I’m Not Wearing Mascara In This Picture

Mascara is the frenemy of beauty products. It’s messy, it’s high maintenance, and you'll probably get stuck washing it off in your bathtub at the end of the night. You put up with it because it makes you feel confident and cool, but let’s be honest: If it disappeared tomorrow, would you really miss it at all?

If you truly adore mascara, that’s great—more for you. (Do you also like dating guys in bands? Or, like, actors?) But if you just don’t have the patience to stay friends with an attention-seeking product, I’m here to tell you that it’s OK to end it. Kick it to the curb. You can have the same lashes, sans the eye soot. I haven’t worn the stuff in years, and my eyes look prettier, require almost no effort, and bug me way less than they did back when I was piling on the Great Lash.

I tried all kinds of stuff to kick my mascara habit, and now that I've succeeded, I would love to pass along the good news. Below, a few options for if/when you decide to quit:

If your current mascara is two coats of Diorshow Black Out...

Get eyelash extensions

So you want to wake up looking like Beyoncé. Mé too. We’re part of the “maybe I’m slightly over the top, but who cares because I look good” club. *high fives* For us, nothing short of eyelash extensions will do. They are, simply put, the best things ever.

Given the choice between making out with Bill Nye (Science Guy and Perfect Man) and having lash extensions forever, I would choose the lash extensions, no hesitation. They’re that good. They’re not cheap—well, some are; if you’re getting a set applied for $35, though, you better read the Yelp reviews first—but all you have to do is go in twice a month and lie down on a table for 45 minutes while a nice lady glues between 50 and 100 tiny false lashes to the ends of your natural ones. Then you get up looking oh-so-foxy and go about your business without ever having to worry that your eyes are anything other than insanely gorgeous. If you truly want to get serious, you can also dye your lashes so that they’re jet black in addition to being six feet long. Personally, when I do both I am in a perpetual good mood and am basically invincible.

Pro tip: Ask the aesthetician to do three different lash lengths from your inner to outer corners and you’ll always have the winged look without the eyeliner.

Cost per month: Could be as cheap as $30, but sketchiness abounds, so it should probably be about $80–$100

If your current mascara is Maybelline Full 'N Soft...

Dye your lashes

Before I got serious with extensions (Love of my life! Fire of my… uh… irises!), I was very into just tinting my lashes, then coating them with a little vitamin E to make them look thicker. If your lashes are relatively long but light at the ends—and most peoples’ are lighter than they think—lash dyeing is a game changer. It lasts for about six weeks, and you might not even feel like mascara does much of anything extra for you once they're tinted. Ask for carbon-black dye; some places offer blue-black or brown, but they’re usually less natural-looking.

Cost per month: Between $20 and $40, depending on your location (as always, please go somewhere reputable)

If your current mascara is secondary to your obsession with your lash curler...

Perm your lashes

I am extremely excited to be the person who gets to tell you this, because you are going to be so happy. In fact, if I were in the room with you right now, we could both go “Squeeeeee!” really loudly in a second and then go get ice cream.

ANYWAY, I have two words for you: 1) Lash, and 2) Perm. Regular hair perms may only exist to cull the weakest cosmetology school students from the herd, but lash perms? Oh, they’re fabulous. You just go in, they curl them the way you like them, et voilà! They are like that all the time for at least a month, maybe two. It is just so, so good. And it’s cheap! Think of the time savings! Think of the freedom! Think of the Baskin-Robbins! Seriously, let’s go. I will get Butter Pecan and you can maybe try a seasonal flavor if that’s what you’re into?

Cost per month: Between $15 and $45, again depending on your location

If your current mascara is made from the tears of women crying for freedom from the patriarchy...

Try castor oil

Heyyyyy, buddy! How’s it going? You maybe wanna put down that PETA sign for a second and talk? I like your vegan clogs! You been applying almond ashes or avocado pit scrapings or whatever it is Rainbow Foods Co-op is selling as a 'mascara alternative' these days? Yeah...please stop doing that. It’s just running down your face and probably giving you an eye infection. I know this, because I was once like you. In many ways, I am you. So take a hint from me, your personal Ghost Of Getting Less And Less Radicalized As You Get Older Future, and just put some castor oil on your lashes with a clean mascara wand. It’ll make them healthy, shiny, and a little darker, too. (The Kardashians use it.) Oh, and that Tobias guy? Don’t date him—trust me, we regret it later.

