The Drugstore Mascaras Our Editors Swear By

Us
·7 min read

Whether you want to crank the volume up to 11 or just want something that won't leave you spider-lashed, there is truly a tube of mascara out there for everyone — and it's not unusual to be very particular about what you coat your lashes with. But what if your priority is saving some cash? Do great mascaras that don't break the bank really exist?

Luckily, the answer to that is a resounding "hell yes." Ahead, we've rounded up the top mascaras for just about every need — including two picks from our 2019 Beauty Innovator Awards — that won't cost you more than a burrito. Click through and find your heart's desire in a tube. Your lashes, and your bank account, will thank you.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission. Check out the rest of the 2019 Beauty Innovator Award winners.

<h3>Covergirl Exhibitionist Mascara <br></h3><br><strong>Lengthening</strong><br><br>This 2019 BIA winner visibly lengthens and thickens after just one — yes, as in a single — coat. Plus, the curvy wand helps grip and plump the tiniest of lashes.<br><br><strong>COVERGIRL</strong> Exhibitionist Mascara, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.walmart.com%2Fip%2FCOVERGIRL-Exhibitionist-Mascara-Black%2F371834350" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Walmart" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Walmart</a><br><br><strong>COVERGIRL</strong> Exhibitionist Mascara, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2Fexhibitionist-mascara%3FproductId%3Dpimprod2003700" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Ulta Beauty" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Ulta Beauty</a>

Covergirl Exhibitionist Mascara


Lengthening

This 2019 BIA winner visibly lengthens and thickens after just one — yes, as in a single — coat. Plus, the curvy wand helps grip and plump the tiniest of lashes.

COVERGIRL Exhibitionist Mascara, $, available at Walmart

COVERGIRL Exhibitionist Mascara, $, available at Ulta Beauty
<h3>L'Oréal Unlimited Length and Lift Mascara <br></h3><br><strong>Lengthening</strong><br><br>The bendy wand on L'Oréal's Unlimited mascara defies everything we thought we knew about drugstore mascara. However, the genius behind the flexible wand goes much deeper than novelty factor alone: It allows you to get <em>this close </em>to the lash line to coat each lash from root to tip.<br><br><strong>L'Oreal Paris</strong> Unlimited Length and Lift Mascara, $, available at <a href="https://amzn.to/2nT2khU" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Amazon" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Amazon</a>

L'Oréal Unlimited Length and Lift Mascara


Lengthening

The bendy wand on L'Oréal's Unlimited mascara defies everything we thought we knew about drugstore mascara. However, the genius behind the flexible wand goes much deeper than novelty factor alone: It allows you to get this close to the lash line to coat each lash from root to tip.

L'Oreal Paris Unlimited Length and Lift Mascara, $, available at Amazon
<h3>Milani Dangerous Lengths 3D Mascara</h3><br><strong>Lengthening</strong><br><br>If you're looking for ultra-fluttery, defined lashes, then this curling and lengthening formula is the one for you.<br><br><br><strong>Milani</strong> Dangerous Lengths 3D Mascara, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2Fdangerous-lengths-3d-mascara%3FproductId%3Dpimprod2003034" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Ulta Beauty" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Ulta Beauty</a>

Milani Dangerous Lengths 3D Mascara


Lengthening

If you're looking for ultra-fluttery, defined lashes, then this curling and lengthening formula is the one for you.


Milani Dangerous Lengths 3D Mascara, $, available at Ulta Beauty
<h3>Revlon Volume + Length Magnified Mascara</h3><br><strong>Lengthening</strong><br><br>Revlon’s lengthening mascara has a fiber formula that helps to extend each and every lash — like extensions, but cheaper.<br><br><strong>Revlon</strong> Volume + Length Magnified Mascara, $, available at <a href="https://amzn.to/3hXYCdq" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Amazon" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Amazon</a>

Revlon Volume + Length Magnified Mascara


Lengthening

Revlon’s lengthening mascara has a fiber formula that helps to extend each and every lash — like extensions, but cheaper.

Revlon Volume + Length Magnified Mascara, $, available at Amazon
<h3>L'Oréal Voluminous Carbon Black Volume Building Mascara<br></h3><br><strong>Volumizing</strong><br><br>This mascara is an editor and consumer favorite for a reason: It <em>seriously</em> plumps lashes. The fat brush has hundreds of tiny bristles that grab every hair and coat it with a volumizing formula that layers easily without veering into clumpy or crunchy territory.<br><br><strong>L'Oréal</strong> Voluminous Carbon Black Volume Building Mascara, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2Fvoluminous-carbon-black-volume-building-mascara%3FproductId%3DxlsImpprod560090" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Ulta Beauty" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Ulta Beauty</a>

L'Oréal Voluminous Carbon Black Volume Building Mascara


Volumizing

This mascara is an editor and consumer favorite for a reason: It seriously plumps lashes. The fat brush has hundreds of tiny bristles that grab every hair and coat it with a volumizing formula that layers easily without veering into clumpy or crunchy territory.

