13 Best Mascaras of All Time That I Have Tried, Tested, And Loved

Written by Sayantani Deb, Makeup & Beauty Writer
Updated on Feb 27, 2024
Best Mascara
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Being someone who’s always sleep-deprived, I heavily rely on mascaras to open up my eyes, so that they don’t look sleepy. Besides, I believe that even when a person is not wearing much makeup (or any at all, for that matter), just a little bit of mascara can make a huge difference in your appearance! I cherrypicked the best mascaras from my experience, after having tested countless products in the market over the years! These selected ones managed to win my heart with their formulations, texture, longevity, and effectiveness! 

While picking the ideal mascara several factors come to mind, like the resistance to water, humidity, flaking, or smudging! Moreover, I’ve ensured that the products I pick cater to different needs for which people buy mascaras in the first place, such as curling, darkening, thickening, and volumizing the lashes. I have further considered factors like overall performance, benefits, available shades, cruelty-free tags, etc. to finally get to a conclusion! Now, without wasting time, let's delve into the product recommendations.

13 Best Mascaras to Get Doll-like Lashes with Great Ease

L'Oréal Paris’ voluminous mascara has been my absolute favorite when it comes to getting voluminous lashes. I love how it makes my lashes thicker and fuller, while delivering an intense black color. It beautifully separates each lash, so it doesn’t look clumpy, messy, or unflattering. Available in both waterproof and washable formulas, this drugstore mascara promises to stay on the lashes for a really long tim. Best part? It also suits sensitive eyes or the people who wear contact lenses as well!

Shades: 3

Cruelty-free: No

Pros
  • Volumizes
  • Long-lasting
  • Smudge-proof
  • Ergonomic mascara wand
  • Even application
  • Interesting shade options
Cons
  • Not cruelty-free
  • Best Curling Mascara

    Essence Lash Princess Curl Mascara

    Essence Lash Princess Curl Mascara
  • This curling mascara from Essence comprises a volumizing formula that not only adds definition but also lifts up straight lashes. However, in doing so, the formula doesn’t weigh your lashes down. Its peanut-shaped fiber brush needs special mention as it beautifully coats individual lashes without clumping. And, the densely-packed bristles on the applicator helps coat hard-to-reach lashes with great ease, without creating a goopy mess. Plus, the packaging itself is pretty nice which caught my eyes in the first place. 

    Shades: 1

    Cruelty-free: Yes

    Pros
    • Paraben-free
    • Vegan-friendly
    • Pretty packaging
    • Fragrance-free
    • PETA-approved
    • Compact bristles
    Cons
    • Not flake-proof
  • Best to Lengthen Lashes

    Honest Beauty 2-in-1 Extreme Length Clean Mascara

    Honest Beauty 2-in-1 Extreme Length Clean Mascara
  • Honest Beauty’s 2-in-1 mascara is one of my favorites when it comes to using it daily as a morning ritual! While on one side, the product comprises a nourishing primer to prep the lashes for makeup, the other side comprises the actual mascara formulation infused with rich pigments.This makes the product last for a long time on your lashes, without flaking or smudging! 

    Enriched with jojoba esters, it also thoroughly conditions the lashes while it stays on ‘em. Lastly, the molded bristles along with the flexible wand make the application process a lot easier than you would have even thought of!

    Shades: 1

    Cruelty-free: Yes

    Pros
    • Lengthening effect
    • EWG-certified
    • Climate pledge-friendly
    • Ergonomic applicator
    • Great shade options
    • Paraben-free
    Cons
    • Not for sensitive eyes
  • Editor's Choice

    Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

    Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara
  • Okay, so truth be told, I've used the Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara for my own wedding, and was head-over-heels! It comprises a volumizing formula that thickens the lashes and adds definition, delivering Barbie-like fluttery lashes. 

    Each coat of this mascara fortifies your lashes with a film-forming polymer that holds the curls in place for a long time. The hourglass-shaped brush head needs special mention that makes the process a whole lot easier!

    Shades: 1

    Cruelty-free: Yes

    Pros
    • Gives a fanned-out look
    • Replenishes the lashes
    • Coats hard-to-reach strands
    • Doesn't weigh down lashes
    • Has a lengthening effect
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • A bit messy to apply
  • Best to Nourish Lashes

    Benefit BADgal Bang Volumizing Mascara Mini

    Benefit BADgal Bang Volumizing Mascara Mini
  • Benefit’s Badgal Bang volumizing mascara is not only the internet's favorite but also my favorite as well! Its ergonomically designed mascara wand reaches the inner corners of the lashes with great ease and without creating a mess while depositing more pigment on the outer edges of the lashes. 

