The 15 Best Mascaras for Every Budget

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The Best Mascaras from Cheap to Steep

The best mascaras on the market from cheap to steep. From left: Maybelline, Cover Girl and Chanel

We've researched and handpicked the 15 best mascaras on the market right now from cheap to steep. These include drugstore picks, department store brands that are beloved and a mascara that took social media by storm (surely by now you've heard of Younique?).

One question we get from women is, "What is the very best (insert beauty product here)?" You want to know if you are standing in a drugstore aisle, what mascara to pick. If you are in a fancy department store and you want the very best mascara that will make your lashes appear long, full and lush while never, ever smudging, you want to know what counter to head to.

This list is made up of the very best mascaras on the market today. While you can get a pretty decent cheap drugstore mascara, it's my experience that you get what you pay for when it comes to mascara, so make your way to the end of this article to see the very best mascara for your money.

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Rimmel Extra Super Lash Mascara $4-$5

Rimmel London

For such an inexpensive mascara, this one packs a mighty punch and gets overwhelmingly positive reviews on the top sites for going on smoothly (no clumps), looking natural and staying put throughout the day.

It's a simple mascara, so don't expect maximum va-va-va-voomness. One reviewer on Makeupalley said teenage girls shouldn't bother with this basic mascara as it would be "boring," but she loves it because it helps perfectly coat her sparse over-40 lashes.

Buy it online from

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L'Oreal Voluminous, $7


For a great overall budget mascara, consider L'Oreal Voluminous. InStyle Magazine named L'Oreal Voluminous its Best Beauty Buy mascara. Enhanced with hair conditioners panthenol and cermide-R, this product is a must-have. Makeup artists love it because, like the other best mascaras, it adds volume without clumping.

Buy it online from Amazon

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CoverGirl LashBlast Volume Mascara, $7.75

Cover Girl

When Eva Chen, the beauty director at Teen Vogue told the amazing blog "Into the Gloss" that this CoverGirl mascara is "the best mascara on the market," I immediately put it on this list. Why? Chen is a product junkie, her bathroom is like a mini Sephora, and she's tried every mascara on the market. Why does she love a $10 mascara the most? "If you want clean, defined, super long lashes, it’s great," she says.

The reviewers over at Makeupalley agree — well some of them anyway. This mascara at the time of this writing got more than 4,000 reviews with 65% saying they'd "buy again." (That's pretty good for Makeupalley). My take on this mascara: It's pretty good for a cheap drugstore mascara, but it's not as great as the posh brands like Chanel or even Lancome.

Some cons: It's a waterproof mascara, and therefore a pain to remove at night. Use a good makeup remover and save yourself some angst. 

Buy it from Amazon

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Maybelline Full 'N Soft Mascara, $7-$8


Maybelline is beloved for its mascaras and this is their best-reviewed one. (Yes, MUCH better reviewed than Great Lash). It's a good drugstore mascara for daytime use. Don't expect excess volume for going out. For nighttime, consider using this as a base and apply over it a mascara made for volume. Also popular in waterproof form.

Buy it online from Amazon

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Mary Kay Lash Love, $15

Mary Kay Lash Love. Mary Kay

Creates gorgeous long, evenly separated lashes without the clumps you'll find in other mascaras. Some reviewers even reported they get asked if they are wearing false lashes. And everyone loves the $15 price tag. Only cons I saw were from reviewers who complained it added length, but not volume.

Buy it from Amazon

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Bare Escentuals Buxom Lash, $19

Bare Escentuals Buxom Lash Mascara. Bare Escentuals

For volume lashes, this is a great pick and gets tons of hype on the review sites. It's so beloved it's somewhat of a cult mascara. Reviewers boast this mascara is build-able without getting clumpy and defines even short, Asian lashes beautifully.

The cons I read came from reviewers who were disappointed the mascara didn't live up to its hype, which just goes to show that not all mascaras will work the same for all women. I recommend trying the mini version from Sephora for $13 before you buy if you are concerned you won't love it.