L'Oréal Voluminous Carbon Black Volume Building Mascara, $, available at Ulta Beauty
<h3>Maybelline Lash Stiletto Ultimate Length Mascara<br></h3><br><strong>Lengthening</strong><br><br>This formula promises to give your lashes the same boost as a teetering red-soled pair of Loubs.<br><br><strong>Maybelline</strong> Lash Stiletto Ultimate Length Mascara, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2Flash-stiletto-ultimate-length-mascara%3FproductId%3DxlsImpprod1790127%26sku%3D2201113" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Ulta Beauty" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Ulta Beauty</a>

Maybelline Lash Stiletto Ultimate Length Mascara


Lengthening

This formula promises to give your lashes the same boost as a teetering red-soled pair of Loubs.

Maybelline Lash Stiletto Ultimate Length Mascara, $, available at Ulta Beauty
<h3>Almay Get Up & Grow Extreme Length Mascara<br></h3><br><strong>Lengthening</strong><br><br>The name says it all: Almay's Get Up & Grow not only lengthens, but its conditioning formula also helps strengthen your lashes over time.<br><br><strong>Almay</strong> Extreme Length Mascara, $, available at <a href="https://amzn.to/2BV6BoI" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Amazon" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Amazon</a>

Almay Get Up & Grow Extreme Length Mascara


Lengthening

The name says it all: Almay's Get Up & Grow not only lengthens, but its conditioning formula also helps strengthen your lashes over time.

Almay Extreme Length Mascara, $, available at Amazon
<h3>E.l.f. Lengthening & Volumizing Mascara<br></h3><br><strong>Lengthening</strong><br><br>Think you can't get much for $4? E.L.F.'s mascara will give you long and fuller lashes for just four bucks.<br><br><strong>e.l.f. Cosmetics</strong> Lengthening & Volumizing Mascara, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2Flengthening-volumizing-mascara%3FproductId%3DxlsImpprod14521095%26sku%3D2500419" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Ulta Beauty" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Ulta Beauty</a>

E.l.f. Lengthening & Volumizing Mascara


Lengthening

Think you can't get much for $4? E.L.F.'s mascara will give you long and fuller lashes for just four bucks.

e.l.f. Cosmetics Lengthening & Volumizing Mascara, $, available at Ulta Beauty
<strong><h3>Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara</h3></strong><br><strong>Lengthening</strong><br><br>The cone-shaped wand helps whip the most stubborn of lashes into glam territory in a matter of swipes.<br><br><strong>Essence</strong> Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara, $, available at <a href="https://amzn.to/2QA4eiy" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Amazon" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Amazon</a>

Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara


Lengthening

The cone-shaped wand helps whip the most stubborn of lashes into glam territory in a matter of swipes.

Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara, $, available at Amazon
<h3>Maybelline Volum' Express The Rocket Waterproof Mascara<br></h3><br><strong>Waterproof</strong><br><br>This mascara is a classic for a reason — its densely packed plastic bristles make it super-easy to coat every single lash with a layer of volumizing formula. Add a little waterproof action into the mix, and your mascara won't be going anywhere — whether you're sweating it up at the gym or trudging through a rainstorm.<br><br><strong>Maybelline</strong> Volum' Express The Rocket Waterproof Mascara, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2Fvolum-express-rocket-waterproof-mascara%3FproductId%3DxlsImpprod4950089" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Ulta Beauty" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Ulta Beauty</a>

Maybelline Volum' Express The Rocket Waterproof Mascara


Waterproof

This mascara is a classic for a reason — its densely packed plastic bristles make it super-easy to coat every single lash with a layer of volumizing formula. Add a little waterproof action into the mix, and your mascara won't be going anywhere — whether you're sweating it up at the gym or trudging through a rainstorm.

Maybelline Volum' Express The Rocket Waterproof Mascara, $, available at Ulta Beauty
<h3>COVERGIRL LashBlast Volume Mascara</h3><br><strong>Waterproof</strong><br><br>CoverGirl's original Lashblast Volume mascara is one of our favorites. But when we need our makeup to last all day (<em>sans</em> raccoon eyes), we always reach for the waterproof version.<br><br><strong>COVERGIRL</strong> LashBlast Volume Mascara, $, available at <a href="https://www.amazon.com/COVERGIRL-LashBlast-Mascara-Packaging-Hypoallergenic/dp/B00CHHL1AW" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Amazon" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Amazon</a>

COVERGIRL LashBlast Volume Mascara


Waterproof

CoverGirl's original Lashblast Volume mascara is one of our favorites. But when we need our makeup to last all day (sans raccoon eyes), we always reach for the waterproof version.

