reviews: new mascara

vintage mascara ad, 1939

Back to regular programming; my apologies for our recent digressions into less interesting matters. They matter too, they matter a lot, they matter the most of anything and everything on here; but they’re nowhere near as interesting and exciting as…


So. I’ve been testing out two new mascaras. One is a tubing mascara, the other is a “greener” one.

A reminder of what mascaras I’ve used, and some mascara criteria:

  • mascara list (May 2012, last updated August 2013)
  • must work
  • stay on until removed
  • no irritation on sensitive skin and eyes
  • no globbing, clumping, flaking, smudging, smearing
  • no animal testing, and a preference for avoiding certain animal-derived ingredients (carmine, glycerin) though I’m cool with beeswax
  • no scent / fragrance / perfume: that includes essential oils and their derivatives, and some fruit juices and fruit/pulp extracts used to change the scent of a product. Yes, these ingredients are natural and green; no, not even if they’re organic and every other sort of “pure and clean” imaginable. Sorry: that’s chemistry, biochemistry, and reactions for you. In other words, the facts of life.
  • no alcohol, bismuth oxychloride, triethanolamine, sodium lauryl sulfate, triclosan, DMDM hydantoin, quaternium-15, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, methylisothiazolinone, methylchloroisothiazolinone
  • YES preservatives, of a good solid sturdy sort to which my skin doesn’t react: my skin and eyes are fine with phenoxyethanol, The Evil Parabens, and the sorta-parabens-alike honeysuckle extract (if in low concentration, which the current versions are)

What I was using before this experiment:

  • Blinc Mascara Amplified:
    this is a tubing mascara, a newer version than the original Blinc / Kiss Me one. Compared to it, it dries slower and is more layerable. Fuller thicker more voluminuous stuff going on. On me, goes beyond the minimum required MLBB appearance.

The current two experiments:

  • Lise Watier 24 Hrs Glam Mascara
  • and the big pleasant surprise: Earthlabs Raw Mascara


lise watier 24 hrs glam tubing mascara

Another tubing mascara. Using it in black; it’s also available in blue, violet, and green. Very like the Blinc one, but different smaller brush. I’m not altogether sold on the brush, as it’s one of those bendy ones with spiky bits. I have a bad habit of poking myself in the eye with them. Application is pretty fast and easy; this is another one of the newer generation of tubing mascaras that dry more slowly—more like a conventional mascara—and can be layered to some extent. Stays on well, like any decent tuber. Doesn’t flake off along the way (this was my main complaint with the Clinique tubing mascaras; they’re off the menu anyway, for reasons of animal testing and the Chinese market). Remove with warm water and light pressure by fingertips, like any other tubing mascara.

Fun animal-print packaging, as always with LW.

Cheaper than Blinc.

INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Eau/Water), PPG-17/IPDI/DMPA Copolymer, Cera Alba (Cire d’abeille/Beeswax), Butylene Glycol, Sucrose Acetate Isobutyrate, Glyceryl Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Alcohol Denat., PEG-6 Beeswax, Sorbitol, VP/Eicosene Copolymer, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Hydroxypropylcellulose, VP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Diethylhexyl Sebacate, Polybutene, Tropolone, Phenoxyethanol, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate. +/- Mica, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), CI 77007 (Ultramarines), CI 77510 (Ferric Ferrocyanide), CI 75470 (Carmine), CI 77288 (Chromium Oxide Greens)

Information page at
Cost: $23.00


  • Becca
  • Blinc, and their Amplified one
  • Cargo
  • FACE Atelier
  • Mirenesse, several
  • Trish McEvoy


earthlabs raw mascara

nearly as inauspicious as an endorsement from “Allure” magazine; but does what it says on the tube

I know, this sounds like it’s seriously sucky, and you might be wondering why the hell I even looked at something with such a stupid name. Shouldn’t it have rung warning bells on green idiocy?

Well, yes, of course it did. But I also checked the ingredients and had a poke at a tester’s brush. And it looked like a perfectly decent standard classic mascara. Like quite a few mascaras on Etsy, and some other more mainstream green indies, and my favourite old Reviva Labs one, before it got wrecked by some wit deciding that adding fibres to it was a grand idea. Fuckwits.

Back to this nice mascara. Only available in black, for a reason to do with the manufacturing process being raw and with no cooking. Fine with me, I like black mascara. It’s a decent lush black. Lovely brush, the old-fashioned kind that I like. Applies well. No clumping. The brush may need a wipe; twisting it on the way out of the tube helps. But not much accumulation, not enough to be annoying. Usually I apply at least a couple of coats to the upper lashes (including one coat on their upper side), right down to the roots, without combing through or waiting between coats. Then one coat on lower lashes. If done rapidly and smoothly, no combing through needed. Sets quite fast.

