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The best mascaras in 2021: Reviews by real women

We asked women from all walks of life — from teenagers to women in their 50s. Here are their top-rated picks.

Which is the best mascara? It’s almost impossible to know. Mascara ads always seem to promise the world. Lashes that are 10 times thicker. False-lash effect. Sky-high curls. Lash-multiplying formula. But most of them never truly deliver on these claims.

Nobody has the time or money to test mascara after mascara. So how do we really know what works and what doesn’t?

By asking, of course.

We asked women from all walks of life which is the best mascara they’ve ever used.

What did we find? Well, there was one clear favorite and lots of other great products that we never even thought to try!

1. Maybelline – The Falsies

  • Best supermarket mascara ever. Affordable and definitely comparable to more expensive brands I’ve tried.Natalie
  • I’m a sucker for a bargain, and luckily for me Maybelline is a reliable one. Great for everyday use and not as thick or clumpy as some of the more expensive brands.Liz
  • The Falsies is really good for a defining the individual lashes. It’s a good price too.Clare
  • No clumps – just long, thick lashes.Rae
  • It makes my lashes huge without being clumpy. Also, they say that you’re meant to replace your mascara every 3 or so months due to bacteria. I love that this product is relatively inexpensive and that I can buy it whilst doing my usual weekly grocery shop.Alana
  • Using the lower lash brush because I make a mess with the normal sized one.Jackie

2. Tarte – Lights Camera Lashes

  • I really liked it because it’s a mascara you can layer without it becoming clumpy. Even if I do five coats, my lashes never turned into stuck-together blobs as they do with other mascaras.
    Mia
  • Tarte makes a great mascara. Depending on how thick your lashes are you can get away with one coat which is quite economical. Great for darker lashes.Alex M
  • It’s thickening yet it doesn’t clump or smudge.Emily M

3. Lancôme – Hypnose

  • Lancôme Hypnose, because it stays put!Marie
  • Lancôme Hypnose Star. It’s the best mascara for a night out or if you want a bit of the wow factor for the day. People will actually compliment you and notice the hints of glitter in your eyelashes. Guess the price doesn’t warrant wearing it everyday though!Shirley
  • Lancôme Hypnose Doll. As a short lashed Asian female, I am partial to Lancôme hypnose baby doll. I’m prone to smudging because of my lack of eyelids and tiny eyes. But it gives you epic length, especially if you layer it.Sally

4. Benefit – Badgal Lash Mascara

Benefit – Badgal Lash Mascara
Available at Amazon

  • I love Benefit’s Bad Gal mascara because it makes my lashes look longer, and my eyes look bigger.Rachel

5. Dior – Diorshow Waterproof Mascara

dior show - edited
Available at Sephora

  • Never using anything else! No running – it lasts all day and night and gives good volume.Katrine

6. Benefit – They’re Real!

Benefit They're Real
Available at Amazon

  • This mascara gives you length and volume at the same time, and it never looks clumpy or like you’re wearing too much.Amanda

7. Max Factor – Masterpiece Max

max factor masterpiece - edited
Available at Amazon

  • I like it because the brush spreads out my lashes, thus avoiding clumping, and it also adds volume and length which is great because I don’t need to use two! It also doesn’t crumble off so it stays on forever!Jessica P

8. Bobbi Brown – Smokey Eye Mascara

Bobbie Brown Smokey Eye - edited
Available at Sephora

  • It lasts forever and doesn’t clump.Bianca M

9. Yves Saint Laurent – Mascara Volume Effect Faux Cils

YSL Shocking - edited
Available at Sephora

  • Perfect balance of length and volume, beautiful non-clogging formula.Steph A

10. Estee Lauder – Sumptuous Extreme Lash Multiplying Volume Mascara

Sumptuous - edited
Available at Ulta

  • It has a long name so you KNOW it’s fancy. Also because it’s perfect for everyday wear (not too heavy) but can also be layered for some intense eyelash magic.Jessica C

11. Maybelline – Volum’ Express The Colossal Cat Eyes Mascara

maybelline cat eyes - edited
Available at Amazon

  • For a ‘I’m not wearing mascara, I’m naturally pretty’ look.Amy

12. Lengthening & Define Dead Sexy Lashes Mascara

Dead Sex Lashes
Available at Amazon

  • This mascara basically doubles my eyelashes and makes them look much fuller. It’s a great second application mascara if you’re someone who likes to layer.Aliyyah

13. Too Faced – Better than Sex

too faced - edited
Available at Ulta

  • It really is better than sex!Bianca C

14. Stila – Huge Extreme Lash Mascara

mega lash australis - edited
Available at Sephora

  • One coat and BAM. Hellooo eyes.Mary

15. Make Up For Ever – Aqua Smoky Lash Mascara

make up for ever - edited
Available at Amazon

  • It gives long lasting curl. It’s so dramatic and it gives amazing length.Emily G

16. Rimmel – Scandaleyes Flex

rimmel flex - edited
Available at Amazon

  • I like it because it’s the only good brand that makes my lashes look amazing that I’m not allergic to. It’s hypoallergenic but not an unknown hippy brand.Cassilda

17. Inika – Mineral Mascara

inika - edited
Available at Amazon

  • Because it’s not stuck in the eyes of animals nor uses ingredients from exploited animals, and it looks amazing.Jennifer

18. L’Oreal Paris – Telescopic Mascara

L'Oreal Telescopic - edited
Available at Amazon

  • It’s super dark and creates unbelievable length that gets noticed every time.Lauren

19. Glossier Lash Slick

Glossier Lash Slick
Available at Glossier

  • For an everyday casual lash you can wear without any other makeup, Lash Slick is my mascara of choice.Amanda

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