We weren’t all born with fluffy lashes like Bambi. That’s why we love mascaras that fight back: formulas that stay put no matter how hard you’re dancing; brushes that stretch out stumpy lashes and coax stick-straight hairs into a flirty curl. Or all three at once. But the best mascara?
Well, that depends on a few factors. While mascara is undoubtedly the white t-shirt of our make-up routine, there are some things to consider before buying. First, work out your lash type. Like the hair on your head, lashes have different textures and colours. Then identify the finish you prefer: softly defined, waterproofed or lashes with sky-high volume for extra drama.
Best lengthening mascara: Nars Climax Mascara, £22, Cult Beauty
‘You go from zero to hero with this innovative mascara and it’s explosive volume!’ says make-up artist Cher Webb. ‘The ribbed bristled brush is the perfect size and works with every eye shape and delivers buildable volume fast for jet black feathery lashes.’
Best lengthening mascara (less expensive): L’Oreal Paris Lash Paradise, £11.99, Lookfantastic
This is an affordable option that beauty fans flock to as it makes lashes look more pronounced and contains castor oil to spark growth. Exactly what you want from a mascara.
Best for volume: Chanel Le Volume De Chanel, £28, Selfridges
This is the first mascara to feature a 3D-printed brush. This sounds sci-fi, but all you need to know is that you get extreme volume with no clumps from the get-go. The granular surface of the brush grabs onto lashes while honeycomb-like holes absorb the formula. Together, they deliver just the right amount so you don’t need another dip in the tube. Vive la revolution!
Best for volume (less expensive): Max Factor 2000 Calorie Dramatic Volume Mascara, £9.99, Feelunique
A classic for a reason. It gives bare lashes some heft – 300% more volume, to be precise. Plus, it’s fragrance-free, which ticks a big box for contact lens wearers. Oh, and it costs under £10.
A pitch-black mascara that is always smudge-proof and definitely won’t flake onto cheekbones halfway through the day.
Best waterproof mascara (less expensive): Rimmel Scandaleyes Volume On Demand Waterproof Mascara, £7.99, Lookfantastic
Mascaras can sometimes be too ‘wet’ and leave black streaks – something that’s especially vexing when they’re waterproof. This one keeps your eyelids clean thanks to tiered bristles for precise application and a formula with enviable staying power.
No matter which you choose, here’s a tip from make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury on the best application technique: ‘As you drag up from the base of your lashes, zig-zag the wand from side to side. This creates more volume, as you are depositing more product onto your eyelashes.’
As for your bottom lashes, turn the brush vertically. ‘The thinner end will help you control your application with more precision.’
And of course, to magnify the results, always go for a second coat. But resist the urge to pump the wand up and down in the tube. ‘Your mascara will dry out quicker as you’re pushing too much air inside. Slowly twist the brush around the tube instead.’
Keep scrolling as there’s the perfect formula for all…
Mascara is only ever as good as the brush you apply it with. In this case, an hourglass shape designed to coat every single lash. The formula isn’t anything to be sniffed at either as film-forming polymers and collagen lift and beef up spindly lashes. Win-win.
Definitely not a ‘night out’ mascara. In fact, we’d go so far as to say this is the ‘anti-mascara’ mascara as it’s determined to look as minimal and natural for a daytime doe-eye effect.
This one just so happens to be one of Meghan Markle's favourite beauty products. A single pump of the wand creates length while the tip of brush hits those hard-to-reach lashes on the inner and outer corners. If it's good enough for a duchess...
Earlier this year, sales for Honest’s mascara jumped by 652% on Amazon. It’s not hard to see why when two of the mascara’s central ingredients are water and beeswax (no unreadables here) and the primer gives the mascara something to grip onto for length and thickness. Voila, lashes like Jessica Alba.
Basically, the mascara you never knew you needed. The mini brush makes even the teeniest tiniest hair on the lower lash come to life. Bye bye panda eyes.
This is it, a mascara that creates oodles of length and volume, with a seriously black pigment to smoke out the eyes. It over delivers when it comes to turning ‘blah’ lashes flirty.
Perfect for mascara maximalists who love a dramatic look. What’s more, it never makes lashes look spidery - just full-bodied and defined.
Short, poker-straight lashes - especially the minuscule ones - can leave mascara all over your face. Thanks to a wand that lengthens and holds a curl, that’s never the case with this one.
The paddle brush features a flat area that you use to layer mascara onto the lashes. You then twist the wand so that the tiny plastic bristles comb it through each hair. There’s zero clumping, just beautifully separated, beefed up and lifted lashes from root to tip.
Weightless fibres in the mascara attach to each baby lash for a fanned-out effect. Consider this the equivalent of mini lash extensions, minus the glue or irritation.
Colourful mascara is often great for the Gram but unwearable in real life. Not so with this subdued emerald hue, especially when worn against clean fresh skin. The best bit? It’s an unwritten rule that colourful mascara isn’t meant to be perfect - clumps and smudges make it look even cooler. So apply willy nilly.
There’s something to be said for that slightly smudged, Parisian chic look - except when it’s the result of your mascara falling flat. Never going to happen with this mascara, which holds onto a curl so well you can ditch the eyelash curlers.
Allergy tested and great for both length and volume. With a finish that's easy on the eyes (and the lashes), it’s ideal for anyone who wears contact lenses.