I certainly am not saying you’re not entitled to trash others’ SUGGESTIONS. Mind I said “check out”, not “why don’t you use these?”

Do you really get that pissed off at
and have an urge to write that extensive a reply to

Instead of trashing Martha and Neutrogena, how about showing your super duper class and becoming as … 0.0000000001% financially successful???

I was tempted to respond with a ROFL.
(1) I’d rather be an honest penniless beggar with ethics than be Martha Stewart. I’d rather be a Starbucks barrista (decent company, decent ethics inc. towards staff) than have anything to do with Neutrogena and be part of J&J Corp.
(2) For the record, if financial success is all that counts or is comprehensible—even on the Green Board—then I would have to admit that I’d rate rather higher than 0.0000000001%.
(3) Not that that’s any of anybody’s business, or even relevant here. Some of us work in fields where the very idea of “financial success” causes ROFL because it’s a contradiction in terms; unimportant and trivial in comparison with (the importance of) what we do; and an irrelevance.
(4) Also, irrelevant re. original post, vs0000′s comment, or my comment. Off topic.

Lighter note aside: The tone, timbre, and topics of the response recalls some BBBers of around this time last year, and is reminiscent of some other Green Board trolls of around the same time who disapproved of reasoning and of longer fuller answers. Sure, there’s argments to be made against-longwindedness: but also plenty more to be made for full, proper, complete answers; details; analysis and commentary; criticism and discussion; truth, as contrasted with a Daily Mail Top Ten Digest approach and ethos.

Who are these people, Republican Stepford wives institutional residents getting a few days off for good behaviour? The individual concerned is now officially on the unofficial MUA trollwatch list …

Actual response posted:

well now:

1) ITA on the natural extract side (if you have a look at what I’ve used and suggested, inc. this board here)

2) bear in mind this is the *green* board, not makeup: “Green Products and Eco-Friendly Living”???

3) but if you read my response, you’ll see that I started out by saying
“I’ll try to be fair, though, as there are some positives.”
which include the fact that a lot of the mascara brands listed are actually pretty green, by assorted green standards

4) yes, I do get pissed off if a suggestion is foolish or inappropriate. As do plenty of other MUAers, on this board and others. It’s a discussion board. That’s one of the features of discussion. As contrasted with e-zines where Pearls of Wisdom are distributed from On High, gratefully received, and there’s no discussion.

5) again, back to point 3: I think you’ll find that I was scrupulously fair in comment and stuck to the matter at hand and comment on that list of mascaras. Rather than going off on ad hominem tangents.

Please do bear in mind the MUA rules on insulting other MUAers (see top of this page and “Terms of Use” at the bottom of the page). Your comment breaks them and would be just cause for reporting to the administrators.

I will not be responding further to you here. If a fellow-member’s behaviour is going off in a trolling sort of direction it’s usually best to disengage and step away.

If all that’s happened is that you’re upset and an ardent Martha fan, please accept my apologies for any imputations on your good character and intentions. It’s often hard to tell on here (as indeed elsewhere on line) the difference between full-on trolls, the malicious trouble-stirring kind of trolling, heartfelt righteous bee-in-bonnet trolling, and sincerity.

Happy mascara-ing meanwhile, to you and anyone else reading!

(Forgot to add: being off topic also breaks MUA rules. Kicking self, esprit de l’escalier…)

Another reason, on a happier recent-political note:

See, what we really need here is the rise of the cruelty-free megacorp. The equivalent of the Hain Celestial group (akin to this but for food, household stuff, skin & hair care products). As an avuncular federal-style umbrella for independents, ensuring their distribution and marketing and so on in health-food stores (Hain already does this well, with Whole Foods and indeed some supermarket chains) but also in larger retailers of cosmetics: drugstores, places like Sephora and Ulta, larger etailers.

Otherwise what happens is what happened to The Body Shop and Burt’s Bees. You’re a smaller indie ethical company. You do well. You get bought by a bigger company. If you’re lucky, you get to retain control over your products and production, and you’re an experiment in “greening up” for the parent megacorp. If you’re unlucky, you’re tainted by association with them (and lose custmers), you lose corporate control, and you contribute to greenwashing.

As MUAers on Green Board have pointed out, another good thing would be a big green beauty shop would be great too: a real-world equivalent of Saffronrouge, Lovelula and the like. I think Sephora’s set a good example with their “greener” part of the store (though the brands there aren’t all cruelty-free, and their own one is cruelty-free but not plant-based enough).

But I’d rather see cruelty-free and other more ethical brands being included in mainstream stores, like Physician’s Formula is in drugstores across North America. Not in their own niche shops. So that ethical beautification is accessible to all, both in terms of practical availability and price. In an ideal world (perhaps the EU very soon?): all beauty products ought to be cruelty-free. With the non-ethical ones as the excluded marginalized freaks.

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