We may earn a commission if you make a purchase through one of our links. The LA Times newsroom or editorial staff was not involved in the creation of this content. Learn more

Review: Best Mascaras

Mascara is an important part of any woman's makeup application. In fact, it’s hard to get a complete look without having your lashes stand out. Whether you like a volumizing mascara, a curling mascara or one that does it all and is waterproof too - these list are the best of the best mascaras in 2021. Each one brings something unique and innovate to the table and you’ll surely find one that you love.

Best Mascara

Maybelline Great Lash Mascara

Despite their discontinuation of the Royal Blue shade, Maybelline's Great Lash Waterproof Washable Mascara has been a favorite of drugstore mascara fans for decades. Now available in “Very Black” and “Brownish Black”, this waterproof formula does an excellent job of conditioning and thickening lashes. The curved, lash-building brush smoothly and evenly coats lashes without causing globs or clumps. Users are very loyal to this mascara, praising its amazing staying power. This mascara is also suitable for sensitive eyes and contact lenses.

L'Oreal Paris Original Waterproof Mascara

Suitable for sensitive eyes, L'Oréal Paris Voluminous Waterproof Mascara has a large following of dedicated fans. This waterproof formula separates and builds lashes up to four times their natural thickness for a bold, voluminous look. It's formulated to resist clumping, smudging, and flaking throughout the entire day thanks to the Volume Maximizing formula and brush. Users claim just one coat provides full coverage and a second coat creates dramatic, long lashes. It also holds the curl in lashes and comes in three flattering shades including black, black brown, and carbon black.

Maybelline Full 'N Soft Waterproof Mascara

No more globs or clumps with Full 'N Soft Waterproof Mascara by Maybelline which is formulated to give you softer, fuller lashes. Available in one shade (black), this drugstore mascara builds thicker, longer-looking lashes without them feeling brittle. It contains vitamin E to help nourish and soften lashes while its Quick Dissolve System allows for easy removal without lash loss. Users claim this mascara applies without clumping and really leaves lashes fuller and softer.

Maybelline New York Lash Discovery Waterproof Mascara

Don't let this little tube of mascara fool you! This waterproof mascara features a mini brush to help you coat those tiny lashes that are hard to reach. It's very effective at reaching all lashes from root to tip and corner to corner. Safe for use by contact lens-wears, this drugstore mascara lengthens and darkens without clumping thanks to product effective mini brush. Satisfied users report being very impressed with this formula, claiming it works just as well (if not better) than high-end mascara brands found in department stores.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Zero-Smudge Lengthening Mascara

For a lengthening mascara that resists smudging for up to 15 hours, look no further than Double Wear Zero-Smudge Lengthening Mascara by Estée Lauder. Available in black and brown shades, this extreme-wear formula features innovative polymers which lock moisture into lashes and resists humidity, moisture, and high temperatures all day. The microfiber brush bristles penetrate each lash bed allowing for precise separation of even the smallest lashes. As a result, lashes are left looking longer and richly pigmented as well as resistant to anything the day sends your way. Users love the staying power of this mascara and how it easily washes off with soap and water.

Benefit Cosmetics They're Real! Mascara

This user-favorite mascara by Benefit Cosmetics has won too many awards to list here but expect to experience instantly longer, more voluminous lashes with amazing separation. This long-wearing formula resists smudging and delivers the ultimate bold look you're after. Satisfied users have reported this mascara resists clumping while making lashes look much longer. It also curls and lifts lashes, so you can skip the lash curler altogether. This volumizing mascara is available in three gorgeous shading including Jet Black, Beyond Brown, and Beyond Blue.

Perversion & Subversion Primer Duo Mascara

Experience the blackest of the black mascara that never runs, clumps, flakes, or smears. Urban Decay Perversion Mascara is the ultimate go-to mascara for bold, full, beautiful lashes. This product pulls through lashes with ease, delivering the perfect amount of mascara while nourishing each lash with proteins and amino acids that stimulate lash growth. The creamy, full-bodied texture isn't too dry or too wet, nor does it make your lashes dry or brittle. That means you can reapply another coat even after wearing this mascara for 24 hours. Users love the deep, rich color and claim this formula makes their lashes look fuller and longer just as well as applying falsies!

