7 Very Effective Mascaras for Under $15


While it’s tempting to splurge on a fancy mascara, any makeup artist will tell you that a drugstore version will get the job done. Case in point: These seven Cut-tested options that lengthen, lift, and thicken lashes for just a few dollars.

L’Oréal Paris Double Extend Beauty Tubes Lash Extension Effect Mascara

The Nourisher

At one end is a base coat infused with nourishing agents to strengthen and protect. At the other, a top coat that covers lashes in inky black pigment. After combing both wands from root to tip, mine looked lengthy and defined. The mascara didn’t clump, smudge, or flake, and it washed off with warm water — no makeup remover necessary.

Avon Mega Effects Mascara

The Lifter

The “Wonderbrush” is curved like the natural bend of your lashes, making it easy to get right to the roots, and promises 40 percent more mascara compared to traditional wands. Each bristle varies in size to ensure every lash is wrapped in the glossy black formula. Lashes looked noticeably lifted, for the price of a latte.

Maybelline New York Express The Falsies Push-Up Drama Mascara

The Volumizer

This mascara’s genius lies in the cup-shaped bristles, which scoop and saturate every lash in a creamy black formula. My lashes looked visibly longer and thicker, and the formula even darkened my blonde roots — an impressive payoff. The formula has a wet consistency that made layering consecutive, clump-free coats a cinch. Ideal for creating buildable volume that won’t smudge or flake.

Physicians Formula Eye Boost Instant Lash Extensions Kit

The False-Lash Faker

Ideal for those who love false lashes but lack the patience. The kit comes with two tubes — one contains a lash-boosting mascara and the other contains cotton fibers that attach to natural lashes adding length and fullness. After curling (don’t skip this step — it makes lashes pop and the bend factor is minimal), apply two coats of mascara before wiggling the fiber-laden wand from root to tip. Finish with another coat of mascara to seal and set.

Covergirl LashBlast Volume Mascara

The Clump Stopper

Spidery lashes may work on the runway, but in real life, they just look sloppy. This clever, hypoallergenic mascara works to define and separate with each stroke, thanks to the wand’s ultrafine bristles. Made from rubber and really flexible, they glide from root to tip without catching, combing though lashes to prevent clumping.

Almay One Coat Extreme Length Mascara

The Lash Grower

This serum-mascara hybrid covers each lash with an opaque pigment to add depth and drama — lashes appear longer and more defined. A cocktail of vitamins B5, C, and E defends against damage, prevents breakage, and promotes growth.

L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Carbon Black Volume Building Mascara

The Lash Tint in a Bottle

The rich formula is the darkest I’ve found, akin to a professional lash tint. It transformed sparse lashes into a voluptuous set. Fortified with pro-vitamin B5 and ceramides, it also conditions lashes with each application. The brush is on the larger side, but left just the right amount of mascara and separated lashes for a fanned-out effect.

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7 Very Effective Mascaras for Under $15