I tested 39 foundations with amazing reviews and found the best 17 you can buy

Collage of the best medium coverage foundations, including Maybelline Fit Me, Milk Flex Foundation Stick, ILIA Super Serum, and BareMinerals Tinted Moisturizer 4x3
  • If you haven’t worn foundation since 2020, let us help you find today’s best pick.
  • From drugstore to designer brands, there are formulas in multiple finishes, formats, and packaging.
  • After testing 39 of the top-rated foundations, I’ve rounded up my favorite 17 below.

With hundreds of options and ever-evolving shade names, finding the right foundation for your skin tone and skin type is like finding a needle in a haystack. Sometimes you find the perfect formula, but it doesn’t match your skin tone. Other times, it seems like a perfect match tone-wise, but the formula dries out your skin or makes you break out.

I’m very aware of the struggle to find the perfect shade, so I put my face through the ringer for this guide and tested – as well as researched – 39 foundations. Through trial and error, I landed on the best 17 you can buy today. In addition to formula quality, I also considered shade inclusivity, return policy, online shade match tool availability, and SPF level.

If you’re in process of finding the perfect shade of your own, first consider coverage and buildability, as well as any skincare concerns you have. If you’ve got oily skin, you might want to try something with a matte or powder finish. If your skin is dry, look into hydrating liquid formulas and avoid the mattes. Prices range from under $10 to over $60, so think about your budget as well.

Here are the best foundations in 2021:

The best light-coverage foundations

Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint

Bottle of Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint

This is the perfect foundation option for someone who’s just getting into makeup or wants something that feels like it’s barely there. I loved how naturally dewy it made my skin look while feeling hydrating, perfecting my tone, and not coming off (despite being so lightweight). Some customers over 55 years old loved it too, noting that it’s one of the few that works on their skin and all its wrinkles.

Perfecting Skin Tint (small)
Skin by Mented

Image of Skin by Mented foundation

Mented was created by Black women to be a makeup haven for women of color. They offer 16 stick foundation shades in luxurious casing. The formula leaves your face with a flawless glow. Skin by Mented is lightweight, but it’s also easily buildable to suit coverage needs.

Skin by Mented (small)
NYX Total Control Pro Drop Foundation

Image of NYX Total Control Pro Drop Foundation

This foundation really flexes a buildability muscle. In fact, the product is part of a bigger line of NYX Pro Drops, which include hue shifters and illuminators to help fine tune your foundation.This lightweight formula gave me a natural finish and hid some blemishes quite well. If you’re in the market for something between $10 and $20, this is your pick.

Total Control Pro Drop Foundation (small)
Kosas Tinted Face Oil Foundation

Image of Kosas Tinted Face Oil Foundation with foundation on bottle

While this list is abundant with oil-free foundations, Kosas Tinted Face Oil is deliberately oil-based. This clean beauty foundation is made with moisturizing avocado oil, raspberry oil for reparative antioxidant benefits, and rosehip seed oil for brightening. Kosas’s super-liquidy face oil gives a glowy, sheer to light coverage. It’s best as a lightweight foundation but is also designed to be buildable to medium coverage. If you have dry skin or patches, be warned: Some customers find the foundation clings and unflatteringly highlights their dry patch.

Tinted Face Oil (small, Preferred: Kosas)
ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 Foundation

Image of ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 Foundation with circle of foundation behind it

Made to apply with your hands like a serum, the ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint offers a lot of benefits in one bottle. Although it may be intimidating at first — before drying it’s thick, sticky, and shiny and made me look like a glazed donut — the foundation has a dewy finish and stays away from caking and clinging to dry patches. This is one of the few on the list with sun protection, clocking in at a satisfying SPF 40. The clean beauty brand also infuses this formula with niacinamide, squalane, and hyaluronic acid which help hydrate and plump your skin.

Super Serum Skin Tint (small, Preferred: Sephora)
BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Moisturizer

Bottle of BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Moisturizer

This SPF 30 tinted hydrating gel cream from BareMinerals has a whipped cream texture and leaves a flawless, dewy finish. On top of that, the formula is made with hyaluronic acid, which attracts moisture to your skin.Though blending with your finger is recommended, I found that using a brush made it a lot easier. This product has established itself as a classic, but there’s still a dire need for more shades when it comes to deep skin tones.

Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream (small, Preferred: Sephora)
The best medium-coverage foundations

Too Faced Born This Way Foundation

Bottle of Too Faced Born This Way Foundation

Some customers say this is a game-changing foundation they have been using for years. Too Faced’s formula is oil-free and includes coconut water, alpine rose, and hyaluronic acid which helps retain moisture. For me, it even felt moisturizing when I put it on. Whether you’re concerned about dry or oily skin, this is a great option to keep your skin glowing. 

Born This Way Foundation (small)
Chanel Ultra La Teint Foundation

Bottle of Chanel Ultra La Teint Foundation

Chanel offers 12 different foundations, and of the customer favorites, Ultra Le Teint Ultrawear All-Day Comfort Flawless Finish Foundation is a standout. Packaged in a luxurious frosted glass bottle, the foundation is formulated to perfect your skin and last all day. Its skin-perfecting, soft matte finish makes the Chanel Ultra Le Teint foundation ideal for long days, long nights, special occasions, and taking lots of photos.

Ultra La Teint Foundation (small)
FENTY BEAUTY by Rihanna Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation

Bottle of FENTY BEAUTY by Rihanna Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation

Rihanna changed the game when she launched Fenty Beauty, which has established itself as an inclusive brand with high-quality, sustainable formulas. The Pro Filt’r Foundation is an easy-to-blend, long-lasting foundation that gives full coverage and a soft matte finish. Because mattifying products can be drying, the brand recommends moisturizing before applying the foundation, especially if you have dry skin. Or, you can check out the hydrating foundation or lightweight skin tint.

Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation (small)
MILK Makeup Flex Foundation Stick

MILK Makeup Flex Foundation Stick image

MILK’s stick foundation is not only easily-blendable with a natural finish and medium coverage. It also benefits your skin via moisturizing blue lotus, soothing chamomile, and marshmallow root extract, which contributes to elasticity. The proof in the pudding is, at least in my experience, this formula didn’t get creasey or cakey. Sounds like the marshmallow root extract gets to work. If you love MILK but want something matte, check out the Blur Liquid Foundation.

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation SPF 15

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation SPF 15 image

Bobbi Brown’s foundation left me with a flawless, natural finish. The foundation is oil-free and water-based with a water-like consistency, which makes it quite easy to blend and a great base for additional products. Bobbi Brown’s foundation seems perfect for longer wear. It has glycerin for hydration, a minimal level of SPF for some sun protection, and it’s lightweight for a long lasting natural look.

Skin Foundation SPF 15 (small)
The best full-coverage foundations

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation

The Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation hid my acne, blackheads, and blemishes while giving me a truly airbrushed look. I’m a fan of this formula’s smooth application and matte finish, although I noticed a tiny bit of caking. Still, this product is a strong, long-lasting foundation to a full face of makeup.

Airbrush Flawless Foundation (small)
Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Luminous Matte Foundation

Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Luminous Matte Foundation image

The #FauxFilter Luminous Matte Foundation from Huda Beauty was already a favorite of many, but now it’s fragrance-free. I personally appreciated how the matte, full coverage finish gave my skin a flawless but natural glow. Plus, it felt particularly easy to apply and blend into my skin.

#FauxFilter Luminous Matte Foundation (small)
Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation

Image of Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation

This semi-thick formula by Laura Mercier glides on, blends with a bit of effort, and leaves a matte finish. While the shade range could be a lot more inclusive of darker tones, current customers appreciate that the Flawless Fusion foundation is fragrance-free and non-comedogenic. I appreciated how this product held up on my face for a full day of wear. If you’re looking for something a bit less heavy, Laura Mercier offers a beauty-awarded, more lightweight foundation too.

Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation (small)
Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick

Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick

The Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick is currently one of the best stick foundation options. The stick is sheathed in a triangular stick, which makes it easier to hold and dot onto your face. It buffs into your skin for full coverage, a satin finish, and minimization of your pores and smile lines. Plus, with this foundation’s concentrated formula, a little goes a long way.

Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick (small)

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The best beauty subscription boxes, from makeup to skincare

  • Beauty subscription boxes can expose you to new brands in an affordable and often customized way.
  • We found the best beauty subscription boxes in every category, from makeup to haircare.

Working in the beauty industry definitely has its perks, one of which is getting the opportunity to test the latest and greatest cosmetics first-hand. Still, I’m not naive to the fact that cosmetics are pricey, as are haircare and skincare products. In fact, according to a study conducted by Groupon, the average American woman spends $3,756 a year on beauty maintenance, while the average American male spends $2,928.

Thanks to beauty subscription boxes, however, not only can you save money on makeup and other cosmetics, you’ll also be introduced to brands and products you may have otherwise overlooked. That said, there are dozens of beauty subscription boxes on the market that can make narrowing down the best options just as tricky as finding the best mascara or shampoo. But rather than stand by and watch you go through an unnecessary lengthy trial and error period, we’ve rounded up five of the best beauty subscription boxes in different categories that will hopefully meet your needs.

Here are the best beauty subscription boxes:

  • Best beauty subscription box for makeup: Birchbox
  • Best beauty subscription box for skincare: Kura
  • Best beauty subscription box for haircare: Prose
  • Best sustainable beauty subscription box: Love Goodly
  • Best beauty gummies subscription: SugarBearHair
The best for makeup

Birchbox Subscription Box

Birchbox is the ultimate beauty subscription box for makeup fans looking to sample a bunch of cosmetics before committing to a full-size purchase.

Pros: Subscribers receive 4-6 deluxe samples in every box based on their preferences, a mix of both high-end and indie brands, reading material on each product, different subscription plans, the option to add more products to your order

Cons: Samples are not full-size

Birchbox boxes are personalized with 4-6 deluxe samples based on user profiles, ensuring subscribers receive products that meet their needs and align with their interests. Subscribers have a chance to review and edit the contents of their box prior to shipment, and/or add full-size products to their order. 

This OG subscription box works with a wide variety of brands, from Aveda to Dr. Jart+, GLAMGLOW to Shiseido, and everything in between, and strives to introduce customers to brands that match with its own core values: sustainability, inclusivity, and labels that are women-founded, -owned, or -run. Birchbox also values product education and includes informative tidbits about each product in the package.

There are three subscription plans to choose from: monthly for $15, a six-month subscription for $14 per month, or a yearly subscription priced at $13 per month. Boxes are shipped by the 10th of each month.

Read our full Birchbox review here.

The best for skincare

Kura Skincare Subscription Box

Kura curates a skincare regimen based on scientific data specific to your needs and goals.

Pros: Boxes are curated based on a very detailed user profile and sent quarterly so you have enough time to test and finish products (and reduce waste)

Cons: It’s a fairly new subscription box, so it doesn’t have the same reputation as others

Factors like the climate you live in, what season it is, your age, hormones, and sensitivities all play a role in how your skin looks, feels, and responds to the world around you. Kura takes all of this information and more into consideration when creating your personalized box. 

Subscribers are prompted to take a quiz on the brand’s website and once your details are entered into the system, a team of experts will use Kura’s exclusive algorithm to curate a full routine based on your unique specifications and budget. Products will then be reviewed by a clean beauty expert to make sure they’re a perfect match for your needs. Individual product curations are also available if you’re looking for something specific.  

