Updated 8 March 2022
Are you lost in the mascara jungle? Amongst the many products with their promises of eternal lashes, it's easy to lose track. We tested all types of mascara. Our best in test is Hourglass Caution Extreme Lash Mascara, which provides both volume and good durability.
An excellent budget alternative is L.A Girl Fiber Lash Mascara, which uses fibres to make your lashes impressively long.
The best volume mascara and the best seller was Lancôme Hypnôse which lasts a long time, has an easy-to-use brush and leaves no clumps. For those who value the length of their lashes, we recommend Elizabeth Arden Grand Entrance Mascara, which is our choice for best length mascara and efficiently bends the lashes upwards while giving a stylish and elongating result. The best luxury mascara was Lancôme Grandiose Extreme Mascara, which thanks to a small brush, can get into every nook and create a luscious fan-like effect.
Our tests are independently conducted and reflect the test editor's honest and objective opinions. Selection of products and test results are in no way influenced by manufacturers, retailers or other internal or external parties.
We carry out our tests ourselves and test all products as they are intended to be used. In our tests of different mascaras, we asked a professional makeup artist to use the mascaras, both in their work and on their own face. We also had two further people of different ages test the mascara, one of whom was someone who wears contact lenses. In our tests, we have focused on examining the following:
Colour, packaging and wand: What does the product promise? How are the tube and wand designed? What colours are available?
Use: What do the wand, brush and formula feel like on the lashes? How easy or difficult is it to apply? Is the product scented? Is it easy to use for those with very sensitive eyes?
Result: What result does it produce? How long do the lashes stay looking immaculate and does the mascara create thick lashes?
In addition to this, we have also included how much the tube contains together with how economical the mascara is, comparing this to the price of the product and then selecting the test’s winner.
Mascara that gives such great results you won't believe your eyes!
Type: Volume Price class: Premium Quantity: 9.4 g
With a tube that shouts glamour, it feels like you're justified in stretching your make-up budget for this luxury mascara from Hourglass. The fact that it delivers a result that can be mistaken for false eyelashes makes the content almost as luxurious as the packaging hints at.
Hourglass Caution Extreme Lash Mascara is a mascara that provides both length and volume. You get the most striking results when used with a lash curler. But even without one, this mascara helps to expand your lashes so much that they naturally look great.
With a mascara that gives this much volume, you would often experience problems with it flaking and smudging. But that's not the case with Caution Extreme Lash. Instead, it remains perfectly in place even through busy working days and fun-filled nights on the dance floor.
This mascara is easily washed away with your normal face wash. Although you may sometimes need to have a quick go with an eye make-up remover. This will depend on how many layers you've applied. In other words, you may have to spend a few minutes extra in front of the bathroom mirror in the evening. But given how great your eyelashes will look throughout the day, it's still worth investing a couple of extra minutes.
A volumising mascara that gives you instantly longer lashes
Type: Volume and length Contents: 5ml
Lancôme Lash Idôle Mascara is marketed as having a unique gel formula. Frankly, it’s hard to tell, but this is undeniably a mascara that provides plenty of volume without clumping.
Lancôme Lash Idôle Mascara not only adds volume, it’s also great at lengthening and lifting your lashes. This non-clumping mascara provides your lashes with volume, length and lift, with a Bambi-like eye-opening effect.
It also lasts well, even if it tends to flake by evening time. Admittedly, these are mostly tiny specks, but this might be annoying if you were hoping to go straight from the office to an after-work party without redoing your makeup.
The wand is neat and slightly curved. It may be small, but it has 360 micro-bristles in different sizes. This means that it’s easy to apply mascara to all your eye lashes, even the fine, short ones near the corners. The wand’s ability to reach all lashes so effectively helps to explain why this mascara creates such excellent volume and length.
The cost undeniably puts this mascara in the higher price segment, and each of us has a limit on how much money we’re prepared to spend on a mascara. But if you’re happy to spend a little extra on a mascara, then choosing Lancôme Lash Idôle Mascara is a good investment .