Cost per month: Half a carbon offset and an hour volunteering at your neighborhood’s organic, macrobiotic, soy-free garden

If your current mascara is made of chemicals and cold, hard cash...

Get Latisse

Actually, you’re probably already using Latisse! Congratulations on having embraced Technology and joining us in a brave new world where we use glaucoma medicine for ludicrously expensive off-brand vanity projects! I tested this stuff for about six months (for work, at an old job). After about three weeks, it did make my eyelashes long; it also turned my eyelids a terrifying, livid shade of purple.

Cost per month: Your eyelids, your soul, and around $120

Anything else I'm not thinking of/don't know about? Tell me in the comments!

—Lacey Gattis

Photo by Mathea Millman.

IG @kentekinks 

CN Says: 
Although this article focuses on skin care, we use these same ingredients in our hair! I hope it helps! Spoiler alert- shea butter, rice bran and olive oil are the winners ;) 

Q:  Rebecca asks us to recommend the most effective, longest lasting, all around best plant-based moisturizer for skin. In our response we talk about the different methods of moisturization and what it means to be “plant-based.”

A: 3 methods of moisturization.

1. Occlusives
Purpose: To reduce how much water evaporates through your skin. (Cosmetic scientists refer to this as TransEpidermal Moisture Loss or TEWL.) Occlusive agents form a hydrophobic barrier on your skin that keeps the water on the inside. The most effective examples include petrolatum, mineral oil, and dimethicone. Some plant oils help occlude the skin but typically they are included more for their emolliency.

Read On!>>>
2. Hydrators
Purpose: In this context I’m talking about adding water to skin and the only ingredient that can really do that is…water. For some product types (like shampoo) water is just a carrier or solvent for other ingredients. But in the case of moisturizing lotions the water contained in the product is also hydrating your skin.

3. Humectants
Purpose: To bind (or even attract) moisture to your skin.
Ingredients known as “polyols” have the ability to hold on to large amounts of water and keep it close to your skin. In some cases they can even absorb moisture from the atmosphere. These ingredients have two drawbacks: they can make your skin feel sticky and when the air is REALLY dry they can actually pull water out of your skin instead of the atmosphere. Examples include glycerin, sorbitol, and hyaluronic acid. Glycerin and sorbitol work pretty well and they’re cheap. Hyaluronic acid can hold hundreds of times its weight in water but it’s really expensive.

What does it mean to be “plant-based”
For example, if the “lauryl” part of a surfactant like sodium lauryl sulfate is made from coconut oil, does that mean that SLS is a natural, plant-based ingredient?

Are plant-based ingredients good moisturizers?
We found an “occlusivity rating” of various oils that compares plant-based moisturizers with petrolatum and mineral oil. In this evaluation a higher scorer is better so clearly petrolatum and mineral oil are the best. But plant oils (like olive oil, rice bran oil, and shea butter) do a pretty good job as well.

Petrolatum 80+
Mineral oil 75+
Olive oil 70
Rice bran 70
Shea butter 70
Macadamia oil 70
Castor oil 68
Soybean oil 68
Reference: http://www.floratech.com/Uploads/pdfs/occlusivitychart.pdf

What about other ingredients?
To determine if a product is plant-based you need to look at more than just the moisturizing ingredients. You have to evaluate the emulsifiers, thickeners, pH control agents, and so on. So pick one of your favorite “natural” brands, preferably one that lists the sources of their ingredients in parenthesis. For example, Seventh Generation puts an “*” next to each plant derived ingredient. Some examples:

caprylic/capric triglyceride*
glyceryl stearate*
stearyl alcohol*

cetyl hydroxyethylcellulose (plant-based),
xanthan gum*

Control agents
lactic acid*
essential oils and botanical extracts*

The Beauty Brains bottom line
The best plant based moisturizing ingredients are olive oil, rice bran oil and shea butter. Look for a natural brand that you trust that discloses the source of their ingredients and then look for these as the first few ingredients.

