In my never-ending quest to have dramatic lashes without falsies (because let’s face it, my clumsy hands are not getting the hang of those things), I’ve tried a number of different mascaras. When it comes to mascara you have to consider ink formula, brush structure, wand grip, and a number of other factors that can make it a go-to or a pass.
I tried 15 different mascaras across 14 different brands to see which ones delivered on what they advertised. Because my natural lashes are extremely curly and fan into several directions, I primed my lashes before every application. Some were easy to use and understandably cult favorites, some required more work than I would have preferred.
And while I already knew that all mascaras are not created equal, I was surprised to find which brands (and type of brands) were amongst my favorites.
Lily Lolo Black Vegan Mascara
This vegan mascara gave me a subtle and natural look even with the intense black color. Be sure to scrape some of the ink off on the side before applying to lashes, the formula is quite thick and a bit cakey.
Absolute New York Lash Pump Mascara
This mascara says it gives volume, and volume it gives. Because I have to prime my lashes first, mascara must be buildable and this is one of the best building formulas. The end of the brush was fantastic for the tiny hairs and bottom lashes.
Absolute New York
Younique Moodstruck Epic 4D One-Step Fiber Mascara
This brush scared me because it seemed like it would make my super unruly lashes even more all over the place. But it gave great length without clumping and I didn't even need to scrape the wand.
Flower Beauty Zoom In Ultimate Mascara
The formula on this mascara is thick so keep a lash comb handy. The formula added a great deal of drama to my lashes but it took a lot fo work to get there.
Givenchy Noir Interdit Mascara
The flexible head on this wand is part of the pizazz on this mascara for some, but I found it to be a bit distracting. I didn't need the movement. The mascara coated the lashes well and gave great length, which was all I needed.
Crunchi Lashes For Days Mascara
It might be the brand name but luckily this mascara didn't leave my lashes crunchy. They felt conditioned and looked longer. The key to added volume with this formula is to let it dry, comb it out, and then layer and repeat.
Absolute New York Extra Volume Mascara
This mascara was work but well worth it. Because the formula can get clumpy you have to make sure you comb it out well. But it is worth the extra arm work. Just make sure you have additional time for makeup in the morning, and your lashes will be exquisite.
Absolute New York
Dior Diorshow Mascara
This mascara gives my lashes such a nice fan out. I love the brush, and I actually prefer this in a mini because the short wand gives me more control and allows me to get into the small corner lashes better.
NYX Professional Makeup Budoir Mascara Za Za Zu
This is a brand I love so I was a little disappointed that the mascara didn't give as much drama as I wanted. It's supposed to give length and volume but I didn't see much of a difference in my unruly lashes.
NYX Professional Makeup
Physician's Formula Eye Booster Instant Lash Extension Kit
This formula didn't give as much length as I was expecting, but my lashes were really dark and dramatic. Beware, the extension boosters are really messy so keep tissue handy.
L'Oréal Paris Telescopic Mascara
The brush on this wand was so small I wasn't sure how it would perform, but this turned out to be one of my top three picks. My lashes separated and lengthened so nicely, you might think I had on falsies.
Benefit Cosmetics They're Real! Lengthening Mascara
This is another one of my top three choices as my lashes really get dramatically full and long, mimicking false lash strips. I also love this in a short wand because the control is better and the reach is more precise.
Black Radiance Body Building Mascara
This has easily become my get-ready-quick mascara. It's so easy to use with the smart grip wand. I won't look like I'm going to cool down a room by blinking but it's one of the few formulas that works well with my bare lashes, no primer needed.
Clinique High Impact Mascara
I've used this mascara in the past and had great results, but when I built it on my primer it clumped too much and I didn't love the look. Fortunately I have a friend who loves this and she gladly took it. Note: she already had one of these and transferred the wand. It's dangerous to share mascara and I don't recommend it.
PAT McGRATH LABS FetishEyes Mascara
When Muva ventured out into eyes, face, and other products we knew to expect nothing short of excellence, and this mascara falls in line. The one thing to note, the brush didn't catch my inner-corner lashes so have a sharp-edge wand handy.
PAT McGRATH LABS