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Alternatives to Mascara: My Favorite 6

mascara alternatives

Mascara was probably the first makeup product that I wore, as a teenager I was fascinated by ads showing pretty girls with thick long as day lashes, but I’ve become just as fascinated by alternatives to mascara as I grew older.

One of the things that always makes me reluctant about applying mascara, especially if I had to wear it daily, is the fact that it’s so difficult to remove.

Using a makeup remover and then a facial cleanser every evening is time consuming and increases the total cost of my skincare routine. There are so many products to buy, especially for us people who have sensitive, acne-prone skin types.

It’s going to be interesting to see if we can find some amazing mascara alternatives that can help us skip on using it daily because it can definitely be a chore.

Another thing that actually scared me about mascara when I was in college was that I was washing off a lot of lashes and I definitely don’t have extra to lose.

According to this article, some mascaras can dry out our hair follicles which can make them fall.

It usually happens with waterproof mascara, which will also need more than one coat to get the desired look.

As I was moving towards wanting a more natural look without pretty much any makeup on most days, I also ended up discarding mascara from my daily beauty routine. I still wear it at special events but most of the time I don’t wear makeup but I do love concealer.

Speaking of loving concealer, check out my reviews for the best under-eye primers for wrinkles. Or my reviews for the best Korean eye creams.

Top 6 Alternatives to Mascara

Maybe one of the best alternatives to mascara that we will come across is eyelash extensions.

While I wholeheartedly agree that lash extensions can be absolutely amazing and they look stunning, there are some other things to consider and we’ll talk in-depth about them.

It’s a good alternative if we want to achieve a natural look of lashes that are longer and fuller.

On the other hand, lash extensions are certainly not cheap and easily accessible for everyone around the glove. While mascaras are pretty cheap and easy to buy in most places.

A temporary alternative is wearing false eyelashes. Some people might be reluctant in trying to apply false eyelashes, thinking that it’s something complicated to do. However, as it often happens, only the first time is the hardest.

If you’re a beginner and you’re not sure about the whole false eyelashes look, I recommend trying magnetic eyelashes because they’re easier to apply than glue-on lashes. And then you can see if the look works for you.

Lash fillers or lash lift and tint are two alternatives that promise to lift, curl and thicken our natural lashes. The results are definitely tempting. But we need a professional to perform the procedure.

While I don’t think that castor oil will make our eyelashes grow longer or thicker, I still think that it’s a good natural product that should be tried for a couple of months. Maybe it will make your eyelashes appear thicker and glossier.

My last alternative is lash enhancing serums. I will also review a few of my favorite products for a variety of budgets. They’re not my absolute favorite but maybe some products in this niche deserve a chance.

1. Eyelash Extensions: One of the Best Mascara Alternatives

Lash extensions are one of the best alternatives to mascara for those who can find a good salon to do it properly.

Getting eyelash extensions pretty much means that we don’t have to worry about wearing mascara anymore.

Of course, we can wear mascara with eyelash extensions but things can get a bit complicated so I basically think that you shouldn’t do it.

In case you really want to apply some mascara on your extensions, the I recommend checking out this article as a guide. It teaches us that we should wear mascara only with classic eyelash extensions, not with volume lashes. And we should avoid waterproof mascara obviously because it’s so difficult to remove.

Also, oil-free mascara is the one you should be looking for if you have lash extensions.

Can you do eyelash extensions on yourself?

The thing with this solution as an amazing mascara alternative is that I wouldn’t recommend doing it by yourself.

I recommend looking for a very good professional lash artist if you want the best look. That’s how we achieve a semi-permanent alternative to mascara.

If we do it by ourselves at home, it can lead to lash clumping, uneven distribution, sticking lashes together, and an overall undesirable look.

What are lash extensions?

You’ll read everywhere that these are semi-permanent fibers that are attached, hand glued, to our natural eyelashes.

It will make our eyelashes look longer and fuller. And that’s exactly the reason for which we apply mascara. So this is indeed one of the best alternatives, even if it’s not something that most people would consider for various reasons.

Moreover, unlike false lashes that we can buy at any drugstore and apply by ourselves at home and then remove whenever we want, extensions will require maintenance.

Of course, false lashes give us a more artificial or dramatic look, which can be wonderful for a night out or a party or occasions like that. But they’re not a solution that I would recommend for our daily life.

If you want a solution that will look amazing and natural every day, then lash extensions should be the option you consider.

