Best and Worst Drugstore and High End Mascara
If there is one beauty product I have an over abundance of, it’s mascara. Any time a new mascara is released I run out and get it, unless it’s outrageously expensive. I easily have 30 kinds of mascara laying around at any given time, and feel absolutely no shame about it. Due to my hefty experience with mascara, I’ve decided to make use of my knowledge, and comprised a snazzy little list of the best and worst drugstore and high end mascaras. Leggo!
Best High End Mascara
High end price tags can be daunting, especially for a product as small as mascara. The mascaras listed below are tried and true, and worth every single cent.
- Benefit Roller Lash Mascara – $24 USD
- The Balm Cosmetics Mad Lash Mascara – $18 USD
- Tarte Lights Camera Lashes – $23 USD
- Tarte Tarteist™ Lash Paint Mascara – $23 USD
Roller Lash is hands down one of the best mascaras I’ve ever used. It lengthens, separates, curls & lifts the lashes, giving your eyes a more open effect. The formula doesn’t clump up or flake off, and keeps its pigment throughout the day. Roll the wand through your lashes for the best application.
The Balm’s Mad Lash mascara is a close second to my Benefit Roller Lash. It lengthens & separates the lashes, and adds a decent amount of volume. The formula doesn’t clump or flake off. The curved wand makes it so easy to apply the mascara perfectly to both the upper and lower lashes.
I received a mini version of Tarte’s Light Camera Lashes mascara in a holiday set and instantly became obsessed. The formula lengthens, curls, volumizes & conditions the lashes, hence why they call it a 4-in-1 mascara. Another reason to love it is because it’s vegan and cruelty free.
Tarte’s Tarteist mascara is my most re-purchased mascara. I absolutely adore the wand and formula, which grabs each and every lash individually and adds mega volume. The formula is blacker than Marilyn Manson’s soul and won’t give you spider lashes.
Worst High End Mascara
Unfortunately not all high end makeup is great. Below are the high end mascaras I’ve tried, and really wanted to love, but didn’t find them to be worthy of their hefty price tag.
- Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara (Waterproof) – $23 USD
- IT Cosmetics Hello Lashes™ 5-in-1 Mascara – $24 USD
- Smashbox X-Rated Mascara – $23 USD
- Makeup Forever Aqua Smoky Extravagant Waterproof Mascara – $24 USD
Waterproof, my ass. Too Faced’s Better Than Sex Waterproof mascara is literally a joke in the realm of high end, waterproof mascaras. Please note, I’m referring to JUST the waterproof version here, as I have not tried the regular version. Not only is it not waterproof, but it budges and smears super easy. There are FAR better waterproof mascaras on the market, even at the drugstore level.
The wand on IT Cosmetics’ Hello Lashes™ 5-in-1 Mascara is bizarre and hard to maneuver. The ball on the tip of the brush is meant to help comb out lashes once their coated with the formula, but it didn’t do much for me, as I still had hella clumped spidery lashes. I also felt that it fell short of the ginormous list it claims to accomplish, such as self curling, 4x the volume, and the appearance of falsies. I wasn’t amazed with my results, at least not for a $24 price tag.
I was a bit sad that I didn’t like Smashbox’s X-Rated mascara, primarily because I’m a huge Smashbox fan and typically they don’t do me dirty. Unfortunately, this mascara is lackluster as compared to their other products. The formula is quite clumpy and a bit flakey. I just wasn’t feeling it.
Makeup Forever’s Extravagant Waterproof Mascara is THE most disappointing high-end mascara I’ve ever used. Not only does it smudge super easy, but the smudges seem to multiple faster than rabbits. Don’t waste your monies on this guy!
Best Drugstore Mascara
- L’Oreal Telescopic Mascara – $8 USD
- L’Oreal Voluminous Original Mascara – $8 USD
- Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara – $9 USD
- Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara – $5 USD
L’Oreal’s original Telescopic mascara is one of my ride or die beauty products. The formula is very black, and doesn’t flake or clump. I particularly love the wand on this bad boy, as it coats each lash evenly. Because it’s thin it’s also great for coating the lower lashes without smudging or smearing underneath your eye. I’ll be honest in the fact that I was blessed with naturally long eyelashes, however this mascara has made my eyelashes look the longest they ever have. Definitely one of the best drugstore lengthening mascaras on the market!
