Jealousy is a nasty business, and as much as we may covet Julianne Hough's bionic, damage-free strands or Jennifer Lopez's age-resistant complexion, sometimes, we just can't help feeling a touch of envy when a celebrity's beauty game is so on point that it almost hurts. A perfect example? The stab of pain we felt this past award show season every single time we saw Lucy Boynton—and her ridiculously amazing eyelashes—on the red carpet. (Don't bother asking how many times we impulsively booked—and then promptly cancelled—a lash extension appointment in tortured indecision.)
The thing is, while Boynton is, indeed, naturally blessed with perhaps the most gorgeous lashes we've ever seen, we also know (thanks to her go-to makeup artist Jo Baker's Instagram) that certain mascara formulas are behind the enhancement of her insanely pretty gaze. Our point? With the right mascara formula, you can skip the falsies and extensions and head in the direction of long and fluttery lash ecstasy à la Lucy Boynton and pretty much every other lash blessed celebrity we've come across. Even better? You don't have to spend a fortune on said mascaras.
When some of the top makeup artists in the industry told us earlier this year they recommend saving—not splurging—on your mascara formulas, we couldn't have been more thrilled. And while we've already come up with a pretty epic list of some of the best mascara formulas in the industry, we thought we'd take their advice one step further by creating a list of the best drugstore mascaras you, your lashes, and your bank account will truly appreciate.
From the $5 top-selling mascara on Amazon immediately below, to the most note-worthy of waterproof or cruelty-free formulas, here's to the top 20 drugstore mascaras you should most definitely peruse during your next toothpaste and deodorant run.
1. Essence Lash Princess False Lash Lash Effect Mascara
Not only is this falsie-effect mascara gluten- and cruelty-free, it also happens to take home the crown of the best-selling mascara on Amazon. Truth be told, we'd actually never heard of this drugstore mascara, but I did try (and love) a blush from the brand recently, and we'll also let the 2000 plus rave reviews on the retailer's website speak for themselves.
2. L'Oreal Lash Paradise Mascara
Honestly, it was hard to decide whether we should lump this in the best length or the best volume category, but ultimately, our long, fluttery lashes convinced us to go with the former. We routinely spot this pretty pink mascara tube in the kits of makeup artists and think it's one of the best mascara formulas you can get your lashes on point blank.
3. Honest Company Extreme Length Mascara Plus Lash Primer
There's nothing we love more than a multi-talented beauty product, and this double-ended mascara and primer situation from Honest Company satisfies the craving. If you're after long, separated length, this is one of the top-selling fan favorites on Amazon.
4. L'Oreal Double Extend Beauty Tubes Lengthening 2 Step Mascara
In the same multi-tasking lengthening vein comes this double-ended wonder from L'Oreal. It's a great option if your eyes are sensitive and also comes in at a slightly more affordable price if your budget is extra strict this season.
5. L'Oreal Telescopic Original Lengthening Mascara
This long-time cult-classic from L'Oreal stays relevant for a reason—it extends lashes like no other. Thus, it's still a starring MVP on our drugstore mascara roster. If you love your mascara brush thin and precise (not beefy), this Amazon best seller will be your new lash BFF.
1. L'Oreal Voluminous Original Volume Building Mascara
This OG mascara formula has been around for years, but that hasn't stopped the fervor and popularity behind its ultra-volumizing lash-building powers. Makeup artists always tell us it's one of their faves, and it's the second best-selling mascara on Amazon. Not bad for a measly $7, eh?
2. CoverGirl LashBlast Volume Mascara
Confession: I'm absolutely obsessed with this best-of-the-best drugstore mascara from CoverGirl and have been since high school. (Yep, true story!) And apparently I'm not the only one who appreciates the supreme volumizing formula, because it's the third top-selling mascara tube, according to Amazon. Personally, it's one of the only volumizing formulas that doesn't weight my long, straight lashes down, and it also boosts them with separation, curl, and smudge-proof inky black color. Oh, and it's cruelty-free too.
3. Maybelline Lash Sensational Washable Mascara
As one of the most popular mascara picks on Amazon, this drugstore favorite mascara is beloved for its ability to create that covetable, high-drama fan-effect we typically only associate with fake lashes. However, this formula washes off easily every night for a low-maintenance, far more affordable alternative.
