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Five Best mascaras

Reviewed by Marta October 18, 2010 26 Comments
Mascaras these days are coming within a hair’s breadth of being over gimmicked. They are vibrating, one-handed, lash growing….. Really, I just wanted something to make my lashes look great without making my eyes water. Sick of looking like a tragically bereft raccoon, I gave up the mascara wand – and then I found Korres’ mascara and my faith was restored. Now, with a bit of crowd sourcing, I’ve managed to pull together Five Best mascaras that do their job while doing no evil. Please let us know if you have a personal favorite.

Korres Abyssinia Oil Volumizing/Strengthening Mascara ($20). This makes my lashes look longer and visibly much more defined whilst being lightweight and natural. My eyes are very sensitive to makeup and water at the slightest provocation. But Korres doesn’t cause any irritation. The Abyssinia oil is known as crambe oil and is one of the richest known sources of erucic acid, an omega-9 fatty acid. Despite what Korres says, it is unlikely to do all that much for your lashes and, in fact, the bamboo extract’s silica may be of more use. Still, this mascara does its job if you are not hankering for anything dramatic - just your lashes, but better. No flaking or smudging.

LashFood’s Conditioning Drama Mascara ($27). Copley has at long last found a mascara that creates an effortless, clump-free look – without doing damage. After making LashFood her exclusive mascara for two months, she reported lashes that seemed softer and healthier. Although perhaps not longer or thicker. Like other mascaras touting lash-boosting benefits, the proteins, nutrients, and amino acids in LashFood enhances the health of lash hairs through their growth cycle, reducing their shed rate. Doesn't flake and is easily rinsed with a mild cleanser.

Physicians Formula 100% Natural Origin Mascara ($7.99). It is commendable for what’s not in it as much as what is. No parabens or other synthetic preservatives. I like that organic orange juice is the main ingredient followed my moisturizing glycerin. This has got to be the first time that I’ve come across cucumber extract in a mascara. Soothing cucumber is a great anti-irritant with the added bonus of being full of vitamin C. With rice protein and antioxidant green tea, this is a mascara that may actually condition your lashes. One reviewer reports, however, that it is too runny.

Tarte Lights Camera Lashes! ($13.99). Free of petrochemicals, fragrances, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and talc, the formula is largely clean of all the major offenders. Unfortunately, it is not free of phenoxyethanol, TEA or chlorphenesin. Still we have seen worse and Copley chucked her Lancome Deficinils for this and never looked back. Marketed as a 4-in-1 product, this mascara is meant to not only lengthen and volumize, but also to curl and condition lashes. Natural emollients, such as waxes from rice bran, candelilla cera (derived from Euphorbia Cerifera), and carnauba (derived from the leaves of the Carnauba palm), coat the lashes to give them a longer appearance and ensure a smooth application. Meanwhile panthenol, or provitamin B5, provides the volumizing action. This natural lubricant makes lashes look thicker by binding to each hair, sealing the follicles, and moisturizing the shafts. Quick drying, long lasting and relatively smudge-proof.

Dr Hauschka Mascara ($25.95). Reader recommended, this mascara majors on neem oil as a conditioning ingredient that is used in Ayurvedic medicine to condition nails and hair. There is also antioxidant green tea. A useful addition is eyebright (Euphrasia Officinalis). It counteracts inflammation and reduces mucous drainage, thanks to its high levels of iridoid glycosides, flavonoids, and tannins. Eyebright was and continues to be used primarily as a poultice for the topical treatment of eye inflammations, including blepharitis, conjunctivitis, and styes.

Ingredients in Korres (brown):

Water, Sorbitan Olivate, Glycerin, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Wax, Stearic Acid, VP/VA Copolymer, Sorbitol, Aminomethyl Propanol, Bambusa Vulgaris Leaf/Stem Extract, Benzyl Alcohol, Bis-PEG/PPG-16/16 PEG/PPG-16/16 Dimethicone, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Crambe Abyssinica Seed Oil, Dimethicone, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Isopropyl Myristate, Methylpyrrolidone, o-Cymen-5-ol, Panthenol, Phenoxyethanol, Polyurethane-2, Tocopherol, VP/Hexadecene Copolymer, [+/- (May Contain) Mica, Iron Oxides, Ultramarines, Carmine, Titanium Dioxide, Ferric Ferrocyanide].