If volume is what you seek, you need L’Oreal’s Voluminous mascara! This mascara is so grand that I keep a few in my freelance kit and use them on clients. The formula is black as black, long lasting, waterproof and non-clumpy. It leaves lashes looking full and gorgeous. It would be hard to tell in a blind trial that this is a drugstore mascara. It’s definitely the best drugstore volumizing mascara that I’ve found.
Only one word comes to mind when I think of Maybelline’s Lash Sensational mascara, and that would be YASSSSSSSSSSSS! I am currently obsessed with this mascara, and use it nearly every day. The formula is lengthening, non-clumpy, super pigmented and keeps lashes curled. The brush is unique and includes 10 layers of bristles which help keep the product from clumping. I feel it’s a great dupe for the Balm’s Mad Lash & Benefit’s Roller Lash mascaras as it yields similar results. You definitely get high end value for a drugstore price with this little guy.
Maybelline’s Great Lash Waterproof Mascara is a staple in my personal collection and my go-to waterproof mascara. I use it for more chill days when I want to swim, go to the beach or when I know I’ll be sweating my buns off. It doesn’t do anything spectacular per say, in regards to lengthening or curling or anything like that, but man does that formula stay on in water like there’s no tomorrow. Because I have very watery eyes at times (due to allergies or getting eye shadow and other crap in my eye), it’s great for the lower lashes.
Worst Drugstore Mascara
Cheap makeup can sometimes be, well cheap. Although the drugstores offer some very, very good mascara at budget-friendly price points, they also offer some very, very bad ones. These are affordable mascaras I won’t be re-purchasing or recommending.
- L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara – $10 USD
- Essence I Love Extreme Crazy Volume Mascara – $5 USD
- Essence Lash Princess Mascara – $5 USD
- Physicians Formula Organic Wear Mascara – $10 USD
I’m baffled that so many people are going gaga for the L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara. It is, hands down, one of the worst mascaras I’ve ever tried. Basically, it’s everything you don’t want in a mascara – clumpy, spidery, flakey & stings your eyes. I honestly think it’s the brush that yields those results, but it’s hard to say for sure. I believe it’s supposed to be a dupe for Too Faced’s Better Than Sex Mascara, in which the waterproof version was also a fail for me, as mentioned above. I love me some L’Oreal mascaras, but this one is a definite no go.
I’m not sure what it is with these Essence brand mascaras man, but I just cannot get in to them. The wand on the I Love Extreme Crazy Volume mascara leave the lashes in a clumpy hot mess. The formula flakes off after a bit, and isn’t very pigmented. Hard pass.
Welcome to flake city! Population, Essence Lash Princess Mascara. The formula of this mascara just seems cheap, as it’s not very pigmented and flakes off easily. I found myself picking at this mascara quite often, because it would clump up and flake so badly. The wand is nice, I suppose, but you can’t overlook the clumpy, flakey formula for a wand. Next!
I’ll be honest that the Physicians Formula Organic Wear mascara baffled me. It claims to have all natural and organic ingredients, yet it burns the eyes worse than any “non organic” mascara I’ve ever used. Save yourself money, and a trip to the optometrist, and skip this one.
I sincerely hope my best and worst high end & drugstore mascara list comes in handy, babes! Let me know what your favorite and least favorite mascaras are, and if there’s any good ones I need to try!
PS: If you’re curious, my glitzy eyelash curler in the top photo is from Tarte! 🙂
Stay Beautiful, Inside & Out!
Simply StephanieKay xoXO
**Disclaimer: This list is based on my personal opinions and experience. If you absolutely love a product on my worst list, don’t take it personally. We’re all different people with different preferences, experiences, eye colors and shapes, etc. If you love something, keep using it! All opinions are based during the time the article was written. Some links may be affiliate links in which I make a small commission from. All opinions are my own.