Lancome Hypnose Drama Instant Full Body Volume Mascara

If you're wondering what happens when you use an over-sized, S-shaped mascara brush on your lashes, the answer is instant lash drama. Lancôme HYPNÔSE DRAMA Instant Full Body Volume Mascara delivers ultra-volume boosting results in just one coat. Featuring intense black pigments and highly saturated waxes, this fluid and creamy formula quickly builds larger-than-life lashes. This fragrance-free formula is also enriched with vitamin B5 to nourish your lashes while delivering full body volume without worry of lashes growing brittle and falling out. Although it’s only available in one shade of “Excessive Black”, it’s perfect for any individual wanting to make a bold statement day or night.

Tarte Lights, Camera, Splashes! Waterproof Mascara

You can have it all with Tarte Lights, Camera, Splashes Waterproof Mascara. Curl, lengthen, volumize, and condition your lashes with this exceptional waterproof mascara. Formulated without paraben, mineral oil, sodium lauryl sulfates, or phthalates, this mascara leaves your lashes looking darker and fuller. Satisfied users claim it stays put and doesn't smudge, yet this pick is effortless to remove with makeup wipes; however, some users have reported  it dries too slowly after application. Regardless of this minor issue, Tarte Lights, Camera, Splashes Waterproof Mascara is a great option for those with sensitive eyes who want a more natural-looking mascara.

Lancome Hypnose Star 24H Waterproof Mascara

Increase your lash volume up to six times what you see normally with Lancôme Hypnose Waterproof Custom Volume Mascara. Featuring the exclusive SoftShield formula, this vitamin E-enriched mascara wraps and seals your lashes without any unsightly smearing, clumping, or smudging. The result is super soft lashes, root-to-tip volume, and perfect lash separation for up to 16 hours. Satisfied users love the brushes size and shape for easy lash shaping, the formulas dark black color, as well as how fast it dries after application.

Dior Diorshow Black Out Waterproof Mascara

Experience spectacular volume and the most intense black pigments with Black Out Waterproof Mascara. This ultra long-lasting mascara features a widely-spaced bristle brush for superior lash separation and volume while the highly-saturated black kohl pigments create a lacquered, lip gloss-inspired effect similar to artificial eyelashes. Available in just one shade (Kohl Black) this mascara pick is for those who desire a blackest-of-the-black mascara which won't smudge, run, fade, or smear throughout the day. Users were impressed with the staying power of this waterproof mascara, but claimed the product has a tendency to clump up if not applied properly.

Tarte Lights, Camera, Splashes! Waterproof Mascara

You can have it all with Tarte Lights, Camera, Splashes Waterproof Mascara. Curl, lengthen, volumize, and condition your lashes with this exceptional waterproof mascara. Formulated without paraben, mineral oil, sodium lauryl sulfates, or phthalates, this mascara leaves your lashes looking darker and fuller. Satisfied users claim it stays put and doesn't smudge, yet this pick is effortless to remove with makeup wipes; however, some users have reported  it dries too slowly after application. Regardless of this minor issue, Tarte Lights, Camera, Splashes Waterproof Mascara is a great option for those with sensitive eyes who want a more natural-looking mascara.

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

Experience incredibly intense lashes with Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara. With just one coat, this paraben-free mascara instantly gives lashes a longer, thicker, and bolder look. The infusion of Acacia Senegal Tree extract locks curls in place while film-forming polymers keep your lashes smudge-proof all day. A large segment of users have reported excellent base-to-tip curl when using this formula. Users also appreciate the fluffy, hour-glass-shaped brush which coats all lashes equally without clumping.

