The 15 Best Drugstore Mascaras For Long, Full Lashes
Finding a mascara that lengthens, volumizes, and accentuates lashes is no easy task. Some mascaras are clumpy, while others make lashes too thin. Some are too expensive, while others are made with ingredients that can irritate your eyes. No matter what mascara woes you're facing, we're here with good news: you can find incredible mascaras at the drugstore for an affordable price, even a few that are celebrity-approved.
When on the hunt for the best drugstore mascara, there are a few factors to consider. For starters, the product needs to help your lashes hold a curl. On top of that, it needs to offer bold color payoff, while also being resistant to flaking. Plus, it needs to give your lashes extra length. Lastly, do you want a waterproof option, or do you prefer a formula that comes off with minimal effort?
While these requirements might seem like a tall order for a product under $25, it's not impossible. The only hard part is finding the best mascara that best fits your personal needs. Do you like fake-eyelash-level drama? Extreme length? Or a clean, all-natural formula that's gentle on the eyes? No matter what your preference is, or even if you like to cocktail your mascaras, we've got you covered with the most affordable and effective drugstore mascaras ahead.
— Additional reporting by Marisa Petrarca and Anvita Reddy
Best Clear Mascara
Clear mascara might sound contradictory, but it's a clever choice for subtly defining and separating your lashes. It's a more understated alternative to traditional colored mascaras, great for makeup minimalists. Shoppers say this one's long-lasting and applies smoothly, not to mention it's dual-ended, with a clear brow gel on the other end. Plus, you can't beat the price.
Best Drugstore Mascara For Dramatic Volume
This Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara went viral for a reason: it's one of the best drugstore mascaras of all time. It offers dramatic volume with zero clumping, all for $5. Plus, the handy wand defines and separates lashes to create a bold makeup look. Read our review of the Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara for more.
Editor Quote: "With just one sweep of the cone-shaped wand, I started to see an increase in length and volume. The brush's soft bristles work to grab each eyelash to define and fan them out, without any clumps. Even after I layered on two coats, my lashes didn't get globby or heavy-feeling. As its name hints, the look can be best described as a natural false-lash effect." — JH
Best Drugstore Mascara For Curl and Length
Get long lashes for an affordable price with the Essence Lash Princess Curl & Volume Mascara. This mascara naturally curls lashes, which is why it goes down in our books as one of the best drugstore mascaras. Read our review of the Essence Lash Princess Curl & Volume Mascara for more.
Editor Quote: "The product feels very familiar to its cult-classic big sister, but the results are more of a wide-eyed, lifted look, rather than the length you get from the original (but that's not to say it doesn't still lengthen, because it does)." — JH
Best Smudge-Proof Drugstore Mascara
Say goodbye to smudges with this Essence Bye Bye Panda Eyes! Smudge-Proof Volumizing & Defining Mascara. For just $5, you can get long, sky-high lashes for hours on end. If this isn't one of the best cheap mascaras, we don't know what is. Read our review of the Essence Bye Bye Panda Eyes! Smudge-Proof Volumizing & Defining Mascara for more.
Editor Quote: "I've worn it a bunch of times since the initial trial run, and it's always garnered the same results: long, thick eyelashes that look good all day long. Plus, at just $5, this is easily one of the most affordable mascaras I've ever tried. The best part? When it comes to removing it, I can get practically everything off with just water and a washcloth. I only need the tiniest bit of cleansing balm to get my lashes completely mascara free." — RR
Best Drugstore Mascara For Natural and Fluffy Lashes
Maybelline Green Edition Mega Mousse Mascara ($5, originally $12)
We're calling it: the Maybelline Green Edition Mega Mousse Mascara is the best cheap mascara. That's because for under 10 bucks, you can get a vegan mascara that's made from 99 percent natural ingredients. Plus, it doesn't clump or flake. Need we say more? Read our review of the Maybelline Green Edition Mega Mousse Mascara for more.
Editor Quote: "I ended up doing three coats of the mascara, dipping the brush back into the tube between each application, and saw a slight difference in my lashes with every swipe. Though the results were very natural-looking, it did take my straight, brown lashes and make them look much fuller and fluffier. There were also zero clumps to be found, even after multiple applications." — Jessica Harrington, senior editor, beauty
Best Flake-Free Drugstore Mascara
Looking for your new favorite cheap drugstore mascara? Look no further than the Maybelline Colossal Curl Bounce Mascara. What we love is that it dries quickly and doesn't smudge throughout the day. It also volumizes and lengthens lashes to create a gorgeous natural look. Read our review of the Maybelline Colossal Curl Bounce Mascara for more.
Editor Quote: "It didn't smudge, or flake, or droop in the slightest. The result was so dramatic, it was even noticeable through my web-camera on Zoom. I got compliment after compliment on my eyelashes." — JH
Best Drugstore Mascara For Fanned-Out Lashes
This Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara delivers effortlessly separated, fanned-out, and voluminous lashes. The wand is pliable, which helps create a natural curl on lashes. Plus, lashes won't get clumpy. If you want one of the best cheap mascaras, we swear by this. Read our review of the Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara for more.
Editor Quote: "The results were truly sky-high eyelashes that practically touched my eyebrows. I was honestly shocked at the difference. If you're someone with naturally long lashes, you might be scoffing at my before-and-after pictures. But let me tell you, my jaw dropped practically to the floor when I saw how long my lashes looked after using this mascara." — RR
Best Clean Drugstore Mascara
This CoverGirl Lash Blast Clean Volume Mascara is a reinvented version of the original CoverGirl Lash Blast, and trust us, it's one of the best drugstore mascaras. Although the formula is different, this product still has the same volumizing power as before. However, it doesn't have any of the bad ingredients since it's clean! Read our review of the CoverGirl Lash Blast Clean Volume Mascara for more.
