'I Tried 22 mascaras and these are the ones worth your time and money’

‘I Tried 22 Mascaras: Here's my honest thoughts’ Hearst Owned

Want to know which is the best mascara right now? Well, if you're not sure where to begin before investing in a new lash lengthener, then you've come to the right place. Why? Well, as a beauty editor, I've tried hundreds. Trust me when I say I've got a good eye (soz) for spotting the workhorses from the show ponies.

Now, there have been some incredible launches of late (which we'll get to) but with each magic wand vying for your attention, you're probably wondering which mascara is truly 'the best?' Especially when they all promise to lengthen, curl and define? Plus, with so many different types of brushes that are either tapered, rubber bristled or twisted, how do you know which one is best suited for your lash type or eye shape?

The good news is that no matter if your lashes are thin, thick, stumpy or elongated, there is a magic wand for everyone. Here's our expert guide on how to eye up a new mascara, plus a guide to the best mascara for 2023.

Best mascaras for thick lashes

If you have thick lashes then you will suit a mascara that is bristled. The fatness of the bristles will help to distribute the mascara more evenly and doesn’t allow any excess formula to sit in between the lashes.

Think of it this way, if you opted for a comb-like wand with empty channels (these are big gaps in between each bristle) it would overload your lashes, making them look heavy and clumpy.

Thick lashes need length and definition, but not volume. So, thick bristles mean you can still achieve drama and flair but without any of the clumps.

1.Try: Merit Clean Lash

This mascara harnesses 'proprietary tubing technology', which means it wraps and defines each lash with no smudging, ever. Despite looking very thick in consistency I found i could keep coating my lashes without them clumping, allowing me to get some length with each swipe. It's also packed with nourishing olive oil, so great if your lashes are on the weaker side after having extensions.

2. Try: Rimmel Scandaleyes Reloaded Mascara

For less than a tenner, this gives length and definition, minus those pesky clumps. It's waterproof too, so will see you through a sweaty gym session or autumnal rainy run.

3. Try: Estée Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Mascara

This is another great one for thick lashes. The oversized, bristled brush creates over-the-top dramatic lashes, but the lightweight fibres in the formula mean the lashes don't get weighed down, so you still get lift. Great for those with thick and short lashes.

Best mascaras for fine, thin lashes

Ok, so fine thin lashes also need a tight bristled brush so that excess formula can't overload the hairs and weigh them down. But, they also need a comb-like rubber brush that enables you to reach the bottom of your lashes so you can build volume from root to tip.

4. Lancôme Lash Idôle Mascara

The rubber like brush means plenty of the formula gets onto the lashes, helping to fatten them up in an instant. Overall, this is a great product if want your lashes to centre stage or if you need a mascara to work with a smokey eye.

5. Try: Byredo Tears in the Rain Mascara

With its tight, compact brush this mascara helps to create incredibly long and flutter-like lashes. It's also water-resistant so you can wear it in the gym, pool or when watching a tear-jerker.

6. Try: Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Push Up Lashes Mascara

There has been so much hype about this product, and for good reason, it's really great. However, it's one for the seasoned mascara wearer. You can tell the mascara has been specifically designed by a make-up artist because it requires a skilled hand to use. So, before getting to grips with it, notice that the brush has a flat side, which is meant for loading up the roots with the formula.

Next, you'll need to twist it to pull the bristles up and through. It loads up the lashes so much it's not the best for thick lashes, however, if you have short or thin lashes you'll never look back.

7. Try: L'Oreal Telescopic Mascara

Having tried and tested a lot of mascaras over the years, I can honestly say that for my lashes, there is no better mascara. I was not blessed in the eyelash department and have short, fine and skinny thin lashes. However, you'd never know with a few strokes of this.

8. Try: Glossier Slick lash

This makes for the perfect natural-looking lash. With its moulded rubber brush, this mascara gives really amazing length and definition. The tightly packed wand means you're able to deposit big dollops of mascara at the roots, before combing through.

9. Try: Hourglass Unlocked Instant Extensions Mascara

This gives brilliant definition and volume but doesn't deliver brilliantly on length. However, that means that if you have fine lashes that are already long, then this should be your go-to. Equally, if you're coming to the end of the lash treatment such as LVL and the effects are starting to wear off, then reach for this. A few coats will help to give volume and thickness.