My mother always told me with a hint of disappointment, that my brother had hazel eyes when he was born, and then after a day, they changed to brown. She swore they were the same color as my uncle who had what she calls “Paul Newman eyes.” The way she tells it, women couldn’t resist those eyes; even men gave him respect. In an ideal world, he would have been a movie star or leader of the free world, but instead he was a hustler who would do things that most of us wouldn’t dare. Like attain a top administrative position at the most prestigious hospital in Toledo, with barely a GED. And legend says, he didn’t even have that. He’d been working there for years before they found out. But who could blame him for using what he had? In a sea of brown faces with brown eyes he was such a rarity. Where did they come from? people would inquire before asking his name? The fact that he was the only person in the family with those eyes, added to the mystery. Why him? And furthermore, who would get them next?

By junior high, the power of the right eye exploded into my brain when Vanessa Williams became the first black Miss America. There was no denying that it had everything to do with those eyes. Think about it, wasn’t it the only thing that separated her and runner up Suzette Charles? Both were beautiful African American women, but one had those eyes and the other one didn’t. The way I saw it, all I needed were eyes like that to blast off into the stratosphere and become the first black something.

So I got creative. Everyday I would come home from school and dedicate an hour to willing them into existence. I did this by burying my head into a pillow, squeezing my eyes tighter than Simon Cowell’s ass, then declaring over and over again that by the time I opened them they would be BLUE! Needless to say, it didn’t happen. At least not right away. A few years later, my prayers got answered.

Hello Colored Contacts!!!

It was one of those times when you’re so happy to be alive at the advent of something so game changing. Like a flash, my future became so full of possibility. It was as if someone had given me the key. While other sixteen year-olds were fixated on buying their first car, my obsession was Colored Contacts. I went out and got my first job just so that I could get a pair. Okay, two. When I got my prescription and tried my lenses for the first time I thought I would cry. Time stood still. I stared at myself in disbelief. I FINALLY had blue eyes. Well, kinda. They made my brown eyes blue-ish. There was still some brown showing around the pupil. That brown-eyed devil was not going down without a fight.

But really, did it think it was a match for me?
Come on, now. I’d waited my whole life for this.
Since I had a green and blue pair, I decided to do what anyone in my position would do. Double up by putting both pair in at the same time! Problem solved!
Now the side effects included splitting headaches, dry sandpaper eye, blurred vision, dizziness, fever and hallucinations, but other than that it was just perfect. Not a trace of brown. I had the brightest aquamarine eyes that anyone had ever seen. I know this by the way people would stare. Oh, to see their faces so full of curiosity, admiration and disbelief. Now I could go and be somebody!

It was also around this time that something else was brewing. I was dating this guy who was always in trouble, getting kicked out of school and whatnot. It was while attending a school for juvenile delinquents that he ended up in class with his cousin’s girlfriend. Now this girl was a real prize. She was in there for fighting and it seemed her mouth was the culprit because she was always talking sh*t. For some reason my name started coming up in her mouth. Okay, to be real, my boyfriend liked to talk sh*t too. He was always trying to make me jealous and I suspect he was doing the same with this girl. Who knows, maybe he liked her or maybe pitting us against each other was his way of competing with his cousin. I don’t know. But anyway, he started telling me stuff that she had said, like she bet she could kick my ass and I wasn’t that cute anyway.
Seriously? This was so beneath me. As an Honor Student, Most Popular and Homecoming Queen I was used to some girls not liking me. I couldn’t go around fighting everyone who had something to say. She would have to find someone else to focus her hate. Besides, I hadn’t had a fight since a boy named Mike called me a n*gger in the sixth grade. It just wasn’t my thing.
Then one day all that came to a screeching halt when he showed me her picture. My jaw dropped. Homegirl looked just like me down to the damaged sandy-brown hair from too much peroxide. But there was one distinct difference. B*tch had GREEN EYES! Real ones. I could spot phonies a mile away and these were the real deal.
Did she think she was better than me? Is that what this was all about?
Oh, this was war. Now I was passing messages back and forth like Muhammad Ali gearing up to fight Joe Frazier. I was going to murder this girl.
Sure enough, the day came.
I was going to work Downtown at a mall on the waterfront. This particular day I was feeling pretty studious and had my new green and black-striped briefcase to match my eyes. It was just a little something I had picked up from one of the shops the day before. So I’m downstairs walking through one of the underground tunnels leading from the bus stop to the mall when I see her. I know it’s her because I would recognize those eyes anywhere. And that jacked up hair. She sees me too because we both slow down. My blood is now boiling and I can barely control the adrenaline. Oh, and let me add that she’s mixed. Her mother is white, which only adds to the fuel I feel and my confidence in my ability to beat her ass. I considered her a white girl and everyone knows white girls are all talk. Honestly, this fight was personal. I needed to teach her a lesson.
So I stop dead in my tracks, me and my briefcase, look at her straight and say, “I heard you wanna fight me.”
“Yea!” She responded and it was on.

