The 35 Best Mascaras Of All Time, From Drugstore Classics To Celebrity Favorites
Today's beauty market is a bottomless virtual repository of palettes, brow pencils, falsies, and liners all promising to make our eyes look wide awake and impeccably tidy. The one non-negotiable item in the eye industry is of course that tiny little liquid-coated wand you use to brush up your lashes each morning. It is and always will be makeup's number one love and the single thing your personal stockpile relies upon: mascara. So, here are the 35 best of all time.
The average makeup-wearing woman will spend $3,770 on mascara in her lifetime, according to a Money video published by People in 2017. And let's face it... you're not the average makeup-wearing woman. If having thick, voluminous, long, and perfectly curled lashes is a daily priority, you could wind up paying a small fortune, so you'd better make those Sephora purchases worthwhile.
Nobody has to teach you about the slightest variations in mascara formulas. You're already well versed in which are designed to curl, to lengthen, to thicken, and not to clump or run. But in case you fancy a bit of assistance in the lash department, ahead are 35 of the most acclaimed mascaras of all time.
We only include products that have been independently selected by The Zoe Report's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
Too Faced's Better Than Sex Mascara
Having amassed more reviews than any other mascara on Sephora (some 15,000, that is, and about half of them are five-star), Too Faced's Better Than Sex lash enhancer is pretty much a unanimous favorite. The long-lasting, jet-black, clump-free formula has acquired its own cult following and given birth to a slew of dupes. The only negative? It doesn't come in softer shades.
Benefit Cosmetics' They’re Real! Lengthening & Volumizing Mascara
If Better Than Sex is the be-all-end-all of mascaras, then this Benefit Cosmetics best-seller is most definitely the runner-up. Tracee Ellis Ross uses it to achieve her signature "sexy bedroom eye," according to her Vogue Beauty Secrets video. "It's the brush," she says.
Milk Makeup's Kush High Volume Mascara
Less than five years after launching, Milk Makeup has already obtained saint-like status with its Kush collection, whose star ingredient is cannabis sativa seed (hempseed) oil. This ultra-conditioning, hydrating mascara is the highlight of the lineup.
Lancôme's Définicils Lengthening & Defining Mascara
Lancôme's Définicils mascara qualifies as "iconic." It has maintained its relevancy for decades, even throughout every internet-breaking Kardashian launch. Nearly 1,800 people have given it five stars on Nordstrom.
Buxom's Lash Volumizing Mascara
Certified clump-resistant and sensitive eyes-approved, Buxom's beloved mascara doesn't need an extraordinary name or any other bells or whistles to get people's attention. It features a flexible, hourglass brush whose tightly packed bristles give each individual lash attention. You can get right to the root without smudging.
Le Volume De Chanel Mascara
If you aren't wearing falsies, this is the next best thing. It comes with a special Snowflakes brush that combines short and long bristles to lift and plump.
Dior's Diorshow Mascara
It Cosmetics' Superhero Elastic Stretch Volumizing Mascara
Nearly 4,000 people have given It Cosmetics' best-selling formula five stars on Ulta, including countless who tout it as the Best Mascara Ever. Its ability to lengthen like Mrs. Incredible is its number one superpower.
Essence's Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara
Lancôme's Monsieur Big Mascara
For thick, full, reach-the-sky lashes, Monsieur Big delivers. The younger sibling of Lancôme's Définicils mascara is the answer to all who begged the brand to make their iconic formula waterproof.
Benefit Cosmetics' Roller Lash Curling & Lifting Mascara
So what makes this fan favorite so special, you ask? (Special enough to warrant yet another mention of Benefit Cosmetics in this list, that is.) It's all in the Hook 'n' Roll brush, which grabs, lifts, separates, and curls all at once.
L'Oréal Paris' Voluminous Mascara
You see this familiar package every time you peruse the makeup aisles at Target, probably because it takes up the most shelf space with its 12-color range. It has been called a knockoff of Diorshow, but the many celebrities who openly adore it don't seem to mind.
ColourPop's BFF Mascara
Of course not all mascaras are black in the first place and this best-of list deserves a pop of color. ColourPop's unconventional BFF Mascara comes in eight hues including white, coral, and cobalt blue in addition to your standard blacks and browns.
Urban Decay's Perversion Mascara
Urban Decay's Perversion line is a partnership between a super-fine eye pen (the key to a sharp cat-eye, many say) and this makeup artist-favorite mascara. The brand credits its creamy formula for the intense color it provides.
Yves Saint Laurent's Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils
This false lash stand-in was the only reason Demi Lovato didn't look like a racoon after her tearful 2020 Grammy Awards performance, according to Cosmopolitan. And it's not even waterproof.
