Real Simple readers and staffers reveal their favorite tried-and-true mascaras. 

By Real Simple
Updated January 19, 2009
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Brian Henn

Mascara has come a long way since it was first introduced in the early 1900s (coal dust and petroleum jelly was hardly smudgeproof). But some wands have made their mark on the lush-lash time line.

Maybelline New York Great Lash Mascara

“It makes my lashes look very black and holds up in the heat. And it’s super easy to wash off,” said one reader. No wonder it has been a top seller since its debut in 1971. In the United States alone, one tube is sold every 1.6 seconds.
To buy: $6 at drugstores and amazon.com.

Lancôme Définicils High Definition Mascara

“The natural color is great, and it makes my lashes really long with just two light coats,” said a staffer.
To buy: $27.50, sephora.com.

Dior DiorShow Mascara

“My lashes look fuller and more defined when I put this on,” said a reader. “It doesn’t smudge, even after a long day.”
To buy: $28.50, sephora.com.

L’Oréal Voluminous Mascara

One staffer, who has used this for more than 20 years, raved, “I love the black kohl color and the fact that it never clumps or flakes.”
To buy: $6 at drugstores and amazon.com.