5 Cruelty-Free Mascara’s in Review: Are they worth the detour?


Here are five cruelty-free mascara’s worth checking out if you’re in search of an animal-friendly alternative.

Aside from the happy fact that no bunnies were harmed in the process, what else would you want to know? Whether they can be found in stores or easily ordered online is helpful. Which ones are suited for sensitive eyes? Are they priced competitively? (Spoiler: This shortlist does not focus on luxury cosmetics – all five mascara’s in the spotlight are on the affordable end.)

Let’s dive in.

Pacifica Stellar Gaze Length Strength Mascara
Photo credit: Pacifica official website.

Pacifica Stellar Gaze Mascara

Pacifica’s Stellar Gaze Length & Strength Mineral Mascara is widely available, both online and off, and it’s pretty good in use. It goes on without major clumping and allows for some build-up to create more volume. The color is perfect – you can’t really go wrong with black – and I love how the brush is on the larger end.

Now I do have very sensitive eyes that get irritated easily by makeup. Maybe you have, too. Pacifica’s mascara has been working quite well and I’ve repurchased it a few times. For me personally, this cruelty-free mascara isn’t completely irritation-free but close.

Even if it doesn’t exactly do a number on my eyes, after a few hours of wear I’ll often feel a very slight burning sensation. It’s the faintest, but noticeable nonetheless. Not sure what (or which ingredients) causes this – all I know is that Dr. Hauschka doesn’t have that effect.

Unless you’re extremely sensitive, you may still want to give this cruelty-free mascara a go. Because it’s affordable, conveniently available everywhere (Target, Amazon, Vitacost), it washes off easily, and not the least important: it looks nice.

Pacifica is such an awesome brand! Their fragrances are heavenly – that’s clearly Pacifica’s forte. The branding and business ethos are, obviously, great in that they’re entirely vegan and cruelty-free.

As far as skincare and makeup products go, Pacifica is fairly affordable. I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with their skincare and cosmetics.

However, I have tried a few Pacifica skincare products that sort of missed the mark as far as performance goes. Not being in my twenties anymore, my skin is less forgiving and needs a little more. It needs skincare to be right-on, instead of kind-of okay and/or simply fun. Does that sound familiar to you?

Guess getting older means you gradually become condemned to the more expensive segment of the cosmetics market. I’ve come to see Pacifica products as cheaper drugstore finds with first and foremost very nice packaging, that are probably fine to use if you’re younger. (Then again, perhaps I haven’t tried the right products?)

Photo credit: Burt’s Bees official website.

Burt’s Bees Nourishing Mascara

Burt’s Bees Nourishing Mascara is another good option when you’re wanting to shop cruelty-free. Especially since the brand is well represented in the beauty aisles of larger stores all over town.

My experience with their mascara was short and sweet. Sweet, because it worked really well. Short, because I dropped it in the crack next to my car seat a few days later. Now we all have different standards and that’s what makes the world a colorful place but something that has rolled around on the car floor does not come anywhere near my eyes.

So it was good while it lasted. Burt’s Bees cruelty-free mascara added a decent amount of volume and didn’t clump. The color brown was a lovely warm hue and definitely flattering. I ended up wandering over to other brands afterward. By the way, Burt’s Bees is owned by Clorox and Clorox is not cruelty-free, even though Burt’s Bees still is.

A re-purchase is in order to fully assess Burt’s Bees Nourishing Mascara in the longer run.

Some reviewers on the official Burt’s Bees website complain about clumping. I did not have that issue at all. It went on really nice and evenly. The brush worked well and the outer shape of the vial was pleasant to hold.

The roundness of it may have had something to do with it slipping out of my hand but I wouldn’t go so far as to blame Burt’s Bees for my clumsiness. (The latter being quite legendary, after all.)

It pleads for the brand that they respond to every negative review left on their website, inviting people to contact them. Check out Burt’s Bees mascara’s on Amazon. They even qualify for a subscribe and save discount.

