13 Best Mascaras for Perfect Lashes, According to Beauty Experts

13 Best Mascaras for Perfect Lashes, According to Beauty Experts13 Best Mascaras for Perfect Lashes, According to Beauty Experts.

From drugstore picks to formulas that lengthen short lashes.

In a recent survey of over 3,300 women, Good Housekeeping found that about 73% of women use mascara every day. Relying on such a staple in your makeup routine means you need to have the most durable, lash-boosting product on the market.

The Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab regularly conducts tests to find the best drugstore mascara, best waterproof mascara, best hypoallergenic mascara, and more. We start by rounding up hundreds of mascara formulas on the market and whittle down the field. Our Beauty Lab experts evaluate performance (volume, length, curl, separation), wearability (flaking, smudging), and ease of application. For waterproof mascara, the Lab monitors results as testers doused their mascara-coated lashes in warm water to see how well each product resisted smearing and running.

Since wearability outside the Lab is just as important as performance in the Lab, we also send mascara samples to hundreds of real consumers around the country. These women wear the product and weigh in on its performance, like whether it volumized, lengthened, and curled lashes, or clumped, flaked, and smudged through the day. After tallying up the results (and applying thousands of strokes of mascara), we found the best mascaras you can buy. Now, let’s talk more about our top mascaras:

Testers praised Maybelline’s Total Temptation for separating lashes, not clumping, and creating a natural, subtle look that’s perfect for everyday wear . The large brush has a bit of a learning curve, but offers smooth application that remains clump-free throughout multiple coats. One user said, «It made my eyelashes look thick and lush and it was super buildable.» You’ll just need one coat for long, separated lashes, but two to three coats delivers volumized lashes «with virtually no smearing . even as the day goes on (and during yoga class!).»

This affordable pick beat out all the other products because of its great definition and curl without clumping. The wand is curved to mimic the shape of your eye and since the bristles are packed tightly together, clumps never have the chance to form between. Even after 60 strokes, lashes didn’t clump (but did look lush, full, and glam). It’s a GH Seal holder, so if it doesn’t live up to its claims or proves defective within two years of purchase, we will refund you.

This formula earned high scores for volumizing, velvety application, and for its smudge-proof power. Its namesake volume is thanks to plumping polymers that make lashes look thick and bold. Testers deemed it a «new favorite,» saying it made «skimpy lashes» look full and «lasted all day without flaking,» but warn that it can clump more easily than other products (a common gripe with volumizing formulas). The bristled wand has a slight hourglass shape to grab every lash and coat it in a high-pigment, quick-drying formula that can stand up to watery eyes and «doesn’t melt off.»

Inspired by Drybar’s iconic round brushes, this mascara’s innovative wand is designed to separate, lift, and volumize lashes — like a professional blowout for your eyelashes . The smudge-free mascara earned top scores with testers, who loved that the smooth formula offered long-lasting volume and «nice separation.» The «great everyday mascara» scored highly for resisting smudges and going on smoothly, and 100% of testers agreed it wasn’t irritating even on sensitive eyes. «Like a lash lift in a bottle,» said one tester. «This one is a keeper.»

You can bring on the waterworks with this no-budge mascara. The clear winner among all of the waterproof mascaras we tested, consumers said it excelled in volumizing, lengthening, and separating while also creating a natural look. It scored high in every single category, except for one: easy removal (but that’s the whole point of a waterproof option!). The coverage was so voluminous after one application that a tester decided to forego her eyeliner, while another said it stayed on when she cried, sweat, and even rubbed her eyes. «Where has this been all my life?» she asked.

After more than 10 years in the industry, this budget-friendly mascara is our beauty director’s favorite, and the hypoallergenic formula won’t irritate sensitive eyes. The comb-like wand and plastic bristles define lashes and give a natural-looking, separated look without adding too much bulk. In our consumer tests, it got high scores for smooth application, volumizing, lengthening, and separating lashes, and the formula got near-perfect marks for water-resistance, too. It also is a reviewer-favorite, amassing over 5,000 reviews on Amazon. As a GH Seal-holder, we stand behind its performance with a limited two-year warranty.

If you want dark, dramatic lashes with the least amount of effort, this is the mascara for you. Testers especially loved the flexible applicator, which features a longer-than-usual wand and 500 rubbery, spiky bristles which comb through lashes to separate and lengthen. Testers said this «made it very easy to apply and . less likely to clump,» and deemed it best at lengthening and volumizing without clumping.

With over 17,000 reviews on Amazon and a certified cult following on Reddit, this mascara doesn’t disappoint. For under $5, it delivers clump-free volume and serious length. Its tapered, bristled wand ranked high in Lab tests for lengthening, volumizing, and curling lashes — a triple threat. The formula is thick enough to offer impact in one application, but thin enough to avoid clumps with additional coats.

Longer lashes and flake-free coverage are a promise with this tube from It Cosmetics. The results are so impressive that one of our consumer testers said, «Someone actually asked me if I was wearing fake lashes.» If you like dark, dramatic, in-your-face lashes, testers say «this mascara makes that easy and fast to achieve» with its rich, true-black formula. Our panel loved that while it resisted flaking exceptionally well, it was easy to remove at the end of the day. This mascara was a game changer for me,» raved one tester. «I threw out all my other mascara.»

The hybrid brush design is ideal for those who typically layer two (or more) different mascaras. It features a traditional bristled side for volume, and a plastic molded brush side to separate and elongate lashes. Our consumer testers loved that it provided volume without clumping, smudging, or flaking. It earned the highest score for resisting smudges, and testers liked how smoothly it applied and defined lashes saying, «it lengthened them nicely and separated lashes well,» and «didn’t smudge, flake, or rub off but was easy to remove!»

For a your-lashes-but-better look, this mascara does the trick. Testers praised its natural appearance and that «lashes were defined and lengthened through the day and stayed soft to the touch (not crunchy or stiff).» Our testers also liked how easy this mascara was to remove, so you won’t irritate your eyes at the end of the day. The tradeoff is that the formula is a bit flaky and doesn’t apply super smoothly.

The firm plastic bristles on this wand give high-impact lashes that check all the boxes: long, curled, and volumized. The rich formula coats lashes for high-impact drama in one application, and the water-resistant formula can stand up to teary eyes without needing the tedious removal of true waterproof formulas. That means that lashes look silky-smooth and stay lifted all day long (even in high humidity or rain) .

Need a mascara that comes off in a flash? Sabina Wizemann, senior chemist at the GH Beauty Lab, recommends this drugstore find. It doesn’t smudge and you don’t need to purchase a makeup remover to take it off. Ulta shoppers are obsessed too. «This mascara is perfect for me,» share one reviewer. «It also comes off very easily with a few swipes of a wet wash cloth .»