The Best Drugstore Mascaras

No makeup look is truly complete without mascara. If you want your lashes to look longer, more voluminous, and more defined, without having to apply complicated false eye lashes or spend lots of money on eyelash extension treatments, using a mascara is the easiest option. Drugstore brands have some excellent choices when it comes to buying a mascara. You can find a high quality mascara at the fraction of the price of a luxury purchase, and it still performs exceptionally.

We reviewed dozens of drugstore mascaras to identify the best of the best. We examined a range of features, such as functionality, formulation, shade, price, and average customer reviews.

After searching long and hard, we chose L’Oreal Lash Paradise Mascara as our top pick. This drugstore mascara lengthens and enhances volume, while its formula also gives the effect of soft, feathery lashes. It doesn’t smudge or flake off, ensuring long-wear.

The 5 Top-Rated Drugstore Mascaras

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best OverallL'Oreal Lash Paradise Mascara3.8
Runner Up Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara4.1
Best Budget BuyEssence Lash Princess Mascara3.9
Best WaterproofL'Oreal Voluminous Waterproof Mascara3.9
Best LengtheningL'Oreal Telescopic Lengthening Mascara3.9

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

Our Top Pick: L’Oreal Lash Paradise Mascara

If you’re searching for a lengthening, voluminous mascara which doesn’t flake or smudge, L’Oreal Lash Paradise Mascara is the perfect choice. This drugstore mascara boasts a clump free formulation for naturally fluttery lashes. It delivers long, full lashes without having to use a primer.

The soft, wavy mascara wand brush holds maximum product for added length and volume. The wand has over 200 bristles to catch every lash for a full effect. Just one coat of mascara sweeps over natural lashes to increase definition, length, and volume.

The mascara is in a black shade to provide natural color to the lashes. This mascara has over 3200 reviews on Amazon with an average of a 3.8 out of 5 star rating, making it one of the most popular mascaras on the selling platform. At just over $6, this drugstore mascara offers incredible value for money.

L’Oreal Lash Paradise Mascara Key Features:

  • Intense length
  • No flaking or smudging
  • Feathery soft full lash effect

Our Runner Up Pick: Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara

Runner Up
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Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara

Full fan effect for length and volume with no clumping.

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$8.99 USD

A black drugstore mascara which enhances the volume of your natural lashes is Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara. It provides a full fan effect with enhanced length and volume without clumping. The fanning mascara brush has ten layers of bristles to create added definition on each separate lash.

The fanning lash brush captures every individual lash, including the outer lashes for a fan effect. The buildable formula means you can add coats of mascara without it clumping. The formula lasts all day so lashes are completely lengthened without having to reapply.

This drugstore mascara also thickens lashes. Naturally thin lashes look fuller with just one coat. For just over $6, this is a great affordable choice for anyone looking for fuller, more defined lashes.

Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara Key Features:

  • Full fan lash effect
  • Enhanced volume and length
  • Mascara brush coats each lash

Best Budget Pick: Essence Lash Princess Mascara

Best for Budget
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Essence Lash Princess Mascara

False lash effect at an affordable price.

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$4.99 USD

If you’re looking for a great budget drugstore mascara, Essence Lash Princess Mascara is an excellent option. The deep black shade creates natural definition, while the intense and dramatic volume provides a false lash effect. The formula is cruelty free and gluten free.

A conic shaped fiber mascara brush coats and separates each lash. Length is enhanced for a fluttery effect. This budget drugstore mascara is long-wearing so it stays put throughout the day without smudging.

For just under $5, this drugstore mascara is affordable and ideal for those not wanting to spend a lot of money on makeup. This product has over 2200 reviews on Amazon with an average rating of 3.9 out of 5 stars. It is also one of the top selling drugstore mascaras on the platform.

Essence Lash Princess Mascara Key Features:

  • False lash effect
  • Cruelty free formula
  • Long-wearing

Best Waterproof Drugstore Mascara: L’Oreal Voluminous Waterproof Mascara

Best Waterproof Mascara
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Waterproof and definition enhancing, L’Oreal Voluminous Waterproof Mascara adds 4 times the thickness of natural lashes. The formulation of this drugstore mascara separates each lash to ensure added length and volume. The intense black pigment creates a bold look.

