I Tested 5 Clean Mascaras & Saie's 101 Is The Only Falsies-Level Formula
My lash saga is long and not all that unique. To keep it simple: I wanted longer lashes, tried lash extensions, loved the extensions, overdid it with the extensions, and then my real lashes fell out. And while my story could have ended there, I was inspired to learn how to take better care of my lashes (once they grew back) and set out to find a way to truly make my eyes pop without gluing mink hair to my eyelids.
The first step was finding a clean mascara. I strive to keep up a clean beauty routine, but mascara was one area where I hadn't made the transition. My previous experience with cleaner formulas had left me unimpressed. But once all your lashes fall out, you're a bit more resistant to swiping those delicate hairs with harsh chemicals every day.
As someone who likes my lashes long and full, I wasn't about to cut any corners when finding the right option. I kicked off my search by testing five clean mascaras—and Saie's Mascara 101 came out leaps and bounds above the rest.
Back up, what does "clean" mascara mean?
At mindbodygreen, we have a few core standards when it comes to clean beauty. Clean mascaras are made without certain harmful preservatives, such as mineral oils, PFAS, and plasticizers. And, sure, skipping these ingredients sounds great in theory, but without plasticizers to keep your lashes looking soft and bendy, mineral oils to help the formula go on smooth, and PFAS for that long-lasting seal, clean mascaras don't always perform as well as their not-so-natural counterparts.
Or at least, they didn't. The clean mascara selection has come a long way since I first swiped that aforementioned dull formula on my lashes a few years ago. Brands like Saie have now developed long-lasting formulas that glide on easily and make your lashes longer and more voluminous.
The brands I tested.
In my hunt for the best mascara, I tried five clean brands: Saie, Milk, ILIA, Caliray, and ITEM Beauty. I won't go into my full review of each, but I will say some were good, others were great, and one left a lot to be desired—and Saie undoubtedly landed on top. If we're measuring success in compliments, it's the only one that led someone to stop me in line at my local coffee shop to ask what mascara I use.
Where other blends left my lashes clumpy or lackluster, Saie's Mascara 101 went on smoothly, instantly adding length. Below, you'll see what it looks like applied to one eye versus no makeup on the other.
I'll often have issues with applicators leaving mascara residue on my lids or under-eye, but I don't experience this at all with Saie. The clean formula has a good hold and doesn't flake off throughout the day—plus, it's buildable. For a more natural-yet-lengthened look, the brand recommends one coat. If you want extra thickening, I'd personally suggest that you go for two or three.
What sets Saie's Mascara 101 apart from less-clean blends?
Saie's mascara is made without BHAs, chemical sunscreens, GMOs, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, talc, or synthetic fragrances. But let's talk about a few ingredients it does include: non-GMO shea butter to create a silky-smooth texture, natural beeswax to keep your lashes in place, plant-derived glycerin to add moisture, fermented non-GMO radish roots to keep it fresh, and a blend of sustainably sourced coconut palm oils to condition.
The mascara also acts as an eyelash growth serum thanks to the addition of arginine, an amino acid that stimulates blood flow to promote hair growth, and agropyron repens root extract (also known as "quack grass"), which strengthens your lashes. As someone who has spent years bringing my lashes back to life, this is music to my ears.
Another perk? The brand is serious about sustainability, with efforts that go far beyond just what's inside the tube; Saie offsets its entire carbon footprint and donates 1% of sales to environmental organizations. Although the Mascara 101 vial is made of virgin plastic, the brand is working toward a tube with a recyclable applicator and more biodegradable packaging. To do your part, follow the detailed instructions on the company's website for how best to dispose of your mascara once it's empty.
In the past, no clean formula compared to my ride-or-die (albeit synthetic) mascara. After testing many different brands, I can confidently say that Saie's Mascara 101 delivers where others fall short. And honestly, it's become my go-to mascara. Its buildable nature makes it a great gift, too, since it can be as subtle or dramatic as the gift-getter prefers. At less than $30 per tube, it sounds like a perfect stocking stuffer to me—or pair it with one of these clean beauty gifts for the makeup lover in your life.
Carleigh Ferrante is the Commerce Editor at mindbodygreen. She is a born and raised New Yorker, a certified Health Coach, and has a B.A in Creative Writing and Psychology from Hunter College. Her work has appeared in Bustle, The Zoe Report, PureWow, The Everygirl, and more. After years of working in advertising at NBC, FOX, and TikTok, her passion for finding, testing, and writing about the best (and healthiest) products led her to mindbodygreen. In her current role, Carleigh reports on the best products to help the mindbodygreen community live a healthier, more enjoyable life.