The time has come that you won't be seeing a lot from me about mascaras because as you guys know, I've gotten very strict on my cosmetics being not only cruelty free, but also vegan. In the past, if I didn't see a blatently non-vegan ingredient, I tended to not worry about it. Nowadays, it's the opposite; if I don't see that a product is blatently labeled vegan, I don't buy it. I do get a lot of product to try from work, so those items still come and go and that's why you occasionally see me wearing a product that is not only not vegan, but also occasionally not cruelty free (though I try to avoid those unless it's associated with brand training).
As I part my ways with non-vegan mascaras, I will leave you with my top five choices. These will all be cruelty free, but not vegan. You WILL see vegan mascara reviews in the future. I can also try out mascaras from any brand we carry in store, but occasionally the quality is compromised because it's a tester and people leave lids open, etc, etc. None the less, don't feel like you can't ask me about other mascaras, just don't expect to see a full write up on them; if that makes sense?
Okay! Onward with my top five mascaras!
1. Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes! mascara - $19 (also available in a waterproof formula)
I first tried this mascara in a tiny trial size when one of the lovely ladies at my Sephora offered it to me with a smile in response to my question, "Do you guys ever do mascara samples? I'm scared to try the ones here in store and I know it's kind of impossible to sample out the testers..." I tried it that same day and fell in love immediately. I was terrified of the $19 price point, but realized that all of the drug store cruelty free mascaras were also pretty expensive ($9 and up for common brands like Almay and Physician's Formula) outside of my beloved Wet n Wild and NYC. Even Hard Candy mascaras are at least $8. Besides, none of those drug store mascaras had ever wowed me like this one had. The formula wasn't too wet or dry, so it applied easily without making a giant mess of my long lashes. The brush was a more traditional nylon style, without being large or bushy. I later found that this was my favorite brush type. I never had problems with flaking or raccoon eyes until the mascara was spent and ready to be thrown out. The packaging was cute, and it was from a much more natural brand. I was sold. I was especially happy to find that there was a waterproof version as well, should I need it.
Update: This formula is now vegan!
2. Tarte Gifted Amazonian Clay mascara - $19
This one was much more recently discovered, as it's just come out in the last six month. Again from Tarte, it had great packaging, a more natural formula, and damn near the same brush as my beloved Lights, Camera, Lashes! mascara. I noticed that this one has easy to build volume, assumably from the clay, and I never had issues with flaking. I generally only needed one coat with this mascara, though I did occasionally wear two coats when I just wanted.. more. It also had the not too wet, not too dry consistency that works so well with my long lashes. I recommend this one to client who want to try something that's recently come out but isn't Diorshow New Look, haha.
Update: This formula is now vegan!
3. Sephora Lash Plumper mascara - $12
I received this mascara as a birthday gift from Sephora in 2010, and have loved it since. I've repurchased it many times, though it's not what I typically reach for, brush wise. It's a slightly fluffier brush to go with it's more voluminous formula. This mascara is everything I want, though I will tell you, it's a bit stubborn to remove. I did a full write up on my love for this mascara here.
4. NYC Show Time Waterproof Volumizing Mascara - around $3-$4
This is the only waterproof mascara that I keep in my drawer on a regular basis. The formula is nice, though slightly wetter than anything else on this list. I've never actually tested how waterproof it is (ie: no crying, rain, etc), but I do know that I never had problems with flaking or raccooning, which can easily happen with drug store brands. I don't wear a waterproof formula that often, only if I'm going to be sweating, so I don't like to spend a ton on a mascara that won't be used to it's full potential. This one is awesome. It's cheap. And the brush is pretty similar to the kind I love.
5. Lumene Natural Code Eye Dramatizer Lash-Extending Mascara - price unknown
I received this mascara in a swap with my friend Emilia who lives in Finland. Sadly, I can't find this mascara online anywhere to buy, but I'm guessing it has to do with the fact that I'm not searching for it in Finnish. It's a great formula, though more wet than I usually like. The brush helps tame how wet it is, as it's short and tapered (as it should be for a good lengthening formula). I don't need a ton of length, but I have noticed that this does a great job of actually get from root to lash tip. It offers definition without having a pesky rubber bristle brush. The ingredient list is more natural than I'm used to, and with any luck, it may be vegan! Emilia emailed Lumene for me to find out if the formula is vegan or not, since my Finnish is.. well, I don't speak it. At all.
FTC: Mascara one I received a free sample of, but purchased a full size of. Mascara two I received for free from work. Mascara three I initially received a free sample of, but bought many full sizes later. Mascara four I purchased. Mascara five I received as a gift from my friend. These are my honest opinions and I am not being compensated for this post.