A drugstore mascara is one of those makeup products that I can say with certainty can rival a high-end one. In fact, I don’t think it’s easy to justify buying anything but drugstore mascaras, since they can deliver the same volume, length, and curl as more expensive ones, and they will last you just as long. Mascaras are notorious for expiring very quickly and needing to be replaced often, so you might as well pick up one of the best drugstore mascara options to give your lashes that doe-eyed appearance.
We’ve selected 21 of the best drugstore mascaras, with each one giving a slightly different effect – after all, there is an option out there for every person to love. Then we go over the different effects one might want out of a drugstore mascara to make it easier for you to pinpoint the features you would prefer!
Your Drugstore Mascara Guide: Contents
21 Best Drugstore Mascaras to Volumize, Lengthen & Curl
From volumizing to lengthening to holding that curl perfectly, find the best drugstore mascara for your lash needs below!
1. Best Drugstore Mascara for Big Volume: CoverGirl Lash Blast Volume Mascara
With an extra-black formula and flexible plastic bristles, this is the best drugstore mascara for simultaneously volumizing the lashes while also separating them. It thoroughly coats each lash with a lengthening and thickening formulation that makes the lashes look big and present. It’s also a cruelty-free option, which we greatly appreciate. The only potential con to this CoverGirl mascara is that it does have a very thick wand, which can be a little messy and unwieldy to deal with. Get it on Amazon!
2. Best Drugstore Mascara for False Lash Effect: Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara
When you want your lashes to look unreal, this is the best drugstore mascara to try. It comes from Essence, a German brand that is cruelty-free, high-quality, and affordable. It has a traditional spoolie wand that is easy to control and manipulate, and offers a lot of volume and length, with just the right amount of separation. You can really amp up the drama with this mascara, but be careful because it’s easy to overdo and end up with overly thick, spidery lashes. It’s available on Amazon.
3. Best Drugstore Mascara in Waterproof: L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Waterproof Mascara
Many have compared Lash Paradise to Too Faced’s Better Than Sex, so if you’ve tried that mascara and liked it, this could be the best drugstore mascara for you. It gives incredible volume and length, but sometimes at the price of a bit of clumpiness if you’re not careful. This waterproof version of it is one of our L’Oréal favorites because it can hold up to nearly anything, so definitely pack it along for your next beach-side vacation. You can find it on Amazon.
4. Best Drugstore Mascara in Washable: Maybelline Lash Sensational Washable Mascara
There is something about Lash Sensational’s pink, metallic tube that we are simply obsessed with. It’s the very definition of drugstore mascara luxury design. It’s a lovely mascara that gives nice definition length with a curved plastic brush that fans out the lashes beautifully. The best thing about it is that it’s washable, making it very easy to remove for those with sensitive eyes, although it also means that it won’t hold through a workout session or a rainstorm. Order it online from Amazon!
5. Best Drugstore Mascara with Lifting Effect: NYX Professional Makeup On The Rise Volume Liftscara
This is the best drugstore mascara out there for those with very straight or downward angled lashes. It was formulated to give the blackness and volume one would expect out of a good mascara, along with maximum lift regardless of whether you’ve curled your lashes beforehand. As with all NYX products, it is cruelty-free and even vegan. Since it’s not waterproof, it may start to wear away on very long days, and if you are not very careful while applying, it can get a little clumpy. Pick it up at Ulta!
6. Best Drugstore Mascara for Length: Elizabeth Mott It’s So BIG Volumizing Mascara
This unique mascara is a cult-favorite for a reason. It combines natural beeswax with tubing polymers to give a lot of length as well as some volume. The tubes it forms around the lashes give a great extension that is very oil-resistant but will come off with just a wipe of warm water. It has a corset-shaped brush that works well with smaller lashes, but might be hard to control with a wider eye. It is the best drugstore mascara with a very long-lasting and water-resistant formula, and as a bonus, it is certified by PETA as cruelty-free. Shop for it on Amazon!
7. Best Two-in-One Formula: L’Oréal Paris Double Extend Beauty Tubes Lengthening 2 Step Mascara
This awesome drugstore mascara comes with a primer on one end and a tubing formula on the other. As a result, it gives a really nice volume to the lashes along with the unique length that you can only get out of a tubing mascara. The only drawback to this mascara is that sometimes the primer will show through a little bit, so the lashes don’t look completely black unless you apply enough coats. It is sold on Amazon.
