Speaking of things I wasn’t sure I’d ever crack—mascara. There’s a reason this is my first entry of my third year of blogging. I have been trying to figure out mascara for ages now. You wouldn’t believe the amounts of black goop I’ve tossed over the last few years. You see, mascara is tricky. Infuriatingly so.
First off, mascara must dry quickly—but not too quickly. Once on your lashes it must dry straight away, but on the brush or in the bottle, it must remain supple and apply-able.
Once it’s on your lashes, it mustn’t flake, but it also mustn’t melt. If it dries too much, it will flake, but if it doesn’t dry enough (basically, if it is almost entirely oil based), it will melt off your lashes in hot weather, leaving you with black stripes and dots on your face. (And, from there, it must also stay on all day, yet come off easily when you no longer want it around).
Then, after all that, it must actually do something. It needs to add body and length to the lashes, whilst not clumping them together. It must darken them. It must give the illusion that your eyelashes were ripped off of a doll, though obviously they were not.
As it turns out, it is very difficult to achieve all of these things without the use of coal tar, a wide variety of solvents and petroleum-derived dyes, and a heavy dose of chemistry inspired magic.
My initial experiments focused around activated charcoal mashed together with oil thickened with wax. While this worked moderately well initially (it gave darkening and some thickening properties), I discovered that on warm or hot days, it would melt off easily, leaving me with some rather haphazard Morse code dotted underneath my eyebrows. It would also wipe off far too easily.
From there I moved to experiments with activated charcoal or black iron oxide in a thickened water base, but all that got me was utterly crap gel-type mixtures with bits of black suspended in them. They had no interest whatsoever in clinging to my lashes and/or doing anything beneficial to their appearance. So down the sink went those experiments as well.
Finally—clay. I’ve got bits of a clay mask stuck in my hair often enough over the last few years that I can’t believe this didn’t occur to me earlier. It’s a bit embarrassing, really. Anyhow, it became far more obvious when some Australian Reef Red and Black clays arrived in the mail.
Clays make a brilliant paste, and are naturally inclined to dry quickly. Depending on how much water you add, you can have a thick or thin solution. The brush you use also makes a big difference, so be sure to experiment. In any case, I think you’ll be quite pleased with this DIY mascara. I am, of course, always experimenting and working on improving my recipes, but after two years I finally feel like I have a mascara recipe that is good enough to share with you.
Natural Clay Mascara
NOTE: I would HIGHLY recommend not making this recipe, and instead using the recipe in my book; it’s much better, requires far fewer weird ingredients, and is likely safer as well since these clays are no longer recommended for use in eye cosmetics, though they were when I purchased them.
4½ tsp Australian black clay
½ tsp Australian red reef clay
1 nip | 1/64 tsp guar gum
¼ tsp vegetable glycerine (USA / Canada)
1¾ tsp water
Broad spectrum preservative of choice (why?)
Stir together the clays and guar gum in a small dish. Add the vegetable glycerine (USA / Canada), preservative, and water. Stir/mash to combine (you may have to add more water, but be cautious—too much water will give you a mascara that is not viscous enough to apply/have any effect).
You can store it in a new mascara tube if you have one (seriously, do not try to clean out an old one, that is an exercise in futility, only to then discover that you will not actually be able to get any mascara through the tiny hole at the top). However, I find I prefer to keep it in a small 5g jar, where I can dip my brush in and then wipe off the excess to my taste.
When applying, be sure to experiment with different brushes—I find bristley ones work better than the silicone/plasticky/spikey ones.
I’m going to try Xantham gum and see how it does…
I think it should work—keep me posted!
I’m confused how do you make mascara I’ve been trying but I’m failing ugh I’m so mad plz help me
Hey Kenzie! I really recommend that you purchase my book, which is a much better mascara recipe in it than this one. It also has very thorough instructions, and does not require a bunch of weird ingredients. Thanks for reading!
Of course now I absolutely NEED me some black clay 🙂 I wanted to make an eyebrow/lash gel a while back and attempted to clean out a mascara tube… it never got past the attempt at cleaning out the old tube, sadly. Luckily trying to actually fill a “clean” one never came to fruition either, so I’m glad you took one for the team there 😛 Have you ever come across empty tubes for sale (that could effectively be filled, of course)? Though the container/brush idea would work, I can see washing the wand every time getting old…
Cleaning out old mascara tubes is a bitch, frankly. I do not know what most mascara is made of, but I am fairly certain it is tar, or something similar. Ugggh. I found rubbing alcohol to be the most effective thing, but even then, a mascara tube is kind of just a never-ending supply of black goo. I got my clean mascara tubes from a local shop (Soap & More), and that ended up being a far better use of my time and energy 😛 The best part about them is that the orifice reducer comes out of the tube (not so with most of the storebought ones) so you can actually get stuff into them 😛
they sell empty mascara tubes on ebay: http://www.amazon.com/Mascara-Cilia-Silver-ONE-Piece/dp/B005UGVIQ4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1382936026&sr=8-1&keywords=mascara+tube
Thanks, Diana! I wish Canadian Amazon was as awesome as American Amazon 🙁
Way to go. It looks brilliant!
I am the ultimate test of any makeup. Everything insta-melts off my face within the hour. The only mascara i’ve ever tried (and i’ve prob tried 30) that doesn’t run is the Revlon colorstay 24 hour, but I know that must be made from chemical gnashing of teeth. How’s the stay power on this? You think its even worth me trying?
Hmmm… well, I guess that depends—why does make-up come off your face? Is it ambient humidity? Very oily skin? Heat? Something else?
I’m guessing it’s mostly oily skin. It’s worse in the summer of course, but everything still runs in winter as well.
Hmm. Have you considered a face powder to help with the oiliness? Something similar to my summer stick powder (minus the EOs)? Also, do you have any experience with clay masks? Their success on your skin would likely indicate the success of the mascara.
Where did you get the clays?
If you scroll up, just above the comments there’s a great big box with links to all my suppliers in it 🙂
I have the same problem as Rebekah. The only mascara that I’ve found that I like both the formula and the brush is Maybelline Mega Plush Volume Express Waterproof. I’ve tried other waterproof formulas but they melt off my face or annoyingly end up under my eyes. I’m from Louisiana so extreme humidity combined with slightly oily eyelids are definitely key contributing factors as to why I have a love/hate relationship with eye makeup (as in I LOVE to wear it but it HATES to stay on). On a side note, Marie, how in the world are you able to blend all of the little clumps of clay out? I’ve tried mashing, whisking, forking, and squishing but nothing seems to make a completely smooth mixture. It drives me crazy! Also, thanks for being a DIY beauty addict 🙂 You’ve inspired my New Year’s resolution: 2014-The year of Natural Hair Care.
How interesting—I had no idea this was such a common problem for ladies. Living in Calgary, I really have pretty much no day-to-day experience with extreme humidity and heat (sadly 🙁 ). Everything I’ve ever experienced with clay is driven by its desire to dry out/absorb. That’s why I love it for things like my anti summer stick powder. Perhaps if you brushed your eyelids with some clay that more or less matches your skin colour? A thought. Also, have you tried primer? That stuff is useful.
As for the clay clumps—I treat it like I treat cornstarch. That is, get out the clumps while its dry (blitzing it up in a coffee grinder is awesome!), and then add just a bit of cool liquid. Stir until you have a smooth paste, and then slowly add more liquid. But seriously, try the coffee grinder thing. It makes the whole process mucho easier.
Three cheers for your resolution! Why not start now? 😉
wow, this is fantastic, I’ve been looking for something like this. Thank you :). I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts.
Awesome, thanks! I hope you’ll subscribe so you’ll never miss anything 🙂 I’ve got some great stuff lined up for the holidays!
