The Best Drugstore Mascara? Here Are the Top 5, According to the Pros

When it comes to cheap thrills, few things leave a beauty lover more elated than having the best drugstore mascara in tow; a tried-and-true tube that curls, volumizes, defines, and comes with a price tag that encourages you to layer it on liberally. From richer color payoff to smoother, creamier textures that don’t flake or smudge, the offerings at the pharmacy are only getting better, furthering the stakes when it comes to what you ultimately toss in your basket. To take the guesswork out of your next trip to the store, Vogue asked a panel of pro makeup artists about their top picks for effortlessly full, fluttery lashes. Here, the best drugstore mascara formulas to stock up on.

L’Oréal Voluminous Mascara

An all-time favorite pick for four of the makeup artists we spoke with, L’Oréal’s Voluminous Mascara comes out on top. “I’ve been using this mascara forever and it’s a staple in my kit,” explains celebrity makeup artist Gita Bass. “It’s super black and adds incredible volume and curl, and never clumps or flakes.” On top of the aforementioned aspects, fellow artist Alana Wright can’t get enough of the brush, which she considers the perfect size, shape, and density “to still able to reach those tiny lashes in the inner and out corners of the eyes,” she says. Another bonus is the gentle, non-abrasive formula. “It doesn’t irritate even the most sensitive eyes,” says Los Angeles-based makeup artist Autumn Moultrie. While Carbon Black is the most popular shade, both Moultrie and editorial pro Akiko Owada also like reaching for Black Brown, which can have a softer effect. “It provides clump-free lashes, it doesn’t run, and it’s easy to control,” adds Owada of the formula’s all-embracing appeal.

Shop at ULTA $9

Covergirl Lashblast Volume Mascara

For bolder, more intense lashes, Covergirl’s Lashblast is another tried-and-true go to. “I love its creamy texture, which gives you volume and length instantly in one coat, and it’s easy to layer it for more drama,” explains French makeup artist Cedric Jolivet. “I find the silicone brush [makes it easy] to grab the lashes from the root, and it totally works on short lashes!” Makeup artist William Scott, whose clientele includes Padma Lakshmi and Mette Towley, agrees. “It’s perfect for those who want maximum volume on the first swipe, and with a lash comb, it can be spread over the lashes to make them more fluttery.” There’s just as much to love about its waterproof formula: “It will dry a bit faster, which help the eyelashes to stay curled,” says Jolivet of why it’s worth the extra time spent removing it at the end of the day. “I always curl the lashes first, but I noticed a lot of mascaras don’t hold a curl and make your lashes looks heavy… not this one!

Shop at ULTA $10

Neutrogena Healthy Volume Mascara

For Matin, who counts Angelina Jolie as a longtime client, it’s all about Neutrogena’s Healthy Volume Mascara with its nourishing ingredients and jet-black pigment. “It’s a true volume mascara that doesn’t dry out the lashes,” he says of the formula, which is supercharged with vitamin E-rich olive oil and protective sweet almond. “It stays flexible and won’t crumble throughout the day.” Another major draw? “It has a giant brush!” adds Matin. All the better to coat every little lash lash.

Shop at Bed Bath & Beyond $8

Maybelline Sky High Lash

It’s by far one of the best mascaras on the market—and relatively newer, too,” says Colby Smith, who works with Dua Lipa and Charli XCX, of Maybelline’s Lash Sensational Sky High mascara. “I love that it’s super black,” he continues. “A few coats and you really get that full long lash. It has the look of a high end mascara without breaking the bank.

Shop at ULTA $12

L’Oréal Telescopic Mascara

For soft, supple lashes, you can’t beat L’Oréal’s Telescopic Mascara, insists Scott. “I love its applicator and slick formula, which make it easy to apply to bottom lashes and give long and defined lashes all around,” they explain, emphasizing the lengthening powers of its patented plastic-bristle comb brush. “It’s very versatile in that one swipe delivers length and the wand makes it easy to keep the lashes separated, and the formula builds nicely to add some volume.” 

Shop at ULTA $11

VOGUE

Sephora Just Stocked Its First Black-Owned, Clean Makeup Line Ever

Love Your Self. What a wonderful way to lure the customers in.

Welcome to Artist Spotlight #46 series on my blog.

