17 of the best mascaras to open up your eyes and make them pop

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  • They say that the eyes are the window to the soul, so give them the respect they deserve

    In every make-up bag up and down the country you will find a mascara. It is arguably the most used make-up product in our collective beauty kit. Think about it: you have tonnes of base choices – the very best foundation, cracking BB creams, five-star tinted moisturisers – there are the best bronzers and blushers to add depth to your complexion, and you’ve got moisturiser balms or statement-making lipsticks. But mascara is the only constant; there are no alternatives to boosting your lash length, opening your eyes and making them pop. And with the world we currently live in (Zoom calls aplenty and face masks still a must-have accessory) having the best mascara at your disposal is even more important.

    What to look for on your hunt for the best mascaras

    You really need to know what you want to get our of yours ahead of buying it. Consider the look you’re after: defined, natural-looking lashes, or big volume to add drama to your look? Once you’ve decided on your top lash-enhancing priority, this will help you choose the right wand. Plastic combs and brushes are better at defining and elongating lashes as they’re often thinner and less chunky in size. Traditional bristles are key to adding volume and fullness, as they’re plumper and apply more product to the lashes.

    Colour is also important. Black has long been the most popular, but it can wash paler skin tones out, so it might be worth considering a brown or navy for your beauty arsenal if you fall into that category. Then, do you want your eye colour to stand out? Pick a colour that will accentuate it. Purple and blues make blue and green eyes pop, while browns highlight hazel.

    And then of course, the next decision is do you need a long-wearing, hardy waterproof formula? If you have watery eyes or are prone to smudginess, you may want to opt to shop a waterproof (or at the very least water-resistant) buy.

    Mascara top tips

    No matter which formula you eventually choose, here’s a tip from legendarymake-up artist Charlotte Tilbury on the best application technique: ‘As you drag the brush 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,’ Charlotte adds.

    And of course, to magnify the results, always go in with 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.’

    We’ve trialled and tested so many mascaras over the years that we’ve genuinely lost count. From Bobbi Brown’s Smokey Eye Mascara – a cult classic – to Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk Push up Lashes, which has taken the industry by storm, we’ve done our fieldwork. And what we can definitively say is that the best mascaras really do have transformative effects.

    So how do we test? There are certain things that we look out for when testing any new mascara that lands in our laps. We’re interested in things like the wand – bristle type and shape; the effect on lashes – whether it adds volume or length (or both?!); the formula – can you feel it on your lashes or does it nourish those tiny hairs? and finally the price.

    Keep scrolling for the best mascaras the industry has to offer. You’re sure to find your new favourite…

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