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

My Favourite Mascaras At All Price Points

Whether you wear false eyelashes at all/sometimes/always, a good mascara should not flake or smudge in any case. I’ve tested SO many mascaras, at all price points, and I’m ready to share my favourites with you!

Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara $4.99

The conic shape fiber brush provides lashes with dramatic volume and sculpted length. Opthalmologically tested. Not tested on animals.

Essence What The Fake! Volumizing & Lengthening Mascara $4.99

Enriched with nylon fibers for lashes looking incredibly thicker and longer, giving your lashes that false lash look. The nylon fibers in the formula absorb some of the liquid, making this a thicker formula, great for layering and building up volume.

Essence Bye Bye Panda Eyes! Mascara $4.99

For clean volume and defined lashes – The Bye Bye Panda Eyes! Mascara by Essence is made to last all day without smudging or clumping with their tubular formula. Plus, it’s easy to remove with just warm water.

Essence I Love Extreme Crazy Volume Mascara $4.99

The deep-black, creamy texture covers each individual lash with color and the extra-large plastic brush provides sensational volume. Opthalmologically tested.

Essence The False Lashes Mascara Dramatic Volume Unlimited $4.99

The deep black texture and unique shape of the Essence The False Lashes Mascara Dramatic Volume Unlimited fiber brush ensures dramatic volume and a gorgeous false lash effect. Not tested on animals.

Essence Volume Stylist 18hr Lash Extension Mascara $4.99

The special braided design of the cap has never been seen before. Enriched with lengthening fibers, this styling mascara provides an 18hr longlasting volume effect and ensures fully extended lashes. The fiber releasing brush has the perfect shape to reach even the smallest lashes!

Covergirl LashBlast Volume Mascara $6.99

Get a blast of lush, volumized lashes! LashBlast’s patented volume-boosting formula and patent-pending brush are designed to max-out each and every lash, leaving you with the ultimate big lash look. Instant volume and fullness. Smudge and wear-proof. Hypoallergenic and suitable for contact lens wearers. “Cruelty Free”.

Rimmel Scandaleyes Volume On Demand Mascara $7.99

Lash-conditioning formula delivers a smooth, clump-free finish every time. Unique brush contains wavy fibre technology, catching, loading and separating every single lash. Sweep through hard-to-reach lashes with the tapered brush shape. Layer it up for bigger, bolder volume anytime with zero clumps. Available in two shades: bold black or natural-looking brown.

Covergirl Exhibitionist Mascara $8.39

With COVERGIRL’s Exhibitionist volumizing mascara, lashes are full and defined after only one coat. Our volumizing mascara formula glides smoothly onto lashes. Get soft lashes with no flaking or smudging. “Cruelty Free”

L’Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black Volume Building Mascara $8.99

L’Oreal’s Voluminous Carbon Black Volume Building Mascara has a unique formula of panthenol and ceramide-R that builds and thickens voluptuous lashes while conditioning them, so they remain supple and healthy. An exceptionally plush brush is designed to glide on just the right amount of mascara without clumping or flaking. Non-irritating, fragrance-free formula is safe for sensitive eyes and contact wearers.

Maybelline Falsies Lash Lift Mascara $10.49

Get an instant lash lift effect from a mascara. Falsies Lash Lift from Maybelline NY delivers dramatic volume and long, lifted lashes. The double curved lifting brush and fiber-infused formula grabs lashes at the root to lift, thicken, and lengthen. No clumps, smears, or flakes, just volume that lasts all day.

Maybelline Total Temptation Mascara $10.49

Build on bold volume to create irresistibly soft, separated, and fluffy lashes coat after coat. Maybelline’s Total Temptation Mascara features a creamy and whipped formula enriched with coconut extract.

Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara $10.99

This mascara unfolds layer upon layer of lashes for a new full-fan effect.

NYX On The Rise Volume Liftscara $11

Delivering quick-charge lift and volume in just a few strokes. Featuring an innovative applicator that¿s part rounded, part hourglass to lift you lashes up to new heights! The “curling” effect results in a far-reaching fringe so that eyes look bigger and lashes look thicker.

L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara $14.77

This is the mascara for voluptuous volume and length, now with even more black pigment. Soft wavy bristle brush holds maximum formula for a dramatic volumizing charge.

MAC Extended Play Gigablack Lash Mascara $20

The breakthrough lightweight waterproof formula creates beautiful defined lashes with a petite brush. This long-wearing mascara lasts up to 16 hours, yet the washable formula removes easily with warm water thanks to an innovative thermal-sensitive technology. The unique slim-type brush reaches and grips even the tiniest hairs with an advanced lifting formula in a saturated blackest black colour. This extreme defining composition enhances length, resulting in gorgeously distinguished, out-to-there lashes.

Glossier Lash Slick Mascara $20

Curls and sculpts as it lengthens, creating a natural “baby extension” effect without clumping. Teeny-tiny fibers coat lashes from root to tip, while flexible film-forming polymers lift and lock each fiber into place.

Fenty Beauty Full Frontal Volume, Lift & Curl Mascara $24

A do-it-all mascara that is designed to expose every lash, featuring an exclusive flat-to-fat brush that instantly volumizes, lifts, lengthens, and curls.

MILK Makeup KUSH High Volume Mascara $24

A high-volume mascara formulated with heart-shaped fibers, conditioning hemp-derived cannabis seed oil, and pure pigments for an intense black finish.

NARS Climax Mascara $24

With its buildable formula and stellar brush, NARS’s Climax Mascara surrounds every lash with a lightweight coating that stays supple and soft to the touch – avoiding that unwanted “crispy” feel.

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara $25

An intensely black voluptuous volume mascara for the sexiest, defined, multidimensional lashes possible. 

Benefit Roller Lash Curling & Lifting Mascara $25

A mascara inspired by hair rollers, this super-curling and lifting mascara gives a sexy, wide-eyed look. Its patent-pending Hook ‘n’ Roll™ brush features tiny custom-designed hooks to catch, lift, and curl even short and straight lashes. 

Benefit They’re Real Mascara $25

A lengthening mascara that curls, volumizes, lifts, and separates lashes for an “out-of-here” look.

Lancome Monsieur Big Mascara $25

A long-lasting, voluminous mascara with a black-boosting polymer in its pigment for 12 times more volume and up to 24 hours of wear.

Marc Jacobs Beauty Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara $27

An ultra-volumizing mascara that delivers instant dimension for epic lashes.  

Marc Jacobs Beauty At Lash’d Lengthening And Curling Mascara $27

A long-wear, lengthening, and curling mascara for a highly defined, full-extension lash look. 

Hourglass Caution™ Extreme Lash Mascara $29

An all-in-one mascara that delivers a look of endless length, intense volume, and sky-high lift for extreme, dramatic lashes.

Hourglass Unlocked Instant Extensions Mascara $29

You can expect the longest lashes going with this new Hourglass formula. The brush easily gets through every lash, creating a defined, fanned-out appearance that stays put; it’s also a tubing mascara which means it comes off easily with water – no scrubbing needed.

Pat McGrath Labs Dark Star Volumizing Mascara $30

A gravity-defying mascara that delivers instant volume, multidimensional length, and weightless lift in a single stroke.

What are your favourite mascaras? Let me know in the comments below!