There are hundreds of drugstore mascaras out there, these are the 7 worth your money

We've tried and tested every formula

Best drugstore mascara
(Image credit: Getty / Royalty-free)

Finding the best drugstore mascara for you can be a game of trial and error that can take years. But it’s a hunt worth doing because once you’ve found the one, you’ll likely never stray too far from it again. The good news is, you don’t have to spend a ton of money these days to get quality formulas that add volume, length and last throughout busy days. In fact, some of the very best mascaras out there are drugstore formulas. 

We admit it can be confusing finding the right formula with so many out there to choose from (it's not too dissimilar from shopping for the best drugstore foundation). That’s why we’ve rounded up a small list of the very best (and trust us, we’ve tried them all) that you can rely on — no matter what lashes you have or your preferences. 

Take a closer look at our roundup of the very best drugstore mascaras (including waterproof mascaras); most of which you can pick up on your next trip to the high street, or even during your next trip to the supermarket. 

1. Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara

Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara

(Image credit: Look Fantastic)

Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara

Best smudge-proof formula

Reasons to buy

+
Dramatic finish 
+
Doesn't flake or smudge

Reasons to avoid

-
Flexible wand can be hard to use 

You’d be hard pressed to find a mascara roundup that doesn’t include Maybelline’s Sky High formula and that’s all down to its ability to make lashes, well, sky high. It gives a dramatic effect, thanks to adding plenty of volume at the base of lashes, for those who like their eyes to have a big impact. Best of all, it doesn’t smudge or flake and doesn’t make lashes feel like they’re suffocating (you know what we mean!) The flexible wand will either be a pro or con depending on the user, I personally don’t love the bendy wand as I find it makes application slightly less precise. 

2. e.l.f. Big Mood Mascara

e.l.f. Big Mood Mascara

(Image credit: Boots)

e.l.f. Big Mood Mascara

Best for volume

Reasons to buy

+
Delivers volume promise 
+
Affordable 

Reasons to avoid

-
Brush makes precise application tricky 

If volume is the result you’re after, it only takes one glance at the ginormous e.l.f. Big Mood Mascara brush to realise that it delivers on epic volume. Since the brush is so big, I do find you have to take some of the excess off to make sure it doesn't clump as you apply. It makes lashes thick and eyes look wide open. The only downside to the big brush is that it can make reaching those smaller lashes a little more difficult. 

3. Revolution 5D Mascara 

Revolution 5D Mascara

(Image credit: Look Fantastic )

Revolution 5D Mascara

Best for length

Reasons to buy

+
Epic length
+
Great price 

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn't give a ton of volume 

Others claim to have incredible length but honestly, I’ve not found anything in the drugstore category that can lift like the Revolution 5D mascara can. It lasts well throughout the day, doesn’t feel clumpy whatsoever and removes absolutely fine with a swipe of micellar water. The wand has two brush sides with more spare and packed bristles to give slightly different finishes, but the difference is subtle so I don’t think it’s incredibly noteworthy. It’s a really great, reliable lengthening mascara. 

4. Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara Waterproof  

Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara Waterproof

(Image credit: Amazon)

Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara Waterproof

Best waterproof formula

Reasons to buy

+
Stay all day and night
+
 Most affordable option 

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be clumpy if excess not wiped off
-
A little difficult to remove, but as expected with waterproof formula 

Essense is known for making excellent mascaras at incredibly affordable price ranges, and the waterproof formula is no exception. It delivers incredible definition and length. Known for a little clumping if you want to build up those layers, but easily rectified if you wipe off a little excess. This is a great option if you want to make your eyes the standout part of any make-up look. The only downside, which is true for most waterproof mascaras, is that it’s difficult to remove. I suggest using micellar water to press and hold before wiping off, or working in a good, eye make-up friendly cleansing balm to break down the formula. 

5. L'Oréal Paris Lash Paradise Mascara

L'Oréal Paris Lash Paradise Mascara

(Image credit: Amazon)

L'Oréal Paris Lash Paradise Mascara

Best for a fanned-out effect

Reasons to buy

+
Great for sensitive eyes 
+
Gives a fluffy finish

Reasons to avoid

-
If you're looking for a dramatic finish, keep scrolling   

One for those with sensitive eyes and skin, this mascara delivers natural-looking length and volume that lasts throughout the day and gives a beautiful fluttery, fanned-out finish—all without irritation. Given this natural finish, I wouldn‘t say it’s particularly buildable, but it doesn’t flake off or clump throughout the day due to not being overloaded with product. 

6. Rimmel London Kind and Free Clean Volume Mascara

Rimmel London Kind and Free Clean Volume Mascara

(Image credit: Boots)

Rimmel London Kind and Free Clean Volume Mascara

Best natural finish

Reasons to buy

+
Doesn't irritate sensitive eyes 
+
Buildable formula 

Reasons to avoid

-
Won't give false lash effect 

For me, this is one of the most underrated mascaras out there right now. If you’re after an ultra-natural finish and have fairly long lashes naturally, you’ll adore how this looks. The tapered brush makes it easy to catch every lash and build it up without any clumps. It doesn’t smudge or flake off but is a doddle to remove at the end of the day. This always has a place in my make-up bag. 

7. Maybelline New York Falsies Surreal Mascara

Maybelline New York Falsies Surreal Mascara

(Image credit: Look Fantastic)

Maybelline New York Falsies Surreal Mascara

Best for a false lash effect

Reasons to buy

+
Gives impressive finish 
+
Needs just a single coat 

Reasons to avoid

-
Takes a little effort to apply for a flawless, no-clump finish

Really living up to its name, we’re crowning Maybelline's Falsies the best for getting that false lash effect in just a single coat. It’s a formula for the days when you want people to notice and comment on how long and curled your lashes are. It’s a super buildable consistency but you may want to wipe off excess or use a separate spoolie to fan out the lashes in between coats to prevent clumping. 

Beauty Contributor

Tori is a freelance beauty journalist and contributor for Marie Claire. She has written for various titles, including Allure, Glamour, Elle, Refinery29, Brides, and more. Currently training to be a nail tech, Tori is a total nail enthusiast and always has time to talk all things nail art. When she’s not writing about beauty and testing products, Tori can be found walking her rescue dog Pip, drinking great coffee, and eating as many croissants as humanly possible.