Whether you wear a full face of makeup every day or only on special occasions, mascara is often the most important finishing touch. But when it comes to saving money, choosing the best drugstore mascara is a great way to turn heads on a budget.
Luxury mascara brands can cost anywhere from $20 to over $50 per tube. If you're using mascara on your eyelashes every day, then you know how fast a single tube can disappear. And if you only use mascara occasionally, you know that it can dry up in only a few months.
Fortunately, prestige mascara isn't the only option out there. Plenty of drugstore makeup brands have stepped up their games and now offer products as good as or better than the expensive stuff.
So which drugstore makeup brands are the leaders in quality mascara?
And how do you find the best drugstore mascara for you?
What Makes A Good Mascara?
Most people who regularly wear makeup know what type of mascara they prefer. From waterproof to fiber to collagen-infused, there's no shortage of unique formulas to choose from. But how do you look past the gimmicks and find the best drugstore mascara?
This question is especially important if you're switching from a luxury mascara to a drugstore one. If you know what makes your favorite luxury mascara brand so good, then you can find a drugstore option that has the same qualities.
Before looking at your favorite mascara's formula, take a look at its built-in wand. A mascara wand can actually play a huge part in how the mascara itself works. Most wands have bristles or plastic separators, and they may be thin, thick, or curved.
Next, check out any special features your favorite mascara formula offers. Waterproof mascaras are extremely popular, but you might also use a mascara that has extra fibers, a primer, or other key features.
Once you know what makes your favorite luxury mascara so good, you can look for the same traits in our list of the best drugstore mascara currently available.
Our Top 8 Choices For The Best Drugstore Mascara You Can Buy
Ask your friends or look around online and you'll find that everyone has a "holy grail" mascara that they love. However, just because one product works great for your best friend doesn't mean it's going to be the best drugstore mascara for you.
Fortunately, drugstore mascara is much cheaper than prestige alternatives. That means that experimenting with different options to find the right one for you is much less expensive.
But just because these mascaras are more affordable doesn't mean that you shouldn't start with the most popular and well-reviewed options. So let's take a look at the best drugstore mascara you can buy at your local convenience store or even online.
Our first pick for the best drugstore mascara is the L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Mascara.
This mascara comes in a waterproof and non-waterproof version, but both offer a smudge-proof definition. The formula features collagen, which helps to add additional volume to your natural lashes.
The Million Lashes mascara wand is thick and made from soft plastic, featuring plenty of individual bristles. This wand tip helps separate and define your lashes without clumping up or creating a spider leg look.
This mascara has a rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars from Amazon customers. Many users said that this was the best drugstore mascara for added length and definition.
You can purchase this mascara from Amazon or find it at your local drugstore.
The CoverGirl Total Tease Mascara is another contender for the best drugstore mascara. This polymer-enriched mascara claims to thicken your natural lashes and comes in black or brown to match any complexion. You can purchase this mascara in a waterproof or regular version to suit your needs.
The Total Tease mascara wand is one of the key features of this drugstore mascara.
The thin wand features short plastic bristles on one side for even distribution of the product throughout your lashes. On the other side, though, is a cluster of longer teasing bristles. These bristles allow you to reach the tight corners of your eyelids and add extra separation throughout.
This mascara has a rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars from Walgreens customers.
Their customers loved that this mascara is an affordable way to add noticeable length to their lashes. Some had issues with flaking or smudging, but this is less of a concern with the waterproof version.
The Maybelline Volum' Express The Colossal Mascara is the best drugstore mascara for those who love a dramatic look.
While it will be obvious that you're wearing mascara, it's because this mascara adds length and volume to every lash.
This mascara also includes collagen for added volume and is available in a waterproof and washable formula.
The Volum' Express mascara wand features long bristles that will comb through your lashes.
However, this isn't the best drugstore mascara if you want perfect separation of every lash.
This mascara has a rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars from Amazon customers. They said that this was the best drugstore mascara for no flaking, although it did result in some clumps.
You can purchase this mascara on Amazon or find it at your neighborhood drugstore.
You've probably never heard of this brand but, according to the Internet, essence makes the best drugstore mascara around.
The essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara is a cult favorite that offers volume and length while being gluten- and cruelty-free (but not vegan).
However, this mascara is not waterproof, so it's not the best drugstore mascara for you if that's on your must-have list.
The False Lash Effect mascara wand is a super basic, soft-bristled brush that gently separates each lash during applications. It's fine tip also makes it easier to reach your corner eyelashes.
This mascara has a rating of 4.0 out of 5 stars from Amazon customers.
Its customers loved that this was smudge-proof despite not using a waterproof formula. Some users had problems with this mascara clumping, but others suggested warming the tube in your hands to prevent this issue.
Another one of the best drugstore mascara formulas according to the Internet is the Maybelline Full 'N Soft Mascara. This mascara comes in an unassuming black-and-white tube but offers major thickening and lengthening.
The formula is also hypoallergenic and contains Vitamin E for lash and skin health. And you can find this mascara in waterproof or washable versions.
The Full 'N Soft mascara wand features tons of soft bristles, including short end bristles for your corner eyelashes. Plus, with the added Vitamin E, your lashes will be super soft after removing this mascara.
This mascara has a rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars from Amazon customers.
Customers loved that this mascara offered an enhanced-but-natural look and was the best drugstore mascara that also kept their lashes healthy in the process. Some users passed on this mascara because they prefer a more dramatic eyelash look.
Here's another of the best drugstore mascara formulas from L'Oreal.
The L'Oreal Unlimited Mascara features a stretchable, buildable formula so you can add length and volume without making your natural eyelashes dry or crunchy. This formula is available in a washable or waterproof version and is one of the newest releases from the brand.
The Unlimited mascara wand looks like a standard brush at first. But this wand can actually be used bent or straight.
In the straight position, the wand works like any other mascara brush. In the bent position, though, you can more easily reach the corners of your eyes and your bottom lashes.
This mascara has a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars from Walgreens customers.
You can purchase this mascara from the Walgreens website or at your local drugstore.
The Rimmel Lash Accelerator Mascara is the best drugstore mascara for those looking for a built-in lash growth treatment. With daily use of this mascara, Rimmel claims that test subjects' lashes grew 117-percent. This mascara is only available in a non-waterproof formula.
The Lash Accelerator mascara wand features a uniquely tapered design, making it easier to target certain eyelashes during application.
However, the bristles are short, so some people might have issues getting the desired separation.
This mascara has a rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars from Amazon customers. The customers who rated it claimed that they saw improved eyelash length with continued use of this mascara.
You can purchase this mascara from Amazon or at your drugstore of choice.
The Honest Beauty Extreme Length Mascara is a two-in-one mascara and primer. This mascara is double-ended with mascara and primer on each end. The primer helps add better distribution and staying power.
The formula is also free of parabens, silicones, petroleum, fragrance, and other chemicals that some people prefer to avoid.
The Extreme Length mascara wand features short plastic separators for accurate application. But some users might struggle to pick up their lashes with this wand.
This mascara has a rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars from Amazon customers.
Customers loved how the primer and mascara worked together for smooth application and smudge resistance. Others had issues with the mascara wand being difficult to use.
Rock Your Natural Lashes With Drugstore Mascara
Whether you prefer a natural look or super long, dramatic eyelashes, there's a drugstore mascara out there for you. And with these top mascaras, you can ditch the damage of lash extensions or falsies for your all-natural lashes.
The best drugstore mascara formulas can be just as good as prestige makeup brands. So even if you have a favorite luxury brand, we suggest trying out one of the formulas from our list. Chances are, you'll find a new favorite.