How to Make Your Own Mascara Using Natural Ingredients

Easy step-by-step instructions for DIY mascara.

black mascara wand and tube
AndreyCherkasov / Getty Images
  • Working Time: 10 - 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 1 tube of mascara
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $5

Frustrated by the plastic packaging and harmful chemicals in your makeup? It might be time to try a DIY mascara recipe that helps you eliminate the waste and avoid the toxins associated with conventional brands—all without losing any of the quality. That’s thanks to rich, all-natural ingredients like shea butter and aloe vera that moisturize and enhance eyelashes. 

If the thought of making cosmetics from scratch feels overwhelming, don’t worry; it isn’t as complicated as you might expect. This easy-to-follow recipe will take you just 15 minutes—less time than would be required to purchase a new tube of natural mascara from the store. And even more importantly, you’ll be reducing waste associated with an industry that produced 76.8 billion plastic packaging units in 2017 alone.

Consider incorporating DIY mascara into your zero-waste beauty routine, and your lashes will be long, full, and healthy in no time.

What You'll Need


  • Small saucepan
  • Sterilized container or mascara tube with wand
  • Small spatula
  • Small funnel or piping bag


  • 1 tsp shea butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon grated beeswax
  • 3 teaspoons aloe vera gel
  • 1 to 2 capsules activated charcoal


You’ll need a sterilized mascara tube and wand for your new homemade makeup. Ideally, you can use an old tube and wand and clean them using rubbing alcohol. To do this, remove as much of the old mascara gunk as you can and pour rubbing alcohol that contains at least 60% isopropyl alcohol—an effective disinfectant—into the tube, close, and shake. Use a towel dipped in rubbing alcohol to wipe off the wand.

  1. Melt Ingredients

    Combine shea butter, beeswax, aloe vera, and coconut oil in a saucepan and leave on medium-low heat until fully melted.

  2. Add Charcoal

    Open the capsules of activated charcoal and add them to your mixture. Be sure to blend the charcoal thoroughly—the liquid should be entirely black—before removing from heat.

  3. Transfer Your Mascara to Tube

    Allow to cool and then transfer the mascara to a sterilized mascara tube. To do this, you can spoon the mixture in using a tiny funnel. 

    If you don’t have a funnel small enough to fit the mascara tube, use a piping bag or a strong plastic bag (ideally one that’s been used and reused) and cut the tip of one corner to pour the mascara into the tube. A syringe might also work for this step if you have one handy.

  4. Apply as Desired

    Use your new mascara within three to four months (or sooner if you detect an unpleasant odor). Remember to save the tube and resterilize before you make another batch.


Brown Mascara

If you prefer a less dramatic look for your lashes or need a brown shade, consider trading the activated charcoal for 1/2 teaspoon of cocoa powder. You’ll wind up with a rich brown color, rather than a stark black. 

Waterproof Mascara

Unexpected rain, tears, or swim opportunity? You’ll want to add an extra 1/2 teaspoon or so of beeswax to help prevent smudging.

View Article Sources
  1. "Chemical Disinfectants." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

View Article Sources
  1. "Chemical Disinfectants." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.