Get long lashes and fantastic durability with this mascara
Type: Length and volume Price class: Budget Quantity: 8 ml
When you first unscrew the lid from L.A Girl Fiber Lash Dimensional Mascara, you’ll be amazed by the narrow and not-particularly-inviting brush. Nor do the first few strokes on your eyelashes change that opinion – until you look in the mirror and see the results. Because this mascara delivers lash length that you just can’t ignore.
As the name indicates, this is a fibre mascara. This means the product contains small fibres that help give your lashes length not normally possible without false eyelashes. The fibres also give a little extra volume. But the biggest benefit of L.A Girl Fiber Lash Dimensional Mascara is undoubtedly how long your lashes become in just a couple of seconds. If you also take the affordable price into account, it's really difficult to find a product that gives such striking results.
This mascara simply stays put – not even a heavy rain shower will get in the way. Even if you go to bed with your make-up on, you won't wake up with panda eyes in the morning. You might have a tiny shadow, but no more. The only disadvantage is that it lasts so long that it's rather difficult to remove. You need more than just water and your normal face cleansing routine; you need to get out the cotton wool pads and eye make-up remover to get it 100% off.
Finding mascara this great for such a cheap price almost feels like a mission impossible. But it has proven possible…
Easy-to-use wand and the best mascara for volume for a friendly price – and top rated among professionals!
Type: Volume mascara Price class: Luxury Size of tube: 6 ml
L’Oréal's Million Lashes series contains a number of mascaras that give different amounts of volume. The Fatale mascara is the best budget mascara and easily the best mascara for volume intended to give definition! An unusually small and neat wand - for a volume mascara - covers everywhere and neatly separates the lashes. It’s perfect if you want to wear a volume mascara every day. We also like the fact that the wand doesn't require any special instructions. You just apply it normally, unlike many other mascaras where you have to move the brush on a particular angle. The result is impressive and definitely comparable with mascaras that are twice as expensive. The tube contains a relatively large quantity which also makes it good value for money and deservedly named as the best budget mascara. The mascara lasts all day and is then easy to remove at night.
Exciting mascara that is the best mascara for long lashes and those with sensitive eyes!
Type: Length and volume Price class: Luxury Contents: 6 ml
An unobtrusive tube conceals a magnificent mascara for short lashes that doesn't just give the length it promises to your lashes, but also stays on through both rainstorms and blizzards. Clinique Lash Power Mascara is the best mascara for long lashes and great for separating. It is a type of mascara known as a tubing mascara, which means the mascara sits around the lashes like a tube and hardens so it doesn’t flake or clump. It is also water-resistant. What distinguishes a tubing mascara from a normal waterproof one is that despite the fact that it tolerates rain, tears and sweat, you simply remove it with lukewarm water; you don't need either soap or make-up remover, which is another reason why people with sensitive eyes love this product. Simply dip a cotton wool pad in lukewarm water and hold it against the lashes for a moment to remove the mascara.
And it isn't just the durability and easy removal that makes this mascara for short lashes a winner. The brush is substantial without being clumsy, and it's easy to use, making it simple to get really close to the root of the lashes, resulting in long and well-defined lashes. After just one layer, lashes become both longer and fuller, and if you curl them before use, you're not far from the notorious false lash effect. Lash Power Mascara from Clinique is so good that you almost want to cry with happiness, and of course with this long lasting mascara, you can because it won't run in the slightest.
An iconic mascara that still holds its own
Type: Precision and length Price class: Premium Quantity: 6 g
If you always end up with panda eyes after a day wearing mascara, it may feel impossible to find a product that stays where it should. But don’t despair – this classic tubing mascara from Blinc could be the answer to your make-up prayers.
Blinc was one of the first tubing mascaras to be launched. A tubing mascara surrounds your lashes and stays in place all day. But you can simply wash it away with water as long as it is warmer than 38 degrees. The water makes the product slide off your lashes without requiring eye make-up remover.
Blinc's tubing mascara doesn’t produce any volume to speak of, but that's not the point of it either. Instead, this is a mascara that will stay put no matter what you get up to with it on. Rain, sweaty running sessions, weepy weddings – Blinc will take you through all of life's most challenging situations.
It separates your lashes well and gives a nice black colour. It's also suitable for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers, largely because it simply doesn't smudge.
