The Glasshouse Guide to Mascara

When it comes to natural and organic beauty, it seems mascara is often the one makeup bag item people take the longest to convert to. Complaints of smudging, no staying power and not enough volume compared to their tried-and-tested mainstream alternatives are all commonplace. But why? ‘Green’ beauty has stepped up a notch in the past couple of years and any conceptions of more natural products not performing as well as their chemical counterparts are long-forgotten.

Although not touching the skin like moisturiser or foundation, mascara is applied to a very sensitive part of the body. Watery, stingy, itchy or dry - anyone with (or without) allergies will understand the complexities of the eye area and the wrong mascara can only intensify this. At Glasshouse, we prefer the gentle approach. Luckily, the good news is is that a high-performing mascara doesn’t have to sacrifice on being kind to the eyes. Rejoice! The even better news it that we have three makeup brands who we can rely on equally for decent mascaras that give us everything from barely-there to clumpy, fluttery and wide-eyed.

Image: Pinterest
Image: Pinterest

We turned to holistic makeup artist and Glasshouse contributor Sjaniel Turrell to give us a little guidance when it comes to choosing the right mascara for you.

“Organic and natural mascaras are not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ affair” she told us, “They range from very natural coverage to commercial level volume. Natural versions will have better staying power since using a certified organic one will mean many of the synthetic ‘fixers’ that make mascara stay on will not be allowed to be used - although if it says ‘waterproof’ you can be sure that it’s neither organic or natural.”

Mascara is typically made with a few key ingredients. Pigments for colour (traditionally things like iron oxides, ultramarines and titanium dioxide), waxes to stabilise and thicken, fats to moisturise (often from natural extracts but more often from silicones), preservatives and then in some cases, fragrances.

What we love about our Glasshouse-stocked mascaras is their transparent, natural-where-possible approach. Ilia’s vegan mascaras use 100% natural dyes, cult American brand RMS’s are packed full of certified organic oils, butters and waxes and mineral makeup pro’s Jane Iredale keep their’s free of petroleum-based ingredients.

As Sjaniel says, “mascara is one of the single most individual beauty products and often the most difficult to find the ‘one’” - which is why below you can find all the necessary details of each of our mascaras to help you in your decision-making. You can thank us later.

Image: ILIA Mascara in Asphalt Jungle
Image: ILIA Mascara in Asphalt Jungle

Ilia Beauty

There’s a reason why we never steer far away from Ilia’s lipsticks. One word: pigment. The brand are known for their focus on contemporary, long-wearing colour, and their mascara is no different. Available in four shades - from the warmest of coppers to the chocolate-iest of browns (not forgetting a trusty grey and black) - Ilia’s mascaras will add an instant wash of colour.

The rubber brush is a great tool to separate lashes and avoid any unwanted clumps. If you’re used to a more traditional brush, then this shouldn’t be too much of a transition. It still gives you full lashes and long-length, plus it lets you really focus on separation and definition - this is definitely one for a wide-eyed look.

Formulated with a natural preservative, this mascara is also vegan and gluten free. It contains no Phenoxyethanol - a common preservative found in everything from cosmetics to paint. Ilia also know how to provide intense nourishment and hydration (their Lip Conditioners are a dry lip saviour and lipstick all in one) and for their mascara, it comes in the form of avocado butter and natural Vitamin E. In short, that means no dry lashes by the end of the day and eye-popping colour for the rest of it. Win win.

Image: DKNY
Image: DKNY

RMS Beauty

Created by Rose-Marie Swift, a beauty industry heavyweight and makeup artist, RMS’ products have gained a cult following for their durability and multi-purpose. Their two mascaras - Defining and Volumizing - follow the raw and organic ingredient ethos. If you like your lashes to look like yours, but on a good day, we’d take a guess that RMS’ offering might be for you.

Defining is (you guessed it) best for lash separation and that bright-eyed look. The natural bristle brush is thin and long - ideal for those hard to reach corners. Volumizing does exactly what it says on the tin, with a little help from certified organic oils and waxes to shape the lashes and keep them looking plump.

If you like things clumpier and fuller, RMS’ mascaras probably won’t give you the lash-coating you’re after. But if you suffer from allergies or sensitivity in your eye area, both their mascaras are a safe option. The formula is 100% natural and packed with organic plant waxes (Shea and Carnauba) to condition the lashes. They’re easy, everyday mascaras for a natural-looking boost.

Image: Al&K for Glasshouse Shop
Image: Al&K for Glasshouse Shop

Jane Iredale

Jane Iredale have been pioneering in the natural makeup market for a while now and their mascaras are no less pioneering. The unique squeezable tube of their Longest Lash Thickening and Lengthening formula is a revelation - containing 75% more product than normal mascaras and meaning you don’t miss a drop. This particular product bridges the gap between mainstream and natural. The ingredients include sea minerals that work on lash condition and aid growth, but the fat, fibrous brush and thick formula means it’s as close (if not better) to a “traditional” mascara that you can get. We like ours wiggled on liberally.

