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4 Mascara Alternatives Depending on Your Lash Type

“Applying mascara is fun,” said no one ever. The results are undeniable, but is it worth it when it’s such a pain to get your lashes to look perfect?

There are other ways to enhance your lashes that require way less fuss, and we’ll discuss those here today. And without further ado, here they are: my list of mascara alternatives according to your lash type.

For Blonde Lashes: a Lash Tint

Check lash bars and salons that do lash extensions, and you’ll find that they almost always offer a service called a lash tint. Often paired with a lash lift (see below), this is a semi-permanent, often vegetable-based dye that’s applied to your top lashes that darkens them. It lasts for about four weeks before washing out.

Some folks have amazing before and after pictures from lash tints. Personally, I’ve had a lash tint come along with several of my lash lifts and I’ve never noticed a smidge of difference. But my lashes are dark, which is why I recommend this option for blonde-lashed ladies and gents only.


But before you book an appointment, hang on just a second. There are some things to know:

  • The safety of dying of eyelashes, even today, isn’t universally agreed upon. Because of some horror stories in the past, some states still don’t permit the use of lash dyes. Do your research first.
  • Sure, this is going to give color to your lashes, but it won’t do anything for volume the way mascara does.
Eylure lash tint box
One more warning! Just because you can buy lash tint and DIY doesn’t mean you should! Stay away from Amazon and the above type of kits—please leave it to the professionals


Okay, blondie! If this still sounds like a good alternative after you researched the safety and the reputation of the salon you want to visit, get after that lash tint! It works miracles for those with light lashes.

For Dark, Straight Lashes: Lash Lift

Have nice, long dark lashes that happen to point straight down at your toes? Me too.

Adding some curl to these types of lashes is all you need to skip the tube of mascara in the mornings.

Sure, you could curl them every day. But if you want a solution that lasts a month to two months, you can go to a lash-specialized salon and get a lash lift. This is my favorite no-mascara way to get my lashes to be front and center.

During a lash lift, your lash tech pins your lashes back against a pad and applies a solution that breaks down bonds in your lashes and reforms them in the desired, curled shape.

The results? Sky high lashes and no mascara needed.


But this, like the lash tint, comes with risks:

  • You’re in trouble if you don’t use an experienced tech. To pin your lashes back, your tech needs to use glue, a chemical solution, and a LOT of precision. My tech says the perming solution is safe even if you get some in your eye, but it’s still not a thing you want. Take a look at reviews and look at your tech’s Instagram page.
  • You want to go with a reputable salon that uses a well tested, industry-standard solution for its lifts. It’s worth asking about and googling before you book.

Generally, you’ll want to read up on some of the risks involved in lash lifts. For my part, I’ve gotten probably a dozen lifts from five or six different techs and salons, and I only had an issue once (minor—my lashes were clumped together for a week after I got the lift).

As I said, you can also always just curl your lashes in the morning and get the same impact:

A before and after pic of me with curled and uncurled lashes
Straight vs. curled lashes on me.

But if your lashes are like mine, they’ll start to sag in a few hours and lose their curl completely by half a day. This doesn’t happen with a lash lift.


If you have naturally downturned eyelashes, lash lifts is a great way to make your lashes pop without resorting to mascara.

For Lackluster Lashes: Eyelash Extensions

Do you generally feel like your eyelashes get swallowed by any eye look you do? Do you look great in falsies? Or is it just that you feel like your lashes could be amazing with some oomph, but you don’t want to go to the trouble of applying mascara and you want a one-and-done solution that will last weeks, if not months?

Oh, and do you have a lot of money?

If so, lash extensions are just the thing for you!

Lash extensions are another salon service that involves your lash tech gluing long, curled individual lashes to your existing lashes, resulting in double the volume and extra length to what you already have. It’s like having falsies on all the time without all the struggles that come with them.

If you have the right tech, the right type of extension curl, and the right type of eyelashes, these can be absolutely stunning. Take, for example, this set from reputable salon The Blink Bar in southern California.

Eyelash extensions from the Blink Bar
Some lovely lashes from Blink Bar. Link to account @theblinkbar and link to Instagram post.

They can be natural looking or quite dramatic, depending on your preference and what you want to spend. (Drama = $$$.)


Some things to note about lash extensions:

  • For a proper set, you’ll be paying $150–$250 for the initial work
  • Then there’s maintenance. Every three weeks, you’ll need a fill for your natural lashes that shed (and their extension went with it). Those are up to $100.
  • The same warnings about researching the tech and the salon from above apply here. You want your tech to be experienced, not only for your safety but also because they’ll help you make the best choices for your lash type.


Overall, if you can spring for them, lash extensions might be the best option for you. They really enhance your eyes without the daily drudgery of needing to apply mascara, and you’ll get compliments on them every day!

For Those Not Looking to Go to a Salon: Castor Oil

And now we have a cheap and super convenient option, though, not in my opinion, a very effective mascara alternative: castor oil.

Castor oil makes the lashes look wet, which accentuates them just the way clear mascara does. But people also swear by castor oil’s ability to grow lashes longer and fuller. In fact, an article on Healthline says this: “Some claim anecdotally that using castor oil once a month can spur growth three to five times the normal rate.”

To apply castor oil, you’d just use a clean mascara brush or a small mascara fan brush and brush the oil through your lashes.

a bottle of castor oil
You can get a lot of bang for your buck with castor oil. This bottle will last you forever. Source.


Sounds great so far, right? But honestly, I’d recommend a salon service above this option. Here are the reasons why.

  • Even if it’s cheap, you’re still spending money, and you want to see results from that, right? Well, castor oil has all the impact of clear mascara. And you can read this article to see in detail what I think of clear mascara (the overall message is “What impact?”).
  • Sure, people say it has the added benefit of growing your lashes as well. But from that same Healthline article I cited above, we have this: “There is no clinical evidence to support this.” So the science doesn’t back up these anecdotal claims.


Castor oil may be worth a try, especially if you’ve found clear mascara to be effective and want to see if you can get some hair growth benefits out of your mascara alternative as well. It’s certainly more healthy and less risky than the salon options. But don’t expect this to really be a true substitute for mascara; it isn’t.


There you have it! There are ways to get around applying mascara that still bring attention to your lashes.

If you’re looking for real set-it-and-forget-it options, a lash-specialized salon appointment is the way to go. But you can also try just curling your lashes or applying castor oil every day for cheaper, DIY mascara alternatives.

The choice is up to you!