In order to find the best, that one mascara that could transform lashes of all ilk into the long, thick, and curly ones we pine after, we consulted four beauty experts, read dozens of publications and reviews, and tested 15 of the top formulas. After all this research, it was clear why some mascaras have a cult following — the best options can seriously upgrade your natural eyelashes and still leave you in complete control over how minimalist or maximalist you want your look to be.
Here are the 7 best mascaras:
- Benefit Cosmetics They're Real! Mascara (Best Overall)
- Lancôme Definicils High Definition Mascara (Best Lengthening Mascara)
- Maybelline Great Lash Washable Mascara (Best Drugstore Mascara)
- Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara (Best Mascara for Sensitive Eyes)
- Blinc Mascara (Best Thickening Mascara)
- Dior Diorshow Mascara (Best Volumizing Mascara)
- YSL Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils (Best False-like Lashes)
How We Found the Best Mascara
To find our top pick, we spent a full week poring over user ratings on e-commerce sites and retailers like Sephora, Ulta, Birchbox, Macy’s, and Beauty.com, and review sites like MakeupAlley and TotalBeauty.com. We charted the results of a bunch of “best of” articles in beauty publications and blogs, including Glamour and Into The Gloss, to create an enormous list of the mascaras loved most by beauty editors.
After creating our list, we cut any formulas that didn’t meet our basic expectations. Anything that didn’t go on seamlessly; make a difference in length, thickness, and volume of our lashes; and stay on all day was out. We also cut anything that had poor user ratings on sites like Sephora and Ulta. We’re looking for a pretty five-star mascara, after all.
From there, we got input from industry experts. We talked to a Sephora team member, Susan Raffy (a cosmetic chemist for over 25 years on behalf of mainstream beauty brands like Physicians Formula), and a few makeup artists. Jennifer Duffy, an international bridal and runway makeup artist with more than 25 years of experience working with brands like L’Oreal, Shiseido, and Clinique; and Melissa Smith, the owner and makeup artist behind Dollface by Melissa, both gave us their thoughts. We narrowed our list of more than 50 products down to 15 mascaras for testing.
Mascara Reviews and Testing
To test each mascara, we applied each option every morning and kept it on for about 13 to 15 hours without reapplying. We wore each mascara for one day and went about normal activities: Taking morning walks to the coffee shop, working at our desks, periodically misting our faces with rosewater, then going out for dinner and drinks in the evening. We didn’t use any other lash products, like primers, conditioners, or curlers, during testing.
We judged each product was judged on how well it did in three areas:
- Lashes looked longer.
- Separated and defined each lash.
- Thickened lashes without clumping.
When the scores were tallied, the winner was clear.
Our Picks for the Best Mascara
Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara scored perfectly on every factor of our test. The brush, which has the uniform bristles of a desert cactus, is large enough to create volume, but thin enough to provide separation and definition, with a uniquely spiky tip for extra lengthening. The one-of-a-kind bristles somehow gently latch onto your hair from the roots to seamlessly lift and define each eyelash.
The special dome tip is truly remarkable. The design is perfect for coating even the most miniscule follicles, the ones that you probably didn’t even know existed. The result? Glossy, silky, and natural, but deliciously plump lashes. No clumping, no smudging, and no scary cement-like after effects.
When we tested this mascara, we couldn’t get the mascara to flake even after we vigorously moved boxes around for a few hours, took a nap, and spritzed ourselves with toner. No mascara avalanche whatsoever.
We’re not the only ones who think Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara is amazing; it has garnered tens of thousands of reviews on four leading beauty sites with a stellar average of 4.4 out of 5 stars, and boasts plenty of positive consumer feedback:
I'm a mascara junkie; I've tried pretty much every high-end one and kind of got tired of paying $26 or more for a tube that would only last me a few months. I am so impressed; it does everything it says and makes my lashes super long. This one is worth the big bucks. I didn't have issues with it flaking or clumping, and it stayed on all day. Really fab mascara; highly recommend!” - Sephora customer
Who is it best for?
This mascara will please anybody who takes the time to apply it correctly. If you brush it onto your lashes with force, you’ll get results akin to an oil spill. However, if you follow the directions on the package, you will quickly become a convert.
Who should skip it?
If you’re looking for a waterproof mascara, Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara is a miss. Some customers have also bemoaned the fact that it is a bit hard to remove, although we didn’t experience this issue. One Sephora customer says, “The only thing I really liked about this was the brush. The spikes on the top are really nice for getting hard-to-reach lashes. I hate the formula of this mascara because it is so hard to get off.”
There’s a trick to this, however. If you do have trouble removing it, try rubbing jojoba or coconut oil onto your eye area, allow it to dry, and then gently swipe it off with a soft cotton pad before washing your face.
What’s the best way to use it?
It’s critical that you use this mascara correctly to get the intended results. We followed Benefit’s directions to a T:
“Go horizontal! The staggered bristles grab close to the root, boosting length and volume. Then go vertical! The custom-domed tip with precision bristles lift, define, and curl even your tiniest lashes.”
Also, when you’re at the root, make sure to shimmy the wand a bit so the bristles grip each hair
Other Mascaras to Consider
Best Drugstore Mascara
The classic pink-and-green tube is loved around the world for its silky-smooth application, 24-hour longevity, and great definition for everyday looks. Great Lash Washable Mascara is the winner of Glamour’s 2014 Glammy Award for best drugstore mascara and Allure’s “10 Under $20” article deemed it the “World’s Most Popular.
Best Mascara for Sensitive Eyes
If you have sensitive eyes, but still want shockingly dramatic eyelashes, this is the mascara for you. Powered by oils derived from olives to treat and protect lashes, this formula keeps its promises to lengthen, curl, volumize, and condition — all without parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, or gluten. In Tarte’s own clinical trials, the formula increased lash volume by a staggering 330 percent, and more than 2,100 Ulta users gave it a solid 4.4 out of 5 stars.
Best Thickening Mascara
The original tube-technology mascara, this miracle formula works by creating tiny water-resistant “tubes” around your eyelashes. Once set, the tubes bind tightly and will not smudge, withstanding oil, sweat, and tears. You apply it like you would any mascara, but this glides on so smoothly and creates glossy, oh-so-pretty natural lashes. What’s best is it wipes off clean with water alone.
Best Volumizing Mascara
The luxury-store staple has seen many fashion show runways, and has become a cult favorite backstage. This creamy, buildable formula delivers dramatic, defined lashes and it’s been touted for its unique wand design with a big, voluminous brush. Makeup artist Jennifer Duffy says she loves its sister mascara, Diorshow Iconic, too: “It’s all about the silicone brush that bends to grab your lashes.”
Best False-like Lashes
Voted Best Overall Mascara in InStyle’s 2015 Best Beauty Buy Awards, this Yves Saint Laurent department-store gem is deemed “the original false lash effect mascara.” Only one coat is needed to achieve the dramatic, plush effect. And, the formula includes B5 pro-vitamin to strengthen and protect those faux-looking real lashes.
This article originally appear on Review.com on the 3.6.17
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