Finding the perfect one is a bit like finding the right man - it can take years of trial-and-error but once you've discovered the best mascara, you'll never let it go.
In the name of research, we’ve tested hundreds of different mascara brands and brush types to whittle them down to the 20 best mascaras on the market today.
Daytime tools need to be reliable; like the best waterproof mascara that doesn’t run when you’re walking into wind or having a laugh out loud moment in the office. And they need to be presentable, not clogging up when you’re rushing to apply the morning coverage.
Though there are more pricey products on the market, Max Factor’s Clump Defying Voluminsing Mascara, £10.99, is a real wonder and gives elegant and defined lashes in a matter of seconds.
The evening lash-extenders should have false-lash effect impact, to make sure you impress, even when it’s dark outside. We want big, bold and black (not to mention long-lasting) for those special evening occasions.
For nights out, we love to frame our peepers with Benefit’s They’re Real. Priced at £19.50, it’s one of the easiest because of its specifically designed brush. With bristles that grab lashes close to the root, both length and volume are boosted.
If this isn’t enough, the tip of Benefit’s wand lifts to define and curl your lashes for a little extra ‘oomph’. Now it’s not so hard to see why we’ve listed They’re Real in our list of best mascaras, is it?
Find the best mascara for you, from the investment pieces to the total beauty steals.
Not only does this mascara coat your lashes with fibres to build volume and length, it nourishes them with added conditioners, like squalene, jojoba seed oil and hyaluronic acid. If you’re looking for a doll-like effect, this is for you.
The UK’s best-selling mascara, Benefit’s They’re Real is a real innovation. The unique, long-wearing formula means eyelashes won’t ‘sag’ throughout the day and look as fresh at 7pm as they did at 7am.
The brush is specially-designed with bristles that grab lashes close to the root boosting length and volume, meanwhile the tip lifts, defines and curls to give your lashes extra ‘oomph’.
This mascara is not for the faint hearted; just a couple of coats gives dramatic, full-on lashes. The curved brush deposits a lot of product onto the lashes and the bristles spread it evenly along the length of the hair. It?s a build-able formula so there?s really no limit to how big you take your lashes.
This provocatively named mascara has earned itself a bit of a cult following in the relatively short time it has been available to buy.
It boasts an hour-shaped brush, which is designed to separate and curl the lashes. It?s quite a big brush so it?s ideal for really plumping and exaggerating top lashes. But, you?ll have to decide for yourself whether it lives up to its name.
One of the best things about mascara is that you don?t always have go for the pricier option; high street can be just as good, if not better. Topshop?s mascara demonstrates this to a tee. It?s extremely black, water and smudge resistant, superbly volumising and water and smudge resistant.
The conical-shaped brush is a bit of a multi-tasker. The fuller end glides through the longer eyes around the middle of the lash line and the smaller end is more precise and picks up the shorter lashes at the inner and outer corners of the eyes that you might otherwise miss.
The result is super flicky and flirty and while it?s not too OTT for everyday wear, we think it?s ideal for an evening when you want to really draw attention to your eyes.
This is probably the hardest working, most long-wearing mascara you?ll ever use. The formula is super water proof, great if your lashes touch your lids and your usual mascara tends to transfer to your skin. It lasts up to 16-hours, in fact you?ll need to douse your lashes in warm water to get it over ? it?s (that_ hardwearing.
It?s a really black formula and the brush is thin, long and simple ? it just needs a wiggle from the roots to the tips to fully coat everything. We (love) this.
This is a rather special brush. It?s made of silicone (so you know you?ll get good separation right off the bat) and it features a multitude of bristle lengths. It?s a curved brush so it naturally follows the shape of your eyes; one side features a row of short, compact bristles while the other boasts a fan of bristles in two lengths. The combination will ensure all hairs are coated and lifted.
And if you?re looking for a really inky black colour, you?ll love this. The makers have cut down the amount of wax in the formula so it can?t dull the pigment.
This mascara does everything. Seriously. It lengthens, separates and defines and lifts the lashes into a curl. It?s a small brush but it certainly packs a punch; with a hollow core it can hold onto more product to deposit onto the lashes and it has a tapered tip so it can get close to the lash line and reach the fine hairs at the inner corners of your eyes.
