Today is the start of a new series which I am naming “Worth it?”. The objective is to compare a high-end (and expensive) organic product with a more budget friendly one to see if spending the extra money is truly worth it. I will start with a look at three mascaras, one high-end and two more budget ones.
The save: Lavera and Zuzu Luxe
About the brands
Lavera is a very well established German brand. Their products have received the BDIH Certified Natural Cosmetics seal. To receive the seal, the manufacturer must adhere to strict guidelines which include the use of natural raw material such as plant oils, fats and waxes, herbal extracts, and essential oils and aromatic materials from controlled biological cultivation or controlled biological wild collection. Products are also gluten-free and vegan.
Zuzu Luxe is an American natural cosmetics brand born in 2001. Their products are all natural, vegan and gluten-free.
The Lavera mascara has received a few kudos in the press, including being picked as Best of Natural 2012 by Good Housekeeping. In my view, the kudos are largely justified. Most organic and natural mascaras on the market smudge like crazy, not so with Lavera’s. I used it for many weeks in a row without any issues, despite the fact that on my eyes everything smudges, including mascara (this is due to a combination of oily eyelids and using an oil-based concealer). It is also very good for sensitive eyes and contact wearers as there’s no smell and no fibers that could easily irritate the eyes. Where it comes short, in my opinion, is on the effect on the lashes. While volume-wise the mascara gives a nice thickening effect that can be easily built up, the lengthening effect is just not there. In fact, quite the opposite. I have really long lashes that often hit the glasses I am wearing, yet with Lavera it seemed that all of a sudden my lashes were tiny. Bushy but short.
The Zuzu mascara, on the other hand, had the totally opposite effect. With Zuzu’s mascara my lashes looked miles long as it truly covered the length of them all the way to the tips, but the volumizing effect was just not there. Hello spiky lashes! In terms of quality, however, the mascara proved also good and non-irritating. It does have a peculiar, sort of chemical-like odor, but that did not seem to irritate (at least me, but I am very sensitive) and it did not smudge at all. If anything, this mascara will give you very crisp lashes and hold a curl really well, whereas Lavera’s is more on the moisturizing side and seems to never fully dry, making it less effective in holding a curl.
In terms of price, these two are very close and could be considered “budget”. However, Lavera’s tube is the smallest one of the three I am reviewing by quite a bit–0.15 oz to the 0.25 oz of the Zuzu mascara, which given the $24 price, no longer makes it quite so budget anymore. Zuzu’s wins hands down on price at $17.
Water, Grain Alcohol*, Castor Seed Oil*, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sorbitol, Tricaprylin, HydrolyzedJojoba Esters, Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate, Hectorite, Jojoba Seed Oil*, Jojoba Seed Wax, Lysolecithin, Xanthan Gum, Jojoba Esters, Rosa Damascena Flower Water*, Vitamin E, Sunflower Seed Oil, Vitamin C, Fragrance (Natural Essential Oils), May contain: Iron Oxides, Ultramarines | * Certified Organic Ingredients, ** from natural essential oils.
EWG rating: 5 (mostly for fragrance, but too high in my view as in this case the fragrance is all natural–but the database does not make the distinction)
INGREDIENTS (Zuzu Luxe):
Deionized Water, Carnuba Wax, Stearic Acid, Panthenol, Tocopherol Acetate, Iron Oxides, Ultramarines, Cellulose Gum, Grapeseed Extract.
EWG rating: 2 (nice!)
The splurge: Studio 78 Paris.
About the brand
Studio 78 Paris is a French, Ecocert certified, organic makeup line. The Ecocert certification means that their product must have a minimum of 95% natural ingredients, 95% of vegetal ingredients must be organic, it must not have any animal-derived ingredients, it must be free of GMOs, parabens, phenoxyethanol, silicones, PEGs, synthetic perfumes and dyes, and the packaging must be biodegradable and recyclable. Studio 78 Paris was launched in 2010.
At $34 this mascara is indeed on the high side price-wise, which I think will make many women hesitate (it did me). But, I was lucky to be able to add it to my cart for free when I purchased a few other items of the brand so it was easy to justify trying it.
I was positively impressed by the quality of the products in this brand and the mascara is no less impressive. On the contrary, it was the item I liked most out of all three. The mascara wand (so key, n’est-ce pas?) is very, very good at delivering volume and length, and defining lashes all in one go. My lashes ended up looking really built up and quite gorgeous, an effect that is hard to find in organic mascaras. On my eyes, this also did not smudge a bit unless I wore it on my lower lashes, which I usually don’t do (and then it was not a big deal either). Although others have commented to me that they did have problems. Maybe this is very smudge-proof oil wise but not water wise? Who knows…. The packaging as well is very beautiful (the company has done a very nice job in branding and packaging) and eco-friendly (it is made out of very solid and highly glossy carton paper). The tube is also very big compared to the other brands at 0.34 oz. Only drawback? It does have a bit of a fruity smell, which I attribute to the benzyl alcohol used as a preservative (derived from essential oils), but it did not irritate.
AQUA, SALVIA SCLAREA FLOWER/LEAF/STEMWATER*, HYDROGENATED JOJOBA OIL, DIMER DILINOLEYL DIMER DILINOLEATE, ACACIA SENEGAL GUM, HEPTYL UNDERCYLENATE, SUCROSE PALMITATE, GLYVERIN*, GLYCERYL ROSINATE, CELLULOSE, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, GLYCERYL STEARATE, SILICA, POTASSIUM PALMITOYL HYDROLYZED WHEAT PROTEIN, MICROCRYSTALLINE CELLULOSE, CELLULOSE GUM, SIMMONDSIA CHINESIS SEED OIL, BUTYROSPERMUM PARKII BUTTER*, PARFUM, BENZYL ALCOHOL, DEHYDROACETIC ACID, LINALOOL. May contain: CI 77499 | *Ingredients from organic farming
EWG rating: 5 (also for fragrance like Lavera above)
So what would I repurchase? The Studio 78 Paris mascara hands down. Truly worth it! This has given me the nicest lashes of any natural/organic mascara I have tried–which includes 100% Pure, Dr. Hauschka, and Jane Iredale in addition to the other two above. I have also used Korres and Tarte–which cannot be considered natural like many believe–and those made my eyes itchy and irritated (I thought it was due to pollen but after switching realized it was the mascara!).
Did you like this comparison? Would you like to see more like these? Let me know below.