Already have an account?
Get back to the
Us Weekly aims to feature only the best products and services. We update when possible, but deals expire and prices can change.
If you buy something via one of our links, we may earn a commission. Learn more!

The Best Mascaras for Voluminous, Full Lashes

Author photo
Written by Kristie Olivieri

It’s no secret that mascara makes your lashes look more defined and fuller. Wearing a full face of makeup without mascara can make your makeup look incomplete (especially if you’re wearing dramatic, colorful eyeshadow). Each makeup brand features different effects of their mascara, like lengthening, thickening, and adding volume. These choices can make it difficult to decide what mascara to choose, especially if you’re new to the world of makeup. We’ve put together a list of the best mascaras on the market to help you achieve fuller, more voluminous eyelashes.

User’s Guide for Finding the Best Mascaras

Finding the best mascara is an absolute game changer for your makeup routine, but sifting through the seemingly endless amount of choices can be a chore. We've put together a guide that details all you need to know about picking out the best mascara and what features to look out for.

How to Apply Mascara

Even though the process seems pretty straightforward, there are a few tips that you can follow to achieve flawless results. 

  1. Start with clean eyelashes.
    • Curl your lashes using an eyelash curler. Some people prefer to skip this step, but it's important to lengthen and lift your lashes. 
    • Apply an eyelash primer to prep your lashes. While this step is optional, using an eyelash primer will ensure that your mascara stays on longer and makes your lashes more defined.
  2. Wipe off excess product from the mascara wand. This helps prevent clumping and ensures a smoother application.
  3. Start at the base of your lashes, then gently wiggle the wand back and forth to coat each lash from root to tip. This technique helps to keep your lashes from clumping together.
  4. Apply the mascara in thin layers, allowing the product to dry for 2-5 seconds between each layer. This majorly affects how voluminous your lashes will appear. 
  5. Remove smudges if necessary. You can use a dry or slightly damp Q-tip to remove any smudging. 

Everyone's lashes and makeup preferences are different, so feel free to experiment with different mascaras and application techniques to find what works best for you. Whether you prefer a natural look or bold, dramatic lashes, mascara is a powerful tool to have in your arsenal.

What Features Should a Good Mascara Have?

Mascaras come in many different shapes, sizes, and formulas, but here are a few features that we believe a good mascara should have:

Long-lasting

The mascara you purchase will ideally last you all day (or at least 12 hours). You want to avoid retouching every few hours because your mascara has either smudged or washed off, as layering that much product can cause severe clumping. Even though mascara should be long-lasting, ensure the formula isn't made with ingredients or preservatives that irritate the eye, like parabens and sulfates.

Easy Application

What makes mascara easy to apply comes down to the brush and wand shape. If the mascara wand is too big, the mascara will clump easily and fuse your lashes together. However, if the mascara wand is too small, it can take an unreasonable amount of layering and product to achieve your desired fullness. Ultimately, the appropriate brush shape comes down to personal preference and what you're most comfortable applying with.

Ease of removing

Just as your mascara should be easy to apply, it should be easy to remove as well. Washable mascaras are generally easy to remove. The problem usually lies with removing waterproof mascara. For this reason, we recommend purchasing a washable option. You can also purchase both, but save the waterproof one for pool parties or trips to the beach. Make sure you use a makeup remover to get rid of all the mascara from your lashes before you go to sleep.

Appropriate Brush Shape

It's important that you purchase a brush shape that gives you the desired results you're looking for. There are so many different types of shapes now available; there's something for every preference. There are eight types of mascara brush types, all providing a different effect:

  • Ball (precision work)
  • Comb (separating)
  • Cone (lengthening)
  • Curved (curling)
  • Fluffy (thickening)
  • Hourglass (adds volume)
  • Rectangle (standard type)
  • Thin (defining)

We recommend starting out with rectangular or cone brush shapes as those tend to be the most beginner-friendly.

Reviewing the Best Mascaras of 2024

1

Poppy Austin Mascara

Pros

  • Will not cause clumps or flakes
  • Infused with nourishing ingredients
  • Hypoallergenic and cruelty-free

Cons

  • May smear easily when wet

This Poppy Austin mascara is ideal for lengthening your lashes and giving them a lot of volume. The lift will last for about 24 hours because it's completely smudge-proof and flake-resistant, which also means that you will not have to deal with clumpy lashes. Not only will it lift your lashes from root to tip, but it will also curl them to add definition. It's infused with natural ingredients like argan oil, which will help lock in nutrients and moisture.

No artificial ingredients like petrolatum, phthalates, sulfates, and parabens have been added, and this mascara is both vegan and cruelty-free. It's also hypoallergenic and does not contain any artificial fragrances. The full-bristle applicator is gentle on the lashes and will not cause any breakage. Due to its nourishing ingredients and ability to curl and lift at the same time, this mascara gets the top spot on this list.

2

Essence Cosmetics Mascara

Pros

  • Provides a bold, voluminous look
  • Gluten-free and waterproof
  • Can be built up for dramatic effect

Cons

  • May be a little difficult to remove

The essence Lash Princess mascara from Essence Cosmetics is one of the top options if you want to achieve the false lashes look without actually applying falsies. Not only will it help give you a bold look, but it will help define and separate your lashes. The conic shape of the brush is designed to provide a lot of volume and lengthen your lashes without causing those annoying clumps and globs that can be difficult to get rid of.

