Mascara is a tricky one. And if you’re looking for a cruelty-free mascara, your options are a little more limited (though thankfully there are still plenty out there!)
Add in personal preferences—do you want length or volume? Both? A big brush or a delicate one? Something waterproof?—and the selection narrows even more.
That’s why it feels so good when you finally find one that does everything you want. I never used to be loyal to one brand, so I’ve tried a lot over the years: Urban Decay, Barry M, Gosh, PHB Ethical Beauty, Glossier, NYX. Most of them have been good enough—but not amazing.
And then I tried Lily Lolo Big Lash.
There’s a lot to like. I’ve heard other cruelty-free folk rave about it (Cruelty Free Becky was the person who convinced me) and justifiably so. Let’s have a look at why it’s loved so much.
Lily Lolo Big Lash Review: What makes this cruelty-free mascara so good?
First of all, the fact it’s cruelty-free and vegan give it major plus points, because it’s quite common for brands to be one but not the other.
(It’s natural to assume that if a product is vegan, it must be cruelty-free. However, the two terms have different definitions. Cruelty-free means no animal testing is committed and the company doesn’t sell their products in stores in China. Vegan means there are no animal ingredients or by-products in the product itself. This means companies that do test on animals (such as Garnier) can market their products as vegan, an infuriating practice known as greenwashing.)
If you can drag your eyes away from my fivehead below, you can see that Big Lash holds a curl, gives lashes length, and adds volume without clumps or the spider-legs look. I have very fine hair—any good mascara brings some life back to my eyelashes.
The brush is big, but not so big that it’s awkward to use (I’m sure we’ve all experienced the frustration of getting a mascara blob on the skin around your eyes). It lifts and separates lashes, adding volume as it goes, and the formula dries quickly. You don’t have to worry about smudging or flaking throughout the day, but Big Lash is easy to remove with a good cleanser. And there’s no irritation either, since it’s fragrance-free.
Why Lily Lolo?
There are plenty of reasons why I stay loyal to Lily Lolo. They were the first mineral make-up brand I ever tried, back when I was at uni, and I fell in love almost instantly. They’re transparent about the ingredients they use, their products are gentle on sensitive skin, and their shade range has something for everyone, rather than 50 shades of beige. I’ve never had to worry about finding a foundation pale enough for me.
And of course, there’s no animal testing.
The joy of wearing make-up at home
When lockdown first started, I made the decision not to wear any make-up. But my skin didn’t look any better (in fact, it broke out with all the stress) and I got bored.
For a while, I wondered whether my initial choice to go make-up-free meant I was wrong about wearing make-up only for myself. That is, until one morning when I finally put it on again, and had a great time doing it. Choosing the products, the shades, seeing my face transform—just a little bit—when my brows gained definition and my cheeks flushed with colour. And, as always, I got a kick out of seeing my eyelashes suddenly appear when I applied mascara.
In my haste to cut something from my morning routine, I’d forgotten how much I enjoy the process of getting ready. And frankly, it made a nice to change to do something creative just for fun. Just for me.
I’m not wearing make-up every day, but I am using it when I need an extra mood-booster. Why not?
What are your favourite cruelty-free mascaras? And are you wearing make-up during lockdown? Let me know in the comments.
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Beth, 26, South East England.
Lover of books, dogs, yoga, travelling, and gin. Always thinking about my next meal.
I write about ethical & eco-friendly living, minimalism, and mental health, as I muddle through one step at a time. Enjoy!