17 of the Best Drugstore Mascaras of All Time
When it comes to mascara, what works for one set of lashes doesn’t work for all. Stroll through any beauty aisle in the drugstore or supermarket, and you’ll find countless variations with promises to plump, volumize, lengthen, and thicken—and we’re not even talking about the megas, supers, and colossals that make their way on to the latest iterations of cult-classics.
Of course, there’s also the question of whether to go with a waterproof mascara or a washable version. We typically recommend veering away from waterproof because it can be a pain to remove, but for those with watery eyes it can be a necessity. For that reason, we were sure to include an option that will cut down on smears and smudges. We love drugstore beauty buys like these cheap mascaras because they allow us to try something new without the investment that another department-store brand might require.
Here you’ll find the top-rated budget mascaras based on reviews from both customers and editors. Be sure to share your favorite drugstore mascaras with us in the comments. We’re always looking to hear from you on your new favorites and old standbys.
L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Washable Mascara
Envy-worthy volume and length are the goals with this cult-fave drugstore buy, which happens to be the ultimate dupe for a certain Too Faced tube. It comes in three different shades of black, in addition to Black Brown.
BUY IT: $10.99; walgreens.com
NYX Professional Makeup Worth The Hype Mascara
You’ll recognize this product as the drugstore dupe for Benefit’s BADgal Lash Volumizing mascara, which is one of the best out there. If you’re a fan of designer mascaras, this is about as close as you’ll find in a drugstore aisle.
BUY IT: $8; ulta.com
Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara
This wand has 10 layers of bristles that fan out lashes to create a bold, fluttery look from root to tip.
BUY IT: $9.99; ulta.com
Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara
Quite frankly, the before-and-after shots of users that apply this mascara is staggeringly dramatic. Think of the fullest, longest, most volumized lashes ever. That’s what this $5 Amazon bestseller turns out.
BUY IT: $4.99; ulta.com
CoverGirl LashBlast The Super Sizer Mascara
This brush might look a bit odd to some, but ladies with shorter lashes should give it a try. One side of the wand is flat to boost volume, while the comb side separates and defines. Twirl the wand as you apply to get the full effect.
BUY IT: $7.70; walgreens.com
CoverGirl LashBlast Mega Volume Mascara
If you’re wary of true black mascara, try LashBlast Mega Volume in Brown. It’s lighter than the more common black brown shade offered on other lines.
BUY IT: $8.79; walgreens.com
Maybelline Snapscara Washable Mascara
Take a walk on the wild side with this tubular mascara that comes off with just a splash of water. It comes in four colors, ranging from black cherry to cobalt blue.
BUY IT: $7.99; walgreens.com
Honest Beauty Extreme Length + Lash Primer Mascara
Two is always better than one, in our not-so humble opinion. This primer-mascara duo gives just the boost your lashes need. Plus, this clean beauty brand uses ingredients that are better for you.
BUY IT: $14.99; target.com
Rimmel ScandalEyes Retroglam Mascara
An astonishing 97 percent of 2,000-plus reviews recommend this mascara. The hourglass brush is the secret to fanned-out lashes with 1960s appeal.
BUY IT: $5.99; walgreens.com
Maybelline Great Lash Washable Mascara
You know this iconic tube. It’s still one of our standbys for its versatility. Put on a swipe or two for natural lashes or add a few extra coats to reach your desired length and fullness.
BUY IT: $7.79; walgreens.com
CoverGirl LashBlast Clump Crusher Mascara
This green tube promises 20 times more volume and zero clumps (yes, you read that right).
BUY IT: $8.50; walgreens.com
NYX Professional Makeup Doll Eye Mascara
If you want that super fluttery, defined doll-eye effect, go with this affordable pick that lifts those lashes to the sky in an almost falsie-fied way.
BUY IT: $8.99; walmart.com
Milani Highly Rated Mascara
This has quickly become a cult-status drugstore product. It boasts a 10-in-1 formula that gives mega-volume, precise definition, and sky-high length. Don’t believe us? It’s also Jeffree Star-approved, which happens to be one of the highest complements. (He’s one of the most iconic makeup artists in the world.)
BUY IT: $8.99; target.com
Maybelline Full ‘N Soft Waterproof Mascara
Build your lashes by applying a few layers of this highly-rated waterproof mascara. Just be sure you don’t let lashes dry between coats.
BUY IT: $9.99; walgreens.com
Pixi by Petra Lower Lash Mascara
If trying to apply mascara on your lower lashes proves to be your quickest way to Smudge City, please let us introduce you to a life-saving product. The super-skinny brush captures even the most obscure of bottom lashes without getting all smudged under the eye.
BUY IT: $11; target.com
Maybelline Volum’ Express The Falsies
Clumps no more! This flexible wand lifts and separates lashes to help you get a fuller look without clumps and smudges.
BUY IT: $7.99; ulta.com