These Clean Mascaras Are Actually Really, Really Good

04.10.2023 — Annie Tomlin

Clean mascaras have come a long way. Ten years ago, there weren’t many on the market, and—we’re just going to be brutally honest here—most didn’t perform as well as their conventional counterparts. Now, though, there’s an abundance of clean lash-lengthening, volumizing, and defining formulas at beauty boutiques and drugstores. For most people, the question isn’t whether to choose a clean mascara; it’s a matter of finding the right one. That’s why we’ve sampled a wide range of clean mascaras to see which ones deliver on their promises. Below, you’ll six that are raising the bar for clean formulas. We truly think these are the best clean mascaras you’ll find in 2023.

FYI, here’s the Frenshe definition of “clean” when it comes to mascara:

  • No talc, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, mineral oils, coal tar dyes, or formaldehyde
  • Cruelty-free
  • Not waterproof—there’s some evidence that waterproof mascaras are more likely to have toxic “forever chemicals” that make them resist water.
  • (And, of course, it has to work!)

jones road the mascara

Jones Road The Mascara$26

We stan makeup legend Bobbi Brown for her be-who-you-are philosophy and balanced approach to beauty—and for creating her Jones Road mascara, which does a terrific job of defining each lash (yes, even the little wispy ones in the corners). You can certainly build this with more than one coat, but we love the natural look we get from one quick swipe of the brush. It’s vegan, too.

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tower28 mascara

Tower28 MakeWaves Mascara$20

This vegan mascara is designed for sensitive eyes, and the double-ended brush gives you options for building up volume or defining lashes. What do we love most about it? Although it doesn’t clump or flake, it comes off so easily. No raccoon eyes or irritation whatsoever. If you wear contact lenses, this one’s a no-brainer.

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lash blast clean

Cover Girl Lash Blast Clean Volume Mascara$9.50

The best thing about this vegan drugstore mascara isn’t the way it defines each lash precisely (although that’s pretty impressive). Nor is it the lack of flaking and smudging. Nope, the best thing is that it’s offered in multiple shades, including two shades of black and a rich-looking brown-black. And did we mention that it costs less than $10?

merit mascara

Merit Clean Lash Mascara$26

If you want well-defined lashes but don’t want your makeup to look super-obvious, Merit Clean Lash mascara is the one. It’s a vegan tubing mascara that stays put but comes off easilywith water and a gentle cleanser. Subtly inky with one swipe, decidedly sexy with a couple more—it’s the works-for-every-situation LBD of clean mascaras.


Ami Colé Lash-Amplifying Volumizing & Lengthening Mascara$19

So you say you want thick, luscious, fluffy Bambi lashes? You’re going to really like Ami Colé’s double-duty vegan mascara. Made with shea butter and jojoba oil, it conditions lashes while giving them that extra boost—all without clumping, flaking, or smudging. (And as a bonus, the orange tube is super-easy to find in an overstuffed makeup bag.)

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Kosas The Big Clean Mascara$26

Volumizing mascaras can sometimes feel heavy on the lashes, but this one from Kosas doesn’t weigh things down. (Even though a generous amount comes out with every dip of the tube!) What we really love is its plastic-free formula, which also includes conditioning agents to help your lashes stay healthy and strong.

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Annie Tomlin
Annie is part of the Frenshe East Coast team. In her spare time, she enjoys working on her 100-year-old home, vegetable gardening, and pushing for climate mobilization.