As a beauty buff, I’ve had the opportunity to test a bunch of makeup products. But as I’ve grown to be more conscious of what I’m putting on my skin,  I noticed there aren’t many clean options that work well. So when I heard that Sephora’s first Black-owned clean makeup line was launching, I was ecstatic. LYS Beauty landed at Sephora in mid-February with a variety of makeup products, including foundation, primer, powder, lip oil, bronzer and blush. Of course, I had to get my hands on it.

BeI was pleasantly surprised to see how many shade options LYS Beauty Foundation had. With 35 shades available, the line makes it simple to find one that matches your skin. The first product I tried was the Triple Fix Serum Foundation, and it definitely lives up to its name. The texture is velvety smooth and looks like a veil on my skin. Another factor that’s important to me is blendability; if a formula doesn’t blend easily, then it’s simply not for me. However, that isn’t the case with this foundation, because the blending process was seamless and the color melted into my skin flawlessly. The color also worked very well for my skin tone, and I didn’t feel the need to mix it with anything else in order to get the proper coverage — which leads me to the next thing I love about these products: the actual coverage.

Shop now: $22; sephora.com

I’ve found that a lot of clean foundations provide minimal coverage (which is great if that’s what you prefer!), but I like mine to offer at least medium coverage. I found that this one has buildable coverage so you can increase it depending on your preferences. 

The foundation is made with Ashwagandha, an herb that can combat signs of stress in the skin, turmeric for brightening, and hyaluronic acid for maximum hydration. And I’m not the only one who thinks it’s a great formula — despite being a fairly new product, it already has a 4.8-star rating from Sephora shoppers. “I hate the feeling of heavy makeup on my face and this is super lightweight and covers my blemishes so I am Zoom-ready for my never-ending conference calls,” wrote one customer. “Best foundation I have ever used. I am obsessed with the coverage, feel and finish,” said another. The fact that the Triple Fix foundation has this many great details and still doesn’t use any toxic ingredients makes it a total game-changer for me. 

I also got my hands on the LYS Beauty Secure Skin Gripping Serum Primer. Now, just to be clear, I’m a big primer girl to begin with. I typically find that by using the right moisturizer and a flattering primer, my makeup blends and stays put if I hadn’t used it (opinions vary from one person to the next, though).

Shop now: $20; sephora.com

Created for combination and acne-prone skin, the primer’s key ingredient is grapefruit extract, which is rich in vitamin C to brighten skin, along with niacinamide and an exfoliating AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) blend to smooth pores.

Just like the foundation, this primer has a lightweight feel to it, which is of the utmost importance to me. I don’t like layers of thick or heavy product on my face, and this one results in an airbrush-like finish that makes my skin feel smooth before I apply the rest of my makeup.

All in all, I’m very impressed with the quality of both the primer and the foundation. Sephora’s LYS Beauty collection makes it easy to transition over to clean makeup products while supporting a Black-owned business. 

Sculpt, define, and warm up your complexion with this matte bronzer. The ultra-velvety, buildable powder effortlessly blends while delivering a sunkissed glow. Formulated with niacinamide, this bronzer gives skin the warmth you want while blurring the look of imperfections and texture.

Shop Now: $18; Sephora.com

Give your cheeks a kiss of color with this cream blush that delivers high payoff for all skin tones. Packed with clean, skin-loving ingredients like kaolin clay and avocado oil, this multipurpose cream leaves skin looking refreshed. Rich in pigment, this blush adds the finishing touch on any look.

Shop Now: $16; Sephora.com

This clean, cushiony lip treatment oil maximizes comfort with a blend of chia seed oil and sweet almond oil, quickly replenishing lips with vital moisture. Perfect for every day, this colorless oil pairs with your favorite lip liner or lipstick, leaving behind a non-sticky, glossy finish.

Shop Now: $12; Sephora.com

This clean, talc-free, finely milled pressed setting powder buffs beautifully into skin as it blurs and locks makeup in place for all-day perfection and no white cast. Infused with niacinamide, green tea extract, and sodium hyaluronate, this weightless powder won’t accentuate texture or pores.

Shop Now: $18; Sephora.com

IMPORTANT TO NOTE:

Clean at Sephora
Clean at Sephora is formulated without a list of over 50 ingredients, including sulfates (SLS and SLES), parabens, phthalates, and more. For the full list, check out the Ingredients tab.

SHOP LYS BEAUTY AT SEPHORA