17 of the best mascaras according to our beauty editors (2023)

Trying to find the best mascara for your lashes can feel like a daunting task; so many launches, so many questions... what's the best high-street mascara, what's the best for short lashes? Is it worth paying more for extra volume and length? Which waterproof formulas really withstand a hot summer's day, or even a few lengths in the swimming pool, but still come off easily with eye make-up remover?

With so many people relying on expensive salon treatments, such as eyelash extensions, perms and tints, it's worth remembering that mascara technology has come a long way over the last few years, promising plump, sky-high, defined lashes with just a few swipes of a mascara wand.

Almost every beauty brand has a hero mascara they claim is the best on the market, and often it's easier just to stick with what you know. Benefit, Maybelline, Lancôme, Fenty, Glossier - just some of the many beauty brands who have given us the iconic mascaras that are now a mainstay in our make-up bags.

But change is good, right? So, which new mascaras are worth turning your head for? Which clever new wands and lash boosting formulas really are worth the hype?

We asked makeup artist Adeloa Gboyega (who has worked with some of the biggest brands in beauty, from Bobbi Brown to Pat McGrath), for her expert tips when it comes to A* mascara application...

USE ENOUGH MASCARA

It might seem obvious but, according to Gboyega, many of us aren’t using enough mascara formula to begin with. “One of my pet peeves is when I see people not applying their mascara properly,” she says. “They only get the tips of their lashes instead of fully coating their lashes with the mascara.” Looks like we’ve gotta layer that stuff on, guys.

BRUSH UP YOUR TECHNIQUE

“To get the most from your mascara, it is so important to place your wand at the root of your lashes,” explains Gboyega. “I always recommend using the wand in a zig- zag motion, ensuring that you are working up from the root of your lashes all the way to the tip.” And yes, that open-mouth-mascara-face is basically inevitable.

KNOW YOUR ANGLES

Gboyega says that the angle of said mirror can make a huge difference to your mascara technique. “I would recommend having a compact mirror or any mirror in front of you so you can tilt your head backward slightly and look down into your mirror as you apply your mascara,” she advises. “This way you can really see the root of your lashes and ensure you coat the lashes properly for maximum volume.”

Clever, huh?

We've been testing the newest mascaras on the market, looking for the best long-lasting formulas that won't flake under the eyes, melt in the sun or leave a clumpy, clogged finish. Whether you're looking for black or brown, or one containing waterproof technology or thickening fibres, we've found the top 17 mascaras on the market right now, to give you the happiest lashes you've ever had...

1

Best mascara for lengthening

MAC

MAC Cosmetics Magic Extension Mascara

courtesy of brand

£22.00

£18.70 (15% off)

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MAC will forever hold a special place in my heart (and make-up bag), their epic formulas and artistry background always deliver – and of course, this lash- extending mascara is no exception. Tiny fibres give an incredible length boost, with zero clumping or fall out... It’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser.

2

Best mascara for lifting

Maybelline New Yorklookfantastic.com

Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara

Courtesy of Brand

£11.49

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To call this a TikTok sensation would be an understatement. When it came out, it was the mascara everyone was talking about – and for good reason. It gives unreal length and if you’re looking for volume, you can layer this up without clumping.

3

best mascara for curling

Maybelline New York

Maybelline New York Colossal Curl Bounce Mascara

courtesy of brand

£10.99

£3.30 (70% off)

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Controversial, but Maybelline thinks it’s time we all ditched our eyelash curlers, and as someone who is forever trying to simplify my life, I agree. Luckily, their newest mascara has been specifically designed to grab onto stubbornly straight lashes and lift them up, giving a beautiful, sky-high curl. No extra tools required.

4

Best mascara for a jet-black formula

Benefitlookfantastic.com

Benefit They're Real Magnet Mascara

Benefit

If you are an avid watcher of our Beauty Lab series on Snapchat you'll know how impressed we were with this mascara when we reviewed it.

While we're not entirely sure of the "magnet" element, it's undeniable that it both lifts, lengthens and volumises lashes. If you love a good lash moment this has your name all over it.

5

Best smudge-proof mascara

Glossierglossier.com

Glossier Lash Slick

Glossier

US$16.00

US$14.00 (12% off)

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Word of warning, once you use this mascara, it's hard to go back to anything else. Clumps? Lash Slick doesn't know them. Smudging? Not on Lash Slick's watch.

Glossier's founder Emily Weiss's aim was to create a mascara that gave "baby lash extensions" and it's safe to say she achieved it with this formula. If you hate clumps, love a natural look and don't want any smudging, or flaking, this is for you.

6

Best mascara for a multi-finish formula

Huda Beautyfeelunique.com

Huda Beauty Legit Lashes Mascara

Courtesy of brand

£23.90

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Huda Kattan's debut mascara did not disappoint, with its double-ended brush that delivers maximum volume on one side and length and curl on the other. The formula is matte black, and contains "gripping waxes and fibres," which promise dramatic volume without any stiffness. If you're ready to go falsie-free for the first time in a long time, try this.

7

Best mascara for a clump-free finish

Milk Makeupcultbeauty.co.uk

Milk Makeup Kush High Volume Mascara

Milk KUSH High Volume Mascara

£22.00

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As the name suggests, the star ingredient in Milk's KUSH mascara is none other than cannabis seed oil. Swapping beeswax for plant oils means that this mascara is 100% vegan, plus it's paraben, talc and cruelty-free, too. The beefy brush administers heart shaped fibres that latch onto each lash, bolstering and boosting length and thickness. The result is clump free, blacker than black glossy lashes that last all day.