Best mascaras for short lashes

First up, you're best off deploying eyelash curlers if you have short lashes, to boost the benefits of your mascara. Then, without sounding too obvious here, lengthening mascaras are what you need. Also look for tapered wands as it allows for more mascara to be deposited on your outer lashes, creating a winged effect.

10.L'Oréal Telescopic Lift Mascara

A newbie to the market, this mascara is the next generation telescopic mascara. Is the new iteration better? Well, the brush picks up more of the formula than its predecessor so you don't have to keep pulling it though the lashes, but its main pull is that it gives more a curled effect.

11. Try: By Terry Lash Expert Twist Brush

With its long, skinny brush you're able to get to the roots but the formula means you don’t get the weight at the top of the lashes so short lashes won't feel or look heavy loaded.

12. Try: Honest Beauty Extreme Length Mascara + Lash Primer

If you have short and thin lashes then wave 'hello' to this mascara. The primer leaves lots of fibres sitting on the lash so they look nice and plump. The actual mascara brush, meanwhile, is tapered – so you create a beautiful flutter.

13. Try: Morphe Make it Big Volumizing Mascara

Ok, so if you don't have a lash curler to hand, then, don't panic, as you actually don't need one with this. It works best if you blink slowly at the same time as pulling it through. A great all-rounder for short lashes.

14. Try: Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

I won't get into whether this one lives up to its name, but what I can say is that it certainly delivers when it comes to creating fat, long lashes. It's all down to its unique hourglass brush that helps to fan the lashes out for a megawatt look. It's vegan, too.

15. Try: Max Factor False Lash Effect Primer

So this helps to boost the effects of your normal mascara, as if they’ve had a dose of steroids, so to speak. Unlike most eyelash primers that contain white pigments, Max Factors boast blue, which cleverly enhances the depth and darkness of black mascara. If that wasn’t enough, tiny microfibres also cling to your lashes, which boosts their width, so they look longer and fatter.

Although it tacks on extra minutes to your routine, it was worth the effort, particularly if lashes are a bit stumpy. It will give lashes volume but won't make them look clumpy when you follow on with your normal mascara.

Best mascara for first-time users

If you're honestly not sure about the type of mascara to get or where to even begin, then these are the best mascaras for first-time users as the application is totally foolproof.

16. Try: Clarins Supra Lift & Curl Mascara

This is a really gentle mascara that delivers. The brush looks odd, I'll admit, but it works wonders for gently increasing volume. Made with bitter orange blossom wax, it coasts and protects lashes in a single sweep.

17. Try: Max Factor Masterpiece Mascara

Another Max Factor hero, this mascara has earned cult status for a reason. A brilliant all-rounder it is so easy to use that you don't have to worry about getting smudges on your eyelids or lower lash line. It's slightly tapered (great for fanned out wings, remember) and the sturdy brush doesn't require a steady hand. You can't go wrong.

18. Try: Pat McGrath FetishEyes Mascara

A hero mascara if ever there was one. Works brilliantly no matter your lash type as it allows you to create subtle but buildable volume. Simply keep going to dial up the flair. To easily elongate and make eyes look wider, start at the root and wiggle the brush from side to side as you pull the wand outwards.

Best mascara for small eyes

19. Try: Suratt Relevée Mascara

This is great for small eyes but it gives lashes a gorgeous tint so that you don't look too doe-eyed. It also works wonders for lower lashes as it sits very delicately, creating subtle definition.

20. Try: It cosmetics Hello Lashes 5-in-1 Mascara

Don't be put off by the ball at the end of the wand, you can use it to wedge the formula into the lashes to help create thickness. It also allows you to apply the formula vertically, so not only do you get a push up effect on the lash, but it's is great for sensitive eyes as you can see what you're doing.

21. Try: Nars Climax Extreme Mascara

If you have small eyes but want to really open them up, then this works brilliantly. Nars' latest creation gives dramatic volume, but in just one coat, so you don't have to keep going over them and risk clumps. Latex-like black pigment dials up the drama.

22. Try: Benefit BADgal BANG! Volumizing Mascara

Nothing dials up the drama like this best-selling mascara from Benefit. It adds instant volume and lift thanks to aero-particles within the formula that create the appearance of longer and fuller lashes with a smudge-proof, water-resistant finish. No wonder it's a best-seller.

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