Hi there, I’m so glad I saw this posted on my facebook page. I have been wanting to go more natural with my make-up but didn’t really know where to start. Being healthier and using safer products has been something I have been slowly transitioning into. I am now at a point where it’s time to work on the things I apply to my face and body and have been wondering where I should even start. Well, this blog is answers to my prayers and I’m looking forward to looking more into the things you share about make-up. Thanks for taking the time to research and go through the trials and errors to perfect these things and then for sharing them. I am definitely marking your sight into my “favorites” so I can come back often and see the newest discoveries you’ve made. Thanks again! 🙂
Awesome, I’m thrilled to hear you’ll be joining me on my DIY adventures, Matcine 🙂 Be sure to subscribe as well so all my recipes hit your inbox as soon as they’re published. And be sure to look around (I’ve got tons of recipes up already for natural make-up) and ask any questions you might have!
First Off Thank You For This Post 🙂 I Like My Mascara Very Black, Since This Is The Case Would I Not Put In The “Australian Red Reef Clay” & Put The ½ tsp More Of “Australian Black Clay” ??? Or Is Yours Already Very Black ???
Thanks for reading, and good question 🙂 Australian black clay is really weird stuff. It is super dense and heavy, and it’s 100% magnetic. It also doesn’t really behave like clay at all. If you’re familiar with clay you’ll know that you can easily make it into a nice paste, but because this clay is so heavy it acts more like sand in water than clay in water. So, that’s why you need the red clay. It’s basically the glue of the mascara. I do find this mascara to be quite black (see the photos) despite it looking sort of red/brown in the tube. You might try adding a bit of activated charcoal if you don’t like the initial colour, but don’t add black oxide—it is water phobic and won’t blend in. Have fun! 🙂
question! i was just about to order the black clay and on the site it says “The particle size of this particular black clay is large, so though appropriate for use in body wraps and other spa treatments, it is not for use in mascaras, eyeshadows, and eyeliners…” Is this ok? Does the red clay make it work?
Hi Sarah! When I purchased the black clay their product description page explicitly recommended it for use in mascaras. I’m not sure what to recommend now, I don’t know if it’s a different batch of clay or a new recommendation on the same batch.
I ordered the black clay per the recipe and continue to use it without issue. I’ve also made a plum mascara by adding a tinge of ultramarine to the mix. I use my version as a cake mascara and adore it.
Thanks, Sheri! Good to know 🙂
in case it helps someone else, because I am relieved. Read the comment section while waiting for my order. lol.
So I just received the australian black clay that i ordered following Marie’s link in the “where to buy ingredients” section. Precisely i ordered it at “new directions aromatics UK”. And it is reads on the back of the package: “(…) very popular for use in creams, powders, lipsticks and mascaras”.
thanks for your great recipes Marie !
Yup, that notice was on the product page for mine when I bought it as well, but has since been removed :/ Thanks for sharing!
I’ve just stumbled over this recipe and it sounds tempting and worth a try 🙂 I was wondering, though, if you are still using/making this mascara and could share some longterm experience? I would appreciate it! 🙂
I’m currently working on a new mascara formula for my book, and am currently not using this recipe anymore 🙂
What a great post! Thanks! Must try 🙂
Let me know how it works for you 🙂
Hi! Question: where do you purchase the mascara wands? What is the reason for mixing the black/red clays together? Stronger color?
The mascara wands are just salvaged from old tubes of mascara I tossed 😛 I find rubbing alcohol is super useful in getting them clean.
The reason I’ve used two clays is because Black clay is very heavy and almost behaves like very fine sand in water—it really has no interest in forming any kind of solution. So, that’s where the red clay comes in. It’ll readily make a paste with water, and in that we can suspend the black clay to get the dark colour.
What is the guar gum for?
It’s a thickener, and helps with the consistency. I think you could probably use xantham gum instead.
Any ideas for making a brown mascara? I’ve heard of using cocoa powder…
I’d try a brown clay—just be sure to try one that’s finer than rhassoul (which is rather sandy). I think you could get a quite nice, russety brown by swapping the black clay for a brown one 🙂
This is so neat! I know a little bit about makeup (I was at one time, a licensed aesthetician); I know very little about clay. Why did you choose Australian black clay and Australian red reef clay; to they have properties, that are beneficial to skin and hair?
Hi Kelly! The differences in the clays are all to do with what they do around water. Black clay is very heavy and almost behaves like very fine sand in water—it really has no interest in forming any kind of solution. So, that’s where the red clay comes in. It’ll readily make a paste with water, and in that we can suspend the black clay to get the dark colour. The Australian clays are the most vibrantly coloured of all the clays (these two especially), so that’s why I chose them for mascara. The excitement about both clays from my supplier is basically just over the colour, though both are said to be high in minerals and good for conditioning and balancing the skin.
This is great! I’m sorry if I missed it, but how well does this keep in the bathroom? Do you need to refrigerate it? Will it mold or get nasty? Thanks!
Mine lasted for about a month before it started smelling a bit funny, and that’s without any preservatives. I’d recommend either adding a natural-ish preservative like grapefruit seed extract or keeping it in the fridge, since you don’t want to be putting spoiled stuff around your eyes. And be sure to keep a close eye/nose on it for signs of it turning 😉
Oh! I forgot to ask what you use to remove it? Does soap and water take it off, or do you need an eye makeup remover?
I find this comes off nicely in the shower with some warm water, otherwise a cotton pad with a bit of liquid oil and water on it works like a charm 🙂
Great info! Thanks for the replies 🙂
No problem! Feel free to get in touch if you have any further questions 🙂
Wondering what I might use instead of or in addition to the clays you mentioned to make charcoal color mascara. I had a “color analysis” done and was told to wear charcoal as it is less severe (and browns and severe blacks aren’t right for me). Please help. Thank you!
I would just swap out some of the black and red clays for a bit of kaolin, which is white. That’ll soften up the colour. Just experiment until you get a shade you like, and remember to check the colour when it dries, as that’s what it’ll look like on your lashes 🙂
Thanks Marie! I’ll have to give it a shot! Will let you know when I make it how it goes. Take care!!
Awesome! Have fun 🙂
Is there a safe permanent dye for eyelashes. I’m not into appyling mascara very often, but have light colored lashes and would be interested in a semi-permanent way to add more color and definition to my lashes. Any ideas?
You know, I really don’t know. The only semi-permanent safe-ish/natural hair dyes I know of are all based around henna. I found a thread on the long hair community about tinting eyelashes with henna—read it and see if you find anything?
Hi , i wonder how to buy the Australian clay ,, i live in Egypt and am wondering if i can find it easily or if there is a certain place i should head to for buying it ?
such a nice idea and thanks for your post.
Thanks & BR
Hi Sarah—I’m sorry, but I really don’t have any tips for where to buy supplies in Egypt. If you scroll up to the big grey box above the comments I’ve linked to my favourite suppliers, but the closest one to you is in the UK 🙁
How would a Charcoal/Ground black stone work in place of Australian Sand?
Activated charcoal would likely work, but I can’t speak for charcoal (wouldn’t want that near my eyes) or ground black stone (also something that sounds as if it has suspicious lineage).
Hi, can I use french red clay instead of australian red clay? There is no australian red clay in my country… but hurray! there is the black one 🙂
Thank you, your blog is awesome!
You can try, but French red does not have anywhere close to the same depth of colour as Australian red, so you will likely not get the same depth of colour. Let me know how it goes and thanks for reading 🙂
I’m wondering how long the shelf life would be for this? Should distilled water be used?
Would adding something like Vitamin E Oil help? I’ve heard it can help preserve?
