The 9 Best Mascaras of 2022

We love the Grande Cosmetics GrandeMascara Conditioning Peptide Mascara because it’s nourishing, volumizing, and lengthening.

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9 Best Mascaras to Enhance the Look of Your Lashes

A high-quality mascara is the best way to enhance the look of your lashes, whether for special events or everyday use. But with so many different types of mascara on the market (like volumizing, lengthening, and waterproof formulas), it can be hard to know what to look for.

To find the best mascaras, we thoroughly researched dozens of options and rounded up our recommendations based on type, formula, available shades, and more. For expert tips, we tapped Kirin Bhatty, professional makeup artist and Catrice Cosmetics ambassador, who says it's important to consider the brush and formula when looking for a mascara.

"I like to use a fan brush on bottom lashes to coat and paint every one," says Bhatty. "I also like to start from the root of the lash and wiggle out so as to coat every single lash." She also keeps a spoolie handy so that she can brush through the mascara to de-clump if needed.

Our top pick, the Grande Cosmetics GrandeMascara Conditioning Peptide Mascara, is an all-in-one mascara that doesn't break the bank. We like that it has a nourishing formula that still gives your lashes volume and length—it even makes an impact if you swipe on a single coat before running out the door.

Here are the best mascaras.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall Mascara: Grande Cosmetics GrandeMascara Conditioning Peptide Mascara

9 Best Mascaras to Enhance the Look of Your Lashes
amazon.com

Who it's for: People looking for a volumizing and lengthening mascara that also keeps their lashes healthy.

Who it isn't for: People who want mascara that comes in multiple shades.

There are plenty of reasons why we like GrandeMascara's Conditioning Peptide Mascara, but for starters, the formula is quite impressive. It's packed with peptides, which strengthen the lashes and improve their overall health. The mascara also contains vitamin B5, which adds moisture to make your lashes shinier and helps protect them from breakage. Finally, it contains a natural wax blend that consists of soft beeswax (great for promoting volume) and harder carnauba wax (to elongate your lashes).

Now, onto the good stuff—the way this mascara looks on eyelashes. Since the formula has plenty of different types of ingredients, it manages to give your lashes both volume and length. It's also a great mascara if you want to add extra layers for a bolder look because it won't clump or appear too thick. That said, it also makes an impact if you want to swipe on a quick coat before running out the door. This mascara is water-resistant, which means that it won't leave smudges on your cheeks if you're sweating. (There's also a fully waterproof version available.) Even though it only comes in black, this mascara is still a great pick for anyone looking for a reliable mascara that keeps their lashes conditioned.

Product Details:

  • Type: Volumizing, lengthening, and conditioning
  • Shades: Black

Price at time of publish: $25

Best Drugstore Mascara: Covergirl Lash Blast Clean Volume Mascara

9 Best Mascaras to Enhance the Look of Your Lashes
target.com

Who it's for: People looking for an affordable mascara on a budget.

Who it isn't for: Those looking for incredible volume with just one coat.

If you're looking for something more affordable, Covergirl's Lash Blast Clean Volume Mascara is less than half the price of our best overall pick and is available in many drugstores. We especially like that its clean formula is free of parabens and sulfates. It's also vegan and Leaping Bunny Certified, which means that there was no animal testing involved. The formula is also enhanced with both argan and marula oils, which moisturize and condition the lashes so that they are less prone to breakage.

The brush is fluffy, but it has lots of synthetic bristles that make it easy to apply to every lash while simultaneously brushing out any unwanted clumps or buildup. Once applied, the mascara stays on well and helps lashes maintain their shape for hours without smudging or flaking. It's also nice that this pick is available in multiple colors, including various shades of black.

Product Details:

  • Type: Volumizing
  • Shades: Multiple shades of black and black-brown

Price at time of publish: $12

Best Mascara for Sensitive Eyes: Maybelline The Colossal Curl Bounce Washable Mascara

9 Best Mascaras to Enhance the Look of Your Lashes
amazon.com

Who it's for: People with sensitive eyes who want a long-lasting, curl-enhancing mascara.

Who it isn't for: People who prefer straight, not curved, brushes.

Maybelline's The Colossal Curl Bounce Washable Mascara is proof that a formula doesn't have to be harsh to provide results. It earned a perfect score from SkinSafe, which means that it is free of common irritants like fragrance, parabens, gluten, and even lanolin, an ingredient commonly used in products to hold in moisture. This is also great when it comes to removal—if a bit of mascara happens to get into your eyes, you'll be less likely to experience any irritation.

Plus, this mascara took home a Real Simple beauty award thanks to its ability to curl and shape lashes. It can last for up to 24 hours, which means that it has you covered through long days and post-work events. Even though it adds volume and length, this mascara still has a weightless feel. It's available in two different versions: a long-lasting waterproof formula and a washable version that's easy to remove without excessive tugging on your eyes. The brush is also worth mentioning, as it has a slight curve that makes it easier to get the tiniest lashes at the far edges of your eyelids. It also has tiny bristles that continue over the tip to help target individual lashes.

