The 8 Best Mascaras to Buy in 2018

Find the perfect wand and formula for your lashes

We demand quite a bit from mascara. The criteria for mascaras are specific and familiar to anyone who’s invested time in finding the perfect formula. The ideal mascara lengthens, volumizes without clumping (unless you specifically seek out the spidery lash look), darkens, retains curl, even resists water and sweat and doesn’t irritate your eyes — all without flaking. You might even want a cruelty-free option. Luckily, the saturation of the mascara market means both drugstore and higher-end provide plenty of options that cater to every level of specificity.

From a budget dupe for a higher-end letdown to a Japanese mascara that truly darkens your lashes, there are all kinds of mascaras available to cater to your specific needs. Whether you're lookng for a formula that's waterproof, volumizing or anything in between, there's a solution available at every price point, from drugstore to luxury.

Here, find the best mascara for your needs.

The anime packaging might be divisive, depending on your aesthetic, but don’t be fooled: According to hundreds of Amazon reviews, this Japanese drugstore mascara holds curl all day, lengthens, separates and coats lashes in the blackest black that puts even the darkest American mascara to shame. This mascara works even on short lashes. Note: This mascara also does not come off under any circumstances, so a few reviewers have suggested using an oil-based makeup remover at the end of the day. One review claimed this mascara lasted through humid Miami weather with no problem, and another said it persisted through snow. If you live in a humid climate, plan on being in inclement weather or need a long-wear solution, Isehan's mascara could be perfect for you.

L'Oréal® Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise
Courtesy of Target

While slightly pricier than other drugstore mascaras, this one from L’Oreal is impressive for the price. This mascara volumizes and leaves you with feathery, long lashes. It doesn’t flake or clump, though you can add extra coats if you prefer spidery lashes. Though not technically waterproof, Amazon reviewers commented that they found the mascara to be long-wearing anyway. Packaged in a metallic pink tube, this is a well-formulated dupe for the Too Faced Better than Sex Mascara (which is notoriously flaky) that stacks up against higher-end mascaras. More »

Revlon Super Length Mascara, 0.28 fl Oz, Blackest Black
Courtesy of Walmart

Whether you have naturally long lashes or struggle with shorter ones, this super-affordable mascara lengthens and separates in just a few swipes. Some reviewers wrote that they found the oval packaging ugly, but if you can get past that, this formula does coat lashes in a true black without weighing them down for a fluttery fringe that doesn’t flake or clump. And complaints about the humble packaging aside, the highly portable pill-shaped container stands up well to being tossed around in your bag, making this choice great for travelers or gym goers. More »

BENEFIT COSMETICS BADgal BANG! Volumizing Mascara
Courtesy of Sephora

This mascara is the latest in a line of cult favorites with equally exclamatory names such as the Benefit They’re Real! Mascara and Benefit Roller Lash Mascara. But while the latter leave natural-looking lashes suited to daytime wear, the Badgal Bang! Volumizing Mascara is designed for drama, making it more appropriate for special events or a night out on the town. A slim applicator, designed to catch every lash, coats your eyelashes with a volumizing jet-black formula. The result is waterproof, falsie-like lashes that open up the eyes. According to reviews, all it takes it one to two coats to see the difference. More »

CLINIQUE High Lengths Mascara
Courtesy of Sephora

Clinique tends to be the go-to for makeup wearers with sensitive or finicky skin. If your eyes water easily but you’re not willing to give up mascara, you’re in luck: this gentle formula darkens, lengthens, curls and volumizes for enhanced lashes without irritation or clumping. The mascara also lasts long enough on your lashes but isn’t impossible to take off at the end of the day. The formula dissolves easily with ordinary makeup remover or micellar water. And depending on your level of finesse, you might even be able to maneuver the applicator around your bottom lashes, as one reviewer did. The long wand does deposit a generous amount of product, so reviewers advise wiping excess off the applicator and waiting a few seconds between coats. More »

This new mascara from Maybelline, producer of the classic Great Lash mascara, happens to be the #1 New Release in the mascara category on Amazon. Like other formulas on this list, the Total Temptation mascara adds quick volume and length in a few swipes. The fluffy wand enhances even the shortest lashes with an eye-defining ink-black formula, according to reviewers who were pleased with the clump-free results. The mascara is long-lasting but like the name suggests, easy to remove without excessive tugging, all in adorably retro millennial pink packaging.

Waterproof mascaras will last through rain, snow, sweat and tears and are ideal for people who want a no-smudge guarantee. The tradeoff, however, tends to be weighed-down lashes that refuse to hold any kind of shape. This mascara from Lancome manages to incorporate the long-wearing properties of waterproof mascara with the volumizing and lengthening qualities of regular formulas. The curvy wand thickens eyelashes in one swipe, but you can double up on coats for even more dramatic lashes. Reviewers said this mascara helped their eyelashes remained curled without transferring onto their skin. More »

If you’re looking for a cruelty-free option, this long-wearing (though not technically waterproof) mascara is it. Aside from not being tested on animals, this mascara contains lash-conditioning ingredients like Amazonian clay, which keep lashes hydrated, soft, and healthy. It also lengthens and volumizes for natural-looking lashes that open up the eyes without flaking or clumping. Amazon reviewers with sensitive eyes mention its gentleness, writing that it managed to stay on all day without smudging or causing issues with their contacts. One reviewer said this lasted through a 12-hour shift, if that gives you an idea of its staying power. This mascara is also vegan.

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