Alternatives to Mascara

June 13, 2009 by Kristie Leong MD  
Published in Makeup

Are you tired of the way mascara clumps and smears or worried about the chemicals they contain? Here are five simple alternatives to mascara.

Women dislike wearing mascara for a variety of reasons. Some have sensitive eyes and experience too much eye irritation, while others dislike the way it clumps and smears, particularly in warm weather. Mascara can also look unnatural particularly if applied too heavily. On the other hand, most women want more defined eyelashes. Are there any alternatives to mascara for enhancing the eyes and lashes?

Clear Mascara

If you dislike mascara because it smears and creates black spots under your eyes, clear mascara may be a good alternative. Don’t expect miracles from this product. It will coat the eyelashes, giving them a glossy appearance, but won’t dramatically enhance them. It works well for those who have naturally dark lashes, but does little to enhance light colored eyelashes. If your lashes are dark and relatively thick, this product can work well. Otherwise, you could be disappointed.


Another way to give lashes a glossy look is to apply a thin layer of Vaseline to the lashes using a q-tip swab. As with clear mascara, you won’t see dramatic results, but the eyes will appear more defined without the annoying clumps so common with traditional mascara.

An Eyelash Curler

Curling your lashes helps to open up the eyes and subtly enhance the appearance of lashes. You can get a more dramatic effect by curling the lashes and then applying clear mascara or Vaseline to add additional gloss and shine. Although you can buy heated eyelash curlers these days, don’t waste your money. They don’t work any better than the standard ones.

Line the Upper Lid

Eyeliner can go a long way towards enhancing and defining the eyes. Try skipping the mascara entirely and line the upper and lower lids along the lash line with a dark brown eyeliner. Watch your eyes “pop”. Who needs mascara when you can get a similar effect with an eyeliner pencil?

Make Your Own

If you’re concerned about the chemicals in mascara, it’s not difficult to make your own mascara using simple ingredients from the drugstore. To do this, you’ll need activated charcoal tablets and castor oil. Activated charcoal capsules are sold as gas remedies in most drugstores. Simply open one of the charcoal capsules and mix the powder with castor oil until you achieve a thick paste. This can be applied to the lashes with a clean mascara wand or a q-tip. Voila! Dark, beautiful lashes with no questionable chemicals.  

Two Alternatives That Aren’t Recommended

It may be tempting to take part in the newest trend of permanently dyeing the eyelashes. This should be avoided since the dyes contain ammonia-like ingredients that can potentially damage the eye. Allergic reactions to the dyes are also not uncommon.  Another option to avoid is the use of false eyelashes which look too unnatural.

As you can see, there are a variety of alternatives to mascara that won’t clump or smear and don’t involve exposure to questionable chemicals. Why not give them a try?

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One Response to “Alternatives to Mascara”
  1. rajeev bhargava Says:

    i really enjoyed this article, just like all the others. full of good medcal advice. it’s nice to know that the alternatives are out there to try and are alot safer to use too.

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