The best mascaras for every occasion

Are those lashes real?
  • Lancôme Hypnôse

    Best waterproof

    4 out of 5 overall
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  • L’Oreal Paradise

    Best value

    4.5 out of 5 overall
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  • Maybelline Great Lash

    Best classic

    3.75 out of 5 overall
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Red-haired woman applying mascara in the mirror

Nothing makes your eyes pop quite like an effective coat of mascara but which one is right for you?

There are countless mascara wands in the beauty aisle these days and it can be utterly confusing when trying to choose the right one. There are lengthening, curling, tube and lash-separating products – but not all wands are created equal.

Luckily for you, I’ve done the hard yards and have discovered how you can completely transform your lashes into Bambi-level stunners that will have you confidently fluttering away.

We’ve already researched the best moisturisers of 2019, and the top eye creams of the year and now we’re looking at must-have mascaras for every lash type and are pleased to say there’s a solution for us all out there, and across every possible budget too.

Our finds will have dead straight lashes sustaining a curl for hours, thin, sparse lashes getting plump with volume and stubby lashes lengthening. Those of you who are clump averse or desperate for the number one waterproof mascara should also hang abound.

So, without further ado behold our marvellous list of the longest-wearing, hardest-working eye-enhancing mascaras currently on the market.

1. Lancôme Hypnôse Volume Waterproof Mascara

Benefit Mascara They're Real Product Image
  • All day mascara
  • Easy removal

Best waterproof mascara


This is your pick if you love a dramatic look – that doesn’t end up bleeding halfway down your face. This mascara has excellent buildable volume skills, minus the dreaded clump. The price isn’t so eye-watering when you consider that you only really need one swipe for a daytime look, or two to substantially up the ante.

I find it keeps my long lashes curled and separated for most of the day, without transferring black smudges under my eyes.

If you need reliable mascara for the beach, or soppy movies or even if you get stuck in the rain look no further.

Removing waterproof mascara can be painful, and even lead to a loss of lashes, but I think I’ve found the Holy Grail with this one. It comes off easily despite managing to stay put all day.

2. Benefit They’re Real! Mascara

Benefit Mascara They're Real Product Image
  • Cleverly designed brush
  • Lifts and extends stubby lashes

Best for short lashes


This perfectly named magical wand is great for those looking to add length and volume to their shorter lashes. Having said this, it’s also a great everyday product for most mascara aficionados, and you’ll find it perennially praised in forums and reviews. Its superpower is its design, which focuses on lifting and extending even the stubbiest lashes.

Another plus is that it goes on smoothly, and isn’t prone to flaking or even worse smudging as your day progresses.

Its many devotees swear that the cleverly designed brush’s staggered bristles grasp and grip at the root of the lashes for improved volume and lift.

Even the tip of this magic wand has bristles allowing easy access to the teensiest lashes at the very outer and inner corners of the eyes.

3. Maybelline Great Lash

Great Lash Product Image
  • Great value
  • Easy to use

Best classic mascara


This pink and green-clad icon oozes trustworthiness having been around for decades and it doesn’t look like exiting left out of the market anytime soon. You don’t get to stick around for over 40 years unless you’re doing something right – especially when there is an abundance of fancy new arrivals out there. With this in mind, it doesn’t make the grand claims some newer products do. Don’t expect over the top volume or insane lengthening, but if you’re after a reliable mascara that will give you a bit of a lift this is it.

The easy-to-use, rather simple brush ensures it’s a cinch to apply, and it also conditions and thickens as it goes. It’s ophthalmologist tested and easy to remove despite its non-clumping, staying power.

Its uber black colour defines eyes beautifully and it doesn’t cost an arm or a leg. So is its status deserved? We’d have to say yes it is

4. Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara

Tarte Lights Camera Lashses
  • Dermatologist-tested
  • Vegan friendly

Best for sensitive eyes


Hands up if you have loads of unused mascara tubes clogging up your make-up draw, after discovering they made your eyes itch, burn or weep. We think you’ve suffered enough, and that this Tarte mascara will be your eye-defining saviour.
This dermatologist and ophthalmologist-tested, hypoallergenic formula has been confirmed as safe to use, even for those donning contacts.

As well as being compassionate to your eyes, its 360° magniLASH wand ensures each lash is separated and curled.