Sephora Outrageous Curl Mascara

Expect extreme curl and volume with Outrageous Curl mascara by Sephora. This surprisingly affordable allows you to reach every single lash (even the tiny ones) thanks to the rounded hairbrush-shaped brush. The brush also features diagonally implanted bristles that help separate lashes and curl lashes. Formulated without sulfates, this user-friendly mascara doesn’t flake or dry out easily. According to users, it’s a breeze to apply on lower lashes and a tube of this product will last most users several months.

E.L.F. Wet Gloss Lash & Brow Clear Mascara

This best seller by e.l.f is easy on the eyes as well as your pocketbook. Clear Brow & Lash Mascara in Crystal gives your lashes a glossy shine without any sticky globbiness which would ruin the look of your lashes. This mascara is infused with conditioning agents that keep your lashes separated and eyebrows in place throughout the day. Users claim e.l.f Clear Brown & Lash Mascara really helps eyebrows stay put and enhances lashes without using any bold pigments which may be over the top for some social situations. You can usually grab this clear mascara for around two bucks, making it a great value addition to any beauty kit.

Yves Rocher Clear Mascara

Yves Rocher Clear Mascara

Experience naturally defined, glossy lashes with Yves Rocher Clear Mascara. This translucent formula contains cornflower water extract to ensure your lashes remain in place all day. It has a lightweight, water-like texture that applies smoothly across your lashes and eyebrows without ever feeling sticky or heavy. This formula is easy to apply and ideal for achieve that naturally gorgeous look. As an added bonus, this mascara is formulated with pearly gold particles which add a hint of glamorous sparkle to your lashes.

Maybelline Great Lash Washable Mascara - Clear

Achieve a naturally polished look with Maybelline Great Lash Clear Mascara. Formulated with nourishing panthenol, this drugstore mascara works to condition and separates each lash. Like our other picks, this clear mascara is perfect for additional use on your eyebrows and safe for use by contact lens wearers. While satisfied users report this clear mascara is easy to apply and remove, others have mentioned it doesn't dry quickly enough. Great Lash Clear Mascara usually costs under 10 bucks and does a great job of transforming the look of your eyebrows and lashes.

NUDESTIX Lash Lengthening Mascara

Imagine a mascara that actually speeds of the growth of your lashes while instantly leaving them looking thicker and longer. NUDESTIX Lash Lengthening Mascara accomplishes just that with a natural formula  free of any paraben, sulfates, or phthalates. It expertly coats your lashes while being very resistant to clumping, smudging, and flaking. Lashes are fortified and conditioned with peptides, yet remain feeling flexible and soft. Lash Lengthening Mascara is also conveniently packaged in a collectible tin with a mirror, making it a perfect beauty product for on-the-go individuals.

Benefit Cosmetics They're Real! Mascara

This user-favorite mascara by Benefit Cosmetics has won too many awards to list here but expect to experience instantly longer, more voluminous lashes with amazing separation. This long-wearing formula resists smudging and delivers the ultimate bold look you're after. Satisfied users have reported this mascara resists clumping while making lashes look much longer. It also curls and lifts lashes, so you can skip the lash curler altogether. This volumizing mascara is available in three gorgeous shading including Jet Black, Beyond Brown, and Beyond Blue.

Almay One Coat Thickening Mascara

If you're going for a more natural look, Almay One Coat Thickening Mascara will do the trick. It gives lashes a fuller, thicker appearance with just a single coat. Formulated with vitamin B5 and aloe, users love how this mascara goes on silky smooth and a breeze to remove at the end of the day. It's perfect for individuals wanting to thicken their lashes without the dramatic effect or unwanted clumping for that matter. This gentle mascara formula comes in Black, Black Brown, and Blackest Black.

Marc Jacobs Beauty Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara

Experience thicker lashes without any smudging with Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara by Marc Jacobs. The curvy brush allows you to lift even the hardest to reach lashes, plumping up their appearance while the ultra-concentrated black pigments make for an unforgettable visual statement. Users claim this mascara well worth what you’re paying as it’s formulated to stay on lashes all day. And since this mascara increases lash volume by 1,800 percent, don’t be surprised if your friends think you're wearing falsies.