4. Maybelline Full 'N Soft Washable Mascara
In addition to yielding uncompromising drama and volume in just a few swipes, we also appreciate that this Amazon best seller is hypoallergenic and fortified with vitamin E so our natural lashes bear less of a brunt and will stay soft, full, and healthy in the long run too.
5. L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Mascara
Okay, so maybe this mascara won't gift your lids with a million lashes, per se, but it will create a very believable illusion of such. With this best-selling drugstore mascara, you'll never see a clump, flake, or smudge, and thanks to the special elastomer applicator (it's extra flexible!), you'll never overdose during your application. Epic volume, sans heavy, lumpy mess.
Separation & Curl
1. Maybelline The Falsies Washable Fiber Mascara
Yes, this cult-loved purple tube of mascara might be known for creating plush, photo-worthy volume, but it's also one of the best curl-inducing mascaras we've ever tried. We blame the strategically designed brush that lacquers every lash with a thick, perfectly curled coat of mascara.
2. Rimmel London Lash Accelerator Mascara Extreme Black
According to rave reviews on Amazon, this jet-black mascara from Rimmel London delivers on length, curl, and separation, making it a true triple-threat and a satisfactory steal at just $9.
3. Maybelline Lash Stiletto Ultimate Length Mascara
Happy Amazon customers agree: What this mascara does for leggy length, it also does for clump-free curl and epic separation. Plus, it's enriched with extra lash-boosting agents like pro-vitamin B5 and boasts a little hint of patent-like shine for some extra flare.
4. Vivienne Sabó Cabaret Première Artistic Volume Mascara
One of the most important keys for achieving ultra-curly fanned-out lashes is a lightweight mascara formula that won't leave lashes too heavily laden with product. (No one wants a droopy, weighed-down flutter!) Thus, this under-the-radar affordable mascara from Vivienne Sabó reigns supreme as one of our favorite formulas. Yes, it's impeccably lightweight for a super-flattering falsie effect, but the cruelty-free formula also lengthens and volumizes to boot.
5. Pacifica Stellar Gaze Length & Strength Mascara Supernova
If you're on the hunt for a vegan and cruelty-free mascara formula that curls, lengthens, and infuses volume into a sparse lashline, we think you'll love this best seller from Pacifica. Coconut oil and vitamin B help strengthen and hydrate to make lashes look better in general, but the expert formula also creates a flashy full-fan effect we love.
1. CoverGirl Clump Crusher Waterproof Mascara
This water- and clump-resistant rendition of CoverGirl's cult-fave formula is one of our go-to mascara tubes when we have zero time for funny business and need a gorgeous application with zero mess or chance of tear or smudge derailment. Plus, the fine-tooth comb promises perfect, super-precise application.
2. Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara
At $7, this iconic hot pink–and-lime tube of mascara might just be the most recognizable (and well-loved) mascara you can find, not just at the drugstore but period. It's great for length and separation, and this waterproof version has you and your lashes set for all of your upcoming summer festivities.
3. Pacifica Aquarian Gaze Water Resistant Mascara
Expertly infused with superfood ingredients like coconut oil, vitamins, and kelp extract, this long-wearing, waterproof, and vegan mascara from Pacific is an expert option for achieving a lush, long, and super-drool-worthy lash effect.
4. Almay Multi-Benefit Waterproof Mascara
This top-rated mascara from Almay is doctor-approved, waterproof, and plays especially nice for those you have sensitive eyes and are more prone to tears or watering. On top of that, lashes will be enhanced with volume, length, definition, and conditioning.
5. Neutrogena Healthy Volume Waterproof Mascara
For super-sized, voluminous lashes that will last through cannonballs and sun-bathing alike, we recommend reaching for this healthy drugstore mascara option from Neutrogena. Olive oil is a starring ingredient, which helps to naturally plump and condition your lashes, while sweet almond oil armors your lashline with an extra layer of strength and protections. And don't worry about clumps, smudges, or flakes—you'll never see them.
This article was published at an earlier date and has since been updated.