    The formula contains lightweight aero-particles that facilitate ease of application while sprucing the appearance of your natural lashes. It also contains pro-vitamin B5 that conditions the lashes thoroughly! Furthermore, the applicator cap is easy to grip and reduces the risks of mistakes when applying.

    Shades: 1

    Cruelty-free: Yes

    Pros
    • Nourishing formula
    • Water-resistant
    • Vegan-friendly
    • Doesn't weigh down the lashes
    • Lengthening effect
    Cons
    • A bit overpriced
  • Best to Get Defined Lashes

    Maybelline The Falsies Surreal Extensions Washable Mascara

    Maybelline The Falsies Surreal Extensions Washable Mascara
  • Maybelline’s mascaras and eye makeup products never failed me anyways, but this particular one takes the cake for the exquisite false lash effect it delivers. Almost like a tubing mascara, this product coats individual lashes beautifully for a fuller, denser look. 

    Plus, the product gives the lashes a surreal length and impressive volume to make the eyes Barbie-like! Also, this thickening mascara comes with an extended helix brush that gives a fanned-out look to the lashes. 

    Shades: 4

    Cruelty-free: Yes

    Pros
    • Buildable formula
    • Lasts up to 24 hours
    • Lifts the lashes
    • Gives definition
    • Hybrid fiber-tech formula
    • Ophthalmologically-tested
    Cons
    • The formula is kind of dry
    • Doesn’t have a curling effect
  • Best Densely-packed Bristles

    Lancôme Définicils High Definition Mascara

    Lancôme Définicils High Definition Mascara
  • Lancôme’s Definicils takes the upper hand at delivering defined and lengthened lashes without making them look clumpy or artificial. More than for special occasions, I recommend using this for every day as it gives a low-key, fanned-out, natural lash look that looks attractive in a simple, cherubic way!

    The lash-defining mascara is packed with pro-vitamin B5 that thoroughly conditions the lashes while separating them appear naturally magnificent! Furthermore, its hedgehog bristles need special mention for enabling an even application!

    Shades: 1

    Cruelty-free: No

    Pros
    • Long-lasting
    • Sleek tube
    • Fine comb brush
    • Nourishing formula
    • Separates individual lashes
    Cons
    • Pricey
  • Best Cruelty-free Formula

    e.l.f. Lash 'N Roll Mascara

    e.l.f. Lash 'N Roll Mascara
  • This curling mascara from e.l.f. ensures that you get visibly lifted lashes in a single coat! It imparts a great volume to your lashes as it separates them at the same time. The double-sided brush has different-sized bristles on both sides to deliver different effects as you apply it to the lashes. It has a smudge-resistant formula that doesn't flake or clump with time while delivering maximum length for doll-like eyes! What's more? The product is Leaping Bunny-certified!

    Shades: 3

    Cruelty-free: Yes

    Pros
    • Precise application
    • Separates individual lashes
    • Long-lasting formula
    • Flake-free
    • Vegan-friendly
    Cons
    • Not smudge-proof
  • Best Gentle Formula

    Covergirl Lash Blast Cleantopia Mascara

    Covergirl Lash Blast Cleantopia Mascara
  • Covergirl comes with a clean formula that volumizes even the sparse, fine, straight, and curly lashes. Packed with ceramides, aloe leaf extract, and rainforest maracuja oil, the long-lasting mascara thoroughly nourishes and conditions the lashes, so that they don’t get damaged or shed with frequent application. 

    The hourglass lush brush is another thing that I would like to mention which helps to reach every corner without being harsh on the strands. Other than building volume, it also lengthens and defines lashes while lifting them at the same time.

    Shades: 3

    Cruelty-free: Yes

    Pros
    • Paraben-free
    • Mineral oil-free
    • Easy to grip
    • Intense black shade
    • Packed with natural ingredients
    • Vegan and cruelty-free
    Cons
    • The finish could be less clumpy
  • Best for a Lash Extension-like Effect

    Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Lash Multiplying Volume Mascara

    Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Lash Multiplying Volume Mascara
  • The lash multiplying mascara from Estee Lauder stands true to its name and provides you with sumptuous volume that you've always craved for! It provides you with outrageous length giving you a false lash effect with a brighter and wider appearance of your eyelashes! Fortified with a lash-advancing vitamin complex, the formula thoroughly nourishes the hair. 