I found the shelf life was about 2–3 weeks without preservatives. I wouldn’t add vitamin E since a) it is oil based and guar gum isn’t that good of an emulsifier and b) it’s not really a preservative, it’s an anti-oxidant. So, I’d definitely go with keeping this in the fridge between uses and/or adding a broad spectrum preservative. I don’t think distilled water would make an overly large difference, but using boiled/sterilized water probably would.
Thanks for reading & let me know how it goes 🙂
Thank you Marie for a great post.
I finally received my clays and went right away in the kitchen to prepare my new mascara!
I tried your recipe, ingredients for ingredients and then I did a second batch in which I added aloe vera gel in lieu of water. Do yo have any thoughts on the aloe vera?
They both turned out very similar in consistency and they look very similar on the eyelashes.
I am curious to see how it will last! I removed it once and I found the sandy feel to be a little abrasive on the sensitive area of my eyelids!
I will keep experimenting, I had really good results with a simple “eggsara” formula, in which I mixed one egg yolk, with activated charcoal. The shelf life (or fridge life) was only of a week and I was hoping to being able to have a longer lasting product, but the result on the lashes was spectacular.
Thank you, I am looking forward to reading more of your posts.
Hi Céline! I’m thrilled to hear you’ve actually gone ahead and made this recipe 🙂 The aloe sounds like a great swap out, the only thing I can think of is that it might shorten the shelf life, depending on how fresh it is. The black clay is definitely quite coarse (coarser than whatever colours storebought mascara for sure)—perhaps a bit of blending in a coffee grinder would help this?
Your “eggscara” sounds SUPER cool! I’ve never thought of trying that. I can definitely imagine the shelf life would be quite short, but I’m tempted to try it all the same. Very neat! And thanks for reading 🙂
Hi! I’ve been trying to figure out a good mascara recipe – and this one looks great. My only concern is: would this not be drying on the eyelashes, since it is clay based?
Great question, Rachel! Fortunately Australian Red Reef clay is quite a gentle clay despite it’s crazy dark colour, so this isn’t much of a concern unless you already have very dry eyelashes.
Un Dios te bendiga Marie, por estos maravillosos aportes. Estoy encantada con tu pátina. Gracias a Dios que tengo traductor.
Te tengo una esplendida pregunta, a tí que sabes de todo un poco:
Se puede teñir el cabello, asi sea por un día (una emergencia), con carbón activado y alguna otra cosa?, es bueno o malo para el cabello el carbon activado?
Espero con muchas ansias tu respuesta. Mil gracias
God bless you Marie, for these wonderful contributions. I am delighted with your patina. Thank God I have a translator.
Here I have a splendid question to you that you know a bit of everything:
You can dye your hair, so for a day (emergency), activated charcoal and anything else?, Is good or bad for hair activated charcoal?
I look forward many reply. Thank you
Hi Flor! Thanks for reading 🙂 Hopefully I understand your questions after I sent your comment through a translator.
In my experience you likely won’t have much luck dying your hair with activated charcoal. I tried using Australian red clay (which is much darker and more vibrant, colour-wise, than activated charcoal), and absolutely nothing happened 🙁 I have read that it can work, but I can’t think of how. If you leave the powder in your hair it will dry out and then you’ll be dropping powder all over your clothes and furniture and what not all day, which is probably not what you want with something so dark. Hope I understood properly 🙂
Hola Flor! Gracias por leer 🙂 Espero que entiendan a sus preguntas después de enviar su comentario a través de un traductor.
En mi experiencia, es probable que no tenga mucha suerte teñirse el pelo con carbón activado. He intentado utilizar la arcilla roja de Australia (que es mucho más oscuro y más vibrante, color-sabio, que el carbón activado), y absolutamente no pasó nada: (He leído que puede funcionar, pero no puedo pensar en cómo Si usted se va. el polvo en el cabello se seque y entonces usted puede dejar caer polvo en tu ropa y muebles y lo que no todos los días, lo que probablemente no es lo que usted quiere con algo tan oscuro. Espero que entendí correctamente 🙂
I have just received my clays in the mail and hope to make the mascara after the Christmas scurrying is over. My question is, now that I have what seems like a large amount of the clays, do you have other uses for them? Would I just mix either one with water and use as a face mask? Do they hold particular properties that might be more moisturizing or drying? Thank you!
Well… that’s a very good question, Kacey. I’m still working on answers, truthfully. They are both such dark clays that they are hard to use for most clay-like applications. I’ve used them in soaps for colourants, and the red has also worked in eyeliner. You definitely could use the red clay for a face mask, but I’d be worried it’d stain your face red for a few hours at least, not to mention the towel you use to remove it! So, I suppose my answer is “stay tuned” 😛 Be sure to let me know if you find anything you love to do with them!
In the mean time, I’ll enjoy the mascara. Thanks for your persistence in attaining this recipe.
Hola Marie, Dios te bendiga por responderme tan rápido. Te entendí tu respuesta y mil gracias.
Deseo saber si el carbon activado es malo o bueno para el cuero cabelludo o pestañas?
Hi Marie, God bless you for answering so fast. I understood your answer and thank you.
I want to know if the activated carbon is bad or good for the scalp or eyelashes?
No worries, Flor 🙂 Activated charcoal gets a rating of 0/10 on Skin Deep, which means it’s as safe as possible, so there are not safety issues. Its main use is as a purifier (it’s in air filters, for example), so I don’t see any issues with having it near the scalp. The only potential issue I can see is potential eye irritation if your eyes are very sensitive. Hope that helps!
No se preocupe, Flor 🙂 El carbón activado consigue una puntuación de 0/10 en Skin Deep a>, lo que significa que es tan seguro como sea posible, así que no hay problemas de seguridad. Su uso principal es como un purificador (está en los filtros de aire, por ejemplo), por lo que no veo ningún problema con tener cerca del cuero cabelludo. El único problema potencial que veo es posible irritación ocular si sus ojos son muy sensibles. Espero que ayude!
Dios te bendiga por tu pronta respuesta. Quedé satisfecha.
God bless you for your prompt response. I was so pleased.
Could this maybe work with tapioca starch instead of guar gum? Or without the guar gum? I’m too impatient to wait until I make another order!!
Hmm. I’d try it without either if you don’t have guar gum. It’s a much more powerful thickener than tapioca starch, so I doubt you’d even notice using a similar amount of tapioca starch, and using more will skew the recipe. You can get guar gum at most health food stores, though 🙂 Have fun!
what is “black clay”? I cant find it even at vitacost.. please reply… thanks
Australian Black Clay 🙂
LOVE the mascara recipe! I’d like to make a cake mascara. Can I substitute alcohol for the water? Thoughts?
If your aim is to tamp the powder into a cake, I wouldn’t saturate the mixture with rubbing alcohol—I’ve found this seems to adversely effect the powder, plus it doesn’t give you a smooth surface. I’d recommend incorporating a small amount of water and then tamping the mixture down, and letting it dry (similar to bath bombs). I have no idea if it’ll work well as a mascara, though, since the final texture is a fairly important part of the recipe, so keep me posted if you do try it!
It may have worked by mistake. I followed your recipe exactly, but did not add additional water. The clay mixture was slightly firm. I patted it into the container and left it open to cure. Now I have a cake! I add water to the brush and voila! Cake mascara!!!
Hi Marie – I’ve been to a lot (like, a LOT lot!) of DIY personal care sites, but I’m glad I found yours! You explain things thoroughly yet succinctly, your voice is friendly/approachable without being too flip, and you seem to approach DIY with care. Bravo! And I’m your newest fan and follower!