Product Details:

  • Type: Curling, lengthening, and volumizing
  • Shades: Multiple shades of black and black-brown

Price at time of publish: $8

Best Waterproof Mascara: Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara

9 Best Mascaras to Enhance the Look of Your Lashes
ulta.com

Who it's for: People looking for a waterproof mascara that stays put.

Who it isn't for: People who would like to be able to easily wash off their eye makeup.

Unlike makeup that's water-resistant, this volumizing mascara from Too Faced is completely waterproof. Similar to the brand's original Better Than Sex formula, this waterproof version offers the same curl-holding effect, however, it lasts much longer. While some waterproof mascaras tend to skimp on volumizing and lengthening effects, this one contains Acacia Senegal tree extract, an ingredient that sets and holds volume.

The formula also contains collagen, which has a plumping effect on your lashes, and peptides, which are great for conditioning purposes. The fluffy, hourglass-shaped brush makes it easy to cover your entire lash line at once, and it also targets the short lashes at the corners of your eyes so your lids look extra lifted. The one downside is that it can be difficult to take off (like most waterproof mascaras), so make sure you have an oil- or cream-based makeup remover on hand.

Product Details:

  • Type: Waterproof and volumizing
  • Shade: Black

Price at time of publish: $28

RELATED: The 5 Best Eye Makeup Removers for Every Skin Type

Best Splurge Mascara: Sisley Mascara So Stretch

9 Best Mascaras to Enhance the Look of Your Lashes
nordstrom.com

Who it's for: People who want a high-end mascara with plenty of benefits.

Who it isn't for: People who would rather splurge on things besides makeup.

Sisley's Mascara So Stretch is the most expensive option on our list, but it could be worth the splurge for people looking for a high-end pick. In addition to adding length and volume to the lashes, this formula helps improve the overall health of each hair. It does this thanks to ingredients like castor oil, vitamin peptides, and ceramides—which add and hold in moisture. This will leave your lashes looking and feeling much softer over time.

The best part is that a little bit of this mascara truly goes a long way. If you only have the time (and patience) to put on a single coat and run out the door, this mascara has you covered. That said, it won't clump if you want to layer it for a bolder look. It's long-lasting and doesn't smudge, which is great for people who sweat a lot or find themselves accidentally rubbing their eyes throughout the day. The brush is wide at the base and narrower at the tip, which makes it much easier to put on lashes on your bottom lid or the corners of your eyes. Plus, this mascara is available in three deep shades: black, brown, and navy blue.

Product Details:

  • Type: Volumizing and lengthening
  • Shades: Black, brown, and blue

Price at time of publish: $

Best Lengthening Mascara: Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Push-Up Lashes! Mascara

9 Best Mascaras to Enhance the Look of Your Lashes
sephora.com

Who it's for: People looking for super fluffy, lengthy lashes.

Who it isn't for: People who want a subtle look with a thin coat.

Charlotte Tilbury's Pillow Talk Push-Up Lashes! Mascara contains a lash-lifting polymer that helps maintain a curled, lengthy shape. It contains carnauba and microcrystalline waxes, both of which build up on each lash. It also contains Kerestore, which is keratin that conditions lashes so that they look thicker and feel healthier over time. The formula is also free of sulfates, parabens, formaldehyde, and other often-irritating ingredients.

In addition to the lengthening formula, this mascara also stands out because of its unique brush. It features a rounded tip and edges, but the sides are actually flat. The brush is also surrounded by small silicone bristles. Unlike fluffier brushes, this one makes the application process much more controlled so that you can target specific lashes. The brush also delivers lots of product at once, which is great for people who want a noticeable effect with one quick coat.

Product Details:

  • Type: Volumizing and lengthening
  • Shade: Black and berry-black

Price at time of publish: $29

Best Volumizing Mascara: Benefit Cosmetics BADgal BANG! Volumizing Mascara

9 Best Mascaras to Enhance the Look of Your Lashes
sephora.com

Who it's for: People looking for bold, stand-out lashes.

Who it isn't for: People who prefer to keep their makeup looking very natural.

This mascara from Benefit Cosmetics packs a serious punch of volume—and it stays on for up to 36 hours. The mascara can be amped up depending on the look that you're going for. With one coat, it offers more of a lengthening effect while defining each lash for added volume. If you layer multiple coats, you'll get an even bolder and more voluminous look. While some mascaras can look clumpy or heavy with multiple coats, this formula contains aero-particles, which help maintain a super lightweight feeling.

The TikTok-viral mascara also contains waxes that coat your lashes and help the curling effect last longer. The brush is one of the big contributing factors to this mascara's success, as it has a 360-degree reach that allows it to coat every lash—even in those hard-to-reach corners.

Product Details:

  • Type: Volumizing
  • Shade: Black and blue

Price at time of publish: $

RELATED: This TikTok-Viral Mascara Makes Me Look Like I Got Lash Extensions

Best Clean Mascara: Ilia Fullest Volumizing Mascara

9 Best Mascaras to Enhance the Look of Your Lashes
sephora.com

Who it's for: People who prioritize makeup with clean formulas.