    Furthermore, it comes with two types of bristles that comb the lashes beautifully while separating them for a defined look! I would also like to mention the golden classy packaging which attracts me the most!

    Shades: 2

    Cruelty-free: No

    Pros
    • Volumizes the lashes
    • Moisturizing formula
    • Gives lash extension-like effect
    • Separates individual lashes
    • Lifts and magnifies
    Cons
    • Could be less clumpy
  • Wet n Wild Big Poppa Mascara

    Wet n Wild Big Poppa Mascara
  • Trust me when I say that you can give an alluring look to your prized possession with this thickening mascara that beautifully lifts, lengthens, and nourishes at the same time. The castor oil-infused formula provides extreme volume while moisturizing the strands at the same time. 

    It has an hourglass-shaped brush that covers every lash and provides maximum length and definition at the same time. The omega-6 fatty acids present in the product also strengthen the lashes which is worth mentioning!

    Shades: 1

    Cruelty-free: Yes

    Pros
    • Highly pigmented
    • Conditions the lashes
    • Cruelty-free
    • Paraben-free
    Cons
    • Could be more moisturizing
  • Benefit They're Real! Mascara

    Benefit They're Real! Mascara
  • When I say that the Benefit mascara augments your eyes without making it look artificial, I mean it! This thickening mascara comprises a sleek yet bushy applicator, which deposits a good amount of pigment at the roots of the lashes while its bristles lift them up at the tips, for a defined look. Its color payoff is so good that you won’t feel the need to enhance your eye makeup with eyeliner or kohl.

    The fuller, volumized look this product delivers to your lashes is great for special occasions, when you want to add a pop to your look don’t have too much time. What’s more? The product is formulated with skin-friendly ingredients that won't adversely react to your skin or lashes. 

    Shades: 2

    Cruelty-free: No

    Pros
    • Magnifies lashes
    • Unique tapered brush
    • Doesn't smudge
    • Doesn't transfer
    • Lengthens lashes
    • Skin-friendly ingredients
    Cons
    • Not smearproof
  • Grande Cosmetics GrandeMASCARA Conditioning

    Grande Cosmetics GrandeMASCARA Conditioning
  • What I most like about the mascara is that it thoroughly nourishes your lashes and the credit goes to its moisturizing formula infused with peptides and vitamin B5. The ophthalmologically-tested formula further suits every eye condition including sensitive eyes. It has a buildable formula that beautifully coats individual lashes without making them look clumpy, for a fanned-out look.

    Further, amino acids present in the formula also strengthen the strands for a better and healthier appearance. This ensures that your lashes don’t shed or get damaged if you use this frequently. 

    Shades: 1

    Cruelty-free: Yes

    Pros
    • Clump-free finish
    • Ophthalmologically-tested
    • Lengthens lashes
    • Makes lashes look healthy
    • Boosts volume
    • Sleek container
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • The packaging could be better

    Now that you have checked out the products, let’s go through the following buying guide.

     

    How to Choose the Best Mascaras?

    Below are the parameters to consider before picking your mascara.

    1. Formulation: Well, there are different formulations available in the market that you have to keep in mind before choosing your mascara! If you have shorter lashes, pick a lengthening formula. Similarly, if you have thin lashes, a voluminous formula might just work wonders for you. Also, look for a buildable formula that allows you to go for multiple coats without making the lashes clumpy.

    2. Applicator Design: Many people are not aware that mascara's finish depends a lot on the bristles, but it is an important factor to keep in mind when purchasing a mascara. Dense bristles facilitate a voluminous lash look, whereas shorter bristles on a slim applicator are best to coat hard-to-reach lashes, separate them evenly, and deliver a natural look. A curved-applicator design is excellent for imparting a curling effect on thin and straight lashes.

    3. Wand: The wand should be ergonomically-designed and easy to hold! It should also offer you a firm grip that won't slip out as you use the product in order to ensure the perfect product placement.

    4. Longevity: The longevity depends on if your mascara is waterproof or smudge-proof! If you want a long-lasting effect, picking a waterproof formula will be helpful as it will resist humidity and sweat and make your eye makeup last a lot longer!

