Cruelty-free mascaras – which is the best budget brand?

I’ve really struggled to find a cruelty-free replacement for my mascara. Considering that I have some very blonde eyelashes under all the layers of black goop, you can probably tell why mascara is my desert-island beauty product. It’s literally the only item of make-up that I can’t do without. If I happen to pop out without wearing mascara, I’ll be greeted with lots of ‘are you tired?’ and ‘you look ill’ comments. Just kidding about the popping out bit – I NEVER go out without wearing mascara. My face can be totally naked but my eyelashes will always be fully coated. I need a good mascara, so make it a cruelty-free one, and pronto!cruelty-free-mascara-waterproof-mua-essence-budget-drugstore-high-street-brands-make-up-beauty-animal-testing-3Since making the switch to cruelty-free everything, I’ve tried out a number of mascaras. All of these have been great in their own right but, for one reason or another, they have not been quite right for me. My preference is usually for a waterproof mascara (I get wet eyes really easily) and I’m trying to stuck to a budget so I don’t want to spend too much. Of course, you can try them out for yourself and make up your own mind but I thought it might be helpful if I shared the good points and bad points of each of the mascaras I’ve bought so far.  Here goes:leaping bunny international logo BUAV approved cruelty free cosmetics make up skincare household products beauty-6LUSH Eyes Right

It’s SO good considering that it’s a totally natural product. Even after reading tons of reviews online, I was still convinced that it couldn’t possibly be a quality mascara if it is made of fruit n stuff (okay, no idea what it’s made of, but it’s LUSH so I guess it’s all good and non-chemically made). The mascara wand picks up all the fine hairs and coats them with a thin layer of the mascara – no goopiness or clumps here. It’s a buildable mascara – you can have a totally natural finish with just one coat (which is how I imagine non-blonde people’s eyelashes look without mascara) and then add more layers until you get the darkness and thickness you want.Cruelty-free-make-up-beauty-products-animal-testing-budget-high-street-drugstore-10The wand is brush-like so picks up every little lash, but it has a very short handle so some wearers have reported it to be hard to apply or end up with smudges after getting too close to the skin with the short wand. I didn’t have any trouble applying it, but when I bought the product, I was given a spare long-handled wand (the ones they use in LUSH to apply a sample of the product) so that kind of solved the problem of the short handle. The only thing is that I WISH it was a waterproof mascara. My eyes tend to run a lot in the wind, the sun and whenever I’m crying with laughter at another cat video on YouTube. I ended up with so many smudges with this mascara so it became an ‘at home only’ mascara for me. It might be okay for you if you don’t have such sensitive eyes so pop into LUSH and give it a try. As much as I don’t like the idea of putting too many chemicals near my eyes, I also need my mascara to be waterproof so I had to move on to another CF brand.cruelty free make up beauty brands cosmetics makeup animal testing_-5GOSH Volumateur

To begin with I was really pleased with this mascara. Compared to the non-waterproof LUSH mascara it was SUPER waterproof. It was so waterproof that it was actually was hard to get it off my lashes at the end of the day, even with oil-based waterproof make-up remover. No smudges and no streaks when weeping, which is great. But it meant that I started to skip taking off my mascara at night, and just kept adding another layer the next day. So I ended up with clumpy lashes and crumbly bits that were begging to be picked off (so bad, I know). When I did actually clean off the mascara and start afresh, the wand didn’t really pick up all my lashes, so they looked kind of short and a little ‘too’ natural. A second coat is definitely needed, but make sure you apply it before the first coat dries, otherwise you’ll end up with clumps straight away. The wand is more like a comb, with hard plastic ‘teeth’ all the way round the wand (it’s definitely not a brush anyway). So even though it’s really really waterproof, the mascara doesn’t do anything to make my lashes look any longer or thicker.cruelty-free-mascara-waterproof-mua-essence-budget-drugstore-high-street-brands-make-up-beauty-animal-testingMUA