What I love the most about extensions is that they’re customizable and the right professional lash artist will help us achieve the perfect, natural look. They will actually look real.

How long do extensions last?

Semi-permanent in this case means that eyelash extensions can last for 6-8 weeks if we take care of them. They last a bit longer than the results we get from waxing.

The extensions will naturally fall out like our natural lashes do. The difference is that the extensions are hand glued so they won’t grow back.

Thus, if we want to maintain this look, that means making an appointment about once every 2 months for a new session of lash extensions.

Or we can get refills once every 2-3 weeks.

But I want to stress out that it’s extremely important to find very good technicians that will take proper care of our lashes and our eyes.

Are eyelash extensions expensive?

Since we’re talking about alternatives to mascara, which is a rather inexpensive makeup product and a single tube lasts a while, are eyelash extensions a good substitute when it comes to cost?

Not really.

In my opinion, extensions are really expensive, especially when we consider their 6-8 weeks lifespan. Or the fact that we should consider getting refills once every 2-3 weeks.

The prices can start at around $120. And they can go up to $300.

We could also say that extensions can cost anywhere between $100-$500. Prices vary on where we live but the fact remains that they’re quite expensive.

2. False Eyelashes

Let’s actually see if false lashes might be one of the best alternatives to mascara for you.

We’ve discovered that it’s not advisable to do our own eyelash extensions at home. We need to pay a good lash technician if we decide to try extensions.

On the other hand, false eyelashes can be bought from any drugstore and applied at home.

They’re easily accessible as they’ve become incredibly popular. They’ve become so popular that they have inspired false lash-effect mascaras.

Many years ago, my generation only saw false eyelashes on the red carpet and they were primarily associated with theatrical performers. Nowadays, almost anyone can have easy access to false eyelashes for a pretty affordable price.

Magnetic false eyelashes are fantastically easy to apply in seconds. Plus, they’re pretty affordable, although maybe I wouldn’t call them cheap.

If you’re a beginner and you’re not sure that the whole false eyelashes look is for you, I recommend experimenting with a pair of magnetic eyelashes because they’re easier to apply for a complete beginner.

The other option are false eyelashes that are attached to our eyelid just above our natural lashes with a temporary glue.

The magnetic type will not last as long as glue, they’re good for a night about but that’s it. But the glue type can be more irritating.

If you prefer wearing your false eyelashes for a long period of time, I absolutely recommend going for glue eyelashes.

All in all, if you’re into the natural look and you have the money for it, lash extensions are the solution.

If you want something dramatic that looks amazing and affordable, false eyelashes work well.

3. Lash Fillers

Getting back to mascara alternatives that can only be done by a professional, we stumble upon lash fillers.

I will be honest and say that I love the idea of lash fillers and what this treatment promises.

Lash fillers lift, curl, and thicken our lashes, giving long lasting results. It sounds absolutely wonderful.

This treatment should leave lashes nourished and silky.

And lash fillers should improve lash structure down to the root.

According to this article, clinical tests have proven that lash fillers increase the thickness of our natural lashes by 24%.

4. Lash Lift and Tint: Great for Blonde or Red Lashes

This is another procedure that needs to be done at a salon by a professional.

According to this article, it promises to instantly brighten and awaken our eye area.

It will make them look more youthful.

The procedure should enhance, enrich, darken, and curl our natural lashes. That sounds amazing. It’s certainly one of the best alternatives to mascara. If the procedure achieves what it promises, we won’t need to wear mascara anymore.

Moreover, the lash lift and tint can be wonderful for people with naturally straight or sparse eyelashes, for people with naturally blonde or red lashes.

5. Castor Oil

When I was in high school I had a friend that had really short eyelashes, thin hair and thin brows. She was gorgeous but she was really stressed out about these three things because we all know that these three areas thin out as we grow older. It’s certainly best to start early if we want to counteract the effects that aging will have. We do the same for fine lines and wrinkles.

So, she introduced me to castor oil. I was not interested in using it because in highschool I certainly wasn’t in the mood to spend time taking care of my appearance.

However, I was interested in observing if castor oil had any effects because I really wanted her to be happy.

So, did it work? Does castor oil work for hair growth? What were my observations?

Frankly, no.

I didn’t notice any difference even after months of my friend applying casting oil on her eyelashes, brows and hair absolutely every night. She continued to be optimistic but I drew the conclusion that it did nothing at all.

Personally, I believe that castor oil doesn’t work for hair growth.