    Now that you have checked out the buying guide, take a look at how you can apply mascara effectively.

    How to Use a Mascara?

    Below are the tips to follow:

    Step 1: Before you start applying your mascara, make sure that the rest of your eye makeup — eyeshadow, eyeliner, kohl, etc. — is done! Curl up your lashes with an eyelash curler, if they are naturally too straight or thin.

    Step 2: Take your mascara wand out in a single pull, and resist pumping it back and forth in the tube to avoid clumping. Now, scrape the excess product on the edges of the tube.

    Step 5: On your lashes, wiggle your wand horizontally in a zigzag motion and apply the product from root to the tip in one stroke. Repeat the same on the other eyes.

    Step 6: After the first coat dries, coat the lashes again with a straight and swift upward swipe. I prefer doing this from the mid-length of the lashes to the tips and spare the roots, to prevent weighing the lashes down or getting any product in the eyes. 

    Step 7: Now, take the leftover mascara on the wand and apply it vertically on your bottom lashes. If you have a specialized applicator brush for the lower lashes, you may use that instead but dipping it in very little product.

    Step 8: Allow your lashes to dry, and you’re good to go!

    Conclusion

    There you go! You have the list of the best mascaras along with the buying and application guide which are enough to help you make a decision like a pro! The mascaras I've suggested are excellent to keep your lashes envy-worthy all day long. However, lastly, I would like to suggest that if you have thin lashes, L’Oreal Paris Volume Building Mascara could be your ideal match! On the other hand, Benefit BADgal Bang Volumizing Mascara is a good choice if you want doll-like lengthy lashes. Lastly, Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara is my personal favorite for giving me that lengthy and curvy lashes that stay all day long without weighing them down!

    FAQ's

    What are the different types of mascara formulas available?
    There are plenty of different formulations out there that focus on different results, like lengthening mascara, volumizing mascara, smudge-proof mascara, tubing mascara, curling mascara, etc.
    What's the difference between waterproof and non-waterproof mascara?
    Waterproof mascaras won't come off even after a shower, you need to use oil or cleansing balm on your lashes to remove the strong formula, while non-waterproof mascaras come off with water only.
    How often should I replace my mascara?
    A bottle of open mascara has a shelf life of about 3-6 months. According to experts, it should be dumped every 6 months to avoid developing bacteria and germs.
    Can mascara be used on eyelash extensions?
    Yes! You can use mascara if you have classic eyelash extensions. However, I recommend not to use any waterproof mascara as it will be difficult to remove from the lashes.
    How can I prevent mascara from clumping?
    Instead of using single strokes from root to tip, wiggle the wand in a zigzag motion as you move the wand upward. This will help the lashes get separated as you work on them.
    What should I do if my mascara smudges or flakes during the day?
    For starters, you can use a smudge-proof mascara that will prevent the mascara from smudging or flaking. Other than that, you can use some loose setting powder under the eyes and on the eyelids to prevent the oiliness which mostly causes flaking and smudging!
    Can I use mascara on my bottom lashes?
    Yes, of course! You can use mascara on your bottom lashes. But I will recommend using the wand vertically for a more natural effect.
    Are there any safety considerations when using mascara?
    Avoid sharing your mascara with people to minimize the chances of building up bacteria and germs. Also, dump your dried-up mascara, and don't try to rehydrate it with a micellar solution.

    Why Trust Pinkvilla

    Our in-house product expert, Sayantani, has meticulously shortlisted the best mascaras from her own experience. Being a makeup enthusiast, she tried and tested a lot of mascaras throughout her life, and she is the go-to person when it comes to taking cues for the best mascara. For this article, she considered parameters like formulations, texture, finish, and longevity before coming up with the verdict. And she hopes that recommendations work for you as well!

    Our product experts study the specifications of every product we suggest and try them out to bring what’s proven to be worthy of your money, time, and energy. We also have subject matter experts from various fields like Fashion, Skincare, Haircare, Home Decor, and Health & Fitness onboard to make sure our suggestions are credible and trustworthy. You can trust Select to be your faithful shopping guide for all the right reasons!

    Author BIO
    reviewer
    Sayantani Deb
    Makeup & Beauty Writer

    Sayantani is a certified hair and makeup professional turned writer with 2+ years of experience in the same genre. Ap More