The Ultimate Mascara Guide

Don’t get caught up in those “do all” mascaras that promise volume, length and beyond. A single tube can pack only so many effective ingredients, but that doesn’t make them any less desirable. From big and bushy brushes to carbon black formulas, we’re breaking down the best curling, lengthening, volume and waterproof mascaras that will make your lashes look their best.

By Kara Manos of Politics of Pretty

Curling: The resins and waxes in curling mascaras are used to lift and bend stick-straight lashes.

Dior Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara ($28.50)
Clinique High Impact Curling Mascara ($16)
Givenchy Phenomen’Eyes Mascara ($38)

Lengthening: Mascara formulas that boast nylon fibers act as an extension on short lashes.

Read Next:
A Fall Skincare Edit

Benefit They’re Real! ($23)
Revlon Lash Potion Volume + Length Mascara ($4.99)
Cargo LashActivator ($25)

Volume: For a high drama look, opt for wands that are big and bushy.

CoverGirl LashBlast Fusion Mascara ($8.99)
Physicians Formula Organic Wear Jumbo Mascara ($9.99)
Yves Saint Laurent Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils Babydoll ($30)

Waterproof: Save these tubes for your best friend’s wedding, a hit tear-jerker film or anything else that might bring on the waterworks.

Maybelline Volum’ Express The Colossal Waterproof Mascara ($6.99)
bareMinerals Flawless Definition Waterproof Mascara ($18)
Lancome Hypnose Waterproof Custom Volume Mascara ($27)

Read Next:
6 Fall Beauty Looks We're Trying (Even Though We Have Nowhere To Go)

Loved this post?

Subscribe to Glitter Guide to receive the latest blog posts, creativity resources and shopping recommendations delivered straight to your inbox.

Author: Kara Manos

Kara blogs at Politics of Pretty, a go-to beauty resource. She’s been featured in People StyleWatch and Byrdie as a top beauty blog. Connect with her on Instagram.

  • I really like L’Oréal Voluminous. I’m currently using DiorShow, but I still prefer the L’Oréal mascara. Colossal was not bad either. And Rimmel has a couple good ones (pretty affordable too!). Benefit They’re Real was lengthening, but in a daytime kind of was, and so was Buxom (don’t know if you’ve tried that one, but it’s available at Sephora). After all that, still a fan of the Voluminous mascara by L’Oréal!

  • Loved this guide, only wish you included a part for sensitive/contact wearing eyes. I’ve had a lot of problems over the years with different mascara brands making my eyes itchy and watery. And not all brands are contact safe.

    • At the beginning of the article, I believe the girl said she purposely left her contacts in…so you might want to read the article see if it opens ur eyes…no pun intended.

      • I don’t know what article you are reading, but nothing here says anything about contacts (asides the comment section). Also, why you are commenting on a two year old article is baffling.

  • I have a love-hate relationship with Mascara…I always try to but different ones and try them out…and sometimes I just hate how much it doesn’t make an effect!! I’ll surely be trying some of these mascara’s soon…I have an obsession with makeup!!

    Andrea Fer

  • Have found that my lashes seem to look their best when I use a lengthening one & then a volumizing one. Maybelline’s Lash Discovery or Stiletto & Loreal’s Double Extend (has 2 wands, 1 with white nourishing base coat) all do well for definition, separation, & lengthening. Maybelline’s Colossal Volume & Mega-Plush Volume, as well as Loreal’s Voluminous Carbon Black, work great for making them thicker/fuller. My preference is always for waterproof formula too– esp since I live in a climate where it rains & snows quite a bit, & when going out to an event or dressed up for an occasion I want it to last & not wear off fast, & definitely don’t want the possibility of black smudges & streaks on my face. If you’ve had trouble removing waterproof mascara, then try using a large cotton oval/round pad with coconut oil or baby oil before washing your face & it should come off fairly easily. For me, these have seemed to be the best mascaras for the $ that do the job just as well if not better than some of the more expensive ones. Have experienced some burning/irritation, eyes watering etc. with a few Revlon & Cover Girl ones- not sure why; however, a couple of them seriously smelled like Sharpie marker to me. While it might be harder to get the more “glam look”, for those that have more sensitive eyes or wear contacts where it’s difficult to wear mascara at all, I think Almay & Physician’s Formula have a couple decent options. Taking into consideration that I use quite a bit of mascara, the fact that regardless of brand it’s a product that will tend to dry up or change in consistency a bit (i.e. get a little “gloppy”, if that’s a real word) over time, & for health/hygiene reasons it’s recommended you change out or get new mascara to use every 4-6 wks (as is the case with our toothbrush), I refuse to spend more than $8-12 max for a tube of mascara- just not worth it to pay 2 or 3 times as much! I’d rather use the $ saved towards some pretty, glittery eyeliner/shadow or good sparkly nail polish. Also, when time allows, using an eyelash curler before applying mascara always seems to be a big help, along with slowly wiggling the wand back & forth when applying it & then sort of twisting or rolling the wand upwards & back towards you so that the mascara gets distributed more evenly & smoothly. Hope this helps at least a few of you! :)

Comments are closed.