I take mascara and clean beauty products pretty seriously! My regular beauty routine is pretty simple and includes tinted sunscreen, clean mascara and a bold lip, so I want these products to deliver on their promise of enhancing and protecting in the case of SPF. As you know, I’ve been a long time fan of Ilia’s Limitless Lash Mascara and as I saw more and more clean mascaras out there, I decided to give them all a try. I tested out 10 different clean mascaras, ranging from drug store to luxury, to give you my honest and unfiltered review. I have been testing these mascaras for about 2 months and gave each of them a try at least 5 times.
The Best (and Worst) Clean Mascaras
I’m ranking all of these mascaras using the following metrics:
- Fullness & Lift: The ultimate goal is to get full, curled and bomb looking lashes so this is most important for me. I have naturally longer lashes, so my review will lean more on the volume side as opposed to lengthening. I also don’t curl my lashes and expect the mascara to do the job, so I will note curl and lift!
- Longevity: Second goal of mascara is for it to last all day and not flake off. I tested all of these products on long days including when I worked out or spent most of the day outside to test its staying power.
- Wash off: I am gentle with my eye makeup removal so I expect a good mascara to last all day but also come off during my oil cleanse.
These are the clear winners and prove that clean products are SO good! I was hoping to find at least 2 clean mascaras that were excellent and I’m so glad to share 3 amazing products.
Bite – Upswing Full Volume Mascara
I received this mascara as a PR gift and was eager to try it as I love Bite’s lip stains. I was seriously floored after the first application. My lashes were so full, bouncy, curled – they looked amazing. My lashes were super black, fanned out and fluffy! I really put this mascara to the test and it passed! I wore this for a run on a hot day, flea market outing, and a photoshoot. I am happy to report that there was no flaking or smearing. When it came time for removal, it came off super easily with my oil cleanser and I didn’t have to tug at all. This is my new favorite mascara (sorry, Ilia).
Milk – Kush High Volumizing Mascara
I have never tried any Milk products, so I trusted the Sephora clerk when she recommended this as a clean mascara option. This is another great mascara that provides intense black pigment, lifts and curls, and volumizes from the first application. I didn’t experience any flaking or smearing – even when I had this mascara on in the pool in Palm Springs. My oil cleanser didn’t get all of it off, but I always do a double cleanse and it was all off with the 2nd cleanse.
This is what I compare allll mascaras to since it volumizes, curls, lifts and lasts all day. My sister and friend who have allergies to many mascaras both use and love this mascara. I truly think Ilia changed the clean mascara game with this product and this will serve as my tried and true mascara that I will use in conjunction with Bite Beauty. The dual sided brush on this mascara lengthens, curls, separates, lifts and volumizes! It lasts all day and has been my go to for long shoot days, events and parties since I know I won’t have any flaking. The wash-off is also super easy and gentle!
DRUG STORE WINNER
Whether you need a low cost option for your clean beauty arsenal or simply prefer heading to Target instead of Sephora, these picks are for you!
A follower of mine asked me for my opinion on this mascara, so I headed to CVS to pick it up and test it out. Flower is Drew Barrymore’s line but I honestly didn’t have any expectation since many celeb lines don’t deliver. I really love this mascara and it’s a great clean mascara for volumizing, separating and lifting. It doesn’t lengthen or curl, but the application is really beautiful and it lasts all day long. It comes off super easy at the end of the day with your face wash. Plus, it’s less than 1/2 the price of other mascaras so it’s a budget beauty find!
Yes, I created a category for blue mascara since it’s pretty much all I like to wear in the spring and summer. I’m super excited that there is finally a clean blue mascara, so we can all ditch the non-clean stuff.
PYT Beauty – Swipe Right 12H Mascara
PYT is a newer brand delivering highly pigment, clean beauty that delivers! As soon as I found out about this mascara, I located the nearest Target that had it in stock and bought a few! I expect my blue mascara to deliver the same as my black mascara! As the name suggests, this lasts all day long without any flaking, smudging or smearing. The blue is super pigmented and vibrant, which is exactly what I want. Just note that blue mascara doesn’t have the same impact as black mascara although it provides volume and fullness like my other favorite mascaras!
GET THE JOB DONE
These mascaras get the job done. They are not winners, but they’re also not the losers. I’m including them just in case if my winners don’t work for you for some reason or another.
Pacifica – Stellar Gaza Length & Strength Mascara
If you’re looking for a mascara that lengthens and nourishes, this is it. I have to use several coats to get the volume I like, but my lashes always feel soft and never hard when using this one. I did notice some flaking when I would apply (since I was doing many coats), but after I finished applying it lasted all day with no issues. It also comes off easily with my face wash.
Honest Beauty – Extreme Length 2-in-1 Mascara and Lash Primer
A lot of people love this mascara, but I don’t get it when there are other options that deliver better results. If you enjoy wearing primer before mascara, then you’ll like this duo. This delivers longer lashes and a fluffy look, but misses on volume. I applied several coats to get it to build up, but it never flaked or clumped on me. It lasts all day and comes off when you’re ready to remove. It’s good, but not great.
You came here for the winners, but I think the losers are also important to note! My take on the following mascaras is: save your money, avoid frustration, and morning after smeared look 5 minutes post application!
The curved wand does allow for easy application, it separates, volumizes, and lifts lashes, but it’s all downhill from that. If you follow me on Instagram then you know that every time I wore this mascara, it got everywhere! The first time this happened the young guy at Goodwill told me “ma’am, you may want to check your eye makeup because it’s all over your face.” I still gave this mascara a shot since I’m such a big fan of their other products, but this one is just not a winner. The brand sent me a long list of things to do to make the mascara work, but mascara shouldn’t be that much work. I know many of you had similar issue with this mascara so it’s a hard pass for me.
This is a new to me brand so I was eager to try their mascara, especially since I kept getting served ads on IG and FB for their mascara. This mascara lengthens and lifts, so I needed several applications to get the volume I like. Within minutes of putting this on, my eyes would get teary, and in turn, it would make the mascara flake and run. When I was washing off the mascara, my eyes continued to burn. I don’t have sensitive eyes or allergies, so I’m not sure what ingredient in this product causes me such a reaction. For this reason, I have to say pass especially since there are better options out there!
Tarte Sea – Surfer Curl Mascara
Tarte is such a popular brand and their other mascaras have a cult following, but this one isn’t it. This is a clean(er) option from the brand but it disappoints across the board. It doesn’t really curl or volumize lashes. It clumps during application and flakes off during the day so I really don’t understand the point of using this mascara unless you want to drive yourself crazy.