8. Best Natural-Looking Drugstore Mascara: Maybelline Full ‘N Soft Washable Mascara
Sometimes you want an easy mascara that will make your lashes pop without looking over the top and will be easy to take off at the end of the day. Well, this is the best drugstore mascara for you! It keeps the lashes looking soft and natural but still voluminous and includes vitamin E to fortify them. Once it’s time to remove it, it will just wash off without damaging the lashes. With all that said, while it does last well throughout the day, it won’t hold up against water, rain, or sweat. Buy it from Amazon!
9. Best Drugstore Mascara in Different Colors: ColourPop BFF Mascara
This new mascara from ColourPop has caused a bit of controversy, but because it’s so unique, we think it deserves a spot here. First, it comes in 7 colors, from traditional black and brown to some wild colors like lavender and teal, and unlike many other color mascaras, it is very pigmented. It gives a nice coating of color and volume, although some find it to be a little clumpy and difficult to work with. Grab it from Ulta!
10. Best Tubing Drugstore Mascara: Kiss Me Heroine Make Long and Curl Mascara
This amazing Japanese drugstore mascara has also become a huge hit in the West, thanks to its incredibly lengthening effect. It’s one of the best tubing mascaras around, with the ability to hold a curl and just, in general, look amazing all day long. It is even infused with fibers that make it extra-lengthening. Find it on Amazon!
11. Best Drugstore Mascara for Separation: CoverGirl Clump Crusher Extensions LashBlast Mascara
To date, Clump Crusher is still a personal favorite – a wonderfully separating mascara that holds on remarkably well and gives a great balance of volume and length without compromising definition at all. Its curved plastic brush is one of the best we’ve seen for giving the lashes total separation without any clumps (hence the name!). This variation on it is infused with fibers that give a boost to this mascara’s lengthening abilities. Get it on Amazon!
12. Best Drugstore Mascara for Washable Drama: Maybelline Volum’ Express The Falsies Washable Mascara
Just because you prefer an easily washable, non-waterproof mascara, it doesn’t mean that you don’t want drama! This is the best drugstore mascara that gives really exceptional volume and lift to the lashes for a false-lash effect enhanced by fibers. It can get clumpy if you’re not careful applying it, but that’s sometimes the price to pay for an extreme look. The brush is slightly curved and hinged, which makes it easier to get into the corners of the eye and to reach every last lash. It’s available in 4 colors through Amazon.
13. Best Clean Drugstore Mascara: Honest Beauty Extreme Length Mascara + Lash Primer
Whether you buy into the clean beauty trend or not, it is undeniable that this mascara from Honest Beauty does the trick and even rivals mainstream drugstore mascaras. This formulation is free of paraffin, silicones, parabens, and many synthetic ingredients, but it still delivers long, lush-looking lashes. This mascara comes with a conditioning primer on one end and the actual mascara on the other end, so it helps to strengthen the lashes while making them look amazing. Order it from Amazon!
14. Best Drugstore Mascara with Traditional Wand: Milani Highly Rated 10-in-1 Volume Mascara
This is another fantastically dramatic, volumizing, and lash-lifting mascara. It’s a real one-and-done since with a single coat, you get the same effects as you would from a single coat of another mascara. It comes with a nylon wand, which is great for traditionalists who are sick of the rise of plastic mascara wands. The only potential drawback to this drugstore mascara is that when it’s fresh, it takes a little longer than usual to dry on the lashes. Grab it from Ulta!
15. Old-School Favorite: L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Original Volume Building Mascara
L’Oréal Voluminous has been around for decades, and while the brand has released many fancy new mascaras over the years, this one remains a best-seller. It gives the lashes reliable volume without clumpiness and has a classic medium-sized brush that works for both the top and bottom lashes. These days, this best-selling drugstore mascara is also available in a wide range of colors, including blue, burgundy, and green. Pick it up on Amazon!
16. Best Drugstore Mascara for Bombshell Lashes: theBalm Mad Lash Mascara