I've always really liked my long lashes (they actually happen to be my favorite feature), so I'm not entirely sure why I opted to get lash extensions a few years back when I first moved to L.A. I had an arsenal of tried-and-true mascaras I was actually completely satisfied with, but the perpetually curious beauty investigator in me just had to try the buzzy treatment for myself.
Long story short: I kind of hated them. Sure, my lash extensions looked fantastic and they saved me time and effort each morning, but I found that they irritated my eyes. I also had trouble removing the other makeup I liked to wear (like concealer) and was—perhaps irrationally—extremely paranoid I'd contract a horror story–level infection that would cause all of my lashes to fall out forever. (I guess I had watched one too many extension-gone-wrong vides on YouTube.)
So, after only two weeks in, I promptly got my extensions removed and have never looked back. In lieu, I've swapped in lots of great mascara formulas—many of which are infused with volume- and length-boosting fibers. As the years have worn on, I've noticed a pattern where I receive an influx of lash compliments whenever I'm wearing a fiber-infused mascara, and I've even had complete strangers at the gym ask if I had extensions.
Being the mascara fanatic that I am, I'm sharing all of my favorite fiber formulas along with the mascara primers that enhance your lashes even further. Keep scrolling for the 12 best fiber mascaras that'll convince you to forgo the extensions.
#12: Younique Moodstruck Epic 4D One-Step Fiber Mascara
I'll admit that I'd never heard of this brand until I was sent its 4-in-1 fiber mascara tube last spring. As someone has tried probably 100 different formulas in my life as a beauty editor, I can say with confidence this is one of the best options if you seek long, plush, super-fluttery lashes. According to the brand, the exclusive formula features the next generation in fiber mascara technology that creates thick, fan-like results that last for a full 12 hours of wear.
#11: J.Cat Beauty Love Live Lash Faux Fiber Mascara
For less than $5, this is one of the best fiber mascaras to try out if you're looking to save on cash. It's one of the highest-rated fiber formulas at Ulta and helps keep lashes healthy and nourished thanks to smart additions like grape-seed and coconut oil.
#10: Lashfood Lash Extensions in a Bottle
One of my biggest pet peeves with lots of fiber mascaras I've tried over the years is flaking. This ingenious never flakes, lasts all day, and it even has a built-in primer so you don't have to bother with buying a separate tube.
#9: Pacifica Dream Big Volumizing Mascara
On the hunt for a natural fiber mascara option? I like this option from Pacifica. It boasts all-natural plant fibers to beef up even the thinnest lashline line and is also easy to layer for some drama. Plus, it has a cool 7-in-1 formula premise with an infused lash serum, a 2-in-1 brush, and all the lash-gifting perks you want (like length, volume, lift, conditioning, and ultra-rich color).
#8: Maybelline Falsies Lash Lift Mascara
Whether you prefer the waterproof version or regular (as shown), mascara reviewers everywhere deem this drugstore classic one of the best fiber-enriched mascara options. Hyper-affordable, this lash-lifting wand from Maybelline has a strategic, double-curbed lifting brush which works in harmony with the fiber-infused mascara to lift, plump, and lengthen every last lash. It's ophthalmologist tested and also won't do any of those annoying things like clump, smudge, or flake.
#7: Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara
Brimming with luxe ingredients like olive oil, this fiber mascara delivers one of the most natural-looking finishes. The formula is designed to be extra nourishing so your lashes feel soft and velvety but also capture mega-long length with an ultra-glossy finish.
#6: Milk Makeup Kush High Volume Mascara
The high praise and gushing reviews this mascara has received prove the buzzy, hemp-infused formula isn't simply a gimmick or marketing ploy. The key to this formula's mega volumizing power is all in the shape of its thickening fibers, which are heart-shaped rather than cylindrical.
