The 6 Best Vegan Mascaras
Oftentimes, finding a mascara that curls, lengthens, adds volume, or encourages growth can take a great deal of research. When you're looking for any of these features plus the best vegan mascara simultaneously, things can quickly begin to feel a bit overwhelming. Luckily, it's as convenient as ever to find one that suits your needs while still remaining free of animal ingredients.
Whereas finding a great vegan mascara used to require standing in the drug-store aisle and reading every last label, it's no longer so tedious thanks to the recent influx of vegan beauty products on the market. Items that once had to be purchased at specialty stores are now available online, giving those who choose not to use animal-based products more options. However, that still doesn't change the fact that, like all mascaras, you typically can't try them on; this sometimes results in a disappointing – and money-wasting – period of trial and error as you attempt to find a good fit. With that said, having a guide that outlines what to look for may streamline your research (and shorten the list of attempted products).
Overall, when choosing a mascara that skips beeswax, collagen, lanolin, and other common animal-based ingredients, you're going to want to opt for things like coconut oil, vitamin E, and olive esters instead. These plant-based botanicals still provide sheen, hydration, and anti-separating abilities, but do so while remaining vegan. Similarly, they're often packed with nutrients that may have tremendous impact on your lashes, leaving them hydrated and strong long after the mascara has been removed.
When shopping for vegan beauty products, it's also important to note that there is a difference between "vegan" and "cruelty-free." Although they're often used interchangeably in marketing, vegan refers to the actual manufacturing process and means that no animal or animal-derived ingredients were used in the formula. Cruelty-free, on the other hand, refers to the testing process, and ensures that the products were not tested on animals after manufacturing. For that reason, a cruelty-free product can and often will contain animal ingredients. Those who prefer vegan products tend to look for both labels simultaneously, but always check the ingredient list anyway — companies sometimes throw the terms around without backing up their claims.
Now that you know which ingredients and terms to look for, here are a few of the best vegan mascaras, whether you're aiming to lengthen, volumize, curl, strengthen, or protect.
1. The Best Vegan Mascara, All Things Considered
Tarte Cosmetics Lights Camera Lashes is, hands down, one of the best vegan mascaras on the market. Its paraben- and fragrance-free formula not only lengthens, curls, and separates, but the added ingredients of rice bran, olive esters, and provitamin B5 help to nourish lashes long after use. (In addition to a long list of vegan products, Tarte is also cruelty-free across the board and does not test on animals.)
With over 250 five-star Amazon reviews, fans can't seem to get enough of this product. Users appear to be particularly amazed by how well it coats without clumps: "It’s incredible. It thickens and lengthens in one coat," one reviewer raves, and it "does so without any clumping."
2. The Best Budget-Friendly Option
At just $5 a tube, Essence Lash Princess volume mascara is a major steal on its own — throw in the fact that it's both vegan and cruelty-free, and it's no surprise this pick has over 2,500 reviews. This deep-black formula not only lengthens, but also adds volume, allowing you to build up to your desired look in layers.
Due to the combination of quality and affordability, Essence Lash Princess has a huge fan-base on Amazon. Many users have raved about its flawless application, gushing that they're completely "obsessed" with its ability to stay put throughout the day. They're also partial to its traditional-style brush, saying that it's great when it comes to coating and separating lashes.
3. The Best Volumizing Formula
As its name suggests, Milk Makeup KUSH high-volume mascara is especially effective when it comes to volumizing lashes. That's because it's formulated with hemp-derived cannabis oil, which fuses fibers to the lashes to create amazing thickness. However, the benefits of this mascara don't stop there. The added hemp oil also helps to hydrate and condition, while the jet-black color helps to emphasize each individual lash.
In addition to being both vegan and cruelty-free, this pick also skips the parabens, fragrances, silicone, and other common irritants. "Love this mascara!" one reviewer writes. "I got a sample from Sephora and was in love with how full and long my lashes look. I’ve tried dozens of mascaras and this is by far my favorite."
4. The Best Lengthening, Strengthening Formula
Pacifica Beauty is one of the most popular vegan and cruelty-free brands because it offers a full range of cosmetics and beauty products, from face washes to perfume.
Their Stellar Gaze mascara in particular is a definite fan-favorite. It utilizes coconut oil, jojoba esters, and vitamin B, which not only separate and extend for longer-looking lashes, but nourish follicles in the process. The product's plush vegan applicator ensures that every lash is coated in just one swipe, while the mascara itself is free of animal ingredients and many other unwanted chemicals. Finally, unlike most other options, it's available in both black and brown, for those looking for a subtler color.
"They make my lashes look thick, long and healthy," one reviewer writes. "For me, it stays put all day, doesn't run and I never have to reapply."
5. The Best Waterproof Option
Another pick from Pacifica, this Aquarian Gaze mascara is quite the standout star when it comes to water-resistance. It's packed with natural ingredients such as coconut oil and vitamin B that help to hydrate and nourish, but the various types of wax (though don't worry — not beeswax) help to lock the look in place. As a result, you've got a long-lasting, waterproof formula that stays put through sweat, rain, humidity, and swim sessions.
"I wore it to the beach. Most definitely waterproof! I love this stuff," one reviewer says.
6. The Best Nourishing And Repairing Formula
For those whose lashes have been damaged by irritating ingredients or extensions, the average mascara might not cut it in terms of nourishment and regeneration. The beauty of Tarte Cosmetics Gifted Amazonian mascara goes much deeper than its appearance after application. It not only adds length and volume to your lashes, but it also repairs, conditions, and promotes new growth.
Its strengthening formula is made of mineral pigments that soothe and soften skin around the lash line. It also contains Amazonian clay (which repairs and replenishes damaged, brittle lashes), while olive esters, provitamin B5, and vitamin C condition and protect lashes both during and after use. Last but not least, it's safe for sensitive eyes thanks to its careful ingredients.
"My lashes fall out or break almost daily with mascara use. My eyes are easily irritated too - my lashes constantly itch when wearing makeup," one reviewer writes. "Within a few weeks, my lashes were softer and seemed fuller and my eyes were never irritated." The reviewer goes on to say that this mascara was one of the only brands to "prevent [their] lashes from breaking or falling out."
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