Plastic Free Zero Waste Mascara

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My quest to find the ultimate easy homemade Plastic Free Zero Waste Mascara has been just that: a quest.

There are fantastic store bought mascaras that are void of cruel practices and harmful chemicals while providing oomph to lashes. Unfortunately mascara packaging that can be recycled is non-existent in Australia. And even if I did have the option to use recyclable mascara the constant use of resources to make each packaged container and all the mascara wands did not sit right with me especially when I can reuse the same wand and container.

I have toiled, mixed, melted and swirled a variety of home-made mascara recipes. I had found an OK recipe but was not 100% happy with it. I wanted something easy – something I was used too. With the various tutorials out there for home-made mascara I have discovered that sometimes a recipe requires tweaking to allow the end result to suit the individual.

So I persevered and finally, FINALLY made an easy home-made mascara that is perfect for my lashes and maybe even yours too.

Easy Home Made, Plastic Free and Zero Waste Mascara Recipe

Adapted from here.



1/2 teaspoon finely grated soap
1/2 teaspoon activated charcoal
3 drops almond oil (can substitute for coconut or any oil you like)
1/8 teaspoon purified water

Method: Place your finely grated soap into a heatproof dish and warm on the stove (or microwave). I put my heatproof dish into a pot on the stove. As the soap warms up add the water then add the activated charcoal and oil. Mix together with a wooden skewer and pour into your designated container. Let set. Wash your heatproof dish and skewer for next time.

To use: Wet your mascara wand with a drop of water from the tap or use purified water. Rub across your mascara and apply to your lashes as you would normal mascara. The mascara dries quickly and there is no flaking. For more volume I let one layer dry then add another layer of mascara. No longer miss store bought mascara. Hoorah! To remove use a wet wash cloth.

Easy home-made mascara

Easy home-made mascara

Easy home-made mascara

Easy home-made mascara

I have not had sore eyes but I imagine that if I got any of the mixture into my eyes it would sting considering the soap component of the recipe. I make a fresh batch every two weeks using this soapUPDATE 2.12.2014 No sore eyes yet. No inflammation either. Comes off easy with water. 

UPDATE 12.10.2015 I have had person come back to me saying that when they cried the mixture stung her eyes. Save it for days when there is the potential for no crying. In the meantime I am going to see if there is an alternate to the soap component. 

Currently I am using activated charcoal capsules. They are messy and I suggest putting down an old tea towel when you open them to get out the charcoal. They come in a recyclable container but I would love to try Ariana's tutorial on making your own activated charcoal. No packaging + learning a new skill = win. UPDATE 2.12.2014 I have since made my own activated charcoal using Ariana's tutorial. Mascara is still looking awesome! 

None of the ingredients used have an EWG rating beyond 0. Pretty awesome right?

I am very VERY happy with this easy home-made mascara that is zero waste and plastic free. So happy, I dance about it.

Easy home-made mascara

Have your tried to make your own mascara? How did it turn out? Let me know in the comments below. If you like this post please share.

39 comments:

  1. Wonderful!! definitely trying this x

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    1. Hope you have as much ease and success as I had. If you have any questions do not hesitate to ask :)

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  2. Fabulous tutorial and so simple!

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    1. Thanks! Simple is always the best :)

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  3. That looks amazing - I too can't survive without mascara. What is activated charcoal and where can it be bought?

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    1. Thanks Kate :) I have had many compliments since i started using it. You can buy activated charcoal from most chemists otherwise make your own! Wellness Mama has a great explanation on what activated charcoal is --> http://wellnessmama.com/247/activated-charcoal/

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  4. I've been wanting to get away from shop bought, additive-packed make up for a while but as a fellow red-head, mascara was a tricky one to source or do without (eek!). Will definitely give this a go :)

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    1. I know your pain. I just could not do without mascara. I hope this works for you Bec :) Let me know how your go.

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  5. Amazing idea - I've looking for zero waste make up ideas for ages! Thank you for this post!

    Huge hugs from fellow zero waster - Gittemary.com

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    1. Hey hun, you rock some awesome skills on your blog!! Hugs back to you. Thanks for the comment :)

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  6. Hi! I have a question, what do you use for a mascara wand? Are there any that can be found plastic-free or doe they basically not exist without plastic??

    Thanks!

    p.s. This how-to is life saving!

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    1. Thanks for your question. When I got rid of my old mascara I kept the brush/wand. Also my sister agave me her empty Clinique mascara tube to keep as a back up if I ever lose my current brush.

      Last year I did have a look for plastic free mascara wands and only found one that was metal. http://raemorris.com/products/brush-17-mascara-applicator-1

      I did email them and ask them what it was made of. This was their response: The comb is stainless steel (which contains a number of elements including Nickel), the handle is oak, and the ferrule and magnetic cap are metal (I’m not sure which type) and the comb itself is in a plastic head.

      I decided to use the brush I already had as there seems to be no way to recycle mascara wands or tubes here in Australia.

