The best mascara

The best mascaraThe best mascara.

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If there’s one thing many women never leave home without, it’s mascara. It makes your eyes pop and brightens up your face in an instant. We tested dozens of mascaras to find the best, and Chanel Le Volume Mascara is our top choice because it delivers long, lush lashes that last all day.

A good mascara works wonders even if you have no other makeup on, but there is a dizzying array to choose from. We even found one brand that had 17 different mascaras!

Whether you want volume, length, curl, or all three, when looking for the perfect mascara, you’ll need one that doesn’t run or clump and has staying power.

We tested dozens of mascaras, including drugstore brands, designers, cult classics, and all-natural options. We also looked at thousands of reviews from women who wear mascara and beauty experts to find the absolute best mascaras you can buy.

Here are the best mascaras you can buy in 2020:

Best overall: Chanel Le Volume Mascara Best drugstore brand: L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Washable Mascara Best volumizing: Lancôme Monsieur Big Mascara Best lengthening: Estée Lauder Double Wear Zero-Smudge Lengthening Mascara Best curling: Benefit Roller Lash Super-Curling and Lifting Mascara Best waterproof: CoverGirl LashBlast Volume Waterproof Mascara Best fiber formula: L’Oréal Paris Voluminous X Fiber Mascara.

Updated 2/24/20 by Remi Rosmarin: Updated prices and added CoverGirl LashBlast Volume Waterproof Mascara.

The best mascara overall.

Chanel Le Volume Mascara boosts lash volume, doesn’t clump, and stays on all day to keep you looking gorgeous.

Our winner, Chanel Le Volume, lives up to its name, adding plenty of lash-boosting volume without clumping, which is often a problem with volumizing mascaras. It has a spiky brush with a blend of short and long bristles that are designed to separate and lift.

The creamy formula plumps lashes, and in our tests, we really noticed our lashes looked longer and curled upward, too, making eyes pop. All you need is one coat for daytime or two for a night out. The color is rich and bold, plus, it coats your lashes easily. In case you want it, this mascara comes in a waterproof formula, too.

Celebrity makeup artists, Kara Yoshimoto Bua and Rachel Goodwin, swear by this mascara and it’s one of Elle’s top mascaras. It also gets rave reviews from women who wear it every day.

One buyer who wrote a review on Macy’s website said she had compliments from her co-workers the first day she wore it. One reviewer did say she experienced a little clumping, but it’s easy enough to solve the issue.

Pros: Easy to apply, adds volume, length and curl, long-wearing, no flaking or smudging.

Cons: High price tag.

The best drugstore mascara.

L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara adds volume, length, and curl for an effect that rivals many high-end mascaras.

Many people swear by drugstore mascaras, and this bestseller certainly has a cult following. L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise outdoes many more expensive types of mascaras and, in fact, is often compared to Too Faced’s best-selling Better than Sex mascara.

Our drugstore favorite comes in an all-pink tube and is easy to apply, thanks to the wavy brush, which has more than 200 bristles. We were impressed with the volume and length it created with our lashes.

It also feathers lashes, really opening up the eyes. For a more dramatic look, just add a second coat. We didn’t see clumping or flaking, and it stays on for hours. The formula is washable, although we found it better to use makeup remover when you take it off.

L’Oreal’s mascara was even named Harper’s Bazaar’s Best Mascara of all time. It gets rave reviews on Influenster, with one customer saying, “it is amazing for separating lashes and really getting mascara on to each and every single one, creating a very full looking lash.” It also comes in a waterproof formula.

Pros: Volumizes, lengthens, curls, washable.

Cons: Possibility of some clumping.

The best volumizing mascara.

For bold lashes that last and last, Lancôme’s Monsieur Big should be your go-to mascara.

It’s hard not to fall in love with this fabulous mascara. Lancôme’s Monsieur Big claims to deliver 12 times more volume with 24-hour wear, and in our tests, it seemed to deliver. It certainly lasted all day and made our lashes look thick.

The wavy brush is easy to use and the soft bristles won’t scratch your eyelids. The creamy formula contains polymers that pack lashes full of thickness, length, and jet black color. It opens up your eyes and extra coats create insane volume as well as length, for a false lash effect that we loved. It also looks as good after a night out as it does when you first put it on.

This mascara gets consistently high ratings from beauty experts and was a winner in Allure’s Best of Beauty Awards in 2017. It has over 40,000 likes on Sephora, with one buyer saying it was her new Holy Grail mascara.

Pros: Easy to apply, adds exceptional volume and length, very long-wearing, doesn’t smudge.

Cons: Can be difficult to remove.

The best lengthening mascara.