Kura offers three quarterly subscription plans: The “Basic” subscription ($99) includes a cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF. The “Core” ($149) and “Comprehensive” ($199) include a cleanser, moisturizer, SPF, plus more targeted treatments like serums, eye creams, and masks. 

The best for haircare

Prose Haircare Subscription

Prose goes through an incredibly thorough user profile to vet haircare products and formulas specific to your needs and goals.

Pros: Online consultation is extremely thorough, Prose chemists and experts are constantly updating products and improving formulas, individual products are available to buy through the site

Cons: Might take some tweaking to get the formula just right for your hair

Prose subscribers are prompted to answer a series of questions regarding age, natural hair texture, type, length, density, and more. Over 80 factors are taken into consideration when formulating each product such as your lifestyle, environment, and daily styling preferences. 

After your consultation, Prose will curate a list of custom recommendations. Currently, the brand’s product offerings include eight haircare products: a pre-shampoo hair mask, pre-shampoo scalp mask, shampoo and conditioner, hair oil, dry shampoo, curl cream, and leave-in conditioner. It also offers a plant-based supplement system, as well as a collection of brushes. Delete what you don’t want or need from your cart, and only pay for what you do. 

Don’t recognize an ingredient? The Prose ingredients dictionary offers a detailed description of each ingredient, including where it’s sourced from, the science behind it, and a list of references for further review. And in order to adapt to your hair’s ever changing needs, your profile includes a Refine & Review section where you can review each product and explore which product, or what ingredient, isn’t working for you.

The best for sustainable beauty

Love Goodly Subscription

You can’t beat a box of 4-5 full-sized beauty products that are all sustainably made and packaged.

Pros: Exposure to different brands that all have sustainable values, boxes have sustainable packaging and include 4-5 full-sized beauty products

Cons: Boxes are not generally customized to individual subscriber’s preferences and delivered bi-monthly instead of monthly

Love Goodly boxes are shipped bi-monthly, and subscribers can choose from two offers: The Essential Bi-Monthly Box ($34.95 with a $75+ total retail value) and The VIP Bi-Monthly Box ($48.95, with a $105-115+ total retail value). You can also get a prepaid Essential six-month subscription for $96, or a prepaid Essential one-year subscription for $180.

The boxes include 4-5 full-sized beauty and skincare products from over 50 brands like Au Naturale, Flower Mill Beauty, Milk Makeup, and OSEA that are cruelty-free and vegan. Boxes will also occasionally feature an eco-friendly style accessory, wellness product, or healthy snack (like Hippeas), and all of these goodies are packaged in recycled boxes labeled with toxin free ink.

All products featured in the Love Goodly shop are clearly marked with the values and attributes they subscribe to, like being handmade, Fair Trade, or a brand that donates a portion of its proceeds to charity. Love Goodly also made its list of banned ingredients public, so subscribers can feel good knowing what won’t be absorbed into their bodies when they use Love Goodly-approved products, and why. 

The best beauty gummy vitamins


Not only are SugarBear Hair gummies delicious, they deliver results fast. 

Pros: Gummies taste great, offer fast results, are vegan-friendly, and free of dairy, gelatin, gluten, and hormones; multiple subscription options

Cons: High in sugar, brand doesn’t offer a wide variety of beauty-specific vitamins

SugarBear gummies taste like the kind of gummy bears you’d buy from a candy store; there’s no weird medicinal or artificial sugar aftertaste. They’re sweetened with natural berries, tapioca syrup, and raw cane sugar, and easy on the stomach.

The Hair gummies are swarming with hair-loving ingredients like biotin, folic acid, and vitamin D. The delicious formula is also vegan-friendly, free of dairy, gelatin, gluten, and doesn’t contain any hormones. They also contain vitamin A, which is rich in antioxidants, vitamins C and B-12 to support hair growth, vitamin E to support blood circulation, vitamin B-6 to combat hair loss, and pantothenic acid to support hair’s natural keratin production, among other active vitamins and minerals. 

In my experience, the vitamins deliver real results, and quickly. When I regularly take two gummies per day, I notice a visible difference in my hair length and health, and my nails grow longer and stronger, too. 

SugarBear’s hair gummies are available for purchase in one-month ($29.99), three-month ($79.99), and six-month ($159.99) supplies, with the option for one-time purchases and recurring shipments. 

What else we considered

Target Beauty Box

Macy’s Beauty Box: With this subscription, you’ll get a sampling of five beauty products from Macy’s in a cute makeup bag once a month, plus $5 off your next beauty purchase at the department store. If you buy a lot of makeup at Macy’s, this could be worth it.

Check out our other beauty and skincare guides

skin care face makeup lotion beauty

The best natural skincare products

The rise in demand for natural skincare products means there is now a better selection of higher quality products available, so whether you’re a die-hard natural beauty lover or just want to detoxify your skincare routine, there are plenty of great options for you. These are the best natural skincare products for any routine.

The best micellar water

Micellar water is rich with tiny micelles — small oil-loving molecules that suck waxy makeup, dirt, and general gunk out of your pores. Sounds satisfying, doesn’t it? Sometimes called cleansing water, micellar water is an excellent makeup remover whether used alone or as part of a multi-step routine if you wear heavy makeup. These are the best micellar waters for cleansing.

The best eye creams

The skin under your eyes is a lot thinner and more delicate than the skin on the rest of your face; therefore, it needs to be treated differently. You want an eye cream lightweight enough that it absorbs quickly into the skin in the evening, or doesn’t feel too heavy under makeup. These are our top picks for the best eye cream.

The best anti-aging serums

Anti-aging serums deal primarily with fine lines, wrinkles, and dehydration, but also tone, texture, and dark spots. Some of the best anti-aging ingredients to look out for are vitamin C, for brightening the skin, hyaluronic acid for plumping it up, and Retinol. These are our top picks for the best anti-aging serums.

