You might say I'm a little bit of a lash fiend. Not only are my long (yet extremely thin) lashes my favorite feature, but mascara was also the first type of makeup I started to dabble in back in middle school. Back then, the mascara I chose probably had more to do with flashy packaging or overly exaggerated commercial claims, but these days, I know better.
As someone with thin, droop-prone lashes, I know the best mascaras will obviously lend drama via thickness and volume, but they also need to add flake-free length and no-clump separation. Oh, and let's not forget they need to be lightweight enough to maintain the curl I work hard to create with my eyelash curler beforehand. If a mascara is heavy and wet, as Randy Jackson might say, that's going to be a no from me, dawg.
Since middle school, I've had quite a few years to search for and experiment with the best mascaras for thin lashes, and I've found a healthy assortment of flutter-enhancing formulas for every single budget. Whether you want to save, spend, or splurge, I've shared four viable mascara options per spending category. Ahead, 12 top-rated volumizing mascaras I (and so many happy reviewers) absolutely swear by.
Save: $10 and Under
Amazon: 4 stars, 7076 ratings
I might be biased, but I've been using this cult-loved drugstore mascara since high school, and in terms of volume (plus length, curl, and separation), I'm not sure if I've ever found another mascara that can compare. I'm not alone. This mascara receives seriously high praise on Amazon—just look at that rating! Covergirl has come out with multiple iterations of Lash Blast, but this OG orange tube is my forever favorite.
Ulta: 4.3 stars, 71 ratings
Essence is truly a dark horse in the world of drugstore makeup. I've been impressed by every single product I've tried, and while the brand actually makes a whole slew of highly rated mascaras, it's this volumizing pick that garners the most love. (In fact, it's consistently sold out on Ulta's website!) Luckily, you can still snap it up at a few other retailers like Amazon or CVS.
Amazon: 4 stars, 855 ratings
For a doe-eyed mascara vibe, there is simply no better pick than L'Oréal's Bambi-inspired formula. Not only does it beef up lashes with eye-opening volume, but it also keeps lashes long, curled, and free of maddening clumps. It's a newer formula, which accounts for the smaller number of reviews as compared to some of the others.
Amazon: 4.5 stars; 10,064 ratings
A volume-enhancing pick for anyone with thin lashes, Maybelline touts this formula as one of its top fan favorites on its website. The unique fan shape of the brush catches each and every lash from root to tip so that your gaze looks significantly wider, brighter, and more dramatic in the best way possible.
Spend: $11 to $25
Sephora: 4 stars, 4000 ratings
One of the most important traits to look for in a volumizing mascara for thin lashes is how it layers. Adding multiple coats shouldn't weigh them down or result in clumps and flakes, and this top-rated mascara from Benefit Cosmetics excels in that area, in particular. Layer after layer and hour after hour (the formula promises 36 hours of durability), this mascara keeps lashes lifted and super full. The key is in the unique aero-particles, a space technology that the brand touts as one of the absolute lightest materials.
Dermstore: 5 stars, 189 ratings
Everyone from models to my 73-year-old mom seems to love this mascara and applaud its impressive multitasking ability. Not only does it lend exceptional volume and length to thin lashes, which has garnered it high praise and lots of five-star reviews, but it also features nourishing ingredients like olive oil and provitamin B5 to preserve your lashes' health in the long run, too.
Sephora: 4 stars, 5000 ratings
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.
Ulta: 4.3 stars, 971 ratings
This mascara is SO good, yet it's often overlooked. The color is super inky-black, and a flexible, melding of waxes expertly builds volume and drama without making your lashes feel clumpy or crusty—a very hard feat that most mascaras can't achieve.
Splurge: $26 and Over
Nordstrom: 5 stars, 1200 ratings
It doesn't get any chicer than whipping out a mascara from Chanel, and this is one of the top mascaras I rely on for beefing up my ultra-thin lashes. It builds and layers exceptionally well, and I love to comb through my lashes with this styling brush, in between coats to enhance separation and length even further.
Dermstore: 5 stars, 162 ratings
Across lots of different retailers, this lesser-known volumizing mascara brought in scores of high ratings and gushing feedback, especially among those who have long or thin lashes prone to droopiness, clumping, and flaking. Plus, this formula features conditioner jojoba oil so your lashes will look and feel better sans mascara as well.
Nordstrom: 4.5 stars, 477 ratings
This is SUCH a classic, long-loved formula, but according to reviews (and its ever-present occupancy in my makeup bag), it still has major legs. It's super durable in terms of its wear and does battle against common mascara side effects like flaking and smudging. According to the brand, this mascara builds volume lash by lash as opposed to traditional volumizing formulas that create the appearance of volume by clumping lashes together—key for those of us with thin lashes!
Nordstrom: 4 stars, 222 ratings
I talk about this mascara all the time, but as someone who has tried so many "volumizing" formulas with—I'll be honest—very disappointing results, I have to praise this fan-favorite from Charlotte Tilbury. It's one of the few mascaras that not only thicken and lengthen my lashes but also keep them perfectly curled after I use my lash curler. I feel like the brand's Legendary Lashes mascara gets more love and attention, but if you seek a glossy, voluminous flutter, this is the true winner in my eyes.
This article was originally published at an earlier date and has been updated.