Secretly, I’ve never understood spending money on pricey prestige mascaras. Sure, the tubes often look fancier, but it’s only in rare cases where a product actually works like magic (hi, Dior Iconic Overcurl). That’s why drugstore brands, like Maybelline, have been a longtime go-to for me. The best Maybelline mascaras for your lashes work just as well as their prestige counterparts, and for less than $10 a tube, you don’t have to feel obligated to use every last bit (meaning you can get a new mascara every three months like the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends to avoid risk of infection).
A good mascara should add both length and volume (and many of the picks on this list do), but it’s also quite common for them to focus on one aspect, which usually has to do with the wand design. Unsurprisingly, mascara formulas have to undergo more rigorous testing than your average makeup product because of its proximity to your eyes. Since that means brands will have to spend more time and money developing and testing mascaras before they hit the shelves, the formulas are largely the same.
That’s why brands like Maybelline have to get creative with their wands. There are two main types of wands: fiber bristles, which are used to create more volume, and plastic-mold bristles, which are generally used to create more length. But you’ll find even more variety with the way those bristles are arranged. More densely packed bristles allow the wand to hold onto more product, building fuller, thicker-looking lashes in the process. If the brush has thinner, more finely spaced bristles, that allows it to really lengthen from root to tip. You’ll also notice many wands designed with a curved shape to help lift and curl your lashes.
Ahead, you’ll find five of the best Maybelline mascaras
1. The Cult-Favorite
It’s impossible to talk Maybelline — and mascara in general — without mentioning Great Lash. The iconic pink and green tube is easily one of the beauty world’s most recognizable products, and it’s been a best-seller for the brand for nearly 50 years (seriously, check out its fascinating back story). This mascara is ophthalmologist-tested and hypoallergenic, so it’s safe for contact lens wearers and those with sensitive eyes to use. The classic brush helps build more volume without clumping up your lashes (even if you add more than one coat), and the waterproof formula is sold in two other colors, aside from classic black: royal blue and brownish black.
2. Best Lengthening Mascara
If you’re all about adding length to your lashes, the Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara is hard to beat. This mascara has 10 layers of plastic bristles that ensure even your tiniest lashes are coated in mascara and combed upwards as you work the wand from root to tip. To add to its lengthening power, the bristles are arranged in a slightly curved shape to separate and fan out every lash. Choose from both waterproof and washable formulas in various shades of brown and black.
3. Best Volumizing Mascara
When you want to add extreme volume to your lashes, the Maybelline Volum’ Express The Colossal Effect mascara combines a unique formula with a wand designed to maximize lashes sans clumps. The mascara itself is infused with collagen to make lashes look up to nine times thicker with just one coat. Then, the bright yellow brush uses tons of tiny fiber bristles to deliver more product onto your lashes for exaggerated volume. Get it in two shades of black, or brown.
4. Best Mascara For A Winged Effect
To complement your cat eyeliner or create a more feline effect without using any eyeliner at all, Maybelline created The Falsies Push Up Angel Mascara. The winged, plastic-mold brush lifts and fans lashes outwards for a more eye-opening effect. The wand also has more of a comb-like design that’s especially helpful if your lashes are on the thinner or shorter side, because it’s able to glide over every single lash to ensure they’re evenly coated and swept into place. Again, this mascara is available in waterproof and washable formulas, in both black and brown.
5. Best Mascara For Spider Lashes
Spider lashes may not be for everyone (or every occasion), but if you’re into the clumped-out look, the Maybelline Volum’ Express The Colossal Spider Effect Mascara really delivers. Like the traditional Colossal mascara, this one includes collagen in the formula to volumize lashes, but it uses a plastic-mold brush to lengthen lashes as it groups them together. The end result isn’t a full-on clumpy effect, but bulked-up lashes that really stand out. Plus, the wand is designed with a pointed tip that makes reaching those tiny lashes at the inner corners a cinch.
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