Meet the best mascara for any occasion.
Mascaras are one of our favorite products to test out here at Milabu HQ. There are so many different formulas, wands, and lash effects (volumizing, lengthening, etc.) – brands have so many considerations! And, the reality is, mascara is such a personal thing. Some of us prefer more wet formulas, while others prefer drier formulas. And, let’s be honest, there’s a million mascaras on the market, at various price points, and not all are good. Nowadays, you don’t have to break the bank to get a good performing mascara.
Here are some of the characteristics we look for in a best mascara:
- Definition – Separation free of clumping
- Volume and Immediate intense pigment
- Lash Curl – do lashes hold their curl, and
- Minimal smudging/transferring or flaking.
In addition, the specific mascara claims should deliver. If it claims volume, it best deliver. After all, who wants a volumizing formula that makes lashes fall flat?! For an in-depth dive at to how we rate products, check out our rating criteria.
Best Mascara All Around: Lancome Lash Idole
Price: $27.00 >
Why We Love It: Lancome Lash Idole mascara continues to be holy grail status for so many which makes it best mascara overall. The formula provides impeccable volume, length, curl, and definition. Lash Idole’s curved wand lends itself to an easy application, combing through for separation with no clumping. While the formula doesn’t have any water resistant or waterproof claims, but the formula resits smudging, transfer, and flaking for a 10+ hour wear. It’s lightweight, not weighing down lashes keeping them lifted and fanned out all day long. We love that this mascara works for everyday, or glam false-lash effect looks.
Best Luxury: Chanel Le Volume
Price: $35.00 >
Why We Love It: When it comes to a dramatic, false lash effect, few do it better than the luxurious Chanel Le Volume Mascara. Le Volume has a jet black formula that volumizes, lengthens, and fans lashes. Despite its intimidating looking wand (a Chanel exclusive ‘Snowflakes’ brush), you can get a precise application even in the inner corners. The volume, curl, length, and definition is unmatched. When you want to feel ultra-luxe without the effort of falsies, this is the mascara to reach for.
Do be aware that some transfer is normal with this mascara formula. For best results, set the under eye area to minimize transfer.
Best Drugstore Mascara: Maybelline Lash Sensational
Price: $11.99 >
Why We Love It: Lash Sensational has a long wear that resists smudging, transfer, and flaking. Its intense black pigment gives a false lash effect and really gives that va-va-voom volume. We think this is the perfect affordable dupe for one of our faves, the iconic Lancome Lash Idole because it gives that same everyday to glam volume, curl, definition, and length. The curved wand makes for a no-fuss application. Plus, Lash Sensational is both ophthalmologist tested and safe for contact lens wearers.
Best Mascara For Sensitive Eyes: Tower 28 MakeWaves
Price: $20.00 >
Why We Love It: Tower 28 MakeWaves Mascara is the perfect combination of two of my favorite mascaras: Lancome Lash Idole and Maybelline Lash Sensational, which are the standard mascara picks in the pro and value price categories. What makes Tower 28 MakeWaves Mascara even better is that it is a clean formula and its flexible wand.
The wand is unique, with its curved shape and flexible bands of rubber/silicone bristles. It provides length, definition, and enough volume at the roots without clumpy results. The only drawback is it’s not as long wearing as some of its competitors, like caliray Come Hell or High Water, which is a tubing formula (mentioned above). However, since it is water resistant, there is minimal transfer or smudging, and virtually zero flaking.
Best Tubing Mascara: caliray Come Hell or High Water
Price: $24.00 >
Why We Love It: caliray Come Hell or High Water is the mascara that changed our minds about tubing formulas. They tend to have heavier formulas that weight lashes down. But, the caliray mascara changed everything – a clean mascara with a tubing formula? Sign.us.up!
Plus, we love the longevity of caliray Come Hell or High Water Mascara. It’s perfect for summer and those in more humid climates, as it has a water resistant wear with no smudges or transfer. This fluffy brush gives lashes subtle volume, with a huge emphasis on length and curl.
Bonus tip: curl your lashes before and after applying for maximum curl. You can thank us later!
Best 2-in-1: L’Oreal Double Extend Beauty Tubes
Price: $13.99 >
Why We Love It: L’Oreal Double Extend Beauty Tubes™ Mascara is a two-in-one mascara and primer. Begin with the primer to create a base for an opaque-in-just-one-coat application. This tubing mascara gives lashes length, separation, and subtle volume. It has a quick set formula that can get clumpy, so its best to build intensity while the formula is still wet. The best part about this mascara is its budge proof formula that has no flaking, smudging, or transfer. Plus, it removes easily with just warm water at the end of the night!
Most Long Wearing Mascara: Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extensions
Price: $25.00 >
Why We Love It: We all want it – the mascara that doesn’t budge through tears, sweat, rain, or life. Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extensions takes the win for the longest wearing mascara. When we say the Thrive Causemetics is life proof, we mean it y’all! It builds and layers well with no clumping (work in thin layers!) for intense black pigment and mega definition. There’s no flaking, smudging, or transferring with this formula for 12+ hours of wear. You’ll get a little bit of everything with this tubing formula, from length to volume to definition and curl. It is a heavier formula and can weigh down lashes, so we recommend working in thin layers and doing a second lash curl after the mascara has dried. There’s a reason this is the OG tubing mascara!
