LOOKING for perfect lashes? We've tested some of the best mascaras to buy in 2021 and these are the definitive products you *need* in your life.
Finding the perfect mascara takes time and patience, but when you discover the one, it can be a makeup gamechanger. Whether you favour dramatic and supercharged lashes or prefer to flutter a little more naturally, the right mascara will lengthen and separate your lashes, widen the look of your eyes and generally be a dream to apply. Who needs clumping, right?
With so many mascaras on the market all promising a myriad of lash-enhancing benefits though, it can be a bit of a minefield to wade through the options—and like most beauty products, it all comes down to a little trial and error to find what works best for you.
Establishing some key requirements is a good place to start: do you need something waterproof or suitable for sensitive eyes? Is intensely pigmented, dramatic mascara your thing, or are you looking for something more suited to everyday use? You might be after a mascara that specifically lengthens and separates lashes; or a thicker, more voluminous lashline might be number one on the wishlist.
Of course, budget is a consideration too, whether you're looking for cheap and cheerful or don't mind splashing out on something more high-end (although let's be real: these days there are just as many high-performing purse-friendly picks as there are expensive coveted options).
To help you find the right one for you, we tried some of the most highly-rated mascaras to bring you our top picks. Check out the best mascaras below and get ready to flutter those lashes!
1. Best lash lifting mascara: Maybelline's Falsies Lash Lift Mascara
- Maybelline Falsies Lash Lift Mascara, £9.99 from Look Fantastic – buy here
Describing itself as "the first instant lash lift in a bottle", Maybelline's Falsies Lash Lift certainly promises a lot for under £10…but amazingly, it manages to deliver. We definitely noticed more lift in our lashes when testing this side-by-side with another mascara that didn't make the cut (that we won't mention), and our lashes were suitably feathery after application.
- Builds really well without clumping.
- Suitable for sensitive eyes.
- Double curved brush lengthens and volumises lashes.
- Honestly? None come to mind: we were really impressed with this mascara, although only time will tell how it holds up after a few uses.
2. Best allergy-tested: La Roche-Posay's Toleriane Volume Mascara
- La Roche-Posay Toleriane Volume Mascara, £16.50 from La Roche-Posay – buy here
La Roche-Posay's dermatological heritage makes it a brand you can trust when it comes to skin-friendly ingredients. This allergy-tested mascara is safe for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers, while Toleriane is the first skincare range to be given the seal of approval by Allergy UK.
- Good for sensitive eyes.
- Classic wide wand.
- Goes on smooth and builds up nicely.
- Gave a really natural effect.
- We found the product's claim to be an 'extreme volume mascara' a bit wide of the mark: it was definitely more on the natural side.
3. Best for dramatic evening looks: IT Cosmetics' Superhero Mascara
- IT Cosmetics Superhero Mascara, £22 from IT Cosmetics – buy here
With Elastic Stretch Technology, volumising collagen and strengthening biotin, IT Cosmetics promises to give lashes 'super volume, super length and super elastic stretch' with this mascara, and out of all the products we tested—it certainly gave us the most dramatic lashes by far. Our only gripe? The tube and wand is susceptible to *so* much build-up… but despite that, we just can't get enough of the formula!
- Lashes looked dramatically longer and thicker: a true evening mascara.
- Intense black pigment.
- Be warned: this mascara does get clumpy around the tube with product build-up, which means the more times we used it, the messier things got. If the tube design was improved, this would be our definite fave. Sort it out please, IT Cosmetics?
4. Best for dramatic daytime lashes: Dior's Diorshow Pump 'N' Volume
- Diorshow Pump 'N' Volume, £29 from Dior – buy here
Dior's Pump 'N' Volume is a bestseller, promising instant XXL volume and lash-multiplying effect. We're big fans too, especially as there are no gimmicks here: just a no-nonsense brush and a vitamin B5-enriched formula that definitely makes our eyelashes fuller and more voluminous.
- Beautiful packaging.
- The squeezable tube makes application super-easy.
- Lashes look longer, fuller and best of all: no clumping.
- As this is a mascara we use frequently, we can comment more on long-term use and would say that it does tend to dry out slightly which can make it smudge under eyes easier. Despite that, we still love it—and a little translucent powder applied under the eyes stops any 'fall' of the product from sticking to skin and creating the dreaded racoon look.
5. Best 'no-makeup' look: Glossier's Lash Slick
- Lash Slick, £14 from Glossier – buy here
If you're looking for a natural, 'no makeup' look, Glossier's Lash Slick is an absolute must. The weightless formula enhances lashes with conditioning ingredients like Provitamin B5 and Biotinyl Tripeptide-1, and it's water-resistant too—so it will stay put without smudging.
- We can't not talk about the pretty packaging of Glossier products. This baby pink tube is a dressing table dream.
- We loved our natural, feathery lashes—you wouldn't clock them as having mascara on.
- Fragrance-free and water resistant.
- If you want noticeably dramatic and full lashes, give this natural one a skip.
6. Best all-rounder on a budget: Max Factor's False Lash Effect Mascara
- Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara, £11.99 from Superdrug – buy here
Two words: cult classic. Max Factor's False Lash Effect Mascara is a faithful favourite and it definitely lives up to its name—our lashes always look longer, thicker and more dramatic after an application. Promising to double the thickness of eyelashes thanks to the Liquid Lash formula, it's a solid dependable choice that won't break the bank.
- An award-winning mascara for under £12? Yes please.
- The patented Liquid Lash™ formula doubles the size of lashes, creating a dramatic and defined look.
- Easy, buildable application.
- The thick plastic brush might not be to everyone's preference.
Best mascaras: the verdict
With the cheapest mascara in our top picks being £9.99 (Maybelline) and the most expensive being £29 (Dior), it's clear to us that price has little bearing over quality. Ironically, these two were our faves too!
Dior's Diorshow Pump 'N' Volume is a mascara we've been using for a while now, and it came out top for us—even after trying out various alternatives. Dramatic, full lashes is our personal preference and we just feel that this mascara delivers that exceptionally well.
Having said that, if we were more inclined to favour the natural look, we reckon Glossier's Lash Slick would be our fave. For those looking to achieve subtly-enhanced eyelashes that look like the work of mother nature rather than having come out of a tube, it's a definite winner.
Maybelline's Falsies Lash Lift was probably the biggest surprise: having tried another Maybelline mascara, we weren't impressed, but this one more than made up for our disappointment. The lift was totally obvious to see and we loved how defined our lashes were. For a budget-buy, it's 100% got our seal of approval.
Enjoyed our review of the best mascaras? Then you might also like our review of the best shampoos for perfect hair days.
We also reviewed Face Halo pads here to see if they really can remove makeup with just water.
And check out our dedicated Sun Selects reviews section to see what other products and viral trends we've tried and tested for you.
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