#5: Lorac Pro +Fiber Mascara
I go wild for a fluffy, plush mascara brush, and this 2-in-1 primer-fiber-mascara hybrid is like the best pair of falsies or an expensive lash extension treatment in a foolproof tube. It features nylon fiber which cline to each of your individual lashes to create maximum extension and curl. Plus, thanks to the handy narrowed tip, you're able to coat even the tiniest, hard-to-reach eyelashes near the inner and outer corners of your eye. So smart!
#4: Dior Diorshow Lash-Extension Effect Volume Mascara
Dior's iconic Diorshow mascara formula is one of the most OG mascaras in the industry, so this new iteration (which features a special, microfiber-enriched formula) is a welcome new addition. Essentially, the brand created it to re-create the look of the false lashes makeup artists use on the runway. It even has a patented air-lock wipe to keep the formula from coming into contact with the air and drying it out.
#3: Jane Iredale PureLash Lengthening Mascara
Not only is this best-of-the-best fiber mascara clean and non-comedogenic, but it also boasts a super ingenious brush design (it's dual-ended) in addition to amazing ingredients like extension-enhancing triple-length cellulose fibers, seaweed lipids, and wheat protein.
#2: Model Co Fibre Lash Mascara
I'll be honest: The mega-long finish of this two-part fiber mascara has probably garnered me more compliments (and resulted in more subsequent orders) than any other beauty product I own. I've had strangers come up to ask if I'm wearing falsies or have lash extensions, and I truly swear using this duo from Australian beauty company, Model Co, doubles the length of your lashes sans flakes and clumps. Yes, it's a splurge, but it's a way better deal longterm than a pricey extension habit. (Just saying!)
#1: Glossier Lash Slick Mascara
Want to try my ride-or-die? Try the best mascara of all-time, Glossier Lash Slick. Of course, that's just my personal opinion, but I've never tried another fiber mascara that extends and separates so dang beautifully. I have long, thin lashes that are prone to drooping, and this formula manages to give them extension-like length plus a subtle curl and lift without weighing them down, smudging, or clumping. I'm obsessed and can't live without this mascara. (Seriously!)
5 More Ways to Maximize Your Results
Swipe on a Lash-Enhancing Serum
To encourage your natural lashes to live their healthiest, longest life, I'm all for a luxe lash-enhancing serum. This one from Grande Cosmetics is my favorite since it's one of the few formulas I've tried that doesn't irritate my eyes and has actually given me visible results. It's infused with all kinds of good stuff like vitamins, antioxidants, and amino acids, which promote longer, thicker lashes. I saw results after about one month. This guy will also help restore lash health if you've previously been committed to lash extensions.
Add Some Hydration
Eye drops are never a bad idea, and as someone who deals with perpetual dryness and quick-to-irritate eyes, I love to have soothing and brightening eyedrops handy at all times. Plus, I'm convinced clear eyes help make your eyes pop even more. Lumify makes the industry favorite.
Use a Lash Curler
If you're not already using a lash curler, you truly don't know what you're missing. My lash curler is one of my single, most-prized beauty possessions, and even if it's the one thing I do before I leave the house, it's a clutch step that instantly makes me look more awake and bright-eyed. And, of course, if you curl your lashes prior to using a fiber mascara, your results will be all the more glamorous. This one from Tweezerman is my go-to model.
Prep With a Primer
I've already mentioned this one (and supplied lots of coordinating options up top!), but combing a lush primer through your lashes before you add your mascara will make them look even longer and thicker (further encouraging that falsie and extension effect).
Add a Curl-Locking Mascara as a Topcoat
Just like a primer can condition and bulk-up your lashes pre-mascara, one of my secret tips for getting super-long, extension-esque lashes is to use a glossy, definition- and curl-enhancing mascara on top of your fiber mascara as a topcoat. I've used this exact formula from Dior for years and haven't found another that even comes close! After my fiber mascara has set, I'll add one to two coats of this one to seal in the length and lock-in attention-grabbing curl. It works like a charm.