Next thing I know, I’m flat on my back getting pounded. I’m getting it in the face and the gut, I’m getting kicked, I’m getting my ass whooped something super-natural! At one point, when I’m able to see, I grab her by the hair and pull for dear life. It was all I could do. Finally, someone breaks us apart and gets us off the ground. There are people everywhere. Just standing like it’s a chicken fight. Then as we’re both panting, trying to catch our breath, she screams, “With yo’ fake eyes, trynna be me!”
Why did she say that?! I lunge for her and we go down again. This time I get her leg in my mouth and go Mike Tyson on it!
When it’s finally over. Really over. I lose my $400 contacts, and end up in the emergency room with two black eyes and a nasty red blood clot in one, busted lips, a flat nose, cheeks swollen twice their size, a plastic bag full of hair that used to be attached to my head, and a bite on my leg because she just had to bite me back. Now who’s trynna be like who?
To be fair, I find out a week later from my boy Aaron that I had been jumped. Apparently, she and a few of her thugged-out buddies were known for jumping people Downtown after school. I breathed a sigh of relief because up until that point I had questioned whether I had indeed fought Joe Frazier.

But as luck would have it, I didn’t have to return to school right away. Months earlier, I had signed up to be a counselor to 5th graders at a winter camp. I got a full week away from all the drama at a farm at least two hours away from my hometown. It became my hideout and allowed me time to recuperate. I wore big Jackie-O sunglasses that my grandmother had given me that practically covered my whole face, and every morning I would wake up before the kids to put concealer around my eyes. When anyone asked me what happened, why I was wearing Jackie-O sunglasses all day, every day, in the dead of winter? I told them, “I fell on some tires.” I know, who happens to fall on some tires? What kind of tires? Was I walking in a junkyard or something? It was such a preposterous story that I knew people would be too confused to ask follow-up questions. I was right.
So behind my Jackie-O mask, I was able to think.
That “fake eye” comment hurled at me by my nemesis hurt worse than any blow I took in that fight. Up until that point, I had deluded myself into thinking that those eyes were real. And since no one ever asked me about them I had no reason to think otherwise. It was me and my beloved aquamarine eyes on top of the world. The fact that this girl saw me trying to be something that I was not, made me feel angry and embarrassed. I was mad that she knew I wanted those eyes, her eyes, and embarrassed because it wasn’t a secret. For all my accomplishments, I was just this insecure girl searching for validation. It occurred to me, for the first time, that she probably wasn’t the only person who could see me for who I really was. Whether people asked me about my eyes or not, they were IMPOSSIBLE to miss. It made me think about a schoolmate who was flat chested and stuffed her bra. When she walked around with her chest stuffed, she was confident and strong, without the stuffing she was quiet and shy. I couldn’t bring myself to ask her about it, but I wanted to tell her that she didn’t need it. That she was so much bigger than a 36C. I actually preferred her without the fluff because at least she was real. It’s funny how I could see it so clearly on her but I failed to see it on me.
Until that fight.
So with my lenses lost, probably smashed on the bottom of someone’s foot, perhaps someone who had witnessed me getting my beat down, I was finally able to see what had eluded me for years. I was somebody long before I changed my eye color. It was probably the reason my delinquent friend hated me so much. I actually had what she wanted: a life, and possibility for the future. Silly.
But sometimes life has to literally beat us over the head for us to get it. I was grateful that I could be so lucky. Gone were my contacts but not my vision for the future.

