Picking out the perfect skincare and beauty products is a right of passage and can help us to create the final looks that make us feel confident, bold, and powerful each and every day — and mascara is a key element in crafting the perfect look.
Whether you love the natural look or are all about boldness and bright colors, your mascara doesn’t have to cost a fortune. In fact, you might just be surprised at how effective and stand out some of the dupes and Amazon and Ulta options might be.
That’s why our team here at Avenue B is excited to share the ultimate round-up of the best drugstore mascaras for any style and need. We make it easy to pick out your favorite beauty products on any budget, and we’re sharing top tips and recommendations for creating the perfect styles for work, school, or a night out on the town.
Explore our favebeauty products for that full lash look.
What Are the Best Drugstore Mascaras of 2023?
There’s a reason so many of us started our makeup journeys with a tube of drugstore makeup. It was affordable, accessible, and versatile. After all, there are always plenty of options to pick from when it comes to drugstore makeup.
The good news is that some of those classic brands more than stand up to the hype, and today you can explore the best in mascaras from the drugstore that get you the runway-ready, beachy, or alt looks you’ve been favoriting on Pinterest or double-tapping on Instagram.
Here are some of our top picks for drugstore mascaras that you’ll want to add to your beauty routine.
1. Best for Length: Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara
Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara more than lives up to its name. If you just can’t get enough of the look of long lashes, this buildable mascara will get you ready and out the door with just a few swipes.
Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara isn't just a lash enhancer ,though — it's a spotlight on your lashes' natural elegance. Shaking things up a bit, it says farewell to the conventional bristle brush.
Instead, this mascara comes with a wand flaunting chunky, well-defined spikes that work to separate your lashes during application, giving you the ultimate lavish, full look.
One of the benefits of this mascara is that you have a lot of control over how it looks. With its formulation, only a few layers are needed for the full effect, which lets you set the tone for your lashes. Keep it subtle and sophisticated for daytime, and when the clock strikes end-of-work, simply amp up the drama with an extra layer.
Despite the layers, this mascara maintains a feather-like touch on your lashes. Wave goodbye to the fears of smudging, clumpy lashes, raccoon eyes, or wear, because this mascara stays put without being high-maintenance. It comes off with ease but doesn't demand constant touch-ups.
Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara is designed for people with sensitive eyes and skin, and can be worn with contact lenses without causing any irritation or itching.
2. Best for Softness: L’Oréal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara
The Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara from L’Oréal Paris is the lengthening mascara that leaves your lashes feeling as soft as the feathers in your favorite down pillow. All you have to do is sweep from the base to the tip of your lashes for a dynamic, graceful appearance that leaves you looking radiant.
This mascara is a true multitasker, promising to stretch your lashes to new lengths – think double their size – and inflate them with up to 20 times their natural volume. All this magic depends, of course, on how you choose to wield this wand. Especially perfect for those with lighter lashes, this mascara plays up your natural lash beauty and shape for that oh-so-desirable polished look.
Let's talk about your choices with the L’Oréal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara. The timeless black and the intense blackest black blend seamlessly with your day looks while still dialing up the drama for your evening escapades. Armed with a wavy bristle brush, it ensures applying and separating your lashes is effortless.
L’Oréal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara is the perfect clump-free, non-flaking, and long-lasting mascara that gets the job done all day long. It has impressive hold and staying power, and your lashes won’t feel thick or heavy after use.
You can add more than one layer if you want, but this bold and beautiful product will stand out with even the lightest applications.
3. Best for All-Day Wear: CoverGirl Lash Blast Volume Mascara
Sometimes, you just can’t go wrong with the classics. CoverGirl Lash Black Volume Mascara has been on the shelves for years, and there's a good reason for it. If you want super simple and easy but oh-so-effective volume and coverage, this is the mascara to beat.
When we say volume, we mean ten times the volume of your natural lashes — and this mascara is light as a whisper, bidding farewell to any heavy or clumpy feelings on your lashes or skin. In fact, you’ll be able to get that full and plump look you love from the very first application, and every layer goes on like a dream, blending seamlessly for that perfect smooth finish.
If you’re searching for a mascara that’s good for the lashes and good for the world, this is the one you won’t want to miss. With its hypoallergenic and cruelty-free credentials, this mascara ensures the only drama it creates is the one on your lashes.
You can also pick the best color for your next makeup look, with the choices between black and very black, which means this staple mascara can work well for whatever the day or night ahead might hold.
4. Best for Sensitivity: CoverGirl Lash Blast Clean Volume Mascara
Calling all sensitive-eyed beauty queens and mascara aficionados — if you love the look of the CoverGirl Lash Black Volume Mascara, but you end up with irritation around your eyes from most makeup products, CoverGirl Lash Blast Clean Volume Mascara is the perfect product for you.
It delivers all the volume, length, and style you’ve come to love from the CoverGirl Lash Blast Volume Mascara, but it uses different ingredients than most makeup products, which makes it perfect for sensitive skin.
The CoverGirl Lash Blast Clean Volume Mascara removes many of the ingredients that can cause irritation to people with skin sensitivities or allergies, including parabens, sulfates, talc, and mineral oil. The magic also includes argan and marula oils — both powerhouses in their own right — that not only add a whisper of softness and shine to your lashes but also help to condition them for added volume and coverage.
The CoverGirl Lash Blast Clean Volume Mascara might be gentle on your skin, but it certainly doesn't compromise on volume and coverage. Just like its sister product, it multiplies the volume of your bare lashes by up to 10 times — without the fuss of smudging, clumping, or disappointing product loss. Believe it or not, this little wonder will grace your lashes with elegant volume that stays put from dawn till dusk.
The cherry on top? The CoverGirl Lash Blast Clean Volume Mascara is also vegan and cruelty-free, which means it’s as good for the animals as it is for your sensitive skin. It’s available in four different colors: pitch black, very black, black, and black brown. That means it’s easy to create and design a makeup look that fits your natural hues and makes you feel confident all day long.
5. Best for Bold Lashes: e.l.f. Big Mood Mascara
Whether you’re heading into the office, on your way to a girls’ night out, or running errands, the e.l.f. Big Mood Mascara has you covered with a smudge-resistant, bold look that lifts your lashes all day long.
With a formula as smooth and creamy as a velvety chocolate ganache, it takes the stage on your lashes, enhancing their natural beauty, and helping you achieve that picture-perfect look effortlessly. Ingredients like jojoba wax help your lashes hold your curl, and the brush is hourglass-shaped to separate your lashes and keep them looking flawless. Say goodbye to droopy lashes, and hello to curl and definition!
This e.l.f. mascara is also cruelty-free and free from phthalates, parabens, nonylphenol ethoxylates, triclosan, triclocarban, and hydroquinone, making it a great option for those with sensitive skin or eyes.
6. Best for the Falsies Look: Maybelline Lash Sensational Full Fan Effect Mascara
The Maybelline Lash Sensational Full Fan Effect Mascara is as honest as they come — this is the mascara you’ll want to reach for if you’re trying to achieve those feathery, full, and wide lashes that almost look like falsies. (Because, seriously, who wants to be dealing with eyelash glue first thing in the morning?)
In true Maybelline fashion, this mascara gives you the length and volume you need, and you don’t have to worry about any clumping, bunching, or flaking. This mascara also helps to separate the lashes, thanks to the ten unique layers of bristles on the brush, and highlights the natural beauty of your eyes and lashes with just a swipe or two.
Another reason the Maybelline Lash Sensational Full Fan Effect Mascara really