A tip: do not apply more coats. If you do, you’ll get blobs on lash-tips, clumps, and when you try to comb through your lashes, you’ll remove most of the mascara on them, and you’ll have to remove it all and start all over again; curiously, like with many tubing mascaras. Resist the temptation. You get to the point where the lashes are all coated in mascara, and it just looks like you’ve tinted your lashes. They look lovely. You’re tempted to add another coat and go va-va-voom. Don’t.

The feel and finish are great: light. The company’s own verbiage and other bloggers often use the terms “glides,” “silky,” “weightless.” I agree. Feels like you’re not wearing mascara. Fans of thicker lusher lashes, who have dark lashes already and just want more of them, more of a fluttery false-eyelash look: look away now, I don’t want to scare or distress you. Blinc Mascara Amplified or Lise Watier 24 Hrs Glam would probably be more your cup of tea. Earthlab Raw is more of a pale-lashed person’s mascara, for giving a no-makeup-but-darkened-lashes appearance, as though you had had your eyelashes dyed. This stuff is light, natural-looking and -feeling. It’s the closest I’ve found to Clinique Naturally Glossy mascara, for these criteria. I used to use and love that mascara; main reason for stopping is the same as for their tubing one. Sorry Clinique 😦 but I hope you guys rethink your decisions and ethics! One word of warning: I have not done side-by-side testing of the two mascaras, and this comparison is based on my memory of Naturally Glossy. I wore it daily for quite a long time, but that is now some years ago.

The Raw mascara stays on well; I tested it overnight too. No flaking. Lashes do not become brittle or crunchy at any point but stay soft. Removes with oil.

Decent price: varies from $16.00 to $28.00; it’s made nearby (Kelowna, BC), and we can obtain it fairly cheaply here in Vancouver: usually under $20.00. An explanation for why I picked it up in the first place: while out performing post-work chores, I wandered into a shop I’d not been into before, a green pharmacy sort of place, and was nosing around being curious. I’d been doing that for a while and started to feel guilty for not having bought anything, and the staff had been really nice about leaving me the fuck alone to browse. You know:

SA: Can I help you?

Ginger: No, thank you, I’m just looking.

SA: Can I help you to look?

Ginger: [gulp, embarrassed cough, raise an eyebrow, give SA a weird look] No, I don’t think that’s going to be possible. But thank you for offering.

SA: Can I help you with that? (moves in on item in grubby Ginger paw)

Ginger: No, thank you, I’m fine. I just need to check the ingredient list and make sure it doesn’t include any of my known irritants. I’m reading: I think I’ll be OK managing with that.

SA: None of our products have irritants. They’re all hypoallergenic. You don’t need to do that. (Recites a marketing spiel learned by heart, doing that while I follow along on the product packaging, then I skip ahead to the back and finish reading the ingredients while SA finishes recital.)

Ginger: That looks fine, I’ll give it a go. / Nope, I see [HORROR INGREDIENT] here, sorry. But thanks anyway, you’ve been very good and helpful.

There was none of that, just general pleasantness then peace, so I thought I should buy something and was feeling generally positive, calm and content. Shop people: these are the ideal circumstances for me to buy something. Think of it as a passive sale, and tell your manager you have a psychic gift that works in mysterious ways, can’t be tracked or trained or the skill transmitted to others, and can you have a raise please. Even though I was in a purchasing mood, I wasn’t going to go completely wild. No adventures like scrubs, peels, and other BDSM. I am a sucker for new mascara and a mascara whore, so when I read the ingredient-list and I didn’t see any immediate reason not to do so, I bought a tube to try out.

There was some gutsy Canadian Dragons’ Den business associated with Earthlabs, and the company also make standard (but good) minimalist (but therefore also good!) mineral makeup.

Water/Aqua, Natural Beeswax, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Lecithin, Glyceryl Stearate, Glycerin, Xanthan Gum, Celluloses, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Jojoba (Simmondsia Chinensis) Oil, Tocopherol, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Silica, Mica, Iron Oxides

See further:
If you’re outside Canada, you can buy it at, amongst others,, and


Most of the other “greener” but still unfragranced and properly-preserved mascaras I’ve used and liked all contain clay (a key difference re. the Earthlab formula):  for example Ecco Bella, Gabriel, Reviva Labs, and ZuzuLuxe. It’s not one of my regulars, but Suncoat is another one of this sort.

Of the many others out there: I avoid mascaras that have fragrance and/or no preservatives, and would advise anyone else with sensitive skin and eyes to do so too. So I’m afraid that rules out a lot of otherwise popular choices: such as 100% Pure, Benecos, Börlind, Couleur Caramel, Dr.Hauschka, Jane Iredale, Larenim, Lavera, Logona, Physician’s Formula, Real Purity.