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I tested 30 mascaras – here are the ones that lasted all day without clumping and smudging

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Photo of writer and product tester, Meehika Barua
  • It’s hard to name one brand of mascara the best because everyone’s needs are different.
  • In order to see how they performed, I tested 30 of the most loved mascaras out there.
  • See how they lasted, whether they smudged, and what I thought of them, below

Mascaras make a big difference to your face. When running low on time, a quick swipe not only opens the eyes up by enhancing your lash line, but can transform a tired face to a fresh one within seconds.

With every mascara, there comes concerns such as fall out, flakiness, clumping, smudging on the eyelids, inner or outer corners, and many more. Whether you are looking for natural lashes or glam ones, there exists no perfect mascara until you know exactly what you are searching for and you can find that out below.

These are the best 28 mascaras in 2021:

Smashbox Superfan Fanned-out Mascara

Bottle of Smashbox Superfan Fanned-out Mascara

Super Fan Lash Lengthening Mascara (small)

If you want soft natural lashes and something that can tight-line your lashline perfectly without smudging, Smashbox’s Superfan mascara is the one for you. The great thing about this product is that the brush is super flexible and even bends as you move along the contours of your eyes, fanning out and separating each lash without clumping.

Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Push-Up Lashes

Bottle of Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Push-Up Lashes

Pillow Talk Push Up Lashes Mascara (small)

Formulated for a 24 hours lift effect, Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk mascara is great for someone who wants the effect of fake lashes and an extra glam look. However, the formula is super thick, hence requires extra time and effort to make sure it doesn’t get messy. Once applied properly, you can expect full fluffy lashes for hours.

Covergirl Exhibitionist Mascara

Bottle of CoverGirl Exhibitionist Mascara

Exhibitionist Mascara (small)

This mascara comes in four different shades: black, very black, brown, and true blue, the latter being the best shade and is worth all the risk. Not only does it infuse your lashes with a burst of color, but the blue shade of Covergirl’s Exhibitionist Mascara totally replaces the need to wear eye shadow or eyeliner. The disadvantage? The product doesn’t work well without the Exhibitionist Mascara Primer and definitely doesn’t give the same intense effect if the lashes aren’t primed.

Benefit They’re Real Mascara

Bottle of Benefit They're Real Lengthening Mascara

They’re Real! Lengthening Mascara (small)

Non-waterproof mascaras are great for people who have thin or sensitive lashes and struggle a lot to get the product off at the end of the day. Benefit’s mascara comes in both black and brown shades and it curls the lashes perfectly. However if you plan to cry or step out in the rain, expect panda eyes.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Lash Brag Volumizing Mascara

Bottle of Anastasia Beverly Hills Lash Brag Volumizing Mascara

Lash Brag Volumizing Mascara (small)

This water-resistant mascara strikes a good balance between natural and glam by fanning out the lashes. However the thick brush makes it difficult to reach the inner corners of the eyes without smudging on eyelids. If you like to tight-line your lash-line by applying mascara from root to tips, it will require extra care and time for a non-messy application.

Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara

Bottle of Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara

Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara (small)

Most Maybelline mascaras come in both waterproof and non-waterproof formulas. This product is great for someone with straight lashes that keep falling down, although the waterproof mascara is better at holding the curled lashes up for a long time. The non-waterproof mascara is better if you don’t want to lose 3 to 4 lashes each time you try to remove it with different types of cleansers.

Elf Lash It Loud Mascara

Bottle of Elf Lash It Loud Mascara

Lash It Loud Mascara (small)

Excellent for the price, Elf’s mascara feels no different to many of the high-end brands out there. It comes with a silicone brush rather than natural bristles and you can go from a very subtle to dramatic look in seconds. Although it’s not extremely voluminous, but is buildable.

Huda Legit Lashes Double-Ended Mascara

Bottle of Huda Legit Lashes Double-Ended Mascara

Legit Lashes Double-Ended Mascara (small)

Founder Huda Kattan has often been called the “Queen of false lashes,” and her mascara offers nothing less than the effect of fake eyelashes. With two wands on each end – one for curling and one for volume –you can use both wands for insanely dramatic lashes or just one for a natural look. It does clump a lot and result in fallout after a few hours when both wands are used.

YSL Mascara Volume Effet Faux Clis

Bottle of YSL Mascara Volume Effet Faux Clis

Mascara Volume Effet Faux Clis (small)

Enriched with Argan oil and B5 pro-vitamin, the YSL mascara feels extremely luxurious. One coat does the job, unlike other products which require two coats at least. Hence, if saving time is your top priority, this one is for you if you are always on the run and have very little time to do your makeup. 

Urban Decay Lash Freak Volumizing Mascara

Bottle of Urban Decay Lash Freak Volumizing Mascara

Lash Freak Volumizing & Lengthening Mascara (small)

Bristles on the rounded tip of the brush is definitely what makes all the difference when it comes to Urban Decay’s Lash Freak mascara by making it extremely easy to reach inner corners as well as lower lashes without smudging. Urban Decay says their mascara creates a “look of up to 23.6 times more volume and up to 40% more length for bold lashes,” and that is a very accurate description.

L’Oréal Air Volume Mega Mascara

Bottle of L'Oréal Air Volume Mega Mascara

Air Volume Mega Mascara (small)

Similar to Maybelline, most of the L’Oréal mascaras come as both waterproof and washable formulas, hence you can choose which product works best for you. The washable mascara is smudge proof and gives inflated lashes, but the heavy formula creates clumps, also making it not an ideal choice if you plan to go running or exercising.

Catrice Glam & Doll Mascara

Bottle of Catrice Glam & Doll Mascara

Glam & Doll Mascara (small)

This waterproof mascara doesn’t give much volume but is ideal for someone looking for everyday natural lashes instead. The best part about it is that it comes off with just one swipe of micellar water, which is unheard of when it comes to waterproof formulas. It’s ophthalmologically tested and cruelty-free.