If you constantly have a problem with smudgy and flaky mascara, Blinc is made for you!
Type: Defining Price class: Medium Quantity: 8.5 ml
If you have short lashes that need a lot of mascara in to be visible – then Curl it up! Defining Mascara from Indy Beauty is a great choice. This Swedish, vegan brand stops shy lashes from feeling sorry for themselves.
Not only does this mascara have a lengthening effect, it also boosts the volume of your lashes. And if you use a lash curler too, then even if you have the most timid of eyelashes you’ll see a really marked lift and improvement.
Vegan products are sometimes rumoured to be less durable than animal-based alternatives, but with this mascara you don’t need to worry about whether or not it will stay in place throughout the day. It may flake a little if you get really hot or at the end of a long and busy day, but the flakes never form together into clumps under your eyes. Instead, your lashes just lose a bit of their volume, which isn’t something to get upset about. We’ve had no dark panda rings, and even after tough gym sessions, the mascara still remains in place without much flaking.
Overall, this is an easy-to-use mascara that works well on your lashes – and you can’t say fairer than that. Given that it’s also vegan and cruelty-free, we think this is a real no-brainer.
A non clumping mascara with fantastically good durability and a small neat brush!
Type: Volume mascara Price class: Budget Size of tube: 9.4 ml
This is a non clumping mascara for length and volume that gives really attractive black lashes. Your lashes will be separated and stay like that throughout the day, with no deposits accumulating under your eyes. The wand is small and easy to get into all the corners. The slightly thin formula of the mascara makes it tricky to build up volume, but the fantastic durability, and the fact that it doesn't clump at all, certainly make up for that. Spend a little more on this mascara for length and experience a mascara that doesn’t clump for great results. Maybe it’s time to forget the rest and choose this mascara for length and volume? There is a reason why it is a best seller!
A lengthening mascara for straight lashes that effectively curls and extends the lashes upwards. It’s also available in two shades!
Type: Length mascara Price class: Luxury Size of tube: 8.5 ml
The narrow curved wand is easy to use and the mascara is effortless to apply. The lashes are effectively pressed upwards and simultaneously given a lot more length. One of our testers, who has long straight lashes, was extremely impressed and hardly needed to use an eyelash curler when using this lengthening mascara. The mascara is available in two shades – an intensive black and a softer dark brown colour. The result is extremely reliable and survived a sudden rain shower without any problems. At the same time, it was easy to remove later in the evening. It's true that the tube contains relatively little mascara and the price is quite high, but Elizabeth Arden's mascara still gets a high score because it does exactly what it promises - and you really won't be disappointed, especially if you want a lengthening mascara for straight lashes.
A small wand makes it possible to get to all of your small lashes and create a beautiful volumizing fan effect!
Type: Multi mascara Price class: Luxury Size of tube: 10 ml
The volumizing mascara wand has a curved shaft that at first glance feels unnecessarily complicated, but when you've got used to it, it's an innovation you won't want to be without. The small wand and curved shaft make it easier to get to each lash and get that volumizing "fan effect" that so many other mascara manufacturers emphasise in their marketing - but so rarely succeed in delivering. You even get instructions with the mascara on how to use it. Also, with just a few layers, your lashes will get very good volume and great curl, separation and length. The tube is attractive and feels luxurious and contains a reasonable amount of mascara, which also justifies the higher price. The mascara stays on all day and is available in both black and brown shades.
An unperfumed waterproof mascara that gives both good volume, length and thickness and doesn't cause unwanted clumps!
Type: Multi mascara Price class: Luxury Size of tube: 7 ml
The anonymous packaging conceals a really great waterproof mascara that doesn’t flake and is smudge proof. Your lashes become dramatically raven black, separated and have great length when using this product. The result also lasts really well throughout the day, even in humid weather. The wand is a classic shape with a nylon brush that makes it easy to get to all of your lashes. As well as length and thickness, this mascara gives exceptional volume. Another positive thing to note about this mascara is that it's allergy-tested and perfume-free.
A moisture-tolerant mascara that gives lots of volume and lasts all day!