Who it isn't for: People looking for multiple color options.

If you're looking for a clean mascara that still gives your lashes some oomph, Ilia's Fullest Volumizing Mascara is worth checking out. For starters, it adds volume and length without clumping, thanks to a weightless wax blend that coats the lashes and holds in the good ingredients. The formula also contains vitamin B5, which helps improve the health of the lashes so that they will look great on their own as well. The formula is clean, so it's completely free of sulfates, parabens, and dozens of other common irritants.

This mascara's brush is what the brand calls a violin shape, meaning it's wide at both ends and thin in the middle. It's covered with bristles throughout and at the tip so that it's easy to coat every single lash. Overall, this is a clean mascara that makes it easy to achieve voluminous, fluffy-looking lashes that last all day long.

Product Details:

  • Type: Lengthening and volumizing
  • Shade: Black

Price at time of publish: $28

Best Curling Mascara: Lancôme Lash Idôle Lash-Lifting and Volumizing Mascara

9 Best Mascaras to Enhance the Look of Your Lashes
sephora.com

Who it's for: People who worry about clumping and want to skip the lash curler.

Who it isn't for: People who prefer a traditional-shaped brush.

This curling mascara from Lancôme lasts for up to 24 hours, so it's really in it for the long haul. The brush is super unique, thanks to its curved shape that's covered in 360 small silicone bristles. It's fairly thin and gets even thinner at the end, which makes it easy to target specific areas. As for the formula, it goes on smoothly and it is easy to layer if you want a bolder look. No matter how many layers you apply, this mascara manages to avoid clumping or flaking—even after it's been on for hours. It also feels lightweight and gives your lashes a feathery, fanned-out look.

The formula contains white tea extract, an antioxidant that works to condition the lashes so that they feel moisturized and nourished even after wearing mascara. Plus, it comes off fairly easily with face wash, especially with an oil-based one. Overall, it's a great mascara for people who want curled, defined lashes without having to use an eyelash curler.

Product Details:

  • Type: Lengthening and curling
  • Shade: Black

Price at time of publish: $27

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Final Verdict

The Grande Cosmetics GrandeMascara Conditioning Peptide Mascara is our best overall pick because it accomplishes a lot with a single coat. Its formula contains peptides and vitamins to keep your lashes healthy, and it keeps them looking long and voluminous. For something more budget-friendly, we recommend Covergirl's Lash Blast Clean Volume Mascara. We love that this drugstore mascara has a clean formula and comes in multiple shades of black and brown.

How to Shop for Mascara

Type

Mascaras are often marketed as volumizing, lengthening, curling, etc., so you should consider what aspects of your natural lashes you'd like to play up and think about the results you're looking for. For example, if you already have super long eyelashes, you might want to opt for a volumizing mascara to make them appear fuller. People with thick, full lashes, might prefer a lengthening or curling mascara instead. If you're going to be spending all day outdoors, consider wearing waterproof mascara that will stay on even if you sweat.

Formula

This is important for everyone, but it's often overlooked. Make sure to avoid harmful ingredients like sulfates and parabens, which can damage your lashes, cause them to thin, and irritate sensitive eyes. This is also an important consideration if you're a person who likes to easily wash off your makeup, as some formulas are really thick, which could require a bit of scrubbing.

No matter what type of mascara you choose, make sure that it has some nourishing ingredients like shea butter or niacinamide—this way you can improve the appearance and health of your lashes.

Shade

Since most people opt for some variation of black, it's easy to forget that other natural shades exist as well. If you are blonde or have red hair and you'd like to match your natural lashes, there are brown and clear versions of mascaras that might be exactly what you're looking for. There are also plenty of brands that make colorful mascaras (think: navy blue and purple) which would be a fun way to mix it up.

Questions You Might Ask

What's the best way to remove mascara?

To take off your mascara at the end of the day, put a generous amount of makeup remover on a cotton pad, cotton ball, or reusable makeup remover pad. Hold it over your eye for a few seconds to give it time to soak in and soften the mascara. Then, gently rub the mascara away by swiping in the direction of the lashes. If you don't want to use a makeup remover, an oil-based cleanser or micellar water would also work well. Make sure to massage the cleanser into your lashes as you're washing your face.

How long does mascara last before it expires?

Mascara should be replaced every three months, so make sure you're aware of how long your tube has been floating around in your makeup bag.

How do you prevent mascara from smudging?

If you find that your mascara is constantly smudging, a bit of setting powder can help prevent that. Put a very fine layer of powder on a brush and focus it along your under-eye area. The powder will soak up any oil or moisture, which are typically the culprits behind smudges.

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Brittany Loggins, a contributing writer for Real Simple with years of experience writing about beauty products. To compile this list, she thoroughly researched various mascaras on the market and narrowed down the options based on factors like formula, type, and available shades. For expert tips, Brittany spoke to Kirin Bhatty, professional makeup artist and Catrice Cosmetics ambassador.

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