There are some other mascaras out there with formulae fairly like the Earthlab mascara:

  • Honeybee Gardens Truly Natural Mascara (old and new versions)
    RRP $11.99 (a.k.a. manufacturer’s recommended / standard retail price)
  • Beauty Without Cruelty Full Volume Mascara
    RRP $24.95
  • Beauty Without Cruelty Ultimate Natural Mascara
    RRP $24.95
  • Mineral Fusion Lengthening Mascara
    RRP $14.99
  • Herbanluxe Waterproof Mascara
    RRP $12.49
  • Green People mascara
    RRP GB£14.75

All have no clay, are unscented, and use a decent preservative system. The first and the last contain beeswax, the others all substitute plant waxes and are vegan. None of them are raw, though, and that might be The Big Unique Selling Point for people who are into raw stuff. The second-last one (Herbanluxe) is a seriously good mascara and I strongly recommend it. Ingredient-lists and further information follow below for each.


honeybee gardens mascara, old version

Purified water/aqua, vegetable glycerin, beeswax, copernicia cerifera (carnauba) wax, vegetable glyceryl stearate, lecithin, vegetable stearic acid, carthamus tinctorius (safflower) seed oil, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, silica, cellulose gum, tocopherol, xanthan gum, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, cucumis sativus (cucumber) fruit extract, phenoxyethanol. May contain: Mica, titanium dioxide (Cl 77891), iron oxides (Cl 77491, 77492, 77480)

Information page at iHerb
Cost there: $8.46
Comments: That is the old version, at iHerb, currently out of stock everywhere I’ve looked online: iHerb, luckyvitamin, vitacost. By comparing the ingredient-lists (edited to be in the same format, and keeping the plain English terms), you can see that it’s a very similar formulation to Earthlab:

Water, beeswax, carnauba wax, lecithin, glyceryl stearate, glycerin, xanthan gum, celluloses, safflower seed oil, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, jojoba oil, tocopherol, matricaria flower extract, rosemary leaf extract, cucumber fruit extract, phenoxyethanol, silica, mica, iron oxides

Water, vegetable glycerin, beeswax, carnauba wax, vegetable glyceryl stearate, lecithin, vegetable stearic acid, safflower seed oil, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, jojoba seed oil, silica, cellulose gum, tocopherol, xanthan gum, matricaria flower extract, rosemary leaf extract, cucumber fruit extract, phenoxyethanol. May contain: Mica, titanium dioxide (Cl 77891), iron oxides (Cl 77491, 77492, 77480)

It’s also cheaper (maximum $11.99, the RRP) and would have been more easily accessible for some people than Earthlab is… had it not been discontinued and reformulated; the reformulated version is the next item after these comments on the old version.

I tested out a Honeybee Gardens mascara some years ago (2008/09?) and it was not good. Hypotheses:
(1) it’s sufficiently different from the Earthlab mascara to make a significant difference when applied;
(2) the one above is a different version from the one I tried, and it’s at least the second of at least three versions;
(3) I got a bad tube, or one from a dud batch. Online reviews suggest that this is the most likely scenario.

So: a useful tip for other people: if you liked the old Honeybee Gardens mascara, maybe you’ll like the Earthlab one? The descriptions of the two mascaras are also very like.

First, Earthlab:

This 100% natural, botanical based formula glides on effortlessly. You’ll enjoy the silky smooth application which easily separates lashes and the best part – No Clumping, No Flaking, No Smudging, No Toxic Chemicals and No Parabens!

Earthlab’s “Raw” Mascara is a silky, lash-defining and weightless mascara providing all day color. The smooth light-as-a-feather base does not clump because of the absence of clay in the superior formula. Which also means no flaking and no smudging. Perhaps best of all is that this botanically-enriched mascara adds a softness to the lashes while this moisturizing formula will condition the lashes at the same time. It also has no harmful preservatives that can irritate the eyes and is paraben free.

And then Honeybee Gardens:

Here’s proof that a truly natural mascara CAN be amazing! Our silky, lash-defining mascara is totally weightless yet provides all day color. The smooth light-as-a-feather base boasts zero clumping due to the absence of clay in the superior lash-conditioning formula. Bat your eyes and flutter your lashes without flaking and smudging. Perhaps best of all is that this botanically-enriched mascara is paraben free. Water-resistant, work-out proof. Not water-proof. Made proudly in the USA with certified organic ingredients.

Apply one coat for a natural, eye-defining look.
Drama queen? Apply two coats. Unlike traditional mascaras that clump after one coat with lashes stuck together (making application of a second coat nearly impossible,) our mascara remains light and silky. You can easily apply that second coat to get a more dramatic look without harming delicate lashes.