Best Lengthening: Hourglass Unlocked Instant Extension
Price: $29.00 >
Why We Love It: Hourglass Unlocked Mascara doesn’t claim to be a tubing formula, but we think it is and love it. As described on Hourglass Cosmetics’ website, this mascara gives the look of lash extensions and has a film-forming technology for a smudge-proof wear. Sounds like a tubing formula to us! This mascara promises length, lift, and definition – and it delivers. In addition, you get subtle volume at the base of your lashes for a thick, full lash look. The long wearing formula has no transfer or smudging and minimal flaking (the flakes don’t stick and can be easily wiped away). Then, when it’s time for removal, it removes easily with warm water.
We do want to note that the packaging of this Hourglass mascara has been reported faulty by some users. On some tubes, the wand gets stuck and removed from the cap.
Best Volumizing: YSL Lash Clash
Price: $29.00 >
Why We Love It: Not only is the packaging of YSL Lash Clash Mascara large and in charge, but the formula is too. This YSL features a thick, tapered boar bristle brush. Lash Clash promises a ton of volume, and it definitely delivers. Extreme volume is what you’ll get with this mascara. The drier formula does lend itself to a bit of flaking, but they can be wiped away pretty easily. I will say, there can be some smudging and transfer, so we recommend setting under eyes and wearing at least an eye primer on the eyes. If you want ultimate volume, YSL Lash Clash will give it to you.
Best Clean Mascara: MERIT Clean Lash
Why We Love It: A newer discovery by the Milabu Team is MERIT Mascara, Clean Lash. If you want fluttery, wispy lashes, this mascara will deliver! Clean Lash is a tubing formula that will never smudge or transfer, keeping lashes with a flirty curl all day long. The skinny, natural bristle wand is easy to control and coat every lash for perfect definition and separation. You won’t experience any clumping with this formula – just beautiful, lengthened, wispy lashes.
Plus, it’s a tubing formula, which means the easiest removal at the end of a long day – just some warm water and light pressure and you’ll be mascara free in no time.
Most Precise Applicator: Saie Mascara 101
Why We Love It: We love everything Saie Beauty does (can we talk about their Dew Blush for a second? Gorgeous!) so it’s no surprise this mascara made our list of favorites. Saie Mascara 101 is the perfect everyday, no frills mascara. It gives lashes ultimate length and lift, while separating and defining. Mascara 101 applies like a dream with no clumping and we love the little spiky ball at the end for getting those pesky inner corner lashes. It has one of the most precise applicators without being too tiny and sparse (you know the ones). Coupled with minimal flaking, transfer, or smudging and you have yourself a winner!
Best Indie Mascara: EM Cosmetics Pick Me Up Volume
Price: $24.00 >
Why We Love It: OG Beauty YouTuber Michelle Phan knew what she was doing when creating her own makeup line, EM Cosmetics. Pick Me Up Volume is a tubing formula that wears beautifully with no transfer or smudging and minimal flaking. The silicone rubber bristles allow for a precise application that that separates and defines lashes. It gives a bit of volume, adds some length, and defines lashes. The only thing this mascara lacks in is holding curl. It’s a heavier formula and can weigh down lashes. To prevent your curl falling as much as possible, curl before you apply your mascara and after it fully dries!
Most Clump-Free Applicator: ILIA Limitless Lash
Price: $28.00 >
Why We Love It: It’s no surprise Limitless Lash Mascara has won all the awards over the years. It’s just that good. The unique wand makes it perfect for grabbing hold of each lash, perfectly separating and adding length without clumping. This mascara has a long wear with minimal flaking, smudging, and transfer. It was one of the first clean mascara formulas that is actually high performing. Sensitive eyes, rejoice!
Best Korean Mascara: Clio Kill Lash Superproof Mascara Extreme Volume 04
Price: $18.00 >
Why We Love It: Korean Beauty often has more gentile formulas as they use traditional herbal ingredients that have been used generation after generation. A Korean cosmetic product we love is Clio Kill Lash Mascara. We found this makeup product through searching Amazon’s best mascaras and were intrigued and knew we had to test it out. Of course, as with many Korean beauty products, this mascara was a total win. It provides volume, length, lift, and definition with an all-day (8+ hour) smudge, transfer, and flake proof wear. Without claiming so, it acts like a tubing formula which we love. If you’re a lover of Korean beauty, Clio Beauty mascara is one to check out.
Do note that this formula can be messy to apply since it has a bigger, fluffy wand. It’s also not one of the most accessible mascaras since it can only be purchased in the US through Amazon.
Most Innovative: Guide Beauty Lash Wrap
Why We Love It: The reason we picked Guide Beauty Lash Wrap Mascara as the most innovative is all in the ergonomic handle design. It has a comfortable grip applicator that resembles a pop socket to help guide and steady the hand. This is perfect for someone who has a hard time holding onto smaller items or who has shaky hands. Aside from the ergonomic design, the formula is great too. Lash Wrap is a tubing mascara that is long wearing, volumizing, lengthening, and defining. It’s safe for sensitive eyes, dermatologist tested, and ophthalmologist tested. The one thing we will say, is the formula is very wet, which contributes to a messy application and the wand getting goopy easily. It’s one of those you need to clean before you use!
What Are MILABU PICKS?
Edited by Maddie
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