8

Best mascara for volume

Maybellinelookfantastic.com

Maybelline The Falsies Instant Lash Lift Mascara

Courtesy of brand

£9.99

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If fluttery lashes are on your to-get list, give this clever double-curved brush a go. The formula is infused with volumising fibres, giving the illusion of thickness without the clumping. If also comes in a waterproof version, if you're looking for extra staying-power during the summer months.

courtesy of brand

US$26.00

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Lengthening mascaras tend to sit on the more dramatic side of formulas, but if you’re looking for something slightly more natural-looking, consider this one instead. Created by legendary makeup artist Bobbi Brown, the curved wand grabs even the tiniest lashes and swoops them upwards into a subtle curl while keeping them fluttery and soft, meaning none of that uncomfortable crunchy finish.

10

Best mascara for a versatile wand

Urban Decayamazon.co.uk

Urban Decay Lash Freak Volumising & Lengthening Mascara, For Bold Lashes with Lift & Curl, 20-Hour Waterproof Formula & Asymmetrical Brush, 10ml

17 of the best mascaras according to our beauty editors (10)

courtesy of brand

£23.00

£16.72 (27% off)

OK, at first, I was a little intimidated by the snazzy neon asymmetric brush. but once I got the hang of this mascara, it became a makeup bag staple. I load the formula on before using the rounded tip to whisk away any excess formula (an important step to avoid clumps). For extra drama, I press the curved edge into my lash roots for added lift. Guess you could say I’m now a certified (lash) freak, seven days a week.

11

Best vegan mascara

MILKcultbeauty.co.uk

Milk Makeup Rise Mascara

courtesy of brand

£8.45

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As a long-time fan of Milk mascaras, I don’t think my expectations have been so high since I sat down in my local Cineworld for the final Harry Potter movie. Thankfully, this did not disappoint. Developed with four types of vegan waxes, it lengthened and lifted my straight lashes but, even better, as the formula is so lightweight, my lashes didn’t droop or lose their curl throughout the day – something I’ve always struggled with.

12

Best mascara for precision

MAClookfantastic.com

MACStack Mascara Micro Brush

courtesy of brand

£26.00

£22.10 (15% off)

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MAC already has a few lash heavyweights under its belt, but with its new MAC Stack mascara comes the chance for customisation. Choose between two brush options: the mega brush for instant volume (ideal for longer lashes) or the micro brush for greater precision (great for shorter lashes). Hinted in the name, the formula layers on with ease and stretches your lashes without a hint of clumping or crumbling.

13

Best mascara for all round results

Lancômelookfantastic.com

Lancôme Hypnôse Doll Eyes Mascara

Lancome

An oldie but most definitely a goldie. Lancôme's Hypnôse Doll Eyes is not only loved by us here at Cosmo, but it's also loved by Khloe Kardashian herself, who claimed it was her most repurchased makeup item when we interviewed her.

Proof that some formulas just can't be beat, this gives a beautiful fanned out effect to lashes, adding both volume and length without things getting clumpy.

14

Best mascara for definition

Fenty Beautyboots.com

Fenty Beauty Full Frontal Volume, Lift & Curl Mascara

Courtesy of brand

£23.00

£18.40 (20% off)

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Riri has totally delivered with this 'flat-to-fat' brush design. The denser bristles load lashes with product, and the slimmer edge combs it all through for definition and curl. It plumps and lengthens, exposing every little lash with eye-opening definition.

15

Best mascara on a budget

NYX Professional Makeupcultbeauty.co.uk

NYX On The Rise Liftscara Mascara

NYX

£10.00

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Great mascaras don't have to cost a bomb. This game changer from NYX comes in at a totally affordable £10 and is hands down one of the best all-rounders going. The dual sided wand lets you alternate between volumising and defining, while the super pigmented formula provides long lasting colour. If you're looking to boost your lashes without going OTT, this is the everyday wand for you.

16

Best mascara for impact

Pat McGrath Labsselfridges.com

Pat McGrath Labs FetishEyes Mascara

Pat McGrath

£26.00

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When you think of Pat McGrath's line, the first thing that comes to mind is eyeshadow palettes, but let us tell you, this mascara is actually top of our list.

Now, word of warning. This does smudge on the bottom lashes, BUT, the results are so good it's worth using a seperate mascara for that job.

This gives such impressive length and volume, but still somehow looks natural, like you were born with the kind of lashes a camel would be proud of.

17

Best mascara for chic packaging

GUCCIselfridges.com

GUCCI Mascara L'Obscur

courtesy of brand

£30.00

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This mascara is a thing of beauty. Not just because the pale-pink and brass-gold tube make it one of the chicest looking lash lifters around, but also because the formula is stunning. It smoothly glides onto lashes without clumping or flaking, and give a dramatic lift - trust us, you can skip the lash curler with this one.

Victoria JowettDigital Beauty DirectorVictoria Jowett is the Beauty Director at Cosmopolitan UK overseeing all the skincare, hair, makeup and fragrance content across print, digital and video.

Hanna IbraheemDeputy Beauty EditorHanna Ibraheem (she/her) is Deputy Beauty Editor at Cosmopolitan UK, where she oversees all the breaking beauty news to the latest hair and makeup trends taking over your TikTok feed.

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