Your comment about clay making a “brilliant paste” made me think about hair gel/pomade…I have short, straight, no-body hair that I like to spike up/mess up a bit. [Love the Edwardian look, but this girl can’t pull it off. Sad face!] Without product my hair’s natural state makes me look like an Amish boy. Which is probably an affront to the nice Amish boys. So I need something fairly stiff, yet workable. Based on your experience, do you think any kind of clay concoction could work as a fairly stiff pomade? I saw your Natural Hair Gel #1 – would that do what I’d like it to?
Thanks for any help!
Hi Lucy! I’m thrilled you’ve found my wee corner of the internet 😀 Thanks so much for reading, following and DIYing with me!
I was actually just having a chat with a DIY-inclined girlfriend yesterday about hair gels. We’ve both tried a few things, and neither of us have come across anything that has really worked. My Hair Gel #1 helps boost hold of things like pin curls, but it’s far from a spike-and-play gel like store bought ones, sadly. Gels with loads of hold generally get their strength from polymers derived from plastic, and I’m obviously not going to be playing with those (especially since they can pose some pretty serious respiratory threats if you breathe them in). So… it’s definitely still in my thoughts, but I haven’t come up with anything yet :/ Sorry!
Marie – thanks so much for your reply. I’ll wait for your to-come hair goop tutorial…with as much patience as can be mustered. ; )
Viewed your portfolio (I’m a graphic designer, too). Nice style, clean work! I like to sew, but have done NOTHING like your beautiful gowns. I bow to your greatness…
Looking forward to your future posts!
Thanks so much, Lucy 🙂 It’s always nice to get some feedback from a fellow designer. Le ol’ portfolio really does need an overhaul at this point… 😛
What if you added beeswax?
It wouldn’t emulsify into the mascara because beeswax is oil soluble and this recipe is entirely water based with no emulsifiers 🙂 Stay tuned for the new mascara recipe in my upcoming book, though, it’s much better!
I was sooo excited with this entry I tried my best to find all the ingredients you used, however I could find everything here in Mexico, my black clay is not magnetic and is more like a shade of gray, and well the red clay I found is definitely not an Australian Reef, just red (or at least thats how they sold it to me). Oh, and no vegetable glycerin, just plain glycerin. 🙁 …But my mixture was super pasty not runny like yours. Any ideas or tweaks so I can give my homemade mascara another try?
Thank you very much!
Hi Debbie! It sounds like the biggest change you made is the black clay, and that’s why your mixture is a lot thicker. You see, black Australian clay is really weird. It doesn’t absorb water like normal clays do (that’s why I had to include the red clay—without it there would be no adhesion, the black clay would just sink to the bottom like sand). Since your black/grey clay sounds like it acts like a true clay, I would ditch the red clay, and experiment with just the black clay. Try mixing it to a pasty, mascara-like consistency and go from there 🙂 You should be able to get the right consistency pretty easily once you get used to the clay.
As I don’t have any black clay, do you think that if I’ll combine white clay with black iron oxide will work ? Instead of 4 black clay, 2 white and 2 black iron oxide should be ok ?
Sadly not 🙁 Iron oxides positively loathe water, so you will find the black oxide will refuse to mix with the rest of the liquids—it will just float on top.
Can’t wait to try the mascara! The best natural hair gel for me is boiled flaxseed oil. Boil about a Tablespoon or so into a cup of purified water for 5 minutes or more until it has thickened to the consistency of egg whites. Keep in refrigerator. I have straight hair down to my waist. I wet sections of hair with the gel and twist and wind hair around the blue conair bendable rods. By morning hair is dry. Separate curls and go! Lasts until the next day! Also, for a safe deoderant that really works-cut a lime in half and rub under arms. That is it! No sweat, no stink!
I keep hearing wonderful things about this flaxseed gel, I really must try it! It sounds like our hair is very similar—I’d love to be able to hold a curl 🙂
Okay, so 3 fails later this still isn’t working for me but I don’t think it’s the mascara – for some reason, even though it mixes up beautifully, it won’t transfer onto my eyelashes! I’ve tried it with xanthan gum instead of guar gum (1st time), then with xanthan gum plus aloe instead of water (2nd time), and this time I followed the instructions to a T and still no luck. If I stand there and go over and over and over it I can get a super subtle effect that you can only see if you know it’s there. Would it help to add a bit more guar gum?
It sounds like you need more clay 🙂 Try adding mostly red with a bit of black to get it thicker and more paste-like.
I’ve had the same issue – did it work for you to add more black clay? I wonder if it might help to add a capsule of activated charcoal.
Do you sell the mascara? I’d love to make my own, but I don’t have the time with school and everything…
If you don’t, what natural mascara do you recommend that won’t break the bank?
Sorry, I don’t sell anything I make—that’s why I provide the recipes & instructions 🙂
If you don’t have the time to DIY up your own make-up, I’d recommend subscribing to No More Dirty Looks—they actually buy & test commercially made natural(ish) cosmetics, which is something I don’t do. Good luck!
Would coconut oil work as a decent replacement for water or glycerin? I use it for everything–from cooking to moisturizer–and I’m curious how it would work for mascara.
Short answer, no. You generally can never replace water with oil—think about trying to do that in a cake, or with a cup of tea. Yuck! I’ve used water here because the mascara needs to dry on your lashes—if you use oil it’ll just melt off over the day 🙂
For anyone having trouble getting this recipe to coat the lashes, for me the quantities were not quite right. When I made this, it was very thick and black. You want it to look like her picture! Unfortunately, I did not keep track of the quantities I used, but I added much more red clay (possibly almost equal proportions to the black clay) and I also added more water. Too much water and it will be runny and not coat the lashes, but too little and its too thick. Just play around with it until it becomes a gel like consistency. I also subbed xantham gum for guar gum. Make sure to let the lashes dry between coats for layering. Thanks so much for this recipe that actually works!!
Thanks, Lindsay! With variations in ambient humidity and clays the amounts of water can require a bit of tweaking to get something that works—I’m glad you worked out something that’s kicking butt for you 🙂
Hiya! I’ve been searching and searching for the clays online, but either shipping or “admin” fees are making it out of reach…. are there any more economical sites to purchase them from? I tried ebay (shipping too high) and the site you posted which has a $20 admin fee….. 🙁
Hi Stefani! Where do you live (country)? The admin fee is new to NDA, but it’s only for orders under $100. Their shipping has always been relatively high since their product margins are so low (generally $16–$20 no matter how much I order), so that’s always been my “admin fee”—I’ll never order less than $150 from them at a time or the shipping just hurts way too much. Darn high Canadian shipping costs 🙁
This recipe sounds amazing!!! I am new to diy world and I am always looking for new ideas! I am waiting my clays to arrive so I can try this!!! One question though… I am thinking instead of water to put some contact lens solution to prevent any growing bacteria from the water…I use it in my eyes everyday since I wear contacts so why not in my mascara….What do you think?
Thanks, Danai! Contact solution should be sterile, but that it no way means it will prevent bacterial growth when added to something else. Starting with clean ingredients will help extend the shelf life of the product, but will in no way prevent bacteria from growing indefinitely 🙂
Are the black and red clay the same except for color? My goal is a brown mascara so I’m thinking to adjust these two colors but not sure if they have the same effect in the recipe.
No, the black clay is pretty weird. It doesn’t act like a clay at all, really—that’s why the red clay is in there. The red clay is what creates the pasty texture when mixed with water, and then I’ve included just enough black clay to make the mascara mostly black. You should be able to safely reduce the amount of black clay and end up with a ruddy brown mascara pretty easily 🙂
I live in the middle east and there is NO way I can find the black or red clay around here. So instead of this, can I use multani mitti + activated charcoal? Would it work?
If yes, can you tell me the estimate quantities that should be substituted?
LOVE your blog!
