Beauty tips & inspiration

Buying guide: what’s the best ever mascara?

What’s the best EVER mascara?
Gilly Ferguson,-Contributing Editor

Just 146 formulations later – we’ve found your perfect match mascara

Ask anyone what their ride or die makeup buy is and they’ll most likely say mascara. Millions of us are locked into a perpetual quest to find The One, flirting with formulations and finishes until we meet our perfect match.

As a beauty editor, I’m forever asked, ‘What is the best mascara?’ Budge-proof, lifting, lengthening and volumising with zero clumping and flaking, ideally on a budget… oof. 

What makes a good mascara depends on your lifestyle, your lash type and even your mood. Truly great mascara? It’ll offer you eyes that look awake, open and defined, minus the weight of too much product – aka your lashes, but much better.

Best for volume: NARS Climax

An intense black mascara, Climax is pigment-rich for buildable intensity (minus clumping or smudging) from root to tip.

Best for false lash lift & curl: Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Push Up

Yours for instant length, weightless volume and s-t-r-e-t-c-h to amplify lashes, plus conditioning keratin to boost thickness. Simply load, comb and lift. One for fans of long, curly lashes. 

Best for natural-looking lashes: Lancôme Lash Idôle Volumising

Designed for all types of lashes (but especially straight lashes), Lancôme’s signature arch-curved elastomer brush helps to push up and separate for a fanned-out finish that lasts an almighty 24 hours. And, naturally, the featherlight formula is non-clump and flake-free.

Best for lengthening: Hourglass Caution Extreme Lash

Arguably the best mascara for short lashes, Extreme Lash has densely packed bristles and a smooth-glide formula for XXL length (and 400% more volume). It’s also vegan friendly.

Best all-rounder: Lancôme Hypnôse

Loved by celebrity MUAs and A-listers alike, Lancôme’s OG formulation has been a fan-favourite since its launch in 2004.

With more than 3,000 five star reviews, consider it your three-in-one magic wand for longer, lifted, XXL lashes, every single time. But the best part? Hypnôse is enriched with provitamin B5 to help prep, protect and enhance, and it’s the best mascara for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers.

‘Covers each lash beautifully, lovely wavy brush to reach all lashes. Not thick and gloopy. Perfect’

Karawells1, Verifed Buyer

6 expert tips that stick

How to make your mascara work harder, by A-List makeup artists who know

CURL ‘Eyelash curlers are the most underrated step in your getting-ready routine. First blast them with a hairdryer on a warm setting for two seconds to set and hold the curl and help open up the eyes.’ Pati Dubroff

COLOUR ‘Apply an electric-blue mascara on to lashes first, allow it to dry then apply two coats of jet-black mascara over the top to boost the whites of your eyes.’ Lisa Potter-Dixon

CREATE ‘Want to change the shape of your eyes? While your mascara dries, lightly press the side of your index finger against the outer lashes – it’ll set them and elongate the eye. Alternatively, press against the top middle lashes while wet, for a wider-eye look.’ Charlotte Tilbury

WATERPROOF IT ‘If you have straight lashes, a waterproof mascara is a must – quick-drying formulas will hold the curl in place for longer.’ Athena Efstathiou

COLOUR 2.0 ‘The best coloured mascaras effortlessly level up your look, helping eyes appear brighter or richer. Blue, green and violet will brighten blue eyes while brown, burgundy or plum mascara will add depth to brown eyes.’ William Scott

HOW TO APPLY ‘Wiggle mascara in from root to tip. When applying mascara to lower lashes, use a tissue to clean excess product off the wand to prevent clumping, then apply mascara along the outer half of the eye.’ Pati Dubroff

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