Lancome Hypnose Drama Instant Full Body Volume Mascara

If you're wondering what happens when you use an over-sized, S-shaped mascara brush on your lashes, the answer is instant lash drama. Lancôme HYPNÔSE DRAMA Instant Full Body Volume Mascara delivers ultra-volume boosting results in just one coat. Featuring intense black pigments and highly saturated waxes, this fluid and creamy formula quickly builds larger-than-life lashes. This fragrance-free formula is also enriched with vitamin B5 to nourish your lashes while delivering full body volume without worry of lashes growing brittle and falling out. Although it’s only available in one shade of “Excessive Black”, it’s perfect for any individual wanting to make a bold statement day or night.

Blinc Mascara

Experience a different and better kind of mascara with Blinc for lashes which look longer, fuller, and bolder without any irritation. Instead of painting your lashes as with traditional mascara, Blinc mascara forms tiny, water-resistant “tubes” around each lash which resists smudging, crying, rain, humidity, sweat, and anything else you can imagine. Choose from six vibrant shades including black, dark blue, medium brown, dark brown, dark purple, and dark green. When you're ready to remove the tubes formed around the lashes, just wipe off using a wet washcloth.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Zero-Smudge Lengthening Mascara

For a lengthening mascara that resists smudging for up to 15 hours, look no further than Double Wear Zero-Smudge Lengthening Mascara by Estée Lauder. Available in black and brown shades, this extreme-wear formula features innovative polymers which lock moisture into lashes and resists humidity, moisture, and high temperatures all day. The microfiber brush bristles penetrate each lash bed allowing for precise separation of even the smallest lashes. As a result, lashes are left looking longer and richly pigmented as well as resistant to anything the day sends your way. Users love the staying power of this mascara and how it easily washes off with soap and water.

Clinique Lash Power Mascara

Lengthen your lashes and reduce smudging with Lash Power Mascara Long-Wearing Formula by Clinique. Available in Black Onyx and Dark Chocolate, this mascara have been formulated to providw you with all-day staying power. While this pick is resistant to rain, tears, sweat, and humidity for a full 24 hours, it comes off in a flash at the end of the day with just the aid of warm water. Satisfied users swear by the short-bristled brush which they claim reaches even the smallest of lashes and helps reduce any unsightly clumping effects.

Bobbi Brown No Smudge Mascara

You can count of Bobbi Brown's No Smudge Mascara to deliver irresistible lashes while resisting smudging throughout the day. This famous mascara lengthens, curls, and defines lashes while resisting environmental factors like rain, tears, humidity. The great thing about this formula is that you can either wear it alone or layered over any other mascara to instantly make it waterproof. Users claim that while this mascara does an amazing job of staying put, it can be a bit difficult to remove.

Buyer's Guide

Mascara is one of the most essential items in your makeup kit. Whether you are doing a light or full makeup look, mascara should always be present if you want to define your eyes and enhance your lashes' look. Doing makeup without mascara may look a little dull, so you better make sure you choose the best mascara for your face and your eyelash type.

If you don't have any idea about makeup, especially mascara, it is okay because this section of the article will let you in on everything you need to know. You will learn everything from the different types of mascara, the factors to consider when buying mascara, and how to choose the best mascara type for you!

What is Mascara?

Mascara is a type of cosmetic or beauty product that is used to enhance your eyelashes. Enhancing your eyelashes will give your eyes a distinct look that goes well with your entire face, whether you are attending a formal event or a casual hang out.

Mascara comes typically in the form of liquid, powder, or cream. However, modern mascara has different formulas that use components, such as color pigments, preservatives, oils, and waxes. The most common type of mascara is in liquid form that you can get in a small tube with a brush, also known as the mascara wand.

Why Do You Need Mascara?

