Best Mascara Ideas

15 Do-it-all Mascara Ideas for Every Budget That Will Lift Every Lash

By: Victoria Rogers Updated: Aug 7, 2023

We are always on the hunt for the best mascara, especially since even a luxury brand can be a splurge within reach. Even on our quickest of no-makeup makeup days, reaching for a spoolie of our favorite formula is essential. It is a product that can not only lift the face and make us look awake and alive but also bring drama and ramp up our look and take us from day to night.

In a world of color cosmetics and social media trends, finding the best mascara might not seem as sexy and exciting as discovering a holy grail foundation. But we argue that it is just as important. Plus, rounding out a mascara wardrobe is something every makeup-wearer needs to do on a semi-regular basis.

15 Top Mascara Products for Your Mascara Wardrobe

Best Mascara

But what does semi-regularly mean? In terms of mascara, 3 to 6 months after opening is a rule of thumb for longevity. Experts also recommend tossing it after illness or an eye infection too. (Think about it, do you want something that potentially bacteria-laden close to your eyes? And don’t even think about sharing it with a friend.)

Of course, should something feel or smell off, even if you have just broken the seal, it is best to err on the side of caution. If the mascara is a recent purchase, check with the manufacturer or retailer for exchange options. In the end, it’s better to lose 15 bucks than cause damage to your eyes.

But enough of the practicalities! Let’s talk about the absolute delight of discovering good mascaras. What makes a mascara place among the top mascara products? It all comes down to individual preferences. Some delight in volumizing formulas while others can’t live without a lengthening waterproof longwear. Trends like tubing and colorful mascaras can be fun to experiment with. Though there’s just something about finding that one perfect tube that does it all.

1. L’Oréal Voluminous Original Mascara

LOreal Voluminous Original Mascara

Tried. True. And tested. This OG volumizing mascara has been in some of the best makeup artists’ bags for decades. The formula includes lash-conditioning ingredients and promises to be flake-free. Blackest black is an absolute dream, but they’ve recently added fun shades like Cobalt Blue, Deep Violet, and Deep Green to the mix. Green-eyed babes could probably rule the world with a swipe of this stuff in Deep Violet.

2. Covergirl Lash Blast Volume Mascara

Covergirl Lash Blast Volume Mascara

Another drugstore favorite, the Lash Blast is cruelty-free and hypoallergenic. It is often Cover Girl’s #1 selling formula in a stable of quite good mascaras. The non-fiber spoolie works with the formula to add volume and drama to the eyes without flaking. Although this formula isn’t waterproof, they do manufacture the Lash Blast as waterproof. One user states she has used this mascara for over 10 years and keeps coming back to it.

3. Maybelline Falsies Lash Lift Mascara

Maybelline Falsies Lash Lift Mascara

The fiber spoolie of this mascara has a double curve to grab every single lash. The promise of a falsies-look isn’t too good to be true. The non-clumping formula contains fibers to plump lashes from root to tip. But does it work? One reviewer raved that there’s no need to wear fake eyelashes because her “natural eyelashes look like they’re fake with this mascara.” Sounds like it’s one of the best mascaras to us!

4. Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara

Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara

Super budget-friendly and also promising a false lash look, the Essence mascara has a cone-shaped wand to allow for sculpting lashes that makes one reviewer exclaim she is “done with the twenty-dollar mascaras” forever. But grab yours fast. This is the next TikTok famous mascara, and, at this price, it will be flying off the shelves in warp speed.

5. Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara

Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara

Speaking of TikTok famous. This rose gold beauty broke the internet — and the supply chain — a little before Christmas 2020. By February, some stores were starting to be able to keep it in stock. Those who try it become obsessed. The spoolie has a kind of spring-action on it that is truly unique. The washable formula is infused with bamboo extract and fibers that give lashes an almost weightless lift. In our opinion, this lives up to the hype and is truly one of the best mascara products on the market.

6. L’Oréal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara

LOreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara

Shhh, this is low-key a similar product to a mascara that rhymes with letters than schmex. The pretty, slim rose gold packaging and wavy bristled brush promise a “full fringe effect.” 91% saw intense and volumized lashes and 87% saw more beautiful lashes. And all this for 11 bucks at the big box? We love the washable and waterproof formula enough to keep one in our makeup bag and one in our purse for touchups.

7. Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara

Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara

This spoolie has to be seen to be believed. It has a unique fan shape with 10 rows of comb-like bristles and a liquid ink formula that will make your eyeliner do a side-eye. Fans say the formula doesn’t clump and leaves lashes lifted and separated. Plus, L’Oreal does not test any of its products or ingredients on animals.

8. Benefit Cosmetics Roller Lash Curling & Lifting Mascara

Benefit Cosmetics Roller Lash Curling and Lifting Mascara

Fans of a plastic wand applicator will say WOW over this one. Said to be like a roller for your eyelashes, it delivers a 12-hour hold in a water-resistant formula. The inky black satin finish contains lash-conditioners like Provitamin B5 and Serin. And Benefit gives this super pro tip: mix and match this formula with their They’re Real! Product on top for “sexy drama beyond belief.”