If length in particular is what you’re after, then we recommend Jane Iredale’s PureLash option. “Feathery” is probably the correct adjective for the effect it gives and the dual-sided brush is ideal for bottom and top lashes. One of our favourite high-performing shampoo ingredients - wheat protein - also makes an appearance in the formula, helping strengthen and plump lashes in the same way it does to our hair. Genuis. No lacquers, shellac or petroleum-based ingredients means it ticks all the green boxes too.

So, there you have it, our favourite mascaras in bite-size format that will (hopefully) help you on your journey to finding ‘the one’. Sjaniel advises to “consult as many natural beauty resources as possible to find out which one is the best for you and the type of finish you prefer” and we couldn’t agree more. Pay us a visit in the salon to try them for yourself or book in for our Makeup Bag Overhaul service for a proper consultation with one of our trained stylists. In the meantime, browse all of our mascaras over on Glasshouse Shop.

Words: Lucy Vincent
Cover image: The Line

Share this:

More From The Journal

  1. A Sustainable Christmas

    What does Christmas mean to you? As the festive season brings us joy once more, we’re asking whether excess and over-consumption could be done in a way that has a better impact on ourselves, the people around us and our planet. We rallied around some of our favourite figures in sustainability to tell us how they’re approaching Christmas in a more conscious way.

    More +
  2. Masterclass: Fine Hair

    Fine hair got you tearing your hair out? Don’t despair! Our senior stylist Mia is here to tackle all things fine hair - from the cuts that suit best, to maintaining condition and picking your styling products wisely, our Masterclass is all you need.

    More +
  3. Abel Odor: 100% Natural Fragrance

    Beautiful fragrance without the synthetic ingredients? Meet Abel - developed by a winemaker with a penchant for scent and a master perfumer, this unique 100% natural fragrance brand is crafted with care and consideration - and just happens to be the latest addition to our Glasshouse shelves and shop. Meet the founder Frances and find out more.

    More +
  4. Introducing: Bessie and Richard of Austin Austin

    Introducing our latest brand launch, Austin Austin: British-made, certified organic products for hair, hands and body. We sat down with the father-daughter duo behind the brand, Richard and Bessie Austin, to talk about sustainability, the organic industry and their idyllic Norfolk home.

    More +
  5. Local Loves: Sans Pere

    Parisian style concept bar, Sans Pere, is the first of its kind catering to dessert fiends and those looking for the perfect evening cocktail. Glasshouse got stuck in to see what’s on the menu.

    More +
  6. Glasshouse Goes Cashless

    Our latest decision has seen us move with the times and put our staff and the security of Glasshouse Salon first. We’ve gone cashless and here’s why.​

    More +
  7. Reads: These Islands

    The creative minds behind Cereal Magazine have joined forces to create a 200+ page hardback book, uncovering the urban and natural landscape that forms the British Isles. Take a trip to discover their powerful imagery, prose and poetry right here.

    More +
  8. Lonely Lingerie: Maternity

    Lonely Lingerie have done it again - this time for women going through pregnancy and motherhood who want style, comfort and functionality (but don’t want to compromise on feel-good-look-good underwear). We learn more about Lonely Maternity.

    More +
  9. Photography: Ronan McKenzie

    At just 22, London photographer Ronan Mckenzie has already made her stamp on the fashion and art scene. Glasshouse sat down with the rising star to discuss personal projects and what makes her tick.

    More +
  10. Bug Clothing x Suzie Howell

    ​One of our favourite local and sustainable designers, Amy Ward of Bug Clothing, has brought us another beautifully curated shoot featuring local makers and pared-back hair and makeup by us here at Glasshouse.

    More +
  11. Work with us at Glasshouse Salon

    Fancy being a part of our close-knit Glasshouse team? We have just the opportunity for you.

    More +
  12. The Glasshouse Guide to Eyeliner

    ​From bold and experimental, to the classic sixties cat-eye, we’ve got the low down on how to perfect your eye make up and elevate your look from day to day.

    More +
  13. Q&A: The Bodysuit of Barcelona

    ​We’re self-confessed devotees when it comes to a simple, sustainably-produced basic. Why is why new brand The Bodysuit of Barcelona caught our attention with their streamlined, neutral take on the ever-versatile bodysuit. We caught up with founder Susana Martin to find out more.

    More +
  14. Glasshouse Salon: How We Get Ready

    ​Whether you’re out the door in five minutes or spend the morning savouring some “you time”, we think your morning routine says a lot about you. Which is why we got the Glasshouse team together to share the hair, skin and beauty rituals that get them up and out the door everyday - featuring a bevy of natural and organic products that we can’t live without.

    More +
  15. Hair Musing: Frederikke Sofie

    Scandi style and a full head of natural curls? Our latest hair muse, Danish model Frederikke Sofie, has them both in spades. We unpick her off-duty appeal.

    More +
  16. Why We’re Anti “Anti-Ageing”

    ​With American beauty magazine Allure denouncing the term “anti-ageing” and the industry as a whole recognising the importance of celebrating ageing, rather than fighting against it, we offer our thoughts on the matter.

    More +
Load more posts