Honeybee Gardens Bellissima Volumizing Mascara
Photo credit: Honeybee Gardens official website.

Honeybee Gardens Bellissima Volumizing Mascara

Honeybee Gardens has different mascara’s. So far, I’ve tried two colors of the one called ‘Bellissima Volumizing’. Black – which was initially the only color available – and coffee bean, a beautiful dark brown the brand came out with recently.

That was a repurchase, so Honeybee Gardens is doing something right! Other than the mascara being cruelty-free, it’s also vegan and gluten-free.

While this one has excellent reviews and I’ve been very happy with it on all fronts, Honeybee Garden’s Truly Natural Mascara has double the number of reviews. The brunt of users rate it a full five stars, and it comes in three shades. Looks like that’s the one to try next, since it has even more fans.

Honeybee Garden’s mascara has a brush that is perhaps a tad smaller than the others. It seems to have shorter bristles and a harder feel. Which works equally well as the larger, more bristly brushes. Perhaps even better when it comes to separating lashes that are stubborn about sticking together.

Wet n Wild Mega Protein Mascara
Photo credit: official Wet’n’Wild website.

Wet n Wild Mega Protein (or Mega Volume) Mascara

This cruelty-free mascara can be found conveniently at Target (or other department stores). It set me back a whopping two dollars and seventy cents, with tax. I’ll admit I didn’t have very high expectations but was curious nonetheless.

Having sensitive eyes I typically steer clear from synthetics and mainstream beauty brands. For this price, though? Not much to lose.

So I tried it, sensitive eyes and all, because well… research, ha.

More often than not, when someone says ‘it was all I expected it to be’, they mean that in a good way. This super-affordable cruelty-free mascara was all I expected it to be – unfortunately, not in a good way.

The brush works fine. It goes on smoothly. No complaints about the packaging or delivery. It clearly contains some chemicals/synthetics that my eyes do not seem to appreciate. Wet n Wild is dirt cheap indeed, and cruelty-free, but if you have sensitive eyes it may cause some discomfort. (Burning, light stinging.)

Dr Hauschka Volume Mascara
Photo credit: official Dr. Hauschka website.

Dr. Hauschka Volume Mascara

Dr. Hauschka Volume Mascara is neither the most affordable mascara of the five nor is it as widely available as some. It’ll typically set you back between $23 and $29, depending on the retailer. On Amazon, it does qualify for free Prime shipping.

For those located in the US, you may find it on various (natural) beauty niche sites. The rest of the world should check out LoveLula, a UK-based online natural cosmetics store with convenient worldwide delivery.

However, there’s a good reason I’m adding Dr. Hauschka as our number five here. It is one of the best cruelty-free mascara’s I’ve used. If your eyes are so sensitive that you think you may have exhausted all options, the Dr. Hauschka Volume Mascara could be just what you’ve been waiting for.

Dr. Hauschka has been my favorite brand for a very long time and I’ve gone through many of their signature black cilinders. It adds nice volume, the packaging and brush are very pleasant to use and it does not cause any discomfort.

Last but not least – and this one is very much a matter of personal preference – it washes off easily with water. I prefer for my mascara to be a breeze to take off at night. I also like to be natural in composition. Fortunately, these two things seem to coincide. Natural ingredients are perhaps less clingy than the synthetic ingredients a waterproof substance requires. Maybe that’s also why this mascara has not caused any discomfort.

Oh, but it’s not as though Dr. Hauschka’s mascara falls off halfway through the day, either. It holds perfectly fine, as long as you don’t pull a scene from ‘the Notebook’ in the pouring rain!

This cruelty-free mascara may be my favorite one of the bunch. Despite that, it isn’t the one I use most or purchase most often. Dr. Hauschka used to be one of the few natural and cruelty-free brands one could find. Other ethical cosmetic brands have since done a great job catching up! It’s gotten more crowded at the top, and some of the other mascara’s in this list are priced lower and/or easier to come by and/or almost as good in performance.

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