This vegan product also thickens and conditions lashes, thanks to a blend of vitamins, wax and olive esters. In terms of what it doesn’t have, you’ll be pleased to know there’s no fragrance, parabens, petrochemicals, gluten, sulphates, preservatives, oil, dye, or talc.

5. TOO FACED Better Than Sex Mascara

Better Than Sex Mascara Product Image
  • Smooth application
  • Vegan friendly

Best cult mascara


This is the goddess of mascaras amongst lash fanatics. It has a buildable collagen-adding formula, which means you can have beautifully curled lashes in only two coats, and three coats gives the impression that you’re wearing falsies. That effect minus the glue and hassle has us screaming, “Yes please!”

It applies smoothly, so there are no clumping dramas – even as you apply further coats. It’s also reliably waterproof, and separates, lengthens and volumises like a dream.

The brush shaped like a woman’s hourglass figure is meant to distribute right to the tops and bottoms of every single lash, while volumising and lifting.
Also ticking the vegan and cruelty-free boxes for the ethically minded amongst us.

6. L’Oreal Paradise Mascara Black

Loreal Paradise Lashes Mascara Product Image
  • Comparable with much pricier options
  • Wide-eye effect

Competitively priced but performs like pricier brands


The great news about this make-up product is that there’s a bevy of low to moderately priced mascaras that do a stand-up job, even when compared alongside some of their expensive competitors.

This much-loved mascara has been likened to many pricier models and luckily for us, it comes in at a fraction of the price.

Save your money, yet reap the benefits of this hard-working mascara that volumises without clumping, elongates and perfectly fans out lashes for that much-coveted wide-eye effect.

Its thick brush makes it super easy to apply, even to the tiniest lower lashes, and then it thankfully doesn’t budge.

7. Clinique High Impact Extreme Mascara

Clinique High Impact
  • Contact lens-friendly

Easiest to remove


Hard to remove mascara is my pet hate, which is why this beauty makes the list.

It’s a case of ‘applies easily, looks awesome and stays on all day’, but comes off with a minimum of fuss when you want it to – despite its waterproof formula. Win-win!

Clinique is known for its gentle products that are understated yet effective, and this mascara is no exception.

It’s quite a light formulation and rather wet as you apply.

You’ll also love it if you have allergies as its mineral and fragrance-free, suitable for contact lens wearers and is ophthalmologist-tested.

8. Blinc Mascara

Blinc Mascara Product Image
  • No smudging or flaking
  • Glossy finish

Best tube mascara


Say what I hear you ask? WTH is tube mascara? This technology differs from your traditional product as each swipe not only coats lashes but actually wraps them in the product. The mascara forms small tubes once it’s dried, that make smudging and flaking impossible. Say goodbye to raccoon eyes.

Great if your lashes are sensitive or prone to breakage

So, how does it look? Lashes are extended and volumised and just gorgeously glossy.

Another bonus is that no makeup remover is necessary, just some warm water and gentle pressure to help you remove the tubes. They literally slide right off your lashes. This is great if your lashes are sensitive or prone to breakage.

9. Diorshow Pump ‘N’ Volume HD Mascara

Diorshow Pump N Volume
  • Vitamin B5
  • Dual-material brush

Best luxury mascara


Who doesn’t love a little luxury? This attractively packaged mascara (it looks like it’s wearing a tux) offers it in spades but is also rather clever.

It’s Dior’s first squeezable mascara, sporting a dual-material wiper that loads the brush with just the right amount of product. The result? Clump-free lashes heaped with an abundance of volume.

Another plus is that it’s enriched with ingredients that nourish your lashes, like vitamin B5.

I love this product because even though I have long lashes they’re sparse. This fills them out beautifully and stays on for the entire day.

10. Isehan Kiss Me Heroine Make Volume Control Mascara

Isehan Volume Control Mascara Product Image
  • Small brush

Best volume and curl boost


If you’re after an abundance of volume and curl this Japanese superstar mascara is for you. It transforms stubbornly straight lashes curling them up towards your brows, separating and lengthening along the way.

The formula boosts volume, without any worries of it clumping. It has quite a small brush, perfectly suited to applying extra oomph to the shortest lower lashes.

By all accounts it stays on, curl and all for 12 hours and doesn’t smudge no matter how humid the day gets.

Having said that, this is definitely a mascara that requires make-up remover.

Got your mascara sorted? Here's what else we recommend

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