ilia mascara

This Celeb-Approved Clean Mascara Just Got an Upgrade—and It Made My Lashes Thicker Than Ever

The formula also strengthens lashes long-term.
Rachel Nussbaum
Updated Aug 30, 2021 @ 1:37 pm
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This story originally appeared on Shape.com.

Everyone has different mascara needs. Some people want a formula that's toned down for the office, others won't touch a mascara unless it tubes, and there's the perpetual silicone vs fiber wand debate. Personally, I prioritize clean mascaras for peace of mind—and Ilia's new Fullest Volumizing Mascara makes for lashes so full and dark, it surpasses any of the hundreds of traditional mascaras I've tried from leading brands.

It's a little wild, but there's currently no "clean beauty" standard that all brands have to obey. That means it can be difficult to navigate the category without deciding what to avoid for yourself, so I've done just that; based on discussions with reproductive epidemiologists, endocrinologists, and environmental health researchers, I skip any products that include hormone-disruptors like parabens and phthalates, formaldehyde-releasers, and anything that's touted as "long-wearing." Case in point: A recent study out of Notre Dame University found 82 percent of the waterproof mascaras that they tested contained toxic chemicals known as PFAS.    

That's why it's so encouraging to see brands like Ilia debut formulas that not only out-perform mainstream cosmetics (and stay put without PFAS), but swear off parabens, phthalates, BHA, BHT, cyclomethicone, and talc, all of which may be problematic for your health; petrochemicals are also on the "no" list. Not-fun fact: As of 2020, FDA testing found asbestos in almost 20 percent of the cosmetic talc they tested.

Courtesy: Rachel Nussbaum

On top of that, I don't want my clean makeup to sacrifice performance—and while that may have been the case when the clean beauty realm was still finding its footing, the concept of a trade-off is now obsolete. Ilia built its reputation around high-achieving formulas like lipstick-balm hybrids, tinted moisturizers, and the most lightweight mineral sunscreen you'll ever try, and since its celebrity-approved first mascara continues to be a Sephora and Credo bestseller, I was confident the new formula would deliver. The brand's beloved by celebs like Beyoncé, Rihanna, Kim and Kourtney Kardashian, Camilla Mendes, Jennifer Lopez, and Yara Shahidi, which doesn't hurt, either. 

I generally look for a mascara to transform my medium-length, medium-thick brown lashes into a fringe just a few notches below falsie-level, since I have strong brows and need lashes that can hold their own. This mascara measures up to my high standards. While the simple sand-colored tube belies its power, the Fullest Volumizing Mascara melds the lengthening ability of the brand's beloved Limitless Lash Mascara with dark black pigment and glamorous volume. 

ILIA-Fullest-Volumizing-Mascara-Product
Credit: Sephora

Shop it! Ilia Fullest Volumizing Mascara, $28, ilia.com

A few swipes of the new formula checked all my boxes, as they say on Love Island, leaving me with thick, dark, fluttery, and long lashes. The hourglass brush coats every baby-fine lash, and vitamin E, jojoba oil, and panthenol all ensure that the formula leaves lashes happier long-term and more glossy than before. As cosmetic chemist Kelly Dobbs previously told Shape, panthenol converts to pantothenic acid, which penetrates hair fibers to add strength. 

The formula doesn't smudge or irritate my allergy-prone eyes, and perhaps most impressively, it doesn't transfer even through subway-level heat, humidity, double-masking, and my lids' free-flowing oil. The verdict? I won't be altogether retiring my stable of other clean mascaras, but if you're looking for lashes with oomph, lasting power, and loads of definition from a risk-free formula, you'll be hard-pressed to do better than Ilia's Fullest Volumizing Mascara.