Laura Mercier Caviar Volume Panoramic Mascara

Bottle of Laura Mercier Caviar Volume Panoramic Mascara

Caviar Volumizing Mascara (small)

The mascara itself is very jet-black and the applicator is crafted with hollow fibres in a helix shape to allow a thickening coat on each lash. For hooded eyes, or eyes on the smaller side, the brush might be way too big and it could be difficult to apply evenly.

MAC In Extreme Dimension 3D Black Lash Mascara

Bottle of MAC In Extreme Dimension 3D Black Lash Mascara

In Extreme Dimension 3D Black Lash Mascara (small)

It is a 24 hour wear carbon black formula and yet it’s not waterproof –though there is a water proof version as well – which makes this Mac mascara very interesting. The applicator is quite thin but has many bristles which works out perfectly for the lash line. It has good staying power and doesn’t crumble throughout the day.

Delilah Cosmetics Definitive Volumizing and Defining Mascara

Bottle of Delilah Cosmetics Definitive Volumizing and Defining Mascara

Definitive Volumizing and Defining Mascara (small)

Paraben free mascaras are very healthy for eyelashes, hence Delilah Cosmetics’ Volumising mascara earns extra brownie points for having that. It lasts all day without flaking and is perfect for an everyday look, but definitely requires at least two coats for a voluminous effect.

Milk Makeup Kush High Volume Mascara

Bottle of Milk Makeup Kush High Volume Mascara

Kush High Volume Mascara (small)

This product makes for great daytime wear to achieve lightly fluffy fuller lashes, but if you’re looking for a lengthening effect, it might not be the best choice. The formula is very gentle, hence if you have sensitive or dry eyes, this one’s for you – the lashes feel soft all day, instead of a hardening effect.

Westman Atelier Eye Love You Mascara

Bottle of Westman Atelier Eye Love You Mascara

Eye Love You Mascara (small)

Because this product has a gentle preservative booster (made from coconut oil) providing antimicrobial protection, it feels like cream when you apply it. The mascara lasts all day, even after exercising. It feels clean and does not irritate sensitive eyes, especially if you wear contact lenses.

Tom Ford Extreme Mascara

Bottle of Tom Ford Extreme Mascara

Extreme Mascara (small)

Unlike the Milk Makeup mascara, this product is great for lengthening, but isn’t ideal for volumising. The packaging is beautiful and feels expensive. The formula comes with lash filling powders, making the product a bit clumpy, but nothing a lash separator can’t handle.

Chanel Le Volume Stretch de Chanel Mascara

Bottle of Chanel Le Volume Stretch de Chanel Mascara

Le Volume Stretch de Chanel Mascara (small)


Roen Cake Mascara

Bottle of Roen Beauty's Cake Mascara

Cake Mascara (small)

Most mascaras give volume by clumping together sections, making the lashes look all spider-y but that’s not the case with this one. Although it doesn’t give you the massive fake eyelash look, it definitely fans out individual lashes. Therefore, if you are not looking for a super dense formula, this lightweight mascara won’t disappoint.

Marc Jacobs at Lash’d Lengthening and Curling Mascara

Bottle of Marc Jacobs at Lash'd Lengthening and Curling Mascara

At Lash’d Lengthening and Curling Mascara (small)

The vegan formula features lash conditioners like Biotin Peptide and Provitamin B5 and this mascara is all about volume. The brush is long and slim making it flexible to reach every individual lash. It’s very easy to top up after a few hours – the formula stays on and you can add extra layers whenever you want without the finished look getting all clumpy.

Stila Stay All Day Mascara

Bottle of Stila Stay All Day Mascara

Stay All Day Mascara (small)

This product is for people with oily eyelids rather than dry and flaky ones. It’s not water proof and removing it is easy, with no residue whatsoever. The brush is a bit unflattering as one half of the wand is a regular brush, but the other half is a fine tooth wedge, which makes it difficult to control.

Dior Beauty Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara

Bottle of Dior Beauty Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara

Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara (small)

Available in 4 shades: black, blue, brown and silver glitter, Diorshow mascara comes with a curved brush that helps open the eyes up to give a feathery look. One coat seems to give good enough coverage, however the thick formula means layering it up after several hours might result in fall-out around the under eye area.

Too Faced Better than Sex Mascara

Bottle of Too Faced Better than Sex Mascara

Better Than Sex Volumizing Mascara (small)

Not sure if it really is better than sex, but this mascara is your holy grail if you have poker straight lashes that aren’t particularly long. It comes with a fat brush, so the product works better if you use the tip of the wand to run along the lower lash and inner as well as outer corners.

Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara

Bottle of Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara

Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara (small)

Providing four lash benefits – lengthening, curling, volumising and conditioning, this product with its beautifully padded purple packaging that stands out in one’s makeup bag, lives up to its description. However, it starts flaking after a few hours and the formula could get a bit clumpy after the first few weeks.

Givenchy Volume Disturbia Mascara

Bottle of Givenchy Disturbia Mascara

Volume Disturbia Mascara (small)

Made to give an excessive, almost disturbing curve effect to the lashes, the Givenchy formula doesn’t leave your lashes looking natural and might be a bit too much for people who are not looking for an intense dramatic look. One application and you get long, lifted, voluminous lashes without clumps. It is equally difficult to get it off and may require triple cleansing or more.