Hi Monica! I haven’t tried this substitution, but it just might work. You may find you need more activated charcoal as the multani mitti clay isn’t as dark as the Australian red. It’s definitely worth playing with, and at least there are lots of uses for the ingredients if the mascara doesn’t end up working out 🙂
Hi thanks for posting the recipe.
I have made this and it has gone on fine but is a bit crumbly once dry so reading comments above would more red clay help also any thoughts on how to make it waterproof? I nearly added bees wax then realised it wouldn’t blend well doh thanks
Hi Rebecca! A drop or two of turkey red oil (which self emulsifies in water) should help with the dryness and crumbling. As for waterproofing, that’s not really within the realm of natural DIY as far as I can figure—most waterproof cosmetics get that distinction from the addition of plastic :/
I was wondering if you know of anything that would make this mascara recipe act like a “waterproof” mascara you would buy at the store? I am trying more organic mascaras these days but none of them come in waterproof. What I hate about regular ones is that they smudge, or come off on my finger if I touch my lashes. Also, I’ve found they don’t hold a curl like waterproof ones do. Any ideas of a natural ingredient? Or have you found that this one doesn’t really smudge? Maybe the thing that makes it waterproof is an ingredient that shouldn’t be used anyways?
Hi Bekah! In my experience, waterproof and natural/organic just don’t go together because waterproof usually means plastic is involved, and that’s hardly natural or organic. Sigh.
Thanks for the reply! Yeah, I was starting to figure that was the case. Oh well! Guess it makes sense. 🙂
Hey! I would like to know where you get your clay from, I want to make sure I get premium quality stuff. Thanks
I get it all from NDA and Saffire Blue (links in the big box above the comments) 🙂
Thank you very much! I have a couple questions before I leave you alone :-p one is, what does the magnesium stearate do exactly in this recipe and what can I use in it’s place? And two- I didn’t spot a recipe for eyeliner on your blog but I happened to find one and it says to add Epsom salt in it. Do you know what Epsom salt is used for in cosmetic recipes? Is it used as a preservative maybe? I was just curious. Please enlighten me. Thank you again, I appreciate your speedy reply 🙂
Hi Melissa! The magnesium stearate is for slip and adhesion, and I do not know of any adequate replacements for it. As for the epsom salts, I’d hypothesize they’re included because they’re a humectant, and would help keep the eyeliner supple on the skin while still allowing it to dry a bit and stay on. I doubt it would really function as a preservative as salts preserving powers come from sucking moisture out of things like meat so bacteria can’t live there, and I would think that kind of action would end up changing the texture of the eyeliner over time, which obviously wouldn’t be desirable.
Can I also use your mascara as eyeliner? Or do you have a separate recipe for eyeliner?
Do you have a recipe for green eyeshadow and also blue eyeshadow?
You can try it, but from my experience with it, it wouldn’t work out terribly well.
I don’t have a recipe for green or blue eyeshadow, but I think you’ll find you can make my brown eyeshadow blue or green if you use a different oxide 😉
Using the base of your Brown eyeshadows I’ve made 21 successful eyeshadow colors. Everything from blue, to green, to purple, to metalics. For extra intense color use a primer or mix a little eyeshadow with some lotion to make a cream shadow. So greens and blues definitely work!
Fantastic! I love it 😀 I’ve been experimenting with a new formula as well—yay for homemade eyeshadow!
Hi im wondering if guar gum is really necessary, i dont want to pay 20$ for no reason or if its not needed. and i dont have xantham gum either. if its really needed is there anything in the kitchen i could use instead, like arrow root powder as a thickener? thanks!
Hi Chilli—you can try it without the guar gum and see what you think, but I suspect it will be a bit thin. Kitchen thickeners like arrowroot and cornstarch require cooking to activate, which I would not recommend here.
I know this is a bit off topic but I was curious about something.. I didn’t spot a recipe for pencil eyeliner on your blog but I happened to find one and it says to add Epsom salt into it. Do you know what Epsom salt is used for in cosmetic recipes? Is it used as a preservative maybe? I was just curious. Please enlighten me. I appreciate your help 🙂
I feel ignored; you could’ve replied saying that you’re not sure. I follow your blog and admire your DIY talent, and obviously you’re a very helpful person otherwise you wouldn’t be sharing your knowledge with us but I see you answer other followers and it’s a tad rude that you totally bypassed my question :-\
I suppose I should say I feel overwhelmed. At any given time I have 200–400 comments to reply to, plus emails, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter messages. Then there’s my full time job, my multiple part-time jobs, sleeping, eating, and having a social life… not to mention actually developing new recipes to post here. I’m sorry if you feel ignored, but please know I am not sitting at home, twiddling my thumbs and deliberately ignoring you. I will always get back to you because I really do want to be helpful and help people learn, but I have other priorities as well.
Hey sorry didn’t want to make you feel pressured at all. You already replied to my comment though, I hope it didn’t go through twice and make you think I typed it here again. No worries, I had thought that you might’ve not seen it and I get super excited learning something new everyday. Now I know you have a filter for comments so I wouldn’t think that next time 🙂 Thank you for your frankness. I apologize.. <3
Hi Melissa! I’d hypothesize the epsom salts were included because they’re a humectant, and would help keep the eyeliner supple on the skin while still allowing it to dry a bit and stay on. I doubt it would really function as a preservative as salts preserving powers come from sucking moisture out of things like meat so bacteria can’t live there, and I would think that kind of action would end up changing the texture of the eyeliner over time, which obviously wouldn’t be desirable.
(No need to ask questions twice, I will get to it eventually 🙂 )
Dunno I took it that you didn’t see my question before and was really curious to get an answer. Thank you very much, I appreciate it. Cheers 🙂
I have a handy dandy filter in the back end that holds all comments that don’t have a reply until I reply so I can’t miss anything 🙂
I just wanted to give you a heads up that NDA (New Directions aromatics) says to not use their Australian black clay for mascara, eyeliner or eyeshadow.
Well that is rather… irksome. When I purchased it their product description page explicitly recommended it for use in mascaras!
Just curious if you’ve ever come by any information on the environmental impacts of the harvesting of these clays you’re recommending?
I think the mascara is a fabulous idea, and I’m keen to try it. But in the last few years I’ve watched with dismay the rise in popularity of Amazonian clays being used in brand-name cosmetics, notably the Tarte brand. Seeing as almost the entirety of the Amazon is a critically threatened area (a large area, yes, but threatened nonetheless), I worry about how the harvesting of what must be massive quantities of clay impacts the Amazonian environments and its peoples.
As this issue relates to Australian clays, I’m concerned about the impact on the environment as well as on local aboriginal peoples. Several searches online for information haven’t readily yielded reliable information. Of clays from Australia, one source says, “…Mined in pristine Australian bushland…” That raises some concern for me on several levels. I’d like to know more about the sourcing of the ingredients from such a far-flung place (I live in British Columbia) to make sure I’m not contributing to questionable politics or helping to worsen socio-economic issues.
Hi Nicole! This is a really good question. I hadn’t come across anything before you commented, so I went looking, and didn’t find much. It is mostly mined, but how sustainably is hard to say. I imagine there is a lot of room for variation between countries and companies. I would recommend going straight to your potential suppliers and posing your questions to them—any reliable supplier should be able to answer your questions, or know where to get you some answers. It certainly is worrying to think pristine bushland is being ravaged.