The volume maximizing mascara brush glides over each lash for a smooth result. No flaking or no clumping occurs. This mascara lasts all day without smudging, even when wearing in wet conditions. The mascara formula contains D-Panthenol and Ceramide-R to condition and protect the lashes.

This mascara is also fragrance free and allergy tested so it’s suitable for all wearers of makeup. Even those with sensitive eyes or those who wear contact lenses can use this waterproof mascara. At just over $5, this mascara is great value for money for the full, dramatic look.

L’Oreal Voluminous Waterproof Mascara Key Features:

  • Provides 4 times the thickness of natural lashes
  • Hydrating and conditioning formula
  • Suitable for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers

Best Lengthening Drugstore Mascara: L’Oreal Telescopic Lengthening Mascara

L’Oreal Telescopic Lengthening Mascara has a unique formula to deliver dramatic length. This carbon black shade adds twice the intensity of the original black color. The flexible dual precision mascara brush has a flat side to give 60 percent extra length. The comb side of the mascara brush coats and separates each lash for enhanced definition.

This drugstore mascara applies smoothly and evenly for a bold effect. The formula is clump free and long-wearing to ensure it stays put during the day and night. It’s also fragrance free and allergy tested so even those with sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers can wear this mascara without irritation.

You can build several coats of mascara on the lashes for an extra intense look. The smooth formula is easily removed with soap and water. At over $7, this mascara is slightly more expensive than others on our list, but the intense lengthening formulation makes it a great option for those looking to add extra definition and length to their natural lashes.

L’Oreal Telescopic Lengthening Mascara Key Features:

  • Adds 60 percent extra length
  • Clump free formula
  • Suitable for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers

Who Should Buy A Drugstore Mascara

Anyone who wears makeup or wishes to make their natural lashes look longer, more defined, or have more volume, should use a mascara. Using a drugstore mascara is an affordable way of achieving long, fluttery eyelashes without having to use faux lashes or lash extensions.

Most drugstore mascaras offer enhanced length and thickness. Some also provide conditioning formulas to aid the natural look of your lashes while you wear mascara. Drugstore mascara comes in different colors. Black tends to be the most popular color, but brown, green, blue, and purple shades can enhance your natural color and give a trendy edge to your overall makeup look.

Check out our reviews of the best eyeliner and the best contour kits to complete your look.

Important Features to Consider

A drugstore mascara should have a few important features. Here’s what to consider when selecting a drugstore mascara:

  • Functionality. Drugstore mascaras have varying functions. Some are lengthening while others are volumizing. Some do both functions. Some drugstore mascaras also have a false lash effect.
  • Size. Drugstore mascaras are usually full size or mini travel sized for extra convenience when traveling.
  • Shade. Most drugstore mascaras are deep black or black to enhance the color of natural eyelashes. However, other mascara shades, including black/brown, brown, blue, green, and purple are available to purchase.
  • Formulation. The formulation of a mascara can give extra longevity of wear, as well as ensuring the mascara is smudge proof and clump free. Some formulations are conditioning to nourish and protect the natural eyelashes.
  • Cruelty free. Some drugstore mascara brands are cruelty free, meaning they don’t test their products or ingredients on animals.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is mascara used for?

Mascara is used to improve the appearance of the eyelashes. It can lengthen, define, darken, thicken, and add volume. Most mascaras are in a liquid formulation. Mascara helps to draw attention to the eyes, and complements eye makeup. To avoid a mascara related eye infection, mascara should be changed every two to four months.

What color mascara should I use?

Black mascara suits all types of wearer, but it can add a more dramatic effect than you’d like. If you prefer a more natural look, try using a black/brown or brown mascara instead. Brown mascara is excellent for enhancing blue and green eyes, while a black/brown colored mascara is highly flattering on olive skin tones.

Blue mascara suits brown, grey, and light green eyes best. Those with hazel, blue or green eyes should try a purple mascara. Brown or hazel eyes complement green colored mascaras.

What does volume mean for mascara?

Volumizing mascaras give fuller, higher lashes. Natural eyelashes can look longer, more defined, and have the illusion of a false lash effect.

How does mascara affect your eyelashes?

