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- 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:
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Roen Cake Mascara
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.