When your place of employment happens to be Allure, everyone and their grandmothers tend to treat you like a living, breathing beauty encyclopedia — not a humblebrag, just the honest truth. Not a single day goes by when at least one person randomly asks us, “What is your favorite [insert beauty product here]?” The best mascara is, without a doubt, one of the most frequently mentioned topics. They all want to know what exactly is making our lashes look like falsies without the issues of crusting, flaking, and webbing.
While some of us do dabble with treatments like lash extensions or lash lifts, we all have our tried-and-true tubes of mascaras that we regularly restock. Some of our picks may be curling mascaras for a lifted and fanned-out look, while other Allure editors prefer one of the best waterproof mascaras for a smudge-proof finish. Whichever results you’re trying to achieve, chances are we know exactly which mascara you’ll need.
With that in mind, we rounded up our editors’ absolute favorite mascaras of all time, including a few Best of Beauty winners, with brands ranging from drugstore favorites like Maybelline New York to Sephora darlings like Too Faced and Anastasia Beverly Hills. We’ve also got the luxury market covered (hi, Dior and YSL Beauty).
Discover all the best and boldest mascaras that give Allure editors’ lashes the most volume, curl, and length each and every day.
All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
1. MAC Magic Extension 5mm Fibre Mascara
Skyscraper length, eye-catching thickness, and a jet-black hue — MAC’s Magic Extension 5mm Fibre Mascara does it all. It’s so good our entire staff gave it our One to Watch stamp of approval. Editorial assistant Talia Gutierrez previously said that this mascara is so impressive that it made her ditch her eyelash extension appointments.
“As the beauty assistant here at Allure, I test makeup all day long (insert smiley face emoji), and yet no mascara has come close to the volume and length I get from eyelash extensions — until now,” she said. “A few swipes of the deeply pigmented MAC Magic Extension Mascara lift my stick-straight, short lashes and bring life back to my Zoom’d-out eyes — so much so that the results are comparable to the eye-opening effect I get from falsies.”
2. Nars Climax Mascara
The sultry name of this mascara alone is intriguing enough to catch our eyes, but Nars’s Climax Mascara is also tempting to swipe on for its buildable, flexible formula. Commerce writer Jennifer Hussein says this is one of her go-to mascaras for enhancing her lashes, which she describes as “thin, wispy, and sparse.”
“I’ve learned to accept that my lashes aren’t as thick and bountiful as the rest of my hair, but I still appreciate a slight enhancement,” she says. “The thing is that I have very sensitive eyes, so faux lashes are a hard no for me. One of the few mascaras my watery eyes can tolerate is this lightweight formula. One coat is all I need for a natural fanned-out look. For a more dramatic look, two coats get the job done without leaving clumps and chunks between my lashes.”
3. Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara
This $5 mascara has reached TikTok notoriety for its low price and high quality. Essence’s Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara went viral for its unbelievable thickening powers for both top and bottom lashes. The brand has gone on to create a bunch of spin-off mascaras, but Hussein says the original can’t be topped. “It costs less than a latte and performs better than many of its luxury competitors, so what’s not to love?” she says.
4. Too Faced Better Than Sex Volumizing Mascara
The public has spoken: Too Faced’s Better Than Sex Volumizing Mascara has a formula that’s as iconic as its actual name. This Readers’ Choice Award winner has a curvy hourglass brush that hugs every lash, intensely thickening and lengthening each one in the process.
“One swipe will give your lashes a nice, black rain slicker to wear — slightly more boosted than what I’d call a ‘natural’ lash look,” says one Allure contributor. “Now, keep swiping and you’ll get some really fluffy, voluminous lashes. You could probably fan a breeze at someone with a few eye bats, that’s how voluminous I’m talking.”
5. Rare Beauty Perfect Strokes Universal Volumizing Mascara
If there’s one brand that truly makes a case for celebrity beauty brands, it’s Selena Gomez’s line of cosmetics, Rare Beauty. Exhibit A: the Perfect Strokes Universal Volumizing Mascara, a conditioning, castor oil-infused formula that commerce editor Sarah Han has previously gushed about. She says it’s one of the most flattering mascaras you could find for its mess-free applicator and innovative brush head.
“The application process is seamless from start to finish and the thick brush latches onto each individual lash with ease,” she says. “I give my lashes a quick curl but don’t even have to reach for a lash primer before I sweep this pitch-black, long-wearing formula across my lashes.”
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