You?ve never seen a mascara brush quite like this. It?s made of curved silicone with tiny hooks along the bristles that grab onto each lash and drag along it to give it a good ? and long-lasting ? curl. It sounds painful but it?s not; you?ll just feel a slight drag on the hairs as the wand move through them. It gives such a good curl that you can skip the lash curlers in the morning ? unless your lashes are naturally dead straight.
But that?s not all; the formula contains conditioning provitamin B5 and serin which condition the hair.
This is a mega-watt mascara. It has a fat wand so it really loads product onto the lashes for a bushy, dramatic almost false-lash look. It?s super bold (but) it won?t make your lashes clumpy. Winner.
An oldie but a goodie. The pink and green tube is instantly recognisable and the results are as good as ever. If you haven?t tried Great Lash already expect good separation and length and no flaking. It has a very simple, slim wand so you can easily coat the hair at its root and reach all the little hard to grab hairs. It?s on the best ?everyday? mascaras we?ve ever used.
We don?t know where we would be without this little gem. This mascara has the teeniest brush you?ll ever see, and it makes light work of capturing and coating fine, and short, bottom lashes. It?s great for getting into the inner corners too where those elusive lashes reside. You?ll look like you have a whole lot more lashes than you normally do when you?re wearing this mascara.
The formula is resilient too. If you have long bottom lashes and find your mascara normally transfers from the hairs onto your skin you will love this. No smudging, no running, no flaking, no transferring. It?s a revelation!
Max Factor’s Clump Defy Volumising Mascara is a wonder product, though there’s many more expensive mascaras on the market. The comb allows an easy and even coat on even the most hard-to-reach lashes – and, while for some wands adding length means adding clumps, this one gives an elegant, defined fan of lashes.
To get the best effect, draw the brush up from the roots of the lashes to the tips in one slow stroke moving side to side a tiny bit to evenly coat the lashes.
Bobbi Brown’s No Smudge Mascara not only creates long, curled lashes but lasts for up to 16 hours. The patented brush features bristles that easily reach even the smallest of lashes to build up a beautiful look without clumps – and it doesn’t smudge or flake.
This is our top pick for natural-looking lashes that are fuller and longer – without the bold drama of other versions. Simple and elegant, this is your best bet for creating a no make-up look for off duty days and holidays.
If you’re looking for the impact of false eyelashes, but don’t want the hassle of applying them, then you need a hard working mascara.
We recommend you give Lancome’s Hypnose Star Mascara a whirl. It boasts a brilliant dual-sided brush that leaves your lashes intensely volumised with that coveted flirty curl, all in a deep ‘black diamond’ shade that’s dark and intensely glamorous.
We love just about everything in the Tom Ford range and the Extreme Mascara is no exception. Reach great lengths and unrivaled definition with this luxe product, which gives superior lashes without clumping, flaking or drying out sensitive eyes.
This miracle wand gives lashes length, volume and curl with no trace of flaking or smudging. Build up dramatic yet unusually feathery lashes with three or four coats of this dark and glossy mascara. Fabulous!
We are all over any product that promises to do everything in one go, so we love Givenchy’s new Noir Couture Mascara. This four-in-one mascara creates “intense volume, strong curl, infinite length, and complete lash care” for well rounded lashes that last for hours.
Our beauty bag staple for achieving dramatic lashes, we’ve found that this mascara does everything it promises in just two coats. The triple spiral brush adds texture to your lashes instantly creating volume with just one sweeping application.
The Diorshow Mascara is a consistent best-seller, thanks to catwalk-worthy results. This new look version features a nano-brush to coat every single lash, leaving you with volumised, flutter-worthy peepers.
Great for short-lashed ladies, build your natural volume into full-length false-effect lashes for a dramatic everyday look.
With the Estée Lauder Sumptuous Two Tone Eye Opening Mascara, you can ditch the eyelash curlers and go bare – almost. Two coats of this premium mascara and you won’t ever look back.
The dual-ended wand, which comes in a choice of black or brown, features two unique brushes for both sets of lashes to achieve bold drama (on the top) or subtle definition (on the bottom).
Neal’s Yard has a wondrous product called the Remedies Lengthening Mascara, which is made with 100% natural ingredients so it’s kind to your peepers as well as being proven to lengthen lashes by up to 85%.
As if that’s not enough, the ingredients, which include argan oil, aloe vera, coconut oil and bamboo silk, condition and nourish your lashes while you wear it, as well as adding a serious curl. What’s not to love?