DIY 3 ingredient Mascara

eye open

When I last needed to replace my mascara I started investigating making my own. 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

  • 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.

I’ve seen similar recipes using aloe vera instead or shea butter instead of oil. I did try making mascara with burnt almonds, as suggested by Bea Johnson, but I found I couldn’t grind the almonds down fine enough and the end result just irritated my eyes. So I switched to activated charcoal capsules which have a very fine powder inside. Just break the capsule open and voila finely ground charcoal. 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

I found bentonite clay in the Co Wicklow based store and the activated charcoal capsules in Down to Earth, D2

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

Since trying this recipe I’ve trialled a few others including the following; 1) carnuba wax, charcoal, clay and oil, 2) carnuba wax, charcoal, clay and aloe vera, 3) charcoal, cornflower, water and oil.

One other recipe called for 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. I originally found the recipe on Biome but they seem to have replace it with another recipe that called for 1 tbsp Activated Charcoal, 1/2 tsp Shea Butter, 1 tsp Bentonite Clay,  2-3 drops Light Oil. Unfortunately neither of these recipes worked for me. The first one showed promise but it dried out and when I loosened it with oil it then smeared on my face. The second one was just too crumbly straight away.

I think after trialling 6 recipes I can close the book on homemade mascara for every now!

I saw a positive review of a creamy cake style mascara on the blog of another zero waster, The Rogue Ginger. I think this might be a better route to investigate.


Published by Elaine Butler

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

One thought on “DIY 3 ingredient Mascara

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