COVERGIRL LashBlast Volume Mascara, $, available at Amazon
<h3>L'Oréal Paris Voluminous Butterfly Mascara<br></h3><br><strong>Defining</strong><br><br>The secret of L'Oréal Voluminous Butterfly is the butterfly wing-shaped wand. It combs through each lash for a perfectly even application.<br><br><strong>L'Oreal Paris</strong> Voluminous Butterfly Mascara, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.target.com%2Fp%2Fl-oreal-paris-voluminous-butterfly-mascara%2F-%2FA-14752373" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Target" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Target</a>

L'Oréal Paris Voluminous Butterfly Mascara


Defining

The secret of L'Oréal Voluminous Butterfly is the butterfly wing-shaped wand. It combs through each lash for a perfectly even application.

L'Oreal Paris Voluminous Butterfly Mascara, $, available at Target
<h3>Maybelline Total Temptation Mascara</h3><br><strong>Defining</strong><br><br>The whipped formula, which contains coconut extract, helps separate lashes to create<em> Are they real?</em>-level volume.<br><br><strong>Maybelline</strong> Total Temptation Mascara, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2Ftotal-temptation-mascara%3FproductId%3DxlsImpprod17161553" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Ulta Beauty" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Ulta Beauty</a>

Maybelline Total Temptation Mascara


Defining

The whipped formula, which contains coconut extract, helps separate lashes to create Are they real?-level volume.

Maybelline Total Temptation Mascara, $, available at Ulta Beauty
<h3>COVERGIRL LashBlast Clump Crusher<br></h3><br><strong>Defining</strong><br><br>Another CoverGirl fave is the lime-green Clump Crusher tube — no matter how many coats you apply, you'll never see a single clump.<br><br><strong>COVERGIRL</strong> Clump Crusher Mascara, $, available at <a href="https://amzn.to/2ZXcpe5" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Amazon" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Amazon</a>

COVERGIRL LashBlast Clump Crusher


Defining

Another CoverGirl fave is the lime-green Clump Crusher tube — no matter how many coats you apply, you'll never see a single clump.

COVERGIRL Clump Crusher Mascara, $, available at Amazon
<h3>Joah Volume & Curl Mascara</h3><br><strong>Curling</strong><br><br>The inky black pigment creates a doll-like, subtly smoky lash effect, while a thinner wand allows you to maneuver the brush to nab every last lash for maximum lift. <br><br><strong>JOAH</strong> Volume & Curl Mascara, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.joahbeauty.com%2Fjoah-eye-scream-volume-curl-mascara" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Joah" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Joah</a>

Joah Volume & Curl Mascara


Curling

The inky black pigment creates a doll-like, subtly smoky lash effect, while a thinner wand allows you to maneuver the brush to nab every last lash for maximum lift.

JOAH Volume & Curl Mascara, $, available at Joah
<h3>Burt's Bees 100% Natural Nourishing Mascara</h3><br><strong>Conditioning</strong><br><br>Finding an affordable, natural mascara that defines lashes and lasts all day can be a challenge. Enter Burt's Bees formula, which is gentle enough for sensitive eyes but won't smudge in the heat.<br><br><strong>Burt's Bees</strong> 100% Natural Nourishing Mascara, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2F100-natural-nourishing-mascara%3FproductId%3DxlsImpprod16781012" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Ulta Beauty" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Ulta Beauty</a>

Burt's Bees 100% Natural Nourishing Mascara


Conditioning

Finding an affordable, natural mascara that defines lashes and lasts all day can be a challenge. Enter Burt's Bees formula, which is gentle enough for sensitive eyes but won't smudge in the heat.

Burt's Bees 100% Natural Nourishing Mascara, $, available at Ulta Beauty
<h3>Physicians Formula Organic Wear Natural Origin Mascara<br></h3><br><strong>Conditioning<br></strong><br>This organic mascara doesn't just deliver mega-volume thanks to the oversized brush. The safe-for-sensitive-eyes formula also nourishes lashes with organic olive extract.<br><br><strong>Physicians Formula</strong> Organic Wear Natural Origin Mascara, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2Forganic-wear-natural-origin-mascara-in-black%3FproductId%3Dpimprod2012928" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Ulta Beauty" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Ulta Beauty</a>

Physicians Formula Organic Wear Natural Origin Mascara


Conditioning

This organic mascara doesn't just deliver mega-volume thanks to the oversized brush. The safe-for-sensitive-eyes formula also nourishes lashes with organic olive extract.

Physicians Formula Organic Wear Natural Origin Mascara, $, available at Ulta Beauty
<h3>Neutrogena Healthy Lengths Mascara</h3><br><strong>Conditioning<br></strong><br>Neutrogena's highly-rated mascara is formulated with a touch of olive oil and rice protein to moisturize and promote healthy lash growth.<br><br><strong>Neutrogena</strong> Healthy Lengths Mascara, $, available at <a href="https://amzn.to/2HlXXWt" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Amazon" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Amazon</a>

Neutrogena Healthy Lengths Mascara


Conditioning

Neutrogena's highly-rated mascara is formulated with a touch of olive oil and rice protein to moisturize and promote healthy lash growth.