If you crave long, lush lashes that last, then Estée Lauder’s Double Wear Zero-Smudge Lengthening Mascara is the one for you.

Short lashes be gone. Estée Lauder’s Double Wear Zero-Smudge Lengthening Mascara aims to give you extra long lashes with 15-hour staying power. In our tests, the mascara lifted our lashes and made them seem longer by adding a nice curl. Even after wearing it all day and into the evening, the mascara hadn’t smudged, which is a huge plus.

The brush has micro-fiber bristles to lengthen and separate to help you avoid clumping, while the formula features smudge-proof technology and polymers that coat each lash and give it a glossy, intense color. A big plus is that this mascara can resist high temperatures and humidity, making it perfect on a hot, summer’s day.

Beautypedia’s experts gave this mascara a perfect score, and it gets superb reviews with one Influenster reviewer, who said it made her lashes so long and her eyes look much bigger. However, there were a few reports of clumping.

Pros: Lengthens and curls lashes, doesn’t smudge, stays on all day.

Cons: Needs more than one coat, tube can dry out, high price tag, easy to remove.

The best curling mascara.

If your straight lashes need a lift, then you’ll love Benefit’s Roller Lash Mascara, which delivers maximum curl that lasts.

Benefit’s Roller Lash mascara is specially designed to curl and lift lashes. In our testing, this award-winning, bestselling mascara worked wonders on our straight lashes. Its instant curve-setting formula holds for about 12 hours, too, so you keep your lashes curled to perfection.

We love the black and pink tube it comes in because it looks very glam. The special Hook ‘n Roll brush, inspired by retro hair rollers, separates, lifts, and curls lashes. The formula is also designed to stay put without clumping or flaking. Benefit added pro-vitamin B5 and serin to the formula to help condition your lashes. The mascara is water-resistant, too, so you never have to worry about it running.

Rank and Style named it the best curling mascara, and one happy Sephora customer said it made her lashes look flawless. Other reviewers reported it lasts all day long.

Pros: Curls and separates, adds lengths, doesn’t flake, lasts all day, water-resistant, ingredients to condition lashes.

Cons: Can smudge after a while.

The best waterproof mascara.

Whether you’re watching a tear-jerker, hitting the gym, or heading to a pool party, CoverGirl’s LashBlast Volume Waterproof Mascara will be your new best friend.

Waterproof mascara is a summer beauty staple. Your lashes need to look lush without drying out and your mascara needs to last all day. It can be hard to find one that lives up to expectations.

CoverGirl LashBlast Volume Waterproof Mascara is a great option at a great price point. This mascara is a fan-favorite — and for good reason. The formula goes on smoothly, plumps lashes up without getting clumpy, and is both hypoallergenic and cruelty-free. When it comes in contact with sweat and water, it won’t budge.

Allure, Cosmopolitan, and Byrdie all count CoverGirl LashBlast as one of the best waterproof mascaras out there. It also gets great reviews, and a 4.1/5 star rating, from Ulta shoppers. Many reviewers even prefer this waterproof version over the original, non-waterproof formula. — Remi Rosmarin.

Pros: Waterproof, volumizing and lengthening, affordable, cruelty-free.

Cons: Can be difficult to take off.

Best fiber formula.

The two-step L’Oréal Paris Voluminous X Fiber Mascara gives you super-long lashes without much effort, and washes easily without makeup remover.

Fiber mascaras are infused with teeny-tiny fibers that latch onto your natural lashes to add length and drama without too much effort on your end. Instead of needing to go over your lashes a hundred times to build up volume and length, the fibers do it all for you. I love the double-sided L’Oréal Paris Voluminous X Fiber Mascara for this very reason and it’s one of the only things I use on my short, stubby lashes. The fact that it’s also affordable at under $7 is icing on the cake (fibers on my lashes?)

You’ll first have to swipe on the primer on one end of the tube. Mascara primers aren’t totally innovative, but instead of the usual white color, this one is black so it blends into dark lashes and adds drama to light lashes. Then you’ll sweep the fiber mascara through your lashes like you would any other regular formula; the two steps might take you a few more seconds but it’s worth that additional effort. Your lashes will look super long, fluttery, and voluminous but with none of the clumps that come with piling on several coats of mascara.

It also rinses easily with water (unless you get the waterproof version), and you’ll either be freaked out or impressed by the black fibers in the sink after you wash your face.

Marie Claire lauded the product as one of the best fiber mascaras that’ll double the volume of your lashes (though the brand claims it’s actually 7x) and Glamour dubbed it a 2019 Beauty Award Winner. Looks like both brands were impressed — just like I was.

Pros: Affordable, washes easily without needing special makeup remover, has both regular and waterproof versions.

Cons: Two-step formula can be annoying for some.