Ingredients in Lashfood:

Water, Acrylates/Ethylhexyl Acrylate Copolymer, Cl 77499, Carnauba Wax, Stearic Acid, Glycerin, Beeswax, Lanolin, Triethanolamine, Microcrystalline wax, Sorbitan Sequioleate, Copper Tripeptide-1, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Phenoxyethanol, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Methylparaben, Chlorphenesin, Allantoin, Propylparaben, Tocopheryl Acetate, Red Ginseng Extract, Panthenol, Disodium EDTA, Biotin, Arginine

Ingredients in Physicians Formula

Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Water*, Glycerin, Iron Oxide, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Glyceryl Stearate, Water, Beeswax*, Jojoba Esters, Tapioca Starch*, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax*, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Caprylate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Cellulose Gum, Cinnamic Acid, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract*, Glycine Soya (Soybean) Oil*, Hydrolyzed Oryza Sativa (Rice) Protein, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract*. May Contain: Titanium Dioxide.

*Produced from Organic Farming.

Ingredients in Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes!

Aqua, alcohol, oryza sativa (rice) bran wax, cyclopentasiloxane, hydrogenated stearyl olive esters, stearic acid, cera carnauba, triethanolamine, candelilla cera, acacia senegal gum, panthenol, VP/VA copolymer, phenoxyethanol, polyvinyl alcohol, aminomethyl propanediol, chlorphenesin, iron oxides (CI 77499).

Ingredients in Dr Hauschka

Water/Aqua, Alcohol, Sorbitol, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Camellia Sinensis (Black Tea) Leaf Extract, Melia Azadirachta (Neem) Leaf Extract, Hectorite,Euphrasia Officinalis (Eyebright) Extract, Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil (Jojoba Wax), Beeswax/Cera Flava, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Wax, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil (Rose Essential Oil), Citronellol, Geraniol, Linalool, Xanthan Gum,Lysolecithin (Hydrolyzed Lecithin), Maltodextrin, Silica, Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide/CI 77891, Ultramarines/CI 77007,Carmine/CI 75470
  • February 26, 2013

    by donna

    I've always loved the marykay waterproof mascara.

  • December 22, 2012

    by Devin De Loe

    I have dry, sensitive eyes that are allergic to synthetic preservatives. I prefer natural mascaras that highlight (and separate) the lashes I already have. What would be a good mascara for someone like me? I've seen a few people talking about Lush - Eyes Right online but don't know much about it. As for the mascaras reviewed here, what can you tell me about the preservatives in them?

  • September 5, 2012

    by Barbara

    My all time favorite mascara is Benefit's " they're Real "! You name it... Length ,volume,curl,lift,long wearing, and absolutely no smudging. I also always use an eye lash curler. My best tip is I heat the curler for 5 seconds with my blow dryer . Then holder the curler on for 5 seconds max...incredible curl all day!! I have also used Dior show and Mally volumizing mascaras. Both very good but still like the Benefit the most.

  • August 27, 2012

    by Daniela

    The absolute BEST mascara is Max Factor. They all do what they say on the tin. I do not know the ingredients so I am not sure about sensitivities - can anyone share their thoughts?

  • August 27, 2012

    by Tiffany

    Hi Marta - I recently bought Luka Mineral Cosmetics Siren Mascara from the TIA store and was wondering why it failed to make the list. Haven't been using it long enough to call myself a die hard fan but I've been satisfied thus far and in your review you seemed very enthusiastic. Any particular reason it didn't make the cut?

    P.S. Super excited to see your mascara reviews, Justd! Buxom mascara is my favorite too, but I stopped using it because I worried about the ingredients and it wasn't water resistant enough for my rainy climate.

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