      Hope that helps Megan :)

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  7. I love this idea, but just wondering. Does it smudge???

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    1. Hi Paula, thanks for your question. It does not smudge. When soap is away from water it stays pretty dry. The soap is the main component that allows this to be an effective smudge free homemade mascara recipe. I have long eyelashes so I prefer something that will dry and not smudge.

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  8. Amy Elizabeth6/03/2015

    I have tried SO MANY mascara recipes from natural and zw bloggers and this is the FIRST one to work for me! I had all but given up on making my own mascara as when previous experiments failed it was SO messy and I was feeling really frustrated! But when I saw your recipe I had to give it a try because it was so different from all the others that used waxes and fats. I just applied it this morning and I am in LOVE! I hope it lasts and stays smudge free all day :)

    Just wanted to say a big THANK YOU!!!

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    1. I am very happy to hear that it worked for you. I would not put any recipe up here that did not work so am confident it won't smudge on you :) Like you I tried so many recipes that did not work and i don't want to put one up here that will waste peoples time. Fingers crossed it does work for you.

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  9. Heard about the egg yolk mascara? I am thinking about trying this one and the egg one and i wondered if you had tried it?

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    1. Hi Aya, yes I have and it worked really well. The only issue was the egg going off really quickly which was a shame.

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  10. I wonder what a person could use to make brown mascara. I love brown, because I am fair skinned, and prefer to save black for night time.

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    1. Try cocoa or brown clay. You will probably still want to add a small amount of activated charcoal to darken it up a little.

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    2. I am fair skinned also and brown does suit me. I have yet to try anything but perhaps cocoa could work? Thanks for the idea, will have to investigate.

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  11. Typing with my freshly made mascara on! So far so good; thanks for a great recipe!
    I used cocoa and home-made charcoal in a 1:3 ratio. I made the charcoal by burning an almond in a tea strainer (Bea Johnson's simple method from her book, Zero Waste Home).

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    1. I have not read her book. Sounds like I a need too. I have not tried almond to make my charcoal. I used a peach pit. Did the cocoa give it a brown colour at all?

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  12. Cocoa worked pretty well, but I used a bit extra and it does need black as well. I still have iron oxides left over from my pre-no-waste makeup making days and I must admit, I prefer that. I have an arrangement with a local diy cosmetics supplier to supply me with the few bulk, unscented base products I use. I send her containers or I buy the glass ones from her and she fills them, then sends them back in re-used cardboard. I might hit her up for some oxides next.
    Bea Johnson's book was the first no-waste book I read and is by far my favourite. Her solutions are second to none for their ease and how darned well they work. Her book is extremely practical, simple and was all I needed. Except some links to Australian sources!!

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    1. That's great you have that relationship set up. I have tried to find oxides package free but gave up. I am pretty happy with what i am using now but will try henna as a way to tint my lashes in the future. Are you based in Australia?

      Will hunt down Bea's book when summer rolls around later this year.

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  13. I have a very oily skin. I'm afraid the mascara will desolve on my eyelids.
    Warm Grts from the Netherlands

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    1. I have oily skin too Marianne. Luckily the soap helps dry out the mascara on the lashes so there is no need to worry about it dissolving...unless you get caught in the rain or start crying. Neither have happened to me yet.

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  14. You've got FAB lashes - thanks for sharing! x

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  15. Hi! I loved this recipe, but I have a quick question: what brand of soap did you use? I was thinking of grating the bar of castile soap I have. Do you think that would work?

    -Thanks :)

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    1. I buy my soap from The Australian Natural Soap Company. Here is the link http://www.theaustraliannaturalsoapcompany.com.au

      I am unsure of the ingredients in your soap, so I really cannot advise.

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  16. This is great! Thanks for sharing!

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  17. Hi Erin! Thanks so much for sharing recipes you have tested yourself! I had a look at the soap you recommend. There are so many different kinds on there! I was wondering what kind you tested? Only Olive? Pure Macadamia? I figure if there is patchouli or something in the soap it might irritate the eye.

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    1. I use a plain olive oil soap, made locally in Melbourne.

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  18. This was great! I found the recipe VERY small. I think it's because a lot got stuck to the sides of the jar I was melting in. I also had to add more water than it called for. Not sure if it was evaporating or what. But anyway, basic components=awesome. I am definitely going to play with this a bit and see what happens!

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    1. I use a small tint bowl (http://www.salonshoponline.com.au/shop/beauty/tinting/Eyelash-Eyebrow-Tint-Bowls/) from the days when i used to tint my brows and lashes. It works really well and nothing gets stuck to the sides. I have had the water evaporate quickly on some occasions. Let me know how it goes for you.

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  19. Hi Erin, this looks great! I understand you use theaustraliannaturalsoapcompany soap, but I was wondering why exact soap type from their website you order for your mascara?, Thanks xxx

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    1. Hi Lara, the soap is called Only Olive.

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