There's no denying it: Mascara is easily one of the trickiest makeup products to shop for. Sure, there are plenty of great options out there, but tastes vary widely. While some people want their lashes to look subtle and understated, others want big, bold, statement lashes. And I'll admit the vast disparities when it comes to what "most" people want from their mascara makes my job as a beauty editor quite difficult. In fact, mascara recommendations have become a bit of a running joke between us beauty editors—it's very common for one of us to be busy writing up a rave review of the latest launch while another is frantically typing an unpublishable slating in our group chat.
Having said that though, there is one thing that we can all agree on: We all want some sort of volume. Sure, the intensity of said volume varies from person to person, but you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone out there who doesn't want at least a little bit of a volume boost from their mascara.
The very best crowd-pleasing mascaras, I have learned, are ones whose volumising properties are fully adaptable via application technique. I'm talking about mascaras that pack a seriously impressive volumising punch when you want it and subtle, your-lashes-but-better volume for when you don't.
Most importantly, however, the very best mascaras must, under no circumstances whatsoever, leave lashes looking thick, clumpy or weighed down. Achieving voluminous lashes should never come at the expense of a loss of flutter, after all. And while these mascara criteria might sound a bit too good to be true, I can assure you they're not. In fact, after many years of trying to find the very best volumising mascaras, I've finally drawn up a definitive list, and each one is sure to satisfy every lash want and need.
1. Kevyn Aucoin The Volume Mascara
This mascara is easily one of the most versatile out there. Use the small brush to wiggle the formula into the roots of the lashes for an instantly fuller-looking lash line. It also makes for the ultimate going-out mascara when layered up.
2. Lancôme Le 8 Hypnôse Mascara
I strongly advise you add this new Lancôme mascara to your watch list. If you are yet to try the brand's iconic Hypnôse mascara, believe me when I say you're missing out. It is regarded as one of the (if not the) best mascaras ever created. It adds next-level length that seems weightless and invisible at the same time. This new addition to the line-up possesses the same weightless feel but with a whole load more volume. The best bit, though, is that it's formulated with a whole load of lash-loving ingredients, like amino acids and shea butter, to condition lashes and leave them looking fuller for longer (even when you're not wearing mascara).
3. Yves Saint Laurent Lash Clash Extreme Volume Mascara
YSL mascaras have never quite hit the big time in the way that others have, but this new launch is already making waves, and I can totally see why. While the waxy formula helps to build deep-black, intense volume, the supersized brush ensures not a single lash gets left behind.
4. L'Oréal Paris Lash Paradise
Whatever your lash wants and needs, I insist you give this mascara a go. It adds length, curl and, yep, you guessed it, heaps of volume. It burst onto the beauty scene when rumour spread that Beyoncé was a fan, and it's been an editor favourite ever since. It's nothing fancy, but believe me when I say it makes for the ultimate daily mascara.
5. Dior Diorshow Pump 'n' Volume Mascara
This mascara promises to boost lash volume by 200%, and I can't argue with that. Just a couple of coats leaves lashes looking fuller, intensified, and full of definition.
6. Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara
Yes, Better Than Sex is probably the most popular mascara in the world. I've tried googling that statement to see if I'm right, and it would seem that we haven't yet developed a way to measure mascara popularity on a worldwide scale. What Google results do show, however, is that this mascara sells a lot, has a lot of five-star reviews and comes with a lot of fans. If it's long, voluminous lashes you're after, you're going to fall head over heels for this—trust me.
7. Chanel Le Volume Révolution de Chanel Mascara
This mascara had a whole lot of hype when it first launched, but as time has gone on, it seems to have been forgotten about somewhat. And that is a shame. The brush (which is 3D-printed) has a unique honeycomb structure that somehow ensures it never becomes overloaded with product. Instead, it just allows the waxy formula to glide over lashes, leaving them looking impressively full.
8. Lancôme Monsieur Big Mascara
I'll admit when I saw that Lancôme was launching a new addition to the Hynpôse family (the aforementioned Le 8) that focuses on volume, I was a bit confused. The reason being that Lancôme already has a truly exceptional and widely adored volumising mascara on offer. Monsieur Big has lashes looking long, full, voluminous and fluttery in a matter of seconds. Speaking with every bit of bias, this is probably my favourite mascara of all time.
9. Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara
If this stuff is good enough for Meghan Markle, it's good enough for us mere mortals. Rather than coating lashes, it aims to plump them, creating a fanned-out effect with intense pigment. Truly, it's an astonishing mascara given its price.
10. Benefit They're Real Lengthening Mascara
It's rare for a makeup product to stand the test of time quite as well as this one has. Ten years ago, this mascara was everyone's go-to, and I feel safe in saying it probably still is. In fact, I can barely go one Tube journey in the morning without seeing someone whip this impressive mascara out of their makeup bag. The firm, sturdy brush clutches on to lashes, combs them out to reduce clumping and leaves them looking almost unbelievably voluminous and long.
11. It Cosmetics Superhero Mascara
Personally, I have always considered Superhero to be more of a lengthening mascara than a volumising one, but after reaching out to my beauty-editor friends in a bid to get some unbiased opinions for this roundup, I was proved wrong. In fact, nearly every beauty insider I know swears by the volumising powers of this iconic mascara. It lengthens, intensifies, thickens and treats the lashes all at once.
Shop More Lash-Boosting Products
If you thought all eyelash curlers were made equal, think again. This set from Kevyn Aucoin gives lashes a lift that goes totally unrivalled.
Dot a pencil liner like this one into the lash line to create an illusion of fuller lashes.
If you prefer liquid liners or like to lift the eye with a wing, this pen from Rare Beauty is an absolute must-try.
When it comes to lash volume, priming your lashes can make all the difference to results. I know lots of makeup artists who always have this primer on hand to ensure that any mascara layered over the top works its hardest.
Keep lashes full and long by using a daily lash conditioner. Yes, Revitalash is expensive, but the results speak for themselves.
For when mascara isn't cutting it, these 3/4-length lashes are so natural-looking and beautiful that application is essentially fool-proof.
Shannon Lawlor is a renowned beauty journalist and has contributed to Who What Wear’s beauty content since 2020. As a leading beauty editor, expert and brand consultant, she has over eight years of experience working for some of the industry’s most esteemed titles, including Who What Wear (of course), Glamour UK, Stylist, Refinery29 and Fabulous.
Having also worked behind the scenes with some of the industry’s biggest brands and retailers, Shannon has a unique insight into what people really want from their beauty routines. Understanding that beauty lovers seek honest, open and responsible advice, she has it made her mission to demystify the intimidating world of beauty, taking a no-frills approach to the most relatable topics.
While Shannon is the first to admit she doesn’t hold the answer to every beauty question out there, she is dedicated to sharing her expert insights in a bid to help. As a self-proclaimed lazy girl, Shannon has an affinity for easy-to-use, foolproof beauty products and has made it her mission to scope out the best of the best.
When she’s not working, Shannon is likely soaking in the bath or giving no-holds-barred beauty reviews on Instagram from her bathroom floor.
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