If it makes you feel any better, though, there is no uniquely, exotically Amazonian anything in Tarte blush other than their marketing—their blush is almost entirely talc and petroleum derived dyes. They use kaolin clay (and very little at that, it’s pretty much the last ingredient before the colourants), which is a very common clay that’s found all over the world. I’m honestly not even sure “Amazonian clay” is a thing—the only mention I can find of it is in relation to Tarte. I’ve never seen any other products that use it, and I’ve never seen it for sale from any supplier. Kaolin is mined in Brazil (among many other places), but I think the Amazonian branding is all marketing—kaolin is cheap and readily available, but Amazonian clay sounds fancy and helps justify a $30+ disc of talc. And some of their “clay” products don’t even contain clay.
how much did this cost? i feel like it will be expensive and I wouldn’t know how to use the extra materials
It’ll depend heavily on how much of each ingredient you purchase. If you buy the smallest amounts possible from NDA you’re probably looking at a starting cost of around $30, which will definitely make you lots of mascara. I also love to use the clays in soaps and some cosmetics. They are some of the harder clays to use because they are so dark, though. Perhaps you can find some friends who would like to split the cost and the ingredients with you? I have found that a lot of DIY projects tend to save money on the per-item basis, but perhaps not overall if you have an ingredient problem like I do 😛
How will the mascara be if i don’t use guar gum? Is that ok? Or what can i substitute for guar gum? Sorry, my English is not good. Thanks
Hi Ling! The guar gum helps thicken up the mixture, improving adhesion. You can try xantham gum as an alternative. You could also try leaving it out, but you may have to make other adjustments to get a texture that works for you.
It looks like there are a lot of places where you comment that black clay doesn’t behave like regular clay. I’m wondering if it still has better adhesion than ordinary minerals like iron oxide – will it at least stick to keratin a little?
You also mentioned iron oxides “loathe water,” so, is that a major reason for using clay instead? Kaolin would not mix with iron oxide as soon as liquid is a factor; even glycerine alone? Seems like it would still be fine as a foundation at least.
I’ve been meaning to try mixing up some iron oxide and activated charcoal with some of the (kaolin, fuller’s earth, and green) clay, gelatin, and glucomannan I have on hand. I was figuring that even many commercial recipes use gelatin/collagen or a fiber-type thickener like glucomannan (of course, in your case its a guar gum.) Gelatin has worked for my eyebrows and hair. I have also successfully made my own sugar glue (just candied like a sugar “wax”) for false eyelashes…though I’m a bit iffy on using loads of it around my eyes.
I’m glad to see you have a mixture that works and doesn’t have oils ~ the only thing I could think to do for an oil/wax recipe is lose the oil and use a only a wax with a very high melting point dissolved in vodka (rubbing alcohol sets of my mast cell disorder.)
What happened without the glycerine; just too dry?
Anyway, nice post & thanks for publishing it!
Hi Jein! I used clay because it doesn’t repel water like the oxides do. Oxides will flat out not blend with the wet part of this mascara (water and/or glycerin in my experience), which makes them pretty useless as a pigment here. In my experience there are a few ingredients that will carry oxides along—titanium dioxide or fats. Adding TD makes it pretty much impossible to achieve a true black as the ratios need to be even, so you’ll only ever get grey. Adding some oil is an option, but too much makes for adhesion issues.
And yes, the glycerin is to help keep the mascara from drying out too much so it stays supple(ish) rather than drying up and dropping off 🙂
Hey I just love this recipe. Can u tell me the shelf life of this mascara . Btw I have to say again and again all your DIYS are amazing.
Hi Trisha! It’s really impossible to give an accurate estimation of the shelf life of anything as there are countless variables—sorry! Watch for mould, funny smells, and other changes.
Intriguing idea! It worries me that there is no preservative in this recipe. Introducing water to the mix is asking for a bacterial trouble… have you had any problems with it?
Hi Lise! I have some that I made… 5 months ago now. There’s no visible mould, but I’m not wearing it anymore, it’s just an experiment at this point. You are certainly more than welcome to add a preservative if you like, I generally go with the “small batches and use quickly” approach.
I have a questions, i did some research on the Australian black clay and there was a note attached at the end:
“Note: The particle size of this particular black clay is large, so though appropriate for use in body wraps and other spa treatments, it is not for use in mascaras, eyeshadows, and eyeliners. It may also stain fabrics.”
Hi Ana! When I purchased the black clay their product description page explicitly recommended it for use in mascaras. I’m not sure what to recommend now, I don’t know if it’s a different batch of clay or a new recommendation on the same batch.
The black clay you are using is actually magnetite (Fe3O4), a.k.a. ferrous oxide, or iron oxide. That’s why it’s magnetic 🙂
I found this information on the website of New Directions Australia. I think it is important for people with nickkel allergy to be careful with making your own mascara in this way. I think it’s safer to buy a hypo-allergenic mascara from for example La Roche Posay (Respectissime) or nature brand Lavera. They test the trace level of nickel in their mascara (there is always some in it, really). Lavera has been very open with me about the trace level, it is 30 ppm (0.003 %)
Even though I’m critical about this one, I’m really admiring your posts. You’re in my list of favorite websites! More people should be aware about what they use on their skins. All these people, mindlessly smearing isothiazolinones and DMAPA traces on their faces… Unbelievable. Considering this, eczema or allergy might be a blessing in disguise 😉
Keep up the good work, Marie!!
Thanks so much, Judith—this is great information for people with allergies! Much appreciated 🙂
The measurements are inaccurate- the mixture turned into STONE. Smh. You have any recommendations?
I’ve tested this recipe many times and I can swear up and down that the measurements are not inaccurate. Did you make any substitutions?
Hi! I’m wondering, what’s the purpose of the vegetable glycerin? Is there anything I could substitute? I’m allergic to vegetables! (Yup, allllllll of them!) Thanks in advance 🙂
You could use petroleum derived vegetable glycerin instead as it’s chemically identical to vegetable glycerin.
I’ve been looking all over for a recipe for natural mascara and yours seems to be pretty much the only one that nobody/very few people have stated something going wrong, but i’m wondering about flaking and smudging…every eye make up item I have smudges or flakes, but friends using the same items don’t have any problems, I must just have oily skin/wet eyes/fluttery? eyelashes.
So my questions is whether you’ve any, even if super small, instances of flaking or smudging?? 🙂
Hi Emma! This mascara is definitely not flake or smudge proof—I don’t think I’ve ever met a mascara that wouldn’t smudge if encouraged enough. Have you thought about dusting your eyelashes with some arrowroot starch before applying mascara? It might help.
Finally got my hands on those Australian clays and made a batch of this. Based on few wears, this mascara works really well, and I’m impressed that it doesn’t come off immediately if you got a bit of water/sweat/etc on your lashes, like every other non-waterproof mascara I’ve tried. One thing that was weird, that it got a bit clumpy – in the jar, not so much on my lashes. Maybe I used too much guar gum or didn’t mix the dry ingredients together well enought before adding liquids. I poured a bit of water in to the jar and let it sit there for a while, maybe it does something to the clumps.
Anyway, thank you so much for this and many other recipes! I found your blog few months ago and, thanks to it, I’ve really gotten in to making things myself. So thank you for that also 🙂
Awesome! I’m so glad you’re enjoying my mascara and that it’s working for you 🙂 WOO!
I was looking at the New Directions Aromatics website. They now have a minimum order policy to minimize small orders. Do you have any other suggested sources for these ingredients? Thanks!
Check out the resources page 🙂 In general, though, the two clays I’ve used aren’t too easy to find elsewhere. Some readers have found them on Etsy, so perhaps try there?
Do you find this mascara to be a bit scratchy? I made this and turned it into a cake mascara so it would have a longer lifespan. It looks great! But I’ve found that it’s a bit scratchy on my eyes…
Do you find the same issue?
I can’t say I have, but I do not this mascara very often. It is also possible that the version of the black clay that NDA sells now isn’t as fine as the version I have. When I bought mine they recommended it for use in mascara, and I noticed they no longer do :/
Hi – I just made it with a batch of the “not good for eye makeup” black clay. It took 4 tries but here’s what I did: I ran the black clay through a sieve twice then I blasted it with my coffee grinder. It’s definitely denser and chunkier than the red clay but by eliminating the obvious chunks left in the sieve and then grinding the finer powder I had success. I saved the chunks for a face max or something.