Other mascaras we considered

The 26 mascaras above were my favorite, but I also tested two others. Here’s why they didn’t make the cut:

  • Lancôme Grandoise Extreme Mascara: Lancome’s Grandiose mascara comes with an angled wand that’s supposed to fit into the shape of the eyes to reach every corner to curl and lift. The angled wand also pokes, smudges and clumps in different areas. You get the intense volume since it separates and builds up your lashes, but it’s not the product for you if you want a quick swipe before a Zoom meeting.
  • Kiko Milano Volumeyes Plus Active Mascara: This product is good for lower lashes but the brush is too awkward for upper lashes – thin at the tip and thick around the handle. There is too much flakiness and fall out within a few minutes and it doesn’t really curl my lashes, but only adds a bit of volume by clumping together the sections of lashes.
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I tested 14 pairs of false eyelashes to see which ones actually stay on and aren’t horribly uncomfortable, and only 7 survived my test

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Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • False eyelashes are a great way to get the look of full lashes without the hassle of mascara.
  • With so many on the market, it can be difficult to suss out which are the best option for you.
  • I tested 14 styles to find the best false lashes in a variety of categories.
Best false eyelashes 4x3

Few things can boost your confidence as instantly as a good pair of false lashes. Whether you’re looking for something subtle or prefer to go full-on glam, falsies can add the perfect finishing touch to your makeup look or even help you feel a bit more put together on a no-makeup day.

But finding the best false lashes for you is certainly not a one-size-fits-all situation. Besides the fact that we all have different preferences, our individual eye shapes also play a huge role when it comes to choosing falsies. This is why it’s so helpful to do your research before purchasing false lashes; after all, it’s not like you can try them on before you buy.

Here, I tested nearly 20 different styles of false lashes – everything from the cult-favorites to new launches – to bring you the best of the best in a variety of categories. Read on to discover your perfect pair of falsies.

Here are the best false lashes in 2021:

The best false eyelashes for everyday wear

Best false eyelashes_MyLashButBetter

If you love everyday glam, look no further than Kiss’s My Lash But Better collection.

If testing lashes has taught me anything, it’s that a thin band is key for all-day comfort. Kiss has long been in the falsies game, but the My Lash But Better collection hits it out of the ballpark. Their supposed “Superfine Band Technology” sounds pretty gimmicky, but the band is extremely thin, flexible, and easily adheres to the lash line. Perhaps the best part? They’ll only cost you five bucks — an ideal price point if you’re wearing them daily. 

My Lash But Better (small)
The best natural-looking false eyelashes

Best false eyelashes_LoveSeen

LoveSeen allows you to customize your lashes based on your coloring, eye shape, and preference, resulting in the most natural-looking style. 

As someone with hooded, slightly downturned eyelids, it’s often difficult to find false eyelashes that fit properly and don’t stick out at the outer corners. This is why I was thrilled to come across the brand LoveSeen — they offer a quiz that recommends the best styles based on your eye shape and preferences. They also offer both Brown/Black and Light Brown shades, which I’ve rarely seen in falsies. 

I particularly love the “Jack” lashes — they looked so incredibly natural while also giving me the perfect amount of volume. Plus, the band is extremely thin, making them a breeze to apply. I also tried (and loved) two other styles (Iris and Cate), but felt Jack looked the best on my specific eye shape. 

LoveSeen lashes range from $20-$24, putting them on par with other mid-tier brands. However, they do not come with eyelash glue, so that would be an additional cost.

Luca (small)
The best magnetic false eyelashes lashes

Best false eyelashes_Velour

Struggle with applying lashes? You’re not alone. Velour Beauty’s magnetic lashes make it incredibly easy.

If you’re clumsy (and impatient) like me, lash glue can quickly become a giant mess. Magnetic lashes were created to take the guesswork out of applying falsies since they are meant to adhere to a magnetic eyeliner. Velour Beauty’s Vegan Mink Luxe Lashes apply exceptionally seamlessly — and they felt super comfortable all day long. 

The first time I wore them, my immediate thought was that they would be the perfect false eyelashes for someone’s wedding day. Not only are they just the right amount of glam, but they’d be super comfy during hours of smiling, dancing, and photo-taking.

At $27 these lashes may seem a bit on the pricier side (plus, the magnetic eyeliner is sold separately at $23), but I was able to rewear them several times with no issues. For a special occasion, they’re definitely worth the splurge.

Vegan Mink Luxe Lash Collection (small)
The best glam false eyelashes

Best false eyelashes_LillyLashes

When you want your lashes to make a statement, these Lilly Lashes will do the trick.

Sometimes you just want the look of long, full lashes. These Lilly Lashes are the perfect compliment to glam makeup because they heighten the look without overpowering it. The criss-cross style of the “Goddess” lashes, in particular, gives such a pretty effect.

I find these quite easy to apply and I love the thin band. Though I wouldn’t say they’re bothersome, they do feel a bit heavier on my eyes than some of the more natural styles. However, if you’re only wearing them for a special occasion, chances are you’ll be peeling them off in a couple of hours anyway. 

These lashes retail for $20 and do not come with lash adhesive. 

Goddess (small)
The best affordable false eyelashes

Best false eyelashes_Ardell

Ardell lashes are widely appreciated for their affordability, variety, and accessibility.

Ardell lashes are a well-loved falsies brand and for good reason. Most pairs are around $5 and they offer a wide selection of styles for any and all preferences. I personally love the Natural #110 (they look the most natural on my eye shape), but the Demi Wispies are a hugely popular style. Plus, Ardell is also sold in major retailers like Ulta and Target as well as most drugstores — so you can easily find them in the event of a lash emergency.

Natural #110 (small, Preferred: Ulta)
The best individual false eyelashes

Best false eyelashes_KissIndividual

This trio helps you build a natural look — without the commitment of a strip lash.

Let’s face it: false lashes can be extremely intimidating. If you’re new to falsies and want to test the waters (or just want to try something a bit more low-maintenance), individual lashes are a great option. This trio from Kiss is great because it offers three different lengths, so you can easily customize your look to get the most natural effect. I like to apply two of the longer lashes at the outer corner for subtle, wispy lashes.

At only $6 for 30 individual lashes (that you can easily reuse), it doesn’t get much better than that. These do not come with lash glue.