Type: Volume mascara Price class: Luxury Size of tube: 6ml
Estée Lauder's Luxurious Sumptuous mascara succeeds fantastically at combining volume and durability. The mascara contains visible fibres which builds up loads of volume on your lashes. You do have to be careful to avoid clumps. Yet, the wand is a neat cone shape, which makes it easier to access smaller lashes and create more volume in the outer corner of the eye to get a really good "false eyelash" effect. Nor is humidity a problem as this mascara easily lasts all day in sticky weather. However, it does flake a bit more than other volumizing mascaras, but that's balanced out by the extra volume it does offer.
Highly durable mascara that gives a lot of volume and is effective even on small eyelashes.
Type: Volume mascara Price class: Luxury Contents: 10 ml
Dior Iconic Overcurl is a volumizing mascara that gives your lashes an attractive curl. The mascara definitely gives a great result without any other tools; you simply press the brush lightly against the lashes when applying. But you achieve the very best results by using an eyelash curler first. The brush is thick and curved, but still easily gets into the smallest lashes, which isn't always the case with this type of brush. The product also keeps well over time and doesn't alter after being opened or after a few weeks' use.
But the price can make even the most seasoned mascara user think twice. The tube exudes discreet luxury and feels heavy. And this, together with the mascara's lifetime and the results, mean that it's still worth the expensive price tag. Iconic Overcurl may be expensive, but it delivers what it promises. The mascara stays in place all day without flaking, gives the lashes a fantastic curl and even the shortest straightest lashes get an attractive boost.
Mascara that gives you long, separated lashes - and lasts all day
Type: Precision and volume Price class: Budget Quantity: 9.5 ml
Snapscara from Maybelline New York got its name because you apply it in a “snap”. The way you apply it actually isn't any different to any other mascara, but it's definitely easy to use and good marketing.
The brush is curved and substantial. In fact, the first impression is that it’s perhaps a bit too over-dimensioned. But it turns out to be easy to use and our testers had no problems using it. The brush gets at all your lashes easily, and the result is long and attractively separated eyelashes. The mascara stays in place well and you can be sure that you won't end up with dark rings under your eyes by the afternoon.
Maybelline New York Snapscara also promises fast and easy removal, which it delivers. You don't need anything more than warm water to get it off your lashes. This makes it a perfect mascara for anyone who thinks an evening cleansing ritual is a pain. Even if the packaging is rather boring, Snapscara is a mascara that delivers what it promises and does so for a decent price.
Mascara that stays on during intensive gym workouts or jogging sessions in the rain
Function: Volume Price class: Medium Quantity: 12 ml
IsaDora promises a durable mascara that will stand up to sweaty exercise sessions without smudging.
The brush is chunky, narrowing through the middle. At first glance it feels big, but it's really easy to use. The brush applies the mascara evenly, and despite this being a volumising mascara, it doesn't create thick clumps on your lashes. It’s a little more fiddly on the lower lashes, and the brush does start to feel a bit too big.
IsaDora Active All Day Wear Mascara definitely gives volume, while the lashes also feel separated and longer. But the product is sometimes unevenly distributed on the brush, so you have to watch out for this and remove any excess before application. Even if this is a mascara that doesn't clump when applied in normal amounts, it’s hard to avoid clumps when there's just too much mascara on the brush.
But now to the key question… how well does it last? When a mascara is sold with the promise that it’ll stay in place throughout and after a gym session, it really does need to live up to expectations. We tested this mascara through intensive and very sweaty Tabata and running sessions, and it certainly stays put. Despite the fact that our testers were dripping with sweat and moved a lot, their mascara didn't move at all.
It then stayed stubbornly in place as they showered, although it did get a bit sticky. In fact, make-up remover and a facecloth were required before IsaDora Active All Day Wear Mascara would let go.
If it's important that your mascara stays in place no matter how sweaty you get, IsaDora Active All Day Wear Mascara is a good choice. But if you think that using make-up removal is monotonous and an inconvenience, this mascara won't be the love of your life.
Good value for money! A cheap mascara with a good wand and the ability to create fantastic volume.
