Whether you dress up often or only for special occasions, a faithful tube of mascara is always useful to have on hand. The best mascaras brighten your face and draw attention to your eyes—with just a swipe or two. This may sound easy enough, but actually choosing the right mascara is a a real pain. There are so many factors to weigh: Is the mascara waterproof? Does it actually volumize or lengthen your lashes, or just claim to do both? Do the formula or bristles smudge, flake, clump, or irritate sensitive skin? And is it even affordable?
Of course, there are a ton of options out there that promise to give you the look you desire, whether that’s naturally defined or falsies (sans flaking and fake lashes). These mascaras differ in wands, bristles, and ingredients. Some formulas are waterproof (for the times you’ll tear up), while others wash off easily (a necessity after long days). Some come with slender, comb-like brushes for defined lashes and lengthening, while others offer wide, volume-building barrels for falsie-looking curls. And some are pricy, high-end picks, while the best drugstore mascaras are only a few bucks.
It’s a lot to consider! Luckily, we’ve written about many different types of volumizing mascaras over the years, from ones we’ve rigorously tested for our SELF Healthy Beauty Awards to recommendations we’ve sourced from professional makeup artists and beauty editors.
Below, we’ve gathered some of the best mascaras that experts and editors always keep on hand for an easy lash lift. You’ll find luxury lengthening mascaras from Dior, Gucci, Ilia, Benefit Cosmetics, YSL, Urban Decay, and Too Faced, as well as drugstore go-tos from Maybelline, Covergirl, and L’Oreal Paris—largely available at online retailers like Target, Amazon, Sephora, Nordstrom, Walmart, and Ulta.