Mascara is a temporary product that should be removed at the end of the day. Mascara is easily removed with a cleanser or eye makeup remover. People with sensitive eyes or who wear contact lenses should use a suitable mascara. It’s best to check the formulation beforehand as this is usually stated on the packaging.

Some mascaras can cause an allergic reaction. If puffy eyes, redness or stinging occurs after using mascara, the product should be discontinued immediately. Many mascaras are safe to use and state that they are allergy tested.

Natural eyelash growth should not be affected by mascara use. Some drugstore mascaras include specific ingredients to aid lash health and improve the condition of natural eyelashes.

Other Drugstore Mascaras We Reviewed

We reviewed 20 other drugstore mascaras. While they didn’t make our top 5 drugstore mascaras list, they’re still the best of the rest and worth a look. The information you need to compare each mascara is included with the listing below.

Waterproof Drugstore Mascaras

Maybelline Full N Soft Mascara

Maybelline Full N Soft Mascara

This waterproof mascara thickens and lengthens to create softer, fuller lashes. The formula contains vitamin E to nourish.

Key Features:

  • Thicker, fuller lash effect
  • Contains vitamin E to condition
  • Suitable for contact lens wearers

Cost: $6

L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Million Lashes Mascara

Loreal Voluminous Million Lashes Mascara

A collagen infused formula and amplifying brush thickens and lengthens every lash. The smudge free and clump free mascara leaves lashes looking naturally defined and fuller.

Key Features:

  • Lasts all day
  • Amplifying brush applies the product smoothly
  • Collagen infused formula

Cost: $6

COVERGIRL Lash Exact Mascara

COVERGIRL Lash Exact Mascara

The no clump brush on this drugstore mascara gives separation and definition. It adds length and suitable for contact lens wearers.

Key Features:

  • Clump free
  • Adds length and definition
  • Suitable for contact lens wearers

Cost: $6

Neutrogena Healthy Volume Mascara

Neutrogena Healthy Volume Mascara

This waterproof mascara in a black/brown shade gives 400 percent fuller lashes. Sweet almond helps to protect the lashes while the plumping formula adds volume.

Key Features:

  • 400 percent fuller lashes
  • Sweet almond protects natural lashes
  • Adds length and volume

Cost: $8

COVERGIRL Super Sizer Big Curl Waterproof Mascara

COVERGIRL Super Sizer Mascara

This waterproof mascara delivers a curled, lifted look from root to tip. The big brush separates lashes while ensuring a smooth, even coat of mascara.

Key Features:

  • Lasts all day
  • Suitable for contact lens wearers
  • Adds curl and volume

Cost: $6

Lengthening Drugstore Mascaras

Rimmel Lash Accelerator Mascara

Rimmel Lash Accelerator Mascara

This is a mascara and lash treatment in one product. Lashes look up to 80 percent longer instantly, while the nourishing formula conditions lashes.

Key Features:

  • Up to 117 percent longer lashes in 30 days
  • Grow-Lash Complex nourishes and renews
  • Lash treatment and mascara in one

Cost: $6

Maybelline Lash Stilletto Ultimate Length Mascara

Maybelline Lash Stiletto Mascara

Giving up to 70 percent longer lashes in one sweep, this drugstore mascara has a sweep grip and extend brush to grasp from root to tip.

Key Features:

  • Up to 70 percent longer lashes
  • Gives a shiny patent finish
  • Infused with vitamin B5 to smooth and condition lashes

Cost: $6

NYX Worth The Hype Mascara

NYX Worth The Hype Mascara

Lengthening and volumizing, this mascara creates fuller, longer looking lashes. The tapered brush allows even the smallest corner lashes to be coated.

Key Features:

  • Creates fuller, longer looking lashes
  • Tapered brush to coat small, corner lashes
  • Lengthening and volumizing

Cost: $5

Neutrogena Healthy Lengths Mascara

Neutrogena Healthy Lengths Mascara

Up to 100 percent longer lashes with a formula which won’t clump or smudge. This drugstore mascara contains vitamin E and olive oil to deeply nourish.

Key Features:

  • Up to 100 percent longer lashes
  • Gentle bristle brush coats every lash
  • Black/brown shade

Cost: $7

Physicians Formula Organic Wear Natural Origin Mascara

Physicians Formula Organic Wear Mascara

5 X lash boosting for enhanced length, this Physicians Formula mascara is made with 70% organic ingredients. Fragrance-free and hypoallergenic with a formula which doesn’t smudge or clump.