Would I recommend it as a top alternative to mascara?

The truth is that there is no scientific research that demonstrates that castor oil will make eyelashes grow longer or thicker.

On the other hand, you can definitely try it because a bottle of castor oil is pretty affordable. And maybe it will make your eyelashes look thicker and glossier.

6. Eyelash Growth Serums

The question we must answer as part of considering eyelash growth serums as alternatives to mascara is: do they work? Are they worth the price, the effort, the expectations?

While we know exactly what we can expect, at least in theory, from eyelash extensions, false eyelashes, lash lift and tint, lash fillers, and even we know in theory that castor oil is not game changing for hair growth, we really don’t know what to really expect from eyelash growth serums.

Some lash enhancing serums can cost as much as $50-$100. Some of them are absolutely not cheap products.

Do I think that lash enhancing serums or eyelash growth serums are worth it?

Frankly, if you have a generous budget and you have some high-quality salons around you, I highly recommend considering either a lash lift and tint for a very natural look or eyelash extensions for a more impactful look.

On the other hand, those who want to try some lash enhancing serums can have a lot of options to choose from. I will recommend some of the best and you can check them out to see this type of product is what you need.

Grande Cosmetics GrandeLASH-MD Lash Enhancing Serum

This one is among the most popular options at the moment.

I must mention that I like the price. It’s certainly not the cheapest but it’s under $50 so I appreciate that.

We get a 1 mL, 6-week starter supply which is a good time frame given the price. Until now, everything is great.

The GrandeLASH-MD Lash Enhancing Serum is described as an award-winning lash enhancing serum.

It is created with vitamins, peptides, and amino acids, which sounds like it’s an anti-aging serum.

Well, the GrandeLASH-MD Lash Enhancing Serum promises the appearance of longer, thicker looking lashes in just 6 weeks.

We can get full improvement in 3 months so we need to buy this product two times. Or we can buy the 3-month supply for the beginning, which will cost around $70.

We need to apply it once daily on a clean, dry upper lash line like a liquid eyeliner. So, cleanse your face first. And dry completely.

Plus, we need to use only one dip for both lash lines.

Allow 2-3 minutes to fully dry.

All in all, if I were to recommend a really good lash enhancing serum, then the Grande Cosmetics GrandeLASH-MD Lash Enhancing Serum would be my top pick.

Maybelline New York Lash Sensational Boosting Eyelash Serum

If your budget is around $15 and you want to try a lash enhancing serum, then you can consider this one from Maybelline.

The Maybelline New York Lash Sensational Boosting Eyelash Serum is infused with a conditioning complex with arginine and pro-vitamin B5.

It is supposed to help us achieve more plush, shinier lashes that are soft and supple.

As you can notice, we are not promised longer, thicker looking lashes so you certainly shouldn’t expect much from this serum from Maybelline.

It’s also recommended as a primer for lashes for mascara application afterward.

e.l.f. Enhancing Lash & Brow Serum

With a price around $10, this is pretty much the cheapest lash enhancing serum.

Do I think that it can make a huge difference?

I don’t believe that the results will be life changing so I wouldn’t recommend buying it with very high expectations.

It can make small improvements and that’s the best we could hope for at such an affordable price.

The e.l.f. Enhancing Lash & Brow Serum is packed with antioxidants, amino acids and vitamins.

These ingredients have the purpose of giving us healthier, longer-looking lashes and brows in weeks.

I must say that I like that it’s a serum that can be used both on eyelashes and brows.

We can apply it to our upper and bottom lash line and/or brow hairs in the AM and PM.

L’Oreal Paris Makeup Voluminous Lash Boosting Conditioning Primer Mascara

If you decide to stick to using mascara from time to time, I came across this primer mascara from L’Oreal that is much beloved by a huge number of buyers.

Users praise it as the secret to long lashes.

So, if you’re looking for mascara alternatives because they do not offer the long, voluminous lashes that you see in ads, maybe you were missing the right primer mascara from your makeup routine.

The L’Oreal Paris Makeup Voluminous Lash Boosting Conditioning Primer Mascara is described as the perfect partner to your favorite mascara.

It will instantly boost every lash look.

It promises to instantly build dramatic volume and length on each lash. That sounds pretty fantastic.

And the price under $15 is great, too.

All in all, our search for alternatives to mascara reveals that if we want some really impactful results, then we should consider the option of visiting a very good beauty salon that offers professional eyelash extensions or lash lift and tint.