If you need to wear full makeup for an event, a formal gathering, a wedding, or anything else, you will need mascara to complete your look. It is essential for defining your eyes and giving them a beautiful effect that will undoubtedly enhance your overall look.

For bringing out your pretty eyes

Your eyes and lashes are already naturally beautiful, but adding mascara will enhance the beauty even further if you ever need to step up your game. It is an excellent way of showing off your long lashes and shaping them for events where you want to feel your prettiest!

For adding detail

It adds detail to your lashes and your entire look, which is excellent for portraits and more.

For lengthening your eyelashes

If you have short eyelashes, you can use mascara to give it a lengthening effect. It does not actually extend your lashes, but it does a great job of making it look that way.

For curling your lashes

On the other hand, if you do have long lashes, you can use mascara to curl them and give them a stylized look that will undoubtedly turn heads.

Types of Formulas

Modern mascara options come with different formulas. It can be very confusing, but it's a good thing that each type of formula has its own unique characteristic that can make it easier for you to choose.

Lengthening mascara

Lengthening mascara will lift your lashes from the roots, which is excellent for people with short eyelashes. It does not actually lengthen your eyelashes; it just does an excellent job of making them appear longer. They cling right at the base, making your eyelashes stand out.

Curling mascara

Curling mascara helps for building intensity in just a few brushes. It is most suitable for people who have long straight lashes that want to add shape to them, giving them a distinctive look. The brush for curling mascara is curled, allowing you to mimic different looks.

Waterproof mascara

Waterproof mascara is made with mineral oil and wax, which protects it from unpredictable weather and situations that may ruin your look, such as rain, tearing, or sweat. If you need to wear makeup for a more extended event, waterproof mascara is a safe choice.

Lash-defining mascara

Lash-defining mascara is the best option for short eyelashes that has poor definition. It adds volume, depth, and color, making it an excellent choice—thanks to its thick and heavy consistency.

Hypoallergenic mascara

Some people have allergies when it comes to cosmetic products, so if you are one of those people, you can use hypoallergenic mascara formulas that contain nourishing ingredients like vitamin E, which is also suitable for strengthening fragile eyelashes.

Volumizing mascara

If you have long but thin eyelashes, volumizing mascara will work perfectly for adding volume by lifting the lashes from the roots. It works just like curling mascara, but it uses a wand with dense bristles.

Types of Mascara Wands

Thick bristle wand- It can help eyelashes appear thicker
Pinecone wand- It is excellent for gripping and lengthening corner lashes
Curved wand- Excellent for curling your lashes
Thin and straight wand- This option is for coasting eyelashes individually
Rubber bristle wand- Gives depth to your eyelashes
Bottom-tipped wand- Great for curling corners of your lashes
Bottom lash wand- It is used for curling the bottom lashes for better definition

Eyelash tips for longer lashes

If you want to make your eyelashes longer, mascara is not the immediate solution. You can apply vitamin E or petroleum jelly using an eyelash comb and brush the product directly on your lashes. You can do this method twice daily to get the best results.

Washing your lashes

Make sure you always keep your lashes clean and use a muslin towel for drying. Also, avoid mascara with ethyl alcohol.

Things to Consider Before Buying Mascara

Choose the Mascara Formula and Wand Based on Your Purpose

Make sure you choose the right formula based on your purpose. If you want to curl your lashes, use curling mascara. If you want to lengthen them, use a lengthening mascara. All the information above is basically everything you need to know.

Mascara Price Ranges

Mascara prices range from $5 to $30, depending on the formula and brand.

FAQ

Q: Does mascara lengthen your lashes?
A: It does not actually lengthen your eyelashes. It just has a lengthening effect that makes your eyelashes appear longer.

Q: Can anyone use mascara?
A: Yes, anyone can use mascara. Just make sure you choose the right one, depending on your eyelash type and length. Make sure you are not allergic to some of the ingredients to make sure it is safe.

Bestcovery Staff
Our research team searches out the best of everything so that you can confidently pick the perfect products and services for your needs.
Go to top