At just £3 I didn’t hold out much hope for this mascara but I needed something to replace the GOSH one so I picked this up on impulse in Superdrug. I chose Eye Define lengthening mascara in waterproof black, although I’m not sure that I’d call it waterproof. I don’t know what most people need from a waterproof mascara, but if I can’t go swimming in it, I don’t think of it as being waterproof. This one would definitely end up on your face if you went swimming or showered – but not in a ‘running down your cheeks’ way, more of a flaking and smudgy effect. Even so, during the daytime it looks great and doesn’t smudge when I get wet eyes from the wind. And the fact that it’s not too waterproof means that it’s easier to take off with normal make-up remover and even my miceller water shifted it with a bit of rubbing. And the good news is that the brush is bushier than the GOSH masacara wand so it picks up more of my eyelashes and makes it look like I have hundreds of fine lashes. The formula must have something in it to lengthen lashes, because my eyelashes have never looked longer. You can see some fibres on the brush (below). The first coat is a ‘better-than-natural’ finish and the second coat is ‘woah, you’re causing a breeze when you blink.’ I love how it looks, but I just wish that it was a bit more waterproof so that I could confidently go out in the rain.cruelty-free-mascara-waterproof-mua-essence-budget-drugstore-high-street-brands-make-up-beauty-animal-testing-2Essence

My most recent purchase is the Essence Get Big Lashes volume boost waterproof mascara in black. A friend recommended Essence to me as a great budget CF brand and, after my trip to Wilkinson to check out the Essence make up stand, I definitely agree with her! I picked up this mascara, a fabulous waterproof eyeliner pencil in gunmetal grey and two lipsticks, and was shocked when I went through the checkout and the grand total was £5.80. Now that’s my kinda pricing! And do you know what? This was the most expensive item (and the most expensive of all Essence mascaras) at £2.80. Well, I thought I’d splash out for this review… Other than being really pleased with the price, I’m also really pleased with the product too (and the quality of the other products I bought was great too) so here’s a bit more about that…cruelty-free-mascara-waterproof-mua-essence-budget-drugstore-high-street-brands-make-up-beauty-animal-testing-4

The brush is really really fluffy. I’m talking bottle-cleaner/artificial-Christmas-tree fluffy (above). As such, it picked up all of my eye lashes and turned them into super-long, curly, perfectly defined eyelashes. Yes, I looked like I was wearing falsies and I loved it. The mascara didn’t budge all day, and even rubbing my eyes didn’t result in any smudges or flaking. For the sake of testing it out properly, I actually slept in this mascara (I know, I know…) and it looked almost as good the next morning. No flaking/crumbling and, after one more coat of mascara, I was back to having perfect false-lash effect eyes. You might have guessed that I’m very keen on this mascara, and you’d be right. For value-for-money I’d chose this one every time. Okay, I’ve not yet been swimming in it, but for day-to-day wear it’s a winner.cruelty-free-mascara-waterproof-mua-essence-budget-drugstore-high-street-brands-make-up-beauty-animal-testing-3So now I’d love to know YOUR cruelty-free recommendations so that I can test out some new products for myself. I tend to find out about CF brands and products through word-of-mouth more than anything, so please leave me a comment below to let me know what you’ve been using or tweet me your faves to @Cassiefairy. And be sure to check out Cruelty-Free-Lifestyle.org, for a cruelty-free lifestyle!

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

2 thoughts on “Cruelty-free mascaras – which is the best budget brand?

  1. Ooh SO glad I could help Melissa 😀 Definitely check out the Essence range, I’ve found it to be the best mascara for my lashes – I probably won’t switch to anything else now that I’ve found it 🙂 xxx

  2. I am on the lookout for a new mascara after switching to CF too, so this post came perfectly timed! I don’t have any recommendations for you unfortunately…but thank you for these great reviews. I didn’t even know Lush made mascara! I think I may be going to Wilko’s the pick up the Essence one. I have very fine lashes and look odd without mascara. Thank you for the tips.

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