In my previous post why I do not use waterproof mascara, I already mentioned I am using a mascara I make at home.

However, making mascara at home is not that trivial and although online you may find loads of recipes, majority of those simply does not work well, because they do not follow basic important principles.

Therefore here, I share with you what I know so far on how to make mascara at home, namely:

  • a bit of theory you need to know to succeed in making your own mascara
  • a recipe for homemade mascara I have been using for last 2 months (this means it is a good one!)
  • the recipes for homemade mascaras that I tried and that did not work… to save your time!

A bit of theory on how to make mascara at home

If we already make our mascara at home, we want it to

  • well cover the lashes
  • be easy to apply and hold well
  • be easy to remove
  • be natural and non irritating

And because we are already spoiled by taking care of us in the most natural way, we want it to nourish our lashes.


Basic ingredients:

1. Color

If our homemade mascara is to cover and color our lashes, we need a good colorant (for black mascaras the best is black mineral oxide). I tried also activated carbon, however, i was rather disappointed, as in its maximal quantity it still gave rather grey color.


2. Water phase + gum

Helps to disperse the color over lashes, is necessary to create an emulsion.  Use mineral water, or some flower water (e.g. cornflower or camomille… for nourishment). Arabic gum is the most used for this purpose.


3. Oil phase + emulsifiers

Contains oils, waxes and emulsifiers. OIls make it easy to apply and shiny, while waxes accelerate drying once applied and hold on place. Emulsifiers help to create emulsion.

From oils, choose hair friendly oils like castor oil, jojoba oil, or other non-greasy oil. From waxes the most used is candelilla wax, beeswax.


4. Preservatives and actives

Homemade mascara has to contain preservative because it contains water and is used for months. We do not want to grow nasty bacterias and mold in something we put on our eyes!  Choose a good natural preservative suitable for emulsions and wide Ph range.

From actives, add phytokeratine or hydrolyzed plant proteins or provitamine B5 to nourish your lashes.


Never forget to sterilize all the tools, containers and working area!


The recipe I use

(according to Aroma-zone)

  4.4g vanilla infusion in oil (I infused 2 vanilla pods in 500ml grape-seed oil for 1 month)
1.6g emulsifier wax no.3 (INCI: Glyceryl stearate, Potassium stearate) / I did not try to use another one, but I think any w/o emulsifier might work well. I will try others and inform you about the results…
0.4g candelilla wax

3.0g black mineral oxide

10.0g mineral water  / flower water (e.g. cornflower)
2.2g acacia gum (arabic gum)

0.4g phytokeratin
4 drops (0.14g) Cosgard (preservative)



1.  Melt waxes, emulsifiers in oils and add black mineral oxide, heat to 70°C
2.  Dissolve arabic gum in your mineral water (or flower water) and heat to 70 °C
3.  Once both at 70°C, pour slowly water phase with arabic gum to the melted waxes with mineral oxide
4.  Once emulsion takes place, add phytokeratin and preservative
Use syringe to dose into clean mascara tubes (the quantity is for 2 tubes).


Your homemade mascara has to set, as waxes regain their consistency slowly. If you do not wait (I know you will not!) don’t be disappointed it is too oily, or too dry 🙂


Left eye (my right eye) with my mascara, the other without.




Recipes for homemade mascaras that did not work

These recipes did not work, because they were either too simple or I did not have all the ingredients and tweaked the recipes…

1. Variants of the recipe above that did not work (underlined ingredients I changed)

  2.2g vanilla infusion in oil
  0.8g emulsifying wax no. 3
0.2g candelilla wax

  1.1g powdered active charcoal (instead of black mineral oxide)

  5.0g mineral water
  0.2g agar-agar (instead 1.1g arabic gum)

  0.3g phytokeratin
2 drops (0.07g) Cosgard

This combination created a very dry emulsion.

I tried the same tweaked recipe without agar agar/ arabic gum, adding
– only 0,3g charcoal powder – less dry, however too dry after application
– only 0,1g charcoal powder – good emulsion, however, not enough of color
– 0,3g charcoal powver and 7g of water (instead of 5) – this was too watery…

Activated charcoal absorbs too much water in comparison with black mineral oxyde…


Recently, however, aroma-zone published a recipe with charcoal as the only colorant, I did not try it yet. 


2.  A different recipe for homemade mascara that did not work

17g rose water
 5g  activated charcoal (instead original black mineral oxide)
2g castor oil
1g stearic acid
1g jojoba oil (instead of original lanolin)
1g rice liquid protein (instead of original phytokeratin powder)
a bit of agar agar (instead of guar gum)
4 drops of GSE (grapefruit seed extract) or other preservative
2 drops vitamin E

Int his recipe it seemed 5g of charcoal is too much, mascara was very dry.

I tried 2g of charcoal instead, but it was very watery after.  Adding additional 1g did not help. I added other 3g, but it was of course too dry, so I added 2g of castor oil and while it finally started to be applicable to lashes, it was too oily, it did not dry and was crumbly.

In this recipe I ignored the most important parts – guar gum and lanolin for emulgation. That is why I did not succeed to add activated charcoal in small quantities and larger quantities were too dry.


3. A very simple recipe that does not work…

Combination of aloe vera gel and activated charcoal.

Will dry out and won’t cover well the lashes.
Do you have your preferred homemade mascara recipe?