Buy it from Amazon

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Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash, $23

Make Up Forever Smoky Lash. Make Up Forever

This mascara gets high marks for being a "basic, good mascara." Goes on wet, but not too wet (meaning it won't mark up your lids) but some reviewers claim it will take a couple coats to get maximum volume. The real con here is that may reviewers claim the mascara is good, but not much better than drugstore brands, so you can save $15 and buy L'Oreal or Maybelline.

Buy it online from Amazon

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Bobbi Brown "No Smudge" Mascara, $25

Bobbi Brown No Smudge Mascara. Bobbi Brown

The best thing about this mascara — aside from the way it lengthens and adds volume without creating "spider lashes" — is that it really lasts a long, long time. The only downside to great waterproof mascara is that you need a makeup remover.

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Blinc's "Tube" Mascara, $26

Blinc Cosmetics

Blinc's tube mascara was the hottest thing to hit the mascara counters since oscillating brushes (a waste of money, IMO) and its popularity endures many years after it first hit the market. I learned about Blinc years ago from a couple of my friends in Seattle who gushed over it and ever since they mentioned, I've noticed more and more chatter about it on blogs and among beauty aficionados.

Here's why everyone still goes ga-ga for it: the mascara creates tiny, water-resistant "tubes" around lashes, which makes them appear thicker and longer than lashes painted by common mascaras. My friends are crazy about Blinc and love that when you remove the makeup with water, the tubes slide right off.

Buy it online from Amazon

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Lancôme Hypnose, $27.50


Lancome sent me this mascara years ago and I must admit, at first I was skeptical. After all, it had an odd shape and I already had a mascara of choice in Lancome's Definicils (see below). Why mess with a good thing?

After trying it out, it took me a couple weeks to get used to. I didn't love the odd shape of the brush at first (now I do) and the product when you first use it starts out super wet. After a couple weeks of use, I loved Hypnose so much I stopped using Definicils. And I've been a Hypnose girl for several years now. The color goes on smooth and silky without clumping. Your eyes will never look larger. The effect is much like that of false eyelashes and I have no idea how they did it.

Buy online from Amazon

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Lancôme Definicils, $27.50


Named the best mascara several years in a row in InStyle magazine's Best Beauty Buys issue, Lancome Definicils not only lengthens lashes but won't clump.

For years, I used it every day, having tried many mascaras. I would say it's a great daytime mascara, but choose something more voluminous (like Hypnose) for nighttime. And I love using the primer (Cils Booster) before applying this mascara. Keep in mind: Mascara is one beauty product you don't need to spend money on; however, I happily spend the $20 or so this product costs. I find it works better than even my favorite drugstore mascaras.

Buy online from Amazon

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Diorshow Iconic High Definition Lash Curler Mascara, $29

Dior Show Lash Curler Mascara. Christian Dior

Dior Show has gotten a ton of hype, but surprisingly does not get nearly the good reviews as other mascaras from Christian Dior (sorry, but I refuse to include on this list mascaras that don't get overall great reviews, no matter their hype). DiorShow's Iconic High Definition Lash Curler Mascara is the priciest one on my list, but earns its spot by being pretty flawless: creating long, full, volume lashes that look as if you are wearing false lashes.

And an extra bonus: It lasts all day, too.

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Younique 3D Fiber Lash Mascara, $29

Brittany Regal on Blogspot

Younique fiber mascara has taken social media by storm. You may have seen the amazing before and after pictures on Facebook or Instagram. Women are posting pictures of their short little non-existent eyelashes in "before" pictures next to their amazingly long lashes shown in "after" pictures. A friend who sells Younique posted photos of her own before and after and the difference was so extreme, I had to buy it to try it. 

I loved it enough that I became addicted. And I put it on this list. But like any new product that is beloved by some, while underwhelming others, it did come with issues. Find out the whole scoop in my Review of Younique 3D Fiber Lash Mascara.

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Le Volume De Chanel, $30


Pretty much the most perfect mascara on the market. And at $30 it should be. Beloved for creating volume and intense color (it comes in 3 shades: black, blue, and plum) in a single stroke, this mascara gets fantastic reviews on the beauty sites.

Buy online from Amazon