Ever Ez Trio Lash (small, Preferred: CVS)
The longest false eyelashes

Best false eyelashes_Lashify

These innovative falsies are essentially DIY lash extensions — they can last up to 10 days.

Lashify is changing the false lash game with their patented Gossamer lashes. They give you the look and feel of lash extensions, but without the costs and upkeep. It consists of four steps: applying a primer, attaching the lashes, fusing the lashes together with a wand, and applying a clear mascara that’s meant to lock everything in. I tried out the Control Kit (in the style Bold), which provides you with everything you need for $145. It’s definitely not cheap, but the kit comes with two sets of lashes (in two different sizes) and each wear can last up to 10 days. 

I absolutely love the look of these lashes. Because you apply them underneath your natural lashes (rather than on top), they look extremely natural and feel weightless. If you’re someone who’s interested in the longevity of lash extensions but wants to avoid the costs and maintenance involved, the Lashify system is definitely worth checking out.

Gossamer Lashes (small)
Other lashes we tested

Best false eyelashes_What else we considered (Glamnetic Livin; KVD, Qveen)

Although the seven lash sets above were my top picks, I also tested a variety of styles from 7 other brands. Here’s why they didn’t make the cut:

  • Qveen Studio Lashes in Hot Boy Sweat: These did not fit well on my downturned eyelids and they are also a bit heavy, but they do have a soft, fluttery look. For someone with a different eye shape, these could work really well. 
  • Glamnetic Luxe Lash: While these did adhere very well, the individual magnets along the band make it a bit bulky as well as difficult to trim. This particular style was also way too long for my eye shape/preference.
  • Glamnetic Livin’ Lash: While this set was far more comfortable, the lash length was too natural. I could barely see the lashes past my natural lashes, so it just didn’t seem worth it to have on falsies at all. However, if you’re looking to simply add fullness and not length, this could be a good option.
  • Sephora Collection Luxe False Lash in Plume: Again, these lashes are very pretty and natural-looking, but lacking a “wow” factor.
  • Tartiest Pro Cruelty-Free Lashes in Wifey: These lashes are extremely long and heavy, making them difficult to apply. These should definitely be avoided if you’re a natural lash lover, but if you’re after a dramatic look and are an absolute pro at applying falsies, these might be for you.
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The 9 best lip balms with SPF – because your lips need protection, too

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Best lip balms with SPF 4x3
  • We know that wearing sunscreen is crucial, but we often forget to apply it to our lips. 
  • A good lip balm with SPF will block harmful UV rays while moisturizing your lips.
  • We consulted two dermatologists and gathered our nine lip sunscreen mainstays.

You’ve probably heard numerous times from your doctor, dermatologist, or favorite beauty YouTuber that wearing sunscreen every single day is a must. And they’re definitely right. But one part of your body that can sometimes get overlooked when it comes to SPF is your lips, which need protection just as much as the rest of your body. 

A great way to deliver SPF to your lips on a daily basis is with SPF. But not all of these tubes are created equal. So we turned to Dr. Elizabeth K. Hale, a board-certified dermatologist and senior vice president of The Skin Cancer Foundation, and Dr. Marie Hayag, board-certified dermatologist and founder of 5th Avenue Aesthetics who advised us on working lip balms with SPF into our daily routines. You can read on to learn more from our experts and hear about our team’s nine tried-and-true lip balms with SPF. 

Here are the best lip balms with SPF you can buy:

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Vanicream Lip Protectant Sunscreen SPF 30

skincare for runners_Lip balm Vanicream Lip Protectant

Lip Protectant/Sunscreen SPF 30 (small)

I’ve tried a few lip balms with SPF, but this one from Vanicream is my preferred pick. On top of a simple formula, the consistency is nice and creamy. It also lacks any sort of strong sunscreen smell or taste, which is a dealbreaker for me. However, without a mirror at hand, it’s hard to know if you’ve rubbed in all of the white cream and sometimes it takes a bit of lip-smacking to reduce the tint. Katie Decker-Jacoby, style & beauty reviews fellow 

This lip balm contains both titanium oxide and zinc oxide for effective protection against damaging UV radiation. Additionally, it is water-resistant, free of fragrances, flavoring, and dyes, making it a great option for people with sensitive skin. Dr. Marie Hayag, board-certified dermatologist and founder of 5th Avenue Aesthetics 

Aquaphor Lip Protectant and Sunscreen Ointment

Best lip balms with SPF_Aquaphor Lip Protectant and Sunscreen Ointment

Lip Protectant and Sunscreen Ointment (small)

I bought this lip sunscreen ointment because I’m never without Aquaphor’s ultra-nourishing Lip Repair. The two products have similar ingredient lists and consistencies. And though I’m not a huge fan of the sunscreen smell and taste, they’re minimal and do not override the efficacy of this balm. The formula specifically caters to those with sensitive skin, and I find this to be true, as well. Katie Decker-Jacoby, style & beauty reviews fellow

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Lip Balm

Best lip balms with SPF_Palmers Cocoa Butter Formula Lip Balm

Cocoa Butter Formula Lip Balm (small)

As someone who is sensitive to the sun and prone for my fair skin to burn, I’m especially cautious with the products I’m using. That being said, I use SPF just about everywhere, even in the colder winter months. I absolutely swear by Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Lip Balm. It has SPF 15 and also prevents my lips from being chapped. It applies buttery smooth, as its name suggests, and smells divine. Victoria Giardina, Buying Guides Fellow

Kiehl’s Since 1851 Butterstick Lip Treatment SPF 30

Best lip balms with SPF_Kiehl's Since 1851 Butterstick Lip Treatment SPF 30

Butterstick Lip Treatment SPF 30 (small)