Editor Quote: "I expected the new formula to be pretty similar to the original (meaning, would be volumizing and lengthening without clumping), but I was still surprised just by how much after applying it for the first time. Having now tried them both, I honestly can't tell the difference between them when it comes to how my lashes look, which is a win — for the brand and for me, seeing as I prefer to use clean cosmetics whenever possible." — JH
Best Tubing Mascara
L'Oréal Paris Makeup Double Extend Beauty Tubes Lengthening 2 Step Mascara ($10, originally $14)
If you're new to tubing mascara, it's a great option for those prone to smudging because it encases each lash in a polymer tube that adds length and is long-wearing, but washes off with warm water. This particular mascara is dual-ended, with a lengthening primer on one and mascara on the other. As one person who rated it five stars put it: "It's like fake eyelashes that you encase your own lashes in."
Best Drugstore Mascara With Fibers
This mascara from Maybelline delivers lift and length without any fallout. It's formulated with synthetic fibers that cling to eyelashes for a longer and more voluminous look. Along with the fibrous formula that seals onto your lashes, the mascara has a fiber-fix brush that helps grab each lash hair for that elongated look. For more information on this unique formula, check out our review of Maybelline's Illegal Length Fiber Extensions Mascara.
Editor Quote: "What I love most about this product is that it lasts for hours without any fallout. I can even wear it during a sweaty workout and know that by the end of it, everything will still be in place. The first time I tested it, I used it without curling my eyelashes and found that it did an excellent job of giving my lashes lift and volume. " — Renee Rodriguez, staff writer and social producer
Best Drugstore Mascara For a Hint of Blue
Covergirl Lash Blast Cleantopia Ultramarine ($10, originally $14)
Covergirl's Lash Blast Cleantopia Ultramarine is a unique blue-black mascara that delivers a slightly dark blue tint to your lashes for a bold yet subtle statement. Its hourglass-shaped wand helps lift and volumize your lashes, and it has a conditioning formula with aloe leaf extract and maracuja oil. It's supposed to be clump, flake, and smudge-proof. Check out the before and after in this Covergirl Lash Blast Cleantopia Ultramarine review.
Editor Quote: "The CoverGirl Lash Blast Cleantopia Ultramarine Mascara separated, lengthened, and added volume to my lashes with just a few swipes, and the tint of blue, while barely noticeable, actually looked great. It also didn't clump or cause fallout throughout the night, which is one of my biggest mascara pet peeves. . . It won't make your lashes look blue, but there is a subtle hint of the hue, so your eyelashes won't look as dark as if you were wearing jet-black mascara." — RR
Best "No Makeup" Makeup Drugstore Mascara
CoverGirl Exhibitionist Uncensored Mascara ($10, originally $13)
This CoverGirl Exhibitionist Uncensored Mascara is one of the best cheap mascaras when it comes to hydrating lashes. It's made with coconut and jojoba oils, which means lashes will stay soft, smooth, and moisturized while you're wearing it. Read our review of the CoverGirl Exhibitionist Uncensored Mascara for more.
Editor Quote: "When I first tried it, I was relieved to see that the spoolie wand coated every single one of my lashes in a dark black pigment. The formula is easy to build on, too — even with the multitude of layers I applied, it never looked clumped. In fact, the mascara just made it look like I was born with really dark, defined, envy-inducing eyelashes." — Sarah Siegel, former assistant editor, POPSUGAR Beauty.
Best Vegan Drugstore Mascara
This bestselling Makeup Revolution 5D Lash POW Mascara is cruelty-free and vegan. It will make your lashes fluttery, long, and volumized with just a few coats. What we love about this cheap drugstore mascara is that it doesn't flake throughout the day. Read our review of the Makeup Revolution 5D Lash POW Mascara for more.
Editor Quote: "It performs incredibly well given its price point. What's more, it's cruelty-free and vegan, if that's something you look out for in your makeup. For me, this is a perfect, affordable all-around mascara." — Tori Crowther, contributor, POPSUGAR UK
Best Drugstore Mascara For Doe Eyes
L'Oréal Paris Bambi Eye Washable Mascara ($10, originally $12)
This L'Oréal Paris Bambi Eye Washable Mascara will give you the fluttery lashes of your dreams. This is one of the best cheap mascaras because it has an innovative wand that helps to separate lashes and create definition. Read our review of the L'Oréal Paris Bambi Eye Washable Mascara for more.
Editor Quote: "The doe-eyed beauty look isn't one that features spidery, dramatic, and borderline clumpy eyelashes. Instead, it's clean, feathery, and ever-so-slightly longer at the outer corners of the eye to create that wide-eyed effect only an illustrated deer is capable of having. The L'Oréal Bambi Eye Mascara checks all of those boxes. Sweep the velvety mascara formula through your lashes and you'll notice an immediate eye-opening difference. The magic is in the wand, which offers a mix of long and short bristles to create separation, volume, and definition for each individual lash — without clumping." — Samantha Sasso, editor, Branded Content
Best Drugstore Mascara to Fake Falsies
Maybelline New York Falsies Surreal Extensions Mascara ($10, originally $13)
The Maybelline New York Falsies Surreal Extensions Mascara will make it look like you have false lashes, all with only a few swipes. Read our editor review here.
Editor Quote: "The fluffy yet stiff brush is packed with extra-long, intertwined bristles that grab each eyelash and coat it in pigment while also separating it from the surrounding hairs. The formula features the brand's 'hybrid fiber technology,' which includes a mix of different-size fibers to extend your lashes beyond their natural length." — JH