NARS' Climax Mascara
It's hard to believe that such a full-bodied lash could come of a light-as-a-feather formula, but NARS' Climax Mascara is magic like that. It's perhaps the most explosive when paired with the brand's Orgasm Blush.
Tarte's Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara
Described by the brand as a push-up bra for your lashes, Tarte's Lights, Camera, Lashes formula has earned nearly 100,000 loves on Sephora. Reviewers tout its easy application and lengthening abilities as its star qualities.
Maybelline's Great Lash Washable Mascara
If there were a single most iconic mascara of all time, Maybelline's Great Lash variety would be it. Its lime-green-and-salmon-colored tube is easily the most recognizeable beauty product in history. Its water-based formula was groundbreaking in the '70s and is still widely worshipped today.
Stila's Huge Extreme Lash Mascara
With words like "huge" and "extreme" literally in the name, you can bet this mascara will give you the sort of va-va-voom lashes that at one time only extensions could provide. The brand describes its rich pigment as "ink-like," but don't let that fool you into thinking it's thick and heavy.
Pat McGrath Labs' FetishEyes Mascara
For serious — like, Teresa Giudice-level — drama, reach for Pat McGrath Labs' peptide-packed FetishEyes, the only permanent mascara in the brand's expansive makeup range. It goes especially well with her many palettes and delivers optimal fullness with just one coat.
CoverGirl's LashBlast Volume Waterproof Mascara
The product itself refuses to clump, flake, or smudge — the holy trinity for any mascara, much less one you can find at CVS — and the covetable fan effect that its barrel brush creates makes this CoverGirl gem worth worlds more than what it actually sells for.
Thrive Causemetics' Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara
Hot on the mascara scene, Thrive Causemetics' Liquid Lash Extensions became an immediate Instagram sensation when it launched in 2017. Better yet, the brand donates a portion of every purchase to various nonprofit organizations that focus on helping women thrive.
Kevyn Aucoin's The Volume Mascara
If chemical-packed mascaras make your lashes fall out, this is the one for you. Featuring ultra-nourishing jojoba oil and a built-in primer, Kevyn Aucoin's volumizing mascara is sensitive eye-approved.
Honest Beauty's Extreme Length Mascara + Lash Primer
If it gets Jessica Alba's clean beauty approval, then you know it must be veritably squeaky. This two-in-one mascara doubles as a lash primer and, well, it's about time you started using one of those.
Glossier's Lash Slick
A fiber mascara is made with microscopic fibers like nylon and silk that stick to your lashes and make them appear fuller. Glossier is highly skilled in this variety and though it's not technically waterproof, its Lash Slick is smudge-proof enough to sustain emotional therapy sessions, according to one reviewer.
Maybelline Volum' Express Colossal Big Shot
Charlotte Tilbury's Full Fat Lashes Mascara
Wander Beauty Mile High Club Volume & Length Mascara
Another newbie, Wander Beauty's Mile High Club mascara is different because A) its innovative lip gloss-resembling package and B) the fact that it can do eight things: lift, volumize, lengthen, strengthen, nourish, and so forth. It won a wealth of beauty awards in 2019.
NYX Professional Makeup's Worth The Hype Mascara
What makes this mascara worth its namesake hype is that it's thin (and clump-resistant) enough to apply layer after layer, because who on earth stops after just one coat?
Tom Ford's Extreme Eye Bad Ass Mascara
A splurge, yes, but Tom Ford's newly launched Extreme Eye Bad Ass Mascara is already gaining major traction, mostly for its wand. The bristles are shorter than normal and more spread apart, giving you access to more hard-to-reach places.
L'Oréal Paris' Double Extend Lash Extension Effect Mascara
You get mascaras that nourish and other ones that lengthen, but this two-in-one wonder does both (and it seriously does deliver on its claim). The dual sides make it possible to focus on one task at a time.
Giorgio Armani Beauty's Eyes To Kill Mascara
Marc Jacobs Beauty's Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara
Those who weren't blessed by the lash gods may have little to work with, but that's ok, according to this consistent chart topper (which has more than 65,000 loves on Sephora). After one coat, nobody will even know how deficient your lash line is.
Vivienne Sabó's Cabaret Premiere
Amidst your familiar drugstore classics, this offbeat French formula is a standout in Amazon's best-of lineup, with almost as many reviews as (and an overall better rating than) CoverGirl's LashBlast Volume Mascara.
Too Faced's Damn Girl! 24-Hour Mascara
Many will argue that nothing could possibly top Too Faced's Better Than Sex Mascara — not even another version by the very same brand — but Damn Girl! simply shouldn't be compared to its homecoming queen sister because the two couldn't be more different. The creamy mousse yeilds an inky finish that lasts 24 hours, in case you'd ever want to wear it for that long.