This mascara is perfect for all-day wear because it won't smudge, wear, or fade. It's also free from substances like oil, alcohol, paraben, and artificial fragrances. The brand has been acknowledged by PETA as a cruelty-free brand because they don't test their products on animals. This mascara does not contain gluten as well, so it's ideal for individuals with gluten allergies. A single coat is enough for everyday wear, but you can apply two or three coats for an extra dramatic look. It's also waterproof and can be purchased as a set of three.

3

Maybelline Mascara

Pros

  • Curled wand for a volumizing effect
  • Tested and approved by ophthalmologists
  • Available in different buildable shades

Cons

  • May be slightly clumpy

The Maybelline Lash Sensational mascara is another one of our favorites due to its full fan effect that sets it apart from others. The brush comes with ten layers of bristles which are designed to add length and volume to your lashes without clumping them. The curled wand ensures that the mascara reaches each and every lash and volumizes it. The unique shape will curl up your lashes as well, providing a smooth and natural look. 

This mascara is suitable for both natural and dramatic makeup looks, allowing you to layer the buildable formula on if you want a more dramatic look. It's been tested by ophthalmologists, which makes it ideal for sensitive eyes and also for those who wear contact lenses. It's long lasting and works well with all lash types. Six shades are also available so you can choose one that matches the natural color of your lashes the most.

4

Covergirl Mascara

Pros

  • Designed to provide instant volume
  • Hypoallergenic and cruelty-free brand
  • Waterproof and washable versions

Cons

  • Some find the brush too big

The Covergirl Lash Blast volume mascara is designed to create volume almost instantly because it maxes out every lash. Not only will it lengthen your lashes, but it will also add fullness. The brush is designed to evenly coat each lash without causing clumps or flakes, which can be a hassle to deal with. The four shades allow you to select the color closest to your natural lashes, and allow you to choose how bold you want your lashes to look.

This mascara's hypoallergenic formula makes it safe for your eyes, reducing the chances of infections or irritation. The brand is also cruelty-free and doesn't test their products on animals. The company claims to provide ten times more volume than your bare lashes, so this is ideal for people with thin and fine lashes. For best results, you should apply the brand's lash serum and primer before applying the mascara. This option is available in a waterproof version as well, which will stay in place during activities like swimming and beach trips.

5

L’Oréal Paris Mascara

Pros

  • Conditions and softens lashes
  • Seven shades available
  • Soft brush provides full fringe effect

Cons

  • May smudge a bit in humid weather

The L’Oreal Paris Lash Paradise mascara is ideal for you if you are looking for one that will condition your lashes and make them soft. The new formula is infused with floral oil, which will ensure that your lashes stay hydrated and healthy. It's designed to lengthen your lashes and also provide adequate volume to complete all your makeup looks.

With this mascara, you won't need to worry about clumps, smudges, and flakes because the brush is designed to be feathery soft. For an even more dramatic effect, you can also use the brand's primer. Both waterproof and washable versions are available, and both are designed to last long, for at least 24 hours. Seven shades are available to choose from, so you can purchase the one that matches your natural shade the most. A pack of two is also available for your convenience. 

People Also Ask

  • Q: Can I wear mascara every day?

    A:You can wear mascara every day without damaging your lashes as long as you follow the basic guidelines for proper application and removal. If you notice your eyes becoming increasingly irritated from back-to-back use, take a break from applying mascara until the irritation has stopped.

  • Q: Can I sleep with my mascara on?

    A:It's highly recommended to remove your mascara before sleeping at night. Leaving it on overnight allows the mascara to enter your eyes and can lead to problems like eye irritation and swelling, even if your mascara is hypoallergenic.

  • Q: Is waterproof mascara better for regular use?

    A:Removing waterproof mascara tends to be more difficult than removing regular mascara, as waterproof mascara is designed to resist water and adhere firmly to the lashes. Using regular mascara for everyday use is better because it's easier to remove and puts less tension on your lashes.

  • Q: Are all mascaras buildable?

    A:Yes, many mascaras are designed to be buildable, allowing you to layer the product to achieve the desired level of volume, length, and intensity. Buildable mascaras typically have formulas that allow you to apply multiple coats without clumping or becoming overly heavy or uncomfortable on the lashes.

  • Q: I have sensitive eyes; can I still use mascara?

    A:Yes, you can still use mascara if you have sensitive eyes, but it's important to choose products specifically formulated for sensitive eyes or labeled hypoallergenic. Look for mascaras with water-based and fragrance-free formulas as well.

Why trust Us

At Us Weekly, we aim to inform readers to make smart purchasing decisions, saving you both time and money. Our editors are obsessed with finding products in a variety of categories from fashion and beauty, to home and fitness.

We try various products, so we can recommend our favorites, and we also summarize feedback and data from other customers. Data, like product reviews and ratings, helps us recommend the best product choices for individual price points and needs.

On top of that, we highlight unique product features for special use cases, ingredients preferences, and more. We strive to make sure you are discovering new products that can make your life easier, while keeping you up to date with the best product choices for types of items you already know and love.

Author photo

By Kristie Olivieri

Kristie is a documentary enthusiast, horror movie lover, and avid gamer. When not lost in a virtual world, they enjoy curling up with a good book and their feline friends.
Got a Tip form close button
Got a tip for US?
We're All Ears for Celebrity Buzz!