By Erickka Sy Savané

My name is Sherelle. I am 23 years old from Bermuda. I love natural hair. I once had a perm. I began to realize the damage it does to hair. So I decided to transition to become natural again. :)

How long have you been natural?
I have been natural for about 3 years now. I love the versatility of natural hair. I can wear my hair curly, big, straight, etc.

What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper& why?
I transitioned for 2 years (2010 – 2012). I trimmed off the relaxed stringy ends whenever I got a chance to. My hair was very long but in January 2013, I big chopped. I want to start over fresh. I cant wait until it gets long again. I'm almost there but I do have major shrinkage, 'cause my curls are tight in the back. While transitioning, I still got my hair flat pressed because at the time it was easier for me to manage. The advice I would give to new natural hair people is to have patience. Hair takes time to grow. It will not grow over night nor will it always be manageable. Don’t give up, go back to the creamy crack, or keep cutting it. Let it grow. You will love it!

How would you describe your hair?
My hair is two different textures, the front is a looser curl/straight and the back is a very tight curl. So in natural hair types I would say the front is 3C and the back is 4A. I let the curls flow freely.

What do you love most about your hair?
I love how thick my hair is. I love that I can wear it big at times. The curls are well defined. I do not need a huge amount of products to make my hair curl. My hair is naturally curly.

What has been the most memorable part of your journey? Has it been easy or difficult or both?!
The most memorable has been when I realized that all the permed ends were gone. Once I chopped. I was happy that my curls could finally breathe without the processed ends. My journey was difficult when I cut off my long hair to start over fresh.

What were some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles?
My favorite transitioning hairstyles were the pineapple method and also wearing it flat pressed.

What is your hair regimen (including fav products)?
My hair regime is quite simple. Every other week I co-wash (wash with conditioner tresemme natural) my hair and deep condition it. I put on a plastic processing cap for about 10 mins. I go to the salon every other month to get a trim. I would rather finger detangle my hair instead of using a comb. I like to comb my hair in simple hairstyles for work such as up in a bun or pulled back. On the weekends I let the curls flow freely. I prefer natural oils for my hair such as sweet almond, coconut, and jojoba oils. I also love to put in fresh aloe.

What are some of your favorite natural hair websites,YouTuber’s, or blogs?
My favorite natural hair youtuber is Naptural85. I love her hair and hope to reach that length in the near future.

Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?
“Live life to the fullest", "Tomorrow Is not promised to anyone”, “happiness starts with YOU!"

Never feel that you're not good enough. We are all good enough that’s why we are alive in this world. Everyone has a purpose and we are all put on this earth for a reason. Never give up on you! You are the most important person to yourself. We cannot depend on others to fully satisfy us, we must satisfy ourselves.

Where can people find you for more information?
Instagram: @natural_twin90

Global Couture is trying to spread the word about embracing your natural hair. Love your HAIR, if it is wavy, curly, kinky or coily.See more at http://globalcouture.blogspot.com/ and Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.Are you naturally fierce? Email us to share your hair journey at [email protected].

For some curlies, regular shampoos and sulfate-free shampoos are equally drying. Adding a mud wash into your rotation of co-washing and ACV rinses creates a regimen full of various cleansing alternatives. Tina from MissT1806 teaches us how to create your own scalp soothing mud wash with just a few ingredients from her pantry.

  • 1/3 cup aloe vera juice
  • 2 Tbsp bentonite clay
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • Tea tree oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Water
  • Bowl
  • Spoon
  • Application bottle
  • Spray bottle
  1. Mix the bentonite clay, coconut oil, and honey in a bowl.
  2. Pour the mixture into an application bottle.
  3. Add water to dilute ¾ of the mud wash.
  4. Fill your spray bottle with water to wet your hair as it begins to dry throughout the application process.
  5. Wet your hair and divide it into four quadrants.
  6. Apply the mud wash directly to your scalp and massage with the pads of your fingers.
  7. Rinse after the mix has been thoroughly applied.This mud wash will leaves your curls easy to detangle, soft to the touch, and shiny for days. For more curly mixology recipes, or to share your own favorite at-home treatments, go to our Recipes section.