Type: Volume mascara Price class: Budget Size of tube: 7.2 ml
This mascara from MaxFactor has been around a few years but is still a good product. You can create great volume with just a few layers, without clumping. It also copes well with damp weather and will not run. The wand is a small and neat rubber brush that makes it easy to apply the product to all of your lashes. At the end of the day, it flakes a little but for a budget alternative it's a really good option.
Two-step affordable mascara with serum and colour, giving great volume with a decent wand!
Type: Volume mascara Price class: Budget Size of tube: 6 ml x 2
This affordable mascara has two components – a white serum to increase growth of new longer lashes which give clear volume, and at the other end of the wand, a mascara that covers the white lashes. Moisture is no problem as the mascara copes with downpours without running. The wand is a classic style with a nylon brush and it's easy to get to all your lashes with it. The mascara can be used with or without the serum - and gets you results straight from the high street when on a budget.
Good budget mascara that results in nicely separated lashes
Type: Volume mascara Price class: Budget Size of tube: 9 ml
Volume Million Lashes has an easy-to-use consistency and the result is really attractive lashes. The wand is large and requires a little concentration, but it separates and gradually builds up volume on lashes without them becoming heavy. During application, the scent of the mascara can be a bit too much, but this disappears once it has dried. Overall? Cheap and cheerful!
Lots of mascara for the money. Offers attractive, black lashes with good durability!
Type: Volume mascara Price class: Budget Size of tube: 13.1 ml
An intensive black result that lasts all day is what you get from this great value mascara. However, to build volume with the False Lash Effect mascara, you need to get to grips with the wand. It has a blunt tip which makes it more difficult to apply mascara to the innermost eyelashes and the lower lashes without getting it everywhere. Once applied to the lashes, the mascara delivers volume and great durability that works well for long days at the office and Saturday night parties. In terms of coping with moisture and flaking - it's a tough mascara and holds its own.
Mascara that gives nice length at a decent price!
Type: Precision and length Price class: Budget Contents: 6.4 ml
L'Oréal Paradise Extatic gives length, precision and even a little volume while also being very easy to apply. It also gives a lasting result - at least during the first month of use. During the first few weeks, it's hard to beat the durability of this mascara. It doesn't drop at all during the day and there's absolutely no flaking at all. But after you've used the mascara for about six weeks, the consistency seems to somewhat change and it just doesn't hold in place as well any more. The mascara starts to flake in the early afternoon and by the evening you end up with a clear shadow beneath each eye, which is a shame. If it makes you look like a panda even before it's time to leave work or the party, it's just not doing its job.
If you can live with having to replace your mascara when the tube's still half full because it dries out so quickly, then perhaps L'Oréal Paradise Extatic is a good option for you. But if you feel that it's not a wallet-friendly choice to throw out so much unused product, it might be sensible to spend your cash on another mascara. There are plenty of other products that are good enough for you not to have to settle for one that's mediocre.
A mascara for length with incredibly durable results, even in humidity or rain!
Type: Volume mascara Price class: Luxury Size of tube: 11 ml
The spiral-shaped wand looks cool but feels more like a gimmick; the effect isn't exactly unique. It also turns out, when we look for more information about the mascara, that the bareMinerals website describes how you should rotate the wand 180 degrees while applying the mascara. There's no mention of this technique on the packaging and it's a really difficult application method. The mascara, which is only available in black, states that it's primarily intended to give volume, but we felt that lashes instead mainly become longer, with hardly any extra volume. However, it gets a major plus point because it doesn't flake at all and offers excellent durability, even in moisture and rain. Because the tube contains so much mascara, it's also relatively good value for money compared with other mascaras in the luxury segment.
A long-lasting mascara with an effective wand that reaches even the smallest lashes
Type: Volume mascara Price class: Budget Size of tube: 9.5 m
This mascara, which is only available in black, has a clever cone-shaped wand that makes it easy to get to every tiny lash. Unfortunately, despite its small size it also picks up a lot of liquid, which makes it very difficult to manage. Sometimes we had to dry it off on paper to leave the right amount on the wand, which is really something the tube should do for you. The wet formula also takes a long time to dry, which makes it fiddly to build up a decent volume. When the lashes are finally dry, you can create both length and volume, but it does clump easily. Unfortunately, it's also very difficult to remove from your lashes, even if you use special eye makeup remover. However, this does mean that the mascara lasts really well over the day.