Key Features:

  • 5 X lash length boosting
  • Recycled packaging and 70% organic ingredients
  • Free from parabens, harsh chemicals, and synthetic ingredients

Cost: $9

Volumizing Drugstore Mascaras

Essence Lash Princess Sculpted Volume Mascara

Essence Lash Princess Sculpted Volume Mascara

Providing long lasting intense volume, this mascara sculpts lashes with just one stroke. It is 100% vegan and cruelty free.

Key Features:

  • Deep black shade
  • Sculpted, voluminous lashes
  • Cruelty free

Cost: $5

Revlon Ultra Volume Mascara

Revlon Ultra Volume Mascara

This drugstore mascara in blackest black has a unique volumizing brush with triple groves for maximum volume. The long and short bristles prevent clumps, while the conditioning formula cares for natural lashes.

Key Features:

  • Maximum volume effect
  • Conditioning formula
  • No clumps

Cost: $7

NYX Doll Eye Mascara

NYX Doll Eye Mascara

A cruelty free mascara in an extreme black shade. It delivers fluttery lashes with a formula containing nylon fibers and natural oil.

Key Features:

  • Contains vitamin E to condition
  • Cruelty free
  • Formula includes nylon fibers and natural oil

Cost: $7

Physicians Formula Killer Curves Mascara

Physicians Formula Killer Curves Mascara

This mascara features lash-lifting polymers, collagen, and peptides to lift and strengthen lashes. The formula also contains conditioning pro-vitamin B5.

Key Features: 

  • Lash-lifting polymers and collagen curl and lift
  • Pro-vitamin B5 conditions
  • Hourglass brush coats every lash

Cost: $7

Milani Highly Rated Mascara

Milani Highly Rated Mascara

A 10-in-one mascara which lifts and builds for sky high lashes. One strokes defines and separates each lash. The plant based formula conditions and protects natural lashes.

Key Features:

  • No smudging, flaking or clumping
  • No parabens, alcohol or perfume
  • Cruelty free

Cost: $10

False Lash Effect Drugstore Mascaras

L’Oreal Double Extend 2 Step Mascara

L'Oreal Double Extend 2 Step Mascara

A double ended mascara, featuring a primer and traditional mascara. Lashes are lengthened by up to 80 percent, while the lash extension effect gives natural looking, fluttery lashes.

Key Features:

  • Infused with Ceramide-R and Panthenol to protect and condition
  • Suitable for contact lens wearers and sensitive eyes
  • Lash extension effect

Cost: $8.50

Maybelline Illegal Lengths Fiber Extensions Mascara

Maybelline Illegal Lengths Fiber Extensions Mascara

A fiber-fix brush stretches lashes to lengthen. Lashes instantly look fluttery without flaking. Suitable for contact lens wearers to use.

Key Features:

  • 4mm of fiber extensions to lengthen natural lashes
  • No breaking or flaking
  • Suitable for contact lens wearers

Cost: $6

Maybelline The Falsies Push Up Drama Mascara

Maybelline The Falsies Push Up Drama Mascara

This mascara delivers a false lash effect, delivering lift and volume. Cup-shaped bristles lift lashes from root to tip. A creamy formula plumps up natural lashes.

Key Features:

  • Extreme lift and volume effect
  • Cup shaped bristle brush lifts every lash
  • Suitable for contact lens wearers

Cost: $5

L’Oreal Voluminous X Fiber Mascara

L'Oreal Voluminous X Fiber Mascara

In shade blackest black, this drugstore mascara has a 2 step system, featuring primer and fiber infused mascara. Lashes are up to 20 times longer for extreme length and definition.

Key Features:

  • 1-4mm fibers are deposited on lashes to lengthen
  • Lash primer and mascara
  • up to 7 times more volume

Cost: $6.50

Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara
Delivers extreme volume and length. The mascara brush coats each lash to separate and define. Eyes looks wider, bigger, and bolder.
Key Features:
  • No flaking or smudging
  • Adds intense length and lift
  • Suitable for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers.
Cost: $10

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