Vegan beauty—makeup and skin care that’s made without any animal by-products—is getting better by the minute. But one category it’s taken a while to catch up on is mascara. The majority of mascara formulas often rely on beeswax, which helps with glide and shine. That’s not to say there aren’t any great ones, in fact some of Sephora’s top-sellers (like Too Faced’s Better Than Sex) are vegan. It’s just a limited pool.
That’s why the internet was so excited that another option would be joining the party when Kat Von D announced it would be dropping a new mascara, Go Big or Go Home. It’s the brand’s first mascara launch in five years, and it’s 100 percent cruelty-free and vegan. The formula uses a plant-based blend of waxes from olive and sunflower oils in place of beeswax, and promises extreme volume, and fluffy, ultra-black lashes. Nancy McGuire, vice president of product development for Kat Von D Beauty tells Glamour, “We paid particular attention to the ‘weight’ of the formula. If the formula is too heavy, lashes droop during the day, and we wanted yours to be as good when you go home as when you first apply.”
We had five Glamour editors put that claim to the test. Read on for our honest reviews.
Lindsay Schallon, senior beauty editor
At first I was worried this was more of a no-mascara mascara. You know the ones that give just a little gloss and tint, but go easy on the volume? I like thick, long lashes—we’re talking falsie level big—and after a few swipes, this wasn’t doing it. But that’s when I realized that’s the magic in it. Five swipes is perfect for people who want a small boost. Keep building, and building, and building though, and that’s when you’ll get the extreme volume. It personally takes more swipes than I’d like (I think that’s because the formula is drier), but the tradeoff is it doesn’t smudge under your eyes. And no matter how much you build, the big brush always leaves your lashes fanned out.
Khaliha Hawkins, producer
This mascara provided the length and definition that my lashes need to frame my eyes. It’s the perfect mascara for when I’m not wearing any makeup or am wearing a natural look. Unfortunately, it’s not waterproof, so my runny eyes didn’t quite love it.
Bella Cacciatore, beauty assistant
I love how black this mascara is, and it definitely delivers on the volume claim. Length-wise it didn’t add too much to my itty bitty lashes, which paired with the extreme volume can make them look a little clumpy. But on the plus side, it didn’t flake or smudge, and despite how thickening it is my lashes felt light and fluffy.
Tara Gonzalez, commerce editor
Mascara is my favorite makeup step, so I typically don’t stray from what I use. I have larger eyes and want to make sure my lashes look as huge as possible. This mascara definitely took a couple swipes for me to start noticing a difference, and unlike most mascaras I use, it added more volume than length. That was great, though, because it made my lashes look full in a natural way.
Halie LeSavage, fashion associate
Kat Von D’s Go Big Or Go Home mascara delivers on voluminous, defined lashes. Mine weren’t quite as fluttery as the example on the box, but three coats made my short lashes stand out. For a more natural look, I shimmied the brush from the roots of my lashes to the ends. On mornings when I don’t have time for a full face of makeup, but still want to look awake, I’ll definitely be reaching for this.
Bella Cacciatore is a beauty assistant at Glamour. Follow her @bellacacciatore_ on Instagram.