I mixed it with the red clay and guar gum and ran the whole mix through the sieve one last time. (I used a mortar and pestle to blend the powders). The rest of the recipe is how you wrote it until the very end. I added about 2 ml of aloe vera juice to the mix. It thinned it out just enough.
Thanks so much for sharing your experiences, Melissa, this is super helpful to me & everybody else who is thinking about making this with the clay NDA currently sells 🙂 Thank you!!!
Just a heads-up, this company is using your exact recipe and instructions. Not sure if you were aware of this or not.
Ugh! I don’t understand why people think this is an acceptable way to behave. I’ve emailed them. Thanks so much for being my eyes and ears around the internet 🙂
Also, one more thing. If I buy the larger particle clay from NDA could I make it finer by grinding it with a mortar and pestle?
Other readers have reported good results sending it through their DIY coffee grinder and then passing it through a fine sieve 🙂
On the new directions aromatics website, it says the black clay is not for use in mascaras and eyeliners, did you use it anyway or was there another black clay on the website when you made this?
When I purchased my clay they straight-up recommended it for use in mascara. I’m not sure if it’s the product that has changed or just the recommendation. Other readers have reported good results grinding the clay in a DIY specific coffee grinder and then passing it through a fine sieve 🙂
So you swear this works? Im in the same boat as you were, i tried so many other recipes and they all turned out bad, they didnt dry, stuck, or it seemed that my eyelashed deflatted after time. I probably spent about 50$ on alot of different ingredence. I dont want to spend another 40$ is it doesnt work );
I wouldn’t publish the recipe if it didn’t work, and you’re also welcome to read through the comments to see how other people fared 🙂
I have rather sensitive eyes and I notice you said that the oxides dont mix well. Do you think indigo would be a good substitute for this project? Ideally im looking for a very dark black however I noticed in hennaing that the red and the indigo make the hair black so I was thinking that same concept can maybe apply to this? Thank you for all your wonderful recipes! 😀
I’m afraid I’ve never been able to find indigo for sale in Canada, so I haven’t been able to play with it and can’t speak for how it might behave here. I’ll continue to keep my eyes out, though 🙂
hi what natural preservative would you recommend?!. I’ve heard on one called neo defend but I don’t know if It can be used in eye products. Thanks!
I wrote an article on this in the FAQ 🙂
Hello, I am curious what you are using to preserve this water-based mascara. I think the refrigerator idea is good but waiting till you smell an odor to decide when to dispose is dangerous. There could be millions of microbes already growing before you can see or smell anything foul. Being that you put this right next to your eyes, I would think you would advise people to be diligent in throwing it away after 48 hours. Grapefruit seed Extract is not an accepted preservative anymore among the Science community so I hope that is not your solution. I like the idea of homemade mascara, but I fear you are playing with fire… especially by not warning your readers about the dangers of bacterial infection. Not everyone knows about these things.
Hi Angela! I talk about preservatives (when to use, good ones, that antioxidants aren’t preservatives, etc.) in my FAQ (which you’ll notice linked above). With well over 700 recipes up here it seemed more efficient to include that information there.
Are you using the literal “pinch” measuring spoon, or a pinch between fingers, on the red clay?
I’m pretty sure it was just a “between the fingers” pinch as I don’t think I owned the set of measuring spoons at the time this recipe was developed—that would be about 1 nip with the wee spoons 🙂
Hi Mary! I love your blog!!! I wanted to try all of your DIYs but I dont know where to get all the ingredients. Do you buy all those online (especially the beeswax, red oxide, titanium oxide)? I live in the UAE btw.
Hi Alyssa! Thanks for reading 🙂 I do buy pretty much everything online as it’s very expensive to purchase locally. I have a pretty long list of places to shop on my “Where to Buy Ingredients” page, but I’m afraid I don’t know of any in the UAE. It’s hard to recommend places to shop all over the world when I live in one place :/ Sorry!
Thought I’d let you know about this site that’s using your recipe, and doesn’t even link to your blog.
Ugh. I’ve commented to ask her to remove it, but unfortunately there isn’t much else I can do. Why on earth do people think it’s ok to do that!?! I find it extra ironic that she has a “Protected by Copyscape” badge on her site to “protect” “her content”. Ugh.
Great recipe! I don’t like the ones with oils and butters in the recipe. I live in very hot weather and everything with oils or butters will just melt on my face. I’ve tried out your recipe, but I left the water out because I’m afraid it will spoil in just a few days. I had to add more glycerin to it. But, I was wondering how I could incorporate beeswax into the recipe to make it stay put longer in this hot weather. Do you have any ideas? Thank you very much.
Hi Julienne! The recipe would have to be entirely re-developed to include beeswax. I’m working on a new version for my book, so stay tuned 🙂
Very interesting blog. Thanks for sharing. Really amazing that you respond to every comment. What a commitment and very generous to your readers.
Thanks so much, Kate! I love that people are interested in the things I do for fun 🙂
Just stumbled across this post and was wanting to maybe investigate this recipe further, just a couple of questions. I’m assuming you got your black clay from NDA, but the description says right in it not suitable for mascara etc because of the large particle size. Did you grind it at all? What do you think about some magnesium stearate to help with adhesion/glide added to the mix, and how much would you add? Just want to be a little more sure about it since the smallest jar of clay I can find is 1 kg, lol. Now to find something to do with the rest of it, lol!
Hi Vanessa! When I purchased the black clay their product description page explicitly recommended it for use in mascaras. I’m not sure what to recommend now, I don’t know if it’s a different batch of clay or a new recommendation on the same batch. Some readers have tried it since and have had success with grinding it in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle (read up into the comments for more info).
All that said… the mascara I’m developing for my book requires no Aussie Black Clay, so perhaps sit tight and wait for that? 😉
oooohhhhh, when is the book due out? I’m sure there’s tons of us on the edge of our seats waiting for it! Will probably hold off a bit then, not sure if I want to get that big a bucket of clay for that one thing! Such great ideas though, keep em coming!
It’s out in the fall, not sure exactly when yet, but I will keep everybody posted! Follow me on Facebook/Instagram for more updates and details 🙂 Thanks so much for reading and supporting me!
Ordering mascara tubes today. I’ve stopped wearing mascara because it causes my eyes to itch and burn. Maybe now I can have lashes again! Can’t wait for the new book.
Hey Belinda! I’d really recommend waiting for the recipe in the book, this one is nowhere near as good. Also… don’t bother with mascara tubes. They are pretty useless for homemade mascara in my experience; they hold way too much product and I find the mascara tends to dry out before you can use it, and then you have to chuck the tube because they’re impossible to clean well :/ Sorry to be a bummer!
Good morning Marie,
First, You and your blog is Amazing! I am a Fan – Keep it up! I love it and have pre-ordered your book.
Second, I really want to put this mascara in a tube but as I live in the middle of nowhere (1.5hours north of Edmonton) I am faced with 4 weeks delivery time from Amazon. I simply do not have the patience for that.
So, do you know of a place in Edmonton that sells mascara tubes or could I reuse old mascara tubes? Most people say you need to throw out your mascara tube after 4-6 months but I find that very wasteful (there is enough plastic waste in the world) What is your thought on this? Can I reuse my mascara tube and what should I use to clean it with?
Third, I am very excited for your new mascara recipe from the new book. Are you using any unusual ingredients? I have a well stocked diy draw but I would like not to have to wait 4 weeks to try out the new recipe because I need to wait for one ingredients.