Neutrogena Healthy Lengths Mascara, $, available at Amazon
<h3>Maybelline Great Lash Washable Mascara, Clear</h3><br><strong>Clear</strong><br><br>For less than the cost of one latte, you can't beat Maybelline's classic mascara. The crystal-clear formula separates and adds a hint of dewy sheen to lashes, and even doubles as a brow gel in a pinch.<br><br><strong>Maybelline</strong> Great Lash Washable Mascara, Clear, $, available at <a href="https://amzn.to/3mGIY9F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Amazon" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Amazon</a>

Maybelline Great Lash Washable Mascara, Clear


Clear

For less than the cost of one latte, you can't beat Maybelline's classic mascara. The crystal-clear formula separates and adds a hint of dewy sheen to lashes, and even doubles as a brow gel in a pinch.

Maybelline Great Lash Washable Mascara, Clear, $, available at Amazon
<h3>Pixi Large Lash Mascara</h3><br><strong>Volumizing</strong><br><br>If you're looking for the ultimate eye-opening effect, this dual set will give you exactly that, thanks to the larger wand meant for volumizing and lengthening and a finer precision brush that gets into the inner and outer corners for fanned-out lashes.<br><br><strong>Pixi</strong> Large Lash Mascara, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2Flarge-lash-mascara%3FproductId%3Dpimprod2013734" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Ulta Beauty" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Ulta Beauty</a>

Pixi Large Lash Mascara


Volumizing

If you're looking for the ultimate eye-opening effect, this dual set will give you exactly that, thanks to the larger wand meant for volumizing and lengthening and a finer precision brush that gets into the inner and outer corners for fanned-out lashes.

Pixi Large Lash Mascara, $, available at Ulta Beauty
<h3>Honest Beauty Extreme Length Mascara + Primer</h3><br><strong>Volumizing</strong><br><br>This lash duo from Honest Beauty helps to create both length and volume at the same time. First, the primer protects and nourishes the lashes while also intensifying the color. Then, the mascara goes on extra-smooth to lift and amplify each and every hair.<br><br><strong>Honest Beauty</strong> Extreme Length Mascara + Primer, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Ffave.co%2F3hRxYmb" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Honest Beauty" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Honest Beauty</a>

Honest Beauty Extreme Length Mascara + Primer


Volumizing

This lash duo from Honest Beauty helps to create both length and volume at the same time. First, the primer protects and nourishes the lashes while also intensifying the color. Then, the mascara goes on extra-smooth to lift and amplify each and every hair.

Honest Beauty Extreme Length Mascara + Primer, $, available at Honest Beauty
<h3>Maybelline Volum' Express The Falsies Mascara</h3><br><strong>Volumizing</strong><br><br>For those of us who love inky mascaras, this is the stuff of magic. Whether you have long or short lashes, this makes them full and inky black.<br><br><strong>Maybelline</strong> Volum' Express The Falsies Mascara, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2Fvolum-express-falsies-mascara%3FproductId%3DxlsImpprod2330025" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Ulta Beauty" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Ulta Beauty</a>

Maybelline Volum' Express The Falsies Mascara


Volumizing

For those of us who love inky mascaras, this is the stuff of magic. Whether you have long or short lashes, this makes them full and inky black.

Maybelline Volum' Express The Falsies Mascara, $, available at Ulta Beauty
<h3>L'Oreal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara</h3><br><strong>Volumizing</strong><br><br>This mascara will seriously beef up limp lashes thanks to its full, thick brush and volumizing formula.<br><br><strong>L'Oréal</strong> Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2Fvoluminous-lash-paradise-mascara%3FproductId%3DxlsImpprod16151007" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Ulta Beauty" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Ulta Beauty</a>

L'Oreal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara


Volumizing

This mascara will seriously beef up limp lashes thanks to its full, thick brush and volumizing formula.

L'Oréal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara, $, available at Ulta Beauty
<h3>Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara</h3><br><strong>Volumizing</strong><br><br>This fluffy brush creates fluttering lashes that won't sag or fall throughout the day. Plus, the formula can be layered for serious drama.<br><br><strong>Maybelline</strong> Lash Sensational Mascara, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2Flash-sensational-mascara%3FproductId%3DxlsImpprod11851141" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Ulta Beauty" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Ulta Beauty</a>

Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara


Volumizing

This fluffy brush creates fluttering lashes that won't sag or fall throughout the day. Plus, the formula can be layered for serious drama.

Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara, $, available at Ulta Beauty

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