Recipe for DIY 3 ingredient Mascara

eye open

I’m intrigued at the idea of making my own cosmetics. Do they really work? Are they too much faff to do? It took me a while to find a recipe with ingredients that I could access easily but I finally settled on a modified version of this one from The Green Lassie

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How to Make your Own Mascara

  • ¼ tsp activated charcoal (I used the inners of activated charcoal capsules)
  • ¼ tsp bentonite clay (or another loose powder such as cornstarch)
  • 4-5 drops of grapeseed oil (or coconut/ jojoba/ olive oil / almond)
  1. Take activated charcoal and mix well with bentonite clay
  2. Add 4-5 drops of oil and mix a little
  3. Add your water until smooth, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl
  4. After a few minutes, you’ll get a smooth consistency which you can then pour into a small container. If the mixture is too think add a few more drops of oil.
  5. Let the mixture sit for at least an hour before applying.

Where to find ingredients

I couldn’t find activated charcoal without plastic packaging but the container of capsules will last me years and is recyclable. I found the activated charcoal capsules in Down to Earth, D2, the bentonite clay and the almond oil in the Co Wicklow based store

Alternative Recipes for Homemade Mascara

Since trying this recipe I’ve trialled a few others including the following;

  • carnuba wax, charcoal, clay and oil,
  • carnuba wax, charcoal, clay and aloe vera,
  • charcoal, cornflower, water and oil.
  • 2 teaspoons candelilla wax, 1 teaspoon shea butter, 1 teaspoon coconut oil, 1 teaspoon castor oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons palm oil free glycerine, 2 teaspoons bentonite clay, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, 2 teaspoons activated charcoal.
  • 1 tbsp Activated Charcoal, 1/2 tsp Shea Butter, 1 tsp Bentonite Clay,  2-3 drops Light Oil.

I also tried making mascara with burnt almonds instead of activated charcoal, as suggested by Zero Waste guru Bea Johnson, but couldn’t grind the almonds down to a fine enough powder so the end result just irritated my eyes.

Is Homemade Mascara any good?

Initially I was really happy with the mascara made with the first recipe. I found it stayed on well during the day, didn’t smudge and was easy to remove. But as time went on the mascara got more and more flaky until a few minutes after application I would look like an orphaned panda.

None of the other recipes I tried worked out either, so after testing 6 recipes I am closing the book on homemade mascara for every now!

Where to buy Sustainable Ethical Mascara

Now I buy mascara from one of the companies listed in my article on Sustainable Ethical Low-waste Make-up

Currently I’m using one from Puro Bio and so far so good.


Published by Elaine Butler

I am a circular design consultant helping manfacturers prepare for the circular economy

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