This isn’t funny or suspicious, by the way: Honeybee Gardens makes private label products for other companies too.


honeybee gardens mascara, new version

purified water/aqua, serenoa repens (saw palmetto) fruit extract, hydrogenated glyceryl abietate, brassica campestris, aleurites fordi oil copolymer, copernicia cerifera (carnauba) wax, glycerin, persea gratissima (avocado) butter, triisostearyl citrate, stearic acid, euphorbia cerifera (candelilla) wax, aloe (barbadensis) leaf extract, rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis) leaf extract, xanthan gum, d-alpha tocopherol, sodium hyaluronate, methylcellulose, ethylhexylglycerin, phenethyl alcohol. May Contain/Peut Contenir: mica, iron oxides (CI77499, CI77492)

Information page at Honeybee Gardens website
Cost: RRP $11.99
Comments: the reformulation of the current version of Honeybee Gardens mascara changes the formula significantly: now no beeswax and vegan, HA, a copolymer, etc.

Next up, four others that are somewhat similar:


beauty without cruelty full volume mascara

Aqua/water, iron oxides, oryza sativa bran cera (rice wax), VP/VA copolymer, butylene glycol, polyglyceryl-5 laurate, acacia senegal gum (acacia wax), magnesium aluminium silicate, polyglyceryl-3 stearate, copernicia cerifera cera/copernicia cerifera (carnauba) wax, rhus verniciflua peel cera/rhus verniciflua peel wax (japanese fruit wax), nylon-66, hydrogenated lecithin, phenoxyethanol, caprylyl glycol, glyceryl caprylate, ultramarines, ethylhexylglycerin, potassium sorbate, bambusa arundinacea (bamboo) stem powder, benzyl alcohol, oryza sativa (rice) bran oil, tocopherol (vitamin E), biotin.

Information page at iHerb
Cost there: $24.95
Comments: vegan; I’ve not used this one myself, just old versions of their waterproof mascara (not the current reformulation: alcohol, TEA). Complaint: BWC mascara keeps getting more and more expensive. Damn it, when I first used the stuff I was a teenager and bought it with pocket-money. I didn’t have much pocket-money (and had to work to earn it), but didn’t need to save up for this stuff; it was at low drugstore prices.


beauty without cruelty ultimate natural mascara

Aqua/water, oryza sativa bran cera (rice wax), VP/VA copolymer, butylene glycol, polyglyceryl-5 laurate, acacia senegal gum (acacia wax), magnesium aluminium silicate, cera carnauba (carnauba wax), rhus verniciflua peel cera (Japanese fruit wax), polyglyceryl-3 stearate, hydrogenated lecithin, phenoxyethanol, glyceryl carpylate, caprylyl glycol, ethylhexylglycerin, potassium sorbate, bambusa arundinacea (bamboo) stem powder, benzyl alcohol, oryza sativa (rice) bran oil, tocopherol (vitamin E), biotin, mica, talc, titanium dioxide, iron oxides.

Information page at iHerb
Cost there: $24.95
Comments: vegan; not used; same other comments as previous item.


mineral fusion lengthening mascara

Water, beeswax, stearic acid, copernicia cerifera (Carnauba) wax, synthetic wax, propylene glycol monostearate, paraffin, butylene glycol, C18-36 acid triglyceride, hydroxyethylcellulose, sodium hydroxide, lecithin, polysorbate 20, sorbitan laurate, propylene glycol stearate, propylene glycol laurate, phenoxyethanol, ethylhexylglycerin, iron oxides (CI 77499).

Information page at iHerb
Cost there: $12.74
Comments: not vegan; I’ve not used this one myself. NB: this is not the same as their Volumizing mascara (has shellac, for example)


herbanluxe waterproof mascara

distilled water, vegetable glycerin, carnauba wax, hydrogenated jojoba wax, stearic acid flakes, jojoba gel, jojobamulose, vitamin e, provitamin b5, black iron oxide, natapres (natapres is a natural plant derived preservative which is required for any product which contain water).

NataPres ingredients (from Lotioncrafter): Glycerin (and) Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate (and) Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract (and) Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Extract (and) Populus Tremuloides Bark Extract (and) Gluconolactone.

Information page c/o Etsy
Cost there: $12.49; also in brown and navy; they also sometimes do a mini version for $7.18
Comments: vegan: I’ve used this and would recommend it. Herbanluxe also has a DIY cake mascara kit


green people mascara

INGREDIENTS: Water, beeswax, hydrogenated palm kernel glycerides, carnauba wax, stearic acid, glyceryl stearate, glycerin, hydrogenated palm glycerides, xanthan gum, tocopherol, sunflower seed oil, cellulose, sodium hydroxide, benzyl alcohol, dehydroacetic acid. (+/-) : CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 (iron oxides)

Information page at the Green People website
Cost there: $22.35
Comments: not used, it works out ridiculously expensive over here.

For more, especially indies: Etsy may be worth a browse.


onwards and upwards

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