Zero waste mascara, part two (soap free recipe)

zero waste mascara DIY

I knew it was possible to make a cake mascara without soap, but never had a reason to try until this spring. It’s beautiful here in Sydney, now on the first day of summer. The Jacarandas are in full purple canopy, and the air smells of jasmine. I don’t know which beautiful flowering tree to blame for my sneezing, watery eyes. The soap in my cake mascara was stinging me when I’d rub my itchy eyes. Even though I have been using the soap based mascara formula for years without issue, I had to stop wearing it.

Anyway…I’m smiling again, because I made a waste free mascara without soap that works great.

zero waste mascara soap free

I used very similar ingredients to my last cake mascara formulation, minus the soap, I’ll credit my years of tinkering with all sorts of personal care formulas for helping me develop a sense of what would work. I’m not saying there isn’t yet a better way, just that this worked for me.

How to make soap-free cake mascara

Here’s what I used to make a soap-free zero waste cake mascara:

  • 3g charcoal powder
  • 3g bentonite clay
  • 1g beeswax
  • 1g shea butter
  • 1g vitamin e oil

I measured each ingredient one by one in the same jar I used to melt the ingredients, then tared after adding each ingredient.

The method is the same process as in the older soap-based cake mascara recipe:

  • put everything in a heat proof glass container.
  • place the jar it in a saucepan of simmering water to melt, stir to combine once melted.
  • Pour into a clean shallow mould or old makeup container and it’ll set within a minute.

I used an old MAC bronzer case, which I like for the width and the mirror. It’s easy to rub the wand into the cake. I apply to lashes by wetting the mascara wand then rubbing the brush into the cake to moisten. I use more water for this formula than my soap based recipe.

This mascara has lighter, dryer texture on the lashes than the soap based version and because there’s no soap in it I can shimmy the brush closer to my eyelid for a thicker overall look. Once on, it doesn’t move around. At the end of the day, it comes off with my usual few drops of oil.

mascara soap free

I’ll use up the rest of my soap based mascara when allergy season has passed, but this is a great alternative and recipe I’ll probably use from here out. I had all of the ingredients on hand already, but if I didn’t, there are now shops in Sydney where you can find them for refill and buy only what you need.

12 thoughts on “Zero waste mascara, part two (soap free recipe)

  1. Hi Liz, I notice in your original mascara recipe you used jojoba/rosehip oil instead of the shea butter you used in this recipe, do you think the jojoba would work instead of shea in the soap free recipe, or cocoa butter? I just ask because I can have jojoba and cocoa butter but not shea, I would love to hear what you think. Cheers, Genevieve

    1. Hi Genevieve, I think cocoa butter would swap almost seamlessly with the shea butter here. Shea is maybe a tiny bit softer, but both are butters and I use them interchangeably when makig balms and things. Let me know how you go 🙂

  2. Hi Liz, I made the mascara with the cocoa butter and I have to say I love it, (just as well as I made triple the amount because the minimum weight I can measure is 5g), it kinda feels like it shouldn’t work but it does, yay, thanks so much!!! What do you find best to remove it? Anyway have a lovely Christmas, Cheers Genevieve

    1. Yay! I’m so happy it worked great for you too! To remove, I use a drop or two of jojoba oil or rosehip oil massaged into my eye area and then a pass with a warm cloth. Have a lovely holiday as well.

    1. I bet you would get an even better outcome with a slightly softer wax, great idea.

      I meant to test candelilla, another vegan wax, but I misplaced it.

      If you make the swap I’d love to hear about your result.

    1. Hi Sharee, I ‘m not an expert, but I think unrefined has a more pronounced scent. For this recipe I don’t think it matters from a composition point of view.

  3. Have you ever made this with eyeshadow instead of activated charcoal? I have lots of black eyeshadows I never use, so this would be a great way to use them up!

  4. Hi, I can see you posted this a while ago, but I will try and ask anyway: I tried the recipe but it turned out to be a powder-like consistency and not solid. What did I do wrong?

    1. Hi Sine, sorry to hear it didn’t work well. I would try adding progressively more of the beeswax/shea butter to bind the mixture better.

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