DIY Mascara is one of the hardest recipes I’ve ever attempted to make. This post came dangerously close to being titled, 6 Ways to Totally Screw Up DIY Mascara. Thankfully, I finally figured out the right ingredients and ratios to make this mascara surprisingly close to what I was used to buying already.

About 2 years before my son was born I was on a mission to clean up my diet and eliminate toxins from my home. As you can imagine, eventually I came around to taking a closer look at my beauty products. The things I found out about my makeup was not easy for me to come to terms with. Before I was a mom, I worked in quite a few high-end spas making people beautiful and getting pretty sweet discounts on products. I loved makeup, hair products, and fancy lotions that made me smell like a Georgetown Cupcake. But if I was going to create a perfect environment within my body to grow a healthy tiny human, then I needed to find less toxic options. I didn’t know it at the time, but having these ingredients on hand, along with the trial and error of making my own products would serve me well once I started my adventure in zero waste.

Mascara is tricky because it needs to stay a liquid until applied. Then it needs to dry pretty quickly, but not too quickly. Oh, and it also needs to stay put, but not too well so that it will actually wash off at the end of the day. I tried recipe after recipe –most of them oil-based or aloe based, with little success. I decided to go back and look at the exact ingredients inside the mascara that I already knew and loved. Then, I researched each individual ingredient to decide if it was necessary and if I could find a better alternative.

Now here are a few things to keep in mind with DIY Mascara as it will always be a little bit different than what you are used to.

  • It isn’t shelf stable, meaning that the environment may change the consistency of the product. I find it to be slightly thicker when it’s cold and slightly runnier when it’s warm in my home.
  • On the topic of preservatives. I have a few favorite natural preservatives that I like to use but I highly suggest using some type of preservative and keeping a close eye to make sure that there is as little contamination as possible.
  • The next thing that you may find to be a little off from your favorite brand is that most tubes that are sold today have a small cap (plug? funnel? I’m not sure what to call it) that is cone shaped and meant to clean excess product from the spoolie brush or mascara wand. If you plan to repurpose an old mascara tube, then you will need to remove this cap in order to refill it. Now, you can absolutely replace this cap after you are done filling the tube, but I find it hard to remove and replace it multiple times. So this effects the longevity of using the tube over and over. I prefer to leave it out and just swipe the spoolie brush a few times on the side of the tube and tap the mascara on the counter to get it back in.
  • This recipe is not truly zero waste. But it is very low waste compared to buying and shipping beauty products to your door or to the store where they can be bought. The good news is that by purchasing these ingredients you are saving a ton of packaging and shipping because it is only one package for multiple uses.

So how can we actually make amazing DIY zero waste mascara at home?

Let’s get started!

You will need:

  • 1 teaspoon cocoa butter – I found organic cocoa butter harvested in Mexico which is as close to local as I could get here in Las Vegas. Buy it here.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of wax – This can be beeswax, or for a vegan recipe try calendula or soy wax. Buy Soy wax here.Buy beeswax it hereBuy calendula wax here.
  • 1 teaspoon of aloe vera gel – Store bought or puree the inside of an aloe leaf in a blender but do not add any water. Buy aloe gel here.
  • 1/2 teaspoon bentonite clay – This needs to be very fine clay to avoid clumps. Buy it here.
  • 1/2 teaspoon vegetable glycerin – I found palmoil free glycerin here. but you could also substitute more aloe gel in its place.
  • 1 teaspoon charcoal powder or 4 caps – I used this coconut charcoal. Buy it here. 
  • 1 old mascara tube or a clean new one. Buy new tubes here.
  • Needle nose pliers to remove the cap from old mascara tube
  • Small glass jar
  • Pastry bag, old plastic bag, or parchment paper to make a pastry bag
  • Vitamin E oil, lavender EO, or rosemary EO as a preservative
  • A few drops of distilled water or eye drops/saline drops

I originally bought these ingredients from Amazon some time back and had enough to make products for a few years. I’ve found out that you can buy most of these in bulk from Refill Revolution. They are shipped to you in containers that can be sent back to the company for reuse.

I originally bought these ingredients from Amazon some time back and had enough to make products for a few years. I’ve found out that you can buy most of these in bulk from Refill Revolution. They are shipped to you in containers that can be sent back to the company for reuse.

Zero Waste Mascara

  1. Grab your pliers and pull out the cap from the top of the mascara tube. See that little black plastic line at the top of the tube? Get a good grip on that sucker and it should pop right out.
  2. Next, clean out your tube and brush really well. I needed to use really hot water and a good dish soap for this.
  3. Fill a pot with about 1 1/2 inches of water and put a small glass jar inside. Heat that over a stove on med heat.
  4. Add the cocoa butter and wax first and allow that to completely melt. I like to stir it with an old chopstick.
  5. After everything is melted, turn the stove off but keep the pot and glass jar on the burner. Add aloe and glycerin, stir. Then add clay and charcoal powder then stir well to combine.
  6. You may want to add in a few drops of water to make a creamier consistency.
  7. Spoon into a pastry bag (I used an odd plastic bag that I saved from some rouge packaging) Snip the tip and squeeze into mascara tube. You will want to tap the product down a little as you go.
  8. Add a drop or two of your preservative directly into the tube and keep the top tightly sealed to avoid drying out.
  9. Wait until the next day to try out your mascara. If it seems too dry and clumpy, add a few drops of water, glycerin, or aloe. And If it seems too runny, add a sprinkle of clay.

Zero Waste Mascara

And there you have it. My favorite DIY zero waste mascara recipe. I would love to know if you try this recipe out and how it works for you.