Big Hug and DIY-love,
Hello fellow Marie (and fellow Albertan!)! Thank you so much for reading and for your support! It is hugely appreciated.
Honestly, please don’t make this mascara recipe. The one in my book is so much better. It uses much more readily available ingredients, and is likely to be safer as well. The clay that I used to colour this mascara was recommended for use around the eyes when I purchased it, but it no longer is, so I’m not sure if it’s a great idea to use it anymore.
I would also really recommend not buying mascara tubes. They are awful. Just use a 10g pot. You need to put so much mascara in those purchased tubes because they are so large, and you will never use that much home made mascara before you have to throw it out. And it will probably dry out because the tube is so huge. And the brushes that come with homemade mascara tubes are also usually awful, and the brush does have a very large impact on how the mascara looks.
Trying to clean out an old store bought mascara tube is an exercise in futility. There is a never ending black hole of tar inside an old mascara tube, and even if you do manage to somehow flush all of that out and actually get the inside completely clean, you’ll never be able to get anything back into the tube because of the orifice reducer that is fused to the neck of the tube.
Have you checked out the list of things you’ll need for the book? If you have everything on there you’ll be set 🙂
I hope that helps! Happy making 😀
I have to say after receiving a “reply” (deleted) from you the other day on a different post, I wasn’t in a hurry to come back to your site. But through researching mascara recipes, here I am. And I’m even more disappointed!
If you’re no longer recommending this recipe, why is it even here?? And then the one you are recommending can only be accessed by PURCHASING your book??
Well, I’m disappointed too. I’m disappointed that after the last misunderstanding, which I carefully and immediately explained, you are now wording this comment in a way that makes it seem like I did something insidious. I’m also disappointed to find that even though I spent a good 80 hours developing a superior recipe for mascara, you feel entitled to the results of that work for free. I have shared well over 1000 pieces of free content in the form of articles, videos, FAQs, recipes, and well over 12,000 comment replies. I learn, grow, and improve like most human beings do. I can’t imagine how you feel like that isn’t enough. If all of that is disappointing to you, I don’t know what else to say.
Hi Marie! I have your book, and it is lovely. But can I pick your brain? I have a LOT of black clay because I made a mistake when ordering it. Do you have ideas on how to use it? I did use dome to make Lumps of Coal soap for a secret Santa exchange. FUN!
Any ideas who be appreciated!
I remain a loyal Bee
Hmmmm. Maybe paint? Try it as a fabric dye? In one of those sand and water stress jars? Make your own one of those zen gardens with rocks and a little rake? 😛
Thank you! Great ideas!!
Okay, so…I really want to make your mascara from your book, but I would much prefer to put it into a mascara tube rather than a pot. Looking at the formula in the recipe, it seems like it may be too thick/stiff to work in a tube…? So I guess I have two questions:
1. Can I put the original recipe in a tube? And if not…
2. Is there a modification I can make to the recipe that will not compromise its effectiveness, but will make it suitable for storing in a tube? (Maybe add a bit more glycerin…or something?)
Anxiously awaiting your reply!!
The mascara in the book is definitely not tube friendly. What you are looking at is a complete recipe re-development, so you are on your own! This is sort of like saying “I don’t like this dress, can I re-format it to be pants?”.
I love this clay & while I’ve not used it in mascara I do use it in face washes & masks … living in the states I only order from NDA irregularly..ex like when I NEED this clay…now it’s discontinued & I can’t seem to find it anywhere…any ideas where it may be available?
I’m afraid not, sorry! You can have mine, but I’d ask you to pay shipping 🙂
Marie! If you have any to spare ?? I’d be happy to pay you for some & of course I’d have no problem paying shipping Had I realized that it was going to be discontinued I’d of ordered it regardless
Yeah, sure! If you’re in the USA I can probably ship it to you for about $10… if you’re in Canada it’ll probably be at least 2x that even though I’m in Canada because Canada Post is le pricey.
This comment is not about the mascara, but about your book. In your contact me you said the best way to get an answer was to comment in an article and I had a hard time finding one, so this is it. My question is that I was so excited to get your book. I want to make natural and safe cosmetics, but as I began to look at your recipe for Essential Mineral Makeup Powder base, I was unfamiliar with many of the ingredients and I started to look them up for safety. Several of them have concerns. Are you completely sure that titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, sericite mica, magnesium stearate, and boron nitride are safe and healthy to put on the skin? Where have you researched these ingredients? I really want to make good use of your book, but now I have concerns.
I hope that helps!
Hey Marie, I tried to make the mascara in your book 3 times without success. It gets super lumpy every time. I don’t know what else to do to avoid the lumps.
Can you walk me through your process on how you make it? The mascara is a tricky one to make! I find blending all the pigments in my DIY coffee grinder first, and then the mixing them in was the tough part as you have to work fast. I burnt my knuckles a few times mixing the mascara while my beaker was in my hot water bath worked the best!
Hey, Marie! I just recently purchased your book and tried your mascara recipe, but I have a question.
After trying every other recipe for mascara in the known universe, I stumbled upon yours. I’m not even sure why on earth I didn’t just look here first. Anyway, I thought if yours didn’t work, then I’m pretty sure none will. Haha.
I tried the all oil ones, which never dry. I tried the water, glycerin and clay ones, which dry immediately, but then completely melt in humidity. Yours was the only one I found that incorporated water, oils, waxes and clay. It seemed like the best of both worlds, so with fingers and toes crossed, I went for it.
I followed it to a T except I used Olivem 1000 as my emulsifier as a more natural option.
The texture came out beautiful, but it simply will not stick to my lashes… at ALL. I do have the blondest and finest lashes on the planet, so that may have something to do with it. But the junky drugstore mascara I’ve been using for ages sticks and makes them look long and luxurious, so I know that I CAN get black goop to stick to them.
I’m trying to figure out if it is the formula. The brush. Both. What should I change?
In your experience, what ingredient should I maybe increase a pinch or lean off of just a touch to help with adhesion?
Thanks so much!
PS: Your book is BEAUTIFUL! I absolutely love it, and when I don’t have kids climbing all over me, I am hiding under a blanket somewhere reading it cover to cover <3
Good evening Bethany!
The mascara in the book is a tricky one isn’t it? I think the problem you might be having with the adhesion is the Olivem 1000. The book is at home at the moment so I can’t refer to the specific type of emulsifier that Marie uses, but I do know that the problem many readers had was in the mascara flaking depending on the container it was stored in if you followed the formula exactly. Give the formula another try with the same emulsifier she uses and remember to store it in an air tight container! Then let me know how it works!
First, thank for all of your work and recipes. Your blog has been very useful to me.
Second: I made the mascara recipe from your book. It’s lovely, but I see kind a mess under my eyes after a couple of hours.
Like some melting mascara.
Maybe my ingredients have slightly different quality’s.
What can I do or adjust to avoid this?
Thank you so much! You’re the best! (And sorry my English I’m from Argentina!)
Thank you for your comment, and you’re not alone. A few people have mentioned the same issues and here’s what we have come up with; 1) old ingredients, 2) product drying out.
Make sure you are using within date ingredients, and that how you store your mascara is in an air tight container.
Good luck and happy making!
Hi barb, I also have purchase and made the exact recipe from the book. My ingredients were new and it is in a tight lid container. The mascara goes on beautifully but melts off in an hour. I live in a very humid climate. If you or Marie have any suggestions please let me know. Do you think adding a little clay might help? Thank you for your time and beautiful recipes. J.
You are a genius and your style is very FUN to read!!
Thank you so much, Jen!
i’ve experienced the running mascara.
i’m trying to achieve a mascara that contains castor oil too. can i maybe add a small touch to this formula? and maybe use activated charcoal instead of black clay?