I have a tube of this in the clear/untinted shade in every hiking backpack I own. It’s moisturizing without feeling sticky and goopy, and the balm doesn’t melt — even during multi-hour-long hikes in the sun. The SPF 30 is strong enough to keep my lips from burning, and the clear shade I use most often comes in handy when I need to reapply sunscreen on the bridge of my nose or the tops of my ears. The metal tube feels more substantial and luxurious than other balms, and the cap screws onto the tube so there’s no chance you’ll lose it at the bottom of your bag. It does, however, contain octocrylene so it’s not reef-safe and I don’t use this when I’m around the beach. Jada Wong, senior editor

Supergoop! PLAY Lip Balm SPF 30 with Acai

Best lip balms with SPF_Supergoop! PLAY Lip Balm SPF 30 with Acai

PLAY Lip Balm SPF 30 with Acai (small)

The tube and formula remind me of old-school Vaseline, but much more protective and way less goopy. The SPF 30 is great for protecting my lips and the formula includes shea butter for lots of moisture. It doesn’t contain any oxybenzone, octinoxate, or octocrylene that would be harmful to coral reefs, so I always use this when I’m around the beach. Jada Wong, senior editor

Coola Classic Liplux Organic Lip Balm Sunscreen SPF 30

Best lip balms with SPF_Coola Classic Liplux Organic Lip Balm Sunscreen SPF 30

Classic Liplux Organic Lip Balm Sunscreen SPF 30 (small)

If you’re looking for a quality plant-based sunscreen lip balm, this one from Coola offers broad-spectrum protection, instant moisture, vitamins, and antioxidants. Plus, it’s water-resistant for 80 minutes and should be reapplied every two hours. Dr. Hayag says, “This is a good balm that provides broad-spectrum protection against UV rays while also providing hydration to the lips through ingredients like jojoba and avocado oil.” 

Colorescience Lip Shine SPF 35

Best lip balms with SPF_Colorescience Lip Shine SPF 35

Lip Shine SPF 35 (small)

For days where you want more color and luster, this lip gloss checks off those boxes — plus, it has broad-spectrum SPF 35 sun protection. You can reapply every two hours, but every 40 minutes if you’re swimming or sweating a lot. According to Dr. Hayag, “This is a great gloss that contains zinc oxide and Vitamin E to aid in photoprotection. It also contains hyaluronic acid, helping the lips stay well moisturized. Additionally, it has peptides that give the lips a more plump appearance.” The shade selection includes rose, pink, champagne, coral, and clear. 

CoTZ Lip Balm Tinted Mineral Sunscreen SPF 45

Best lip balms with SPF_CoTZ Lip Balm Tinted Mineral Sunscreen SPF 45

Lip Balm Tinted Mineral Sunscreen SPF 45 (small)

With a zesty kiwi-lime-ginger tang, this product is ever so slightly tinted to avoid that white cast other sunscreens oftentimes leave behind. It’s also cruelty-free, reef-friendly, and free of chemical sunscreens, oil, lanolin, and gluten. Dr. Hayag says, “This contains zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and iron oxide to cover UVA/UVB rays and blue light. It is moisturizing, yet water-resistant and has antioxidant protection.”

MDSolarSciences Hydrating Sheer Lip Balm SPF 30

Best lip balms with SPF_MDSolarSciences Hydrating Sheer Lip Balm SPF 30

Hydrating Sheer Lip Balm SPF 30 (small)

This tinted lip balm has a gentle, cruelty-free, and reef-safe formula that does all of that, but of course fends off ultraviolet rays, too. The broad-spectrum SPF 30 sheer tinted balm comes in red, pink, and nude. According to Dr. Hayag, “It also has multiple ingredients in it to help keep your lips moisturized, like avocado oil and olive butter. The balm also contains shea butter, which is rich in antioxidants and soothes and softens the lips.”


Best lip balms with SPF 4x3

What is SPF and what SPF should I wear on my lips?  

SPF stands for sun protection factor, which is the measure of how well a certain formula will protect you from the sun’s rays. “For example, if you use an SPF 30 product properly, it would take you 30 times longer to burn than if you used no sunscreen,” Dr. Hale explains. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends SPF 15 for daily wear and SPF 30 for prolonged outdoor activity. 

What’s the difference between UVA and UVB rays?

There’s ultraviolet A (UVA), which is connected with skin aging, and ultraviolet B (UVB), which is linked to burning. Instead of worrying about whether your lip balm protects against UVA or UVB rays, Dr. Hale says to pick broad-spectrum sunscreen products, as they shield your skin from both rays. 

What can sun damage do to your lips? 

The skin on your lips is thinner and missing a layer that the rest of your body uses for UV protection, so it’s more susceptible to burning. Too much sun exposure without any protective lip balm can lead to dryness and flakiness, and even skin cancer. Dr. Hale says, “About 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to UV radiation from the sun.” 

Are there certain ingredients I should look out for?

According to Dr. Hale, there are two groups of UV-blocking ingredients: physical and chemical. The former are ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, while the latter includes components like avobenzone and octisalate. “Look for products with antioxidants like vitamin E and vitamin C,” Dr. Hayag says. “They neutralize and boost protection from free radicals produced by UV radiation and visible light.”

As for ingredients to avoid, Dr. Hayag explains that products with menthol — the thing that gives cough drops and pain relief creams its cooling effect — can irritate the lips. You should also stay away from phenol and fragrance for the same reason. 

When should I wear it and how often should I apply?

Our experts urge you to wear lip balm with SPF both outdoors and indoors, as the sun can penetrate through glass windows. And they suggest reapplying every two hours, but more frequently if you’re eating, drinking, or swimming. 

What should I do if my lips get sunburnt? 

Dr. Hale recommends the following steps: move into a shady spot, stay hydrated, take Advil or Motrin to reduce inflammation, and apply a water-based, moisturizing lip product. For the very last step, she advises steering clear of petroleum and oil-based balms that could possibly aggravate the burn.

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