9. Marc Jacobs Beauty At Lash’d Lengthening and Curling Mascara

Marc Jacobs Beauty At Lash’d Lengthening and Curling Mascara

The gold and black striped packaging just looks luxe, and it lives up to the promise. We love that this comes in a mini-size too because it lets you try before investing in a full-size product. And mini sizes help you achieve a really dramatic look because you can get in there with the wand. This vegan formula is also free of nasty ingredients like SLS, parabens, formaldehyde, and coal tar, among others. This is a very good mascara that delivers on its promise for a “full-extension lash look.”

10. Marc Jacobs Beauty Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara

Marc Jacobs Beauty Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara

Another Marc Jacobs Beauty winner, this formula is cruelty-free and formulated without parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. This mascara is inspired by the designer’s first beauty memory of his mother. He would sit and watch her get ready for an evening out as she took a knife and shaved fibers off a velvet ribbon from a velvet ribbon to create her volumizing formula.

11. Too Faced Better Than Sex Volumizing Mascara

Too Faced Better Than Sex Volumizing Mascara

Legendary and worth every single penny. This is by far one of the most beloved, top mascara products on the market today. The hourglass-shaped fiber spoolie makes application a breeze. One swipe of the formula is enough to lift, separate, and give luscious volume. Add another coat or two and you’ll know why it has this name and has racked up so many beauty awards. Vegan, cruelty-free, and gluten-free, we hope Too Faced never changes a single thing about this very good mascara.

12. Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Lashes Volume 2 Mascara

Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Lashes Volume 2 Mascara

This British import costs a pretty penny, but the jet black formula claims to increase volume by up to 507% after just one application. Yes, you read that correctly — no conversion error there. What is truly intriguing about this mascara as we head into the warmer months is its humidity-resistant formula. No raccoon eyes? Keep us in the Hollywood spotlight with perfect doll eyes and a winged liner, please.

13. Bite Beauty Upswing Full Volume Mascara

Bite Beauty Upswing Full Volume Mascara

Bite Beauty is known for its range of lip products, but when they branched out into other cosmetics, they did so with the same ethos. Committed to clean and vegan beauty, this mascara delivers. The packaging is sleek and copper. Very chic. And the tree berry wax formula offers buildable coverage. If you’re looking for a clean formula that won’t irritate, this is worth considering.

14. Kosas The Big Clean Volumizing + Lash Care Mascara

Kosas The Big Clean Volumizing + Lash Care Mascara

Another Clean at Sephora product, the Kosas mascara delivers with a curved wand and a formula that “helps support the natural lash growth and repair cycle” with peptides and castor oil. The before and after photos tell the story. Lashes are full, thicker-looking, and lifted without looking spidery or clumpy. Plus we love the bright pink and orange ombre packaging. Looks cute on the counter and makes it easy to find in the bottom of our makeup bag.

15. E.L.F. COSMETICS Lash It Loud Volumizing Mascara

ELF COSMETICS Lash It Loud Volumizing Mascara

How do they do it? How? A mascara that costs the same as a fancy coffee should not be one of the best mascaras on the planet. And yet. We love their motto that “kindness is chic” and that their makeup is always vegan and cruelty-free. For those who love a silicone brush, this one adds dimension to lashes without clumping. Fans rave about this as the best mascara for general, daily wear.

FAQ About Mascaras

How do you keep eyelashes curled?

To prolong your curl, try heating your lash curler with your hairdryer for a few seconds before use. This will lock in the curl. You could also experiment with waterproof mascaras, which are drier than normal mascaras, making them act like hairspray on your lashes. You may also want to angle your lash curler upward while you are clamping down, in order to create a more dramatic curl.

What takes off waterproof mascara?

Waterproof mascara comes off easily with an oil-based cleanser. If you typically use micellar water or your regular cleanser to remove your makeup, you will want to use a separate oil-based product on your mascara. You could also use pure oil like coconut oil or olive oil if you prefer.

What happens if you sleep with mascara on?

Sleeping in your mascara causes the product to migrate around the rest of your face, and it could irritate your eyes. You don't want old mascara sitting near your eyes while you are sleeping. Additionally, mascara is like any other type of makeup in that it can lead to breakouts if it stays in contact with your skin overnight.

What does mascara do?

People wear mascara for different reasons. Some people wear it to add length, volume, or both to their lashes. Others use it to darken light lashes to make them more visible. There are many mascaras on the market that have been formulated specifically to address all of these goals.

How to apply mascara?

After curling, bring the loaded wand gently upward on your lashes in quick, short strokes. Do not wait until the first coat is completely dry before applying the second one; applying a second coat over dry mascara will create clumps. People with long lashes may prefer to blink down onto the wand or use the tip of the wand to add mascara to the very tips of their lashes.

15 Mascaras So Good We Want Them All

So many good mascaras, so little time to try them all! It’s a good thing there isn’t a Mascara Olympics. It would be impossible to judge. Maybe there could be really specific categories like the one that makes you feel great even on six hours of sleep. The one that seduces on date night. The one your mom has used for 30 years and you buy too because it’s just that good.

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About the Author
Victoria Rogers

Victoria is an ex-makeup artist and full-time assistant editor at TheCuddl. Even though she stopped working in the industry, makeup remains Victoria’s main passion alongside blogging. Now she combines these passions in order to help people discover a wide variety of classy and fresh makeup styles. Her family and dogs are Victoria’s biggest sources of joy, but the fresh smell of pastry comes in a close second. Whenever she’s not typing at the keyboard, Victoria spends most of her free time testing new makeup products, watching movies, and drawing. See all articles from Victoria.

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