A cheap mascara with a curved wand to give improved curve to the lashes
Type Volume mascara Price class Budget Size of tube 9 ml
This was one of the cheapest mascaras in our test. The spoon-shaped wand is intended to give improved curve on the lashes. However, you need to practice a fair bit to apply it without creating splodges. The "spoon" is intended to help curve the lashes at both the inner and outer corner of the eye. This works really well on the upper lashes, but it's more difficult to get at the lower lashes without accidents. Doesn't really last the whole day as it has a tendency to flake - and doesn't really cope with moisture well either.
A mascara that stays in place the whole day without flaking or running - and available in two shades!
Type: Volume mascara Price class: Budget Size of tube: 13 m
This False Lash Epic mascara is available in two colours – black and brown-black, the latter looks a little softer and more natural than the former. However, unfortunately the wand feels somewhat complicated. It really needs to come with specific instructions, but instead you have to look these up yourself. The spiky ball on the top of the wand could be a good idea, but instead it just makes it very difficult to use. The idea is that you can apply mascara to the small lashes with the ball, but instead our testers regularly poked themselves in the eye. The unnecessarily complicated wand also means that the result is uneven and unfortunately doesn't produce the volume we hoped for, instead looking more like spider's legs. The longevity is the best thing about this mascara, and it neither flakes nor smudges under the eye, instead staying in place until you choose to remove it.
Another durable mascara that gives great intensity and separated lashes!
Type: Defining mascara Price class: Luxury Size of tube: 6 ml
The narrow wand is effortless to use, easily gets right into the roots of the lashes and helps lift the lashes. The lashes become intensively black and simultaneously nicely separated. Unfortunately, that's about it; you don't get the promised "false eyelash effect", and there's not particularly much volume or length added. The tube that the mascara comes in is very stylish, but because it holds so little it's also very expensive. However, the result lasts all day without flaking or smudging and there's no problem removing it at night. If the price wasn't so high this would have been a perfectly good everyday mascara.
There are two questions you should ask before you buy mascara: What kind of eyelashes do I have? And what do I want them to look like? Some people want lots of volume, length and intensity. Others want a more discreet and natural result. It used to be the case that length and volume were always two distinct aspects of mascara. But with recent products, it's common to get everything you desire from one product, described as having a "false eyelash effect". The formula of mascara often consists of colour pigment mixed in a base of wax and water, but some are wax free. Thickeners such as powder or talc are also added to volume products, while the extending variants often contain nylon or silk fibres that look like small eyelashes. These then stick to the ends of the eyelashes, providing a little more length.
The effect of the mascara depends on both the design of the wand and the formula. Wands have developed a great deal in recent years and are now almost always made of Silicone, which gives improved results. Large dense wands give the most volume as they pick up most of the product. Bow-shaped wands follow the natural shape of the eyelashes, covering everywhere and afford a slight curve to the lashes. Narrow and oblong brushes most often given length and define the lashes. Usually, black is the only colour available, but sometimes a mascara range includes a brown shade too. These are perceived as softer and more natural, and they are particularly suitable for people with lighter skin and hair colours.
Before applying mascara, make sure that the area around your eyes is dry and that your eye cream is oil-free – otherwise, the grease from the cream can cause the mascara to rub off on your eyelid and run under the eye. If you start by curling your lashes with an eyelash curler, it can be easier to access your lashes with the mascara wand – which gives the lashes more of a curve and opens up your eyes so they look bigger and you avoid the hooded eyes look. One tip to avoid smudging your eyelids when you apply the mascara is to hold a mirror below your chin and look downwards. Another tip is to hold a card against the eyelid and then you can apply the mascara with more force - and any excess will end up on the card.
Start by placing the brush at the root of the lashes and then zigzag it forwards. To increase the false-eyelash effect, you can apply a few extra layers of mascara in the outer corner of your eye without clumps, also known as a buildable mascara. You can create really thick lashes by waiting around 30 seconds between mascara layers. By brushing on the next layer when the previous one has dried, you can build up the volume. If you work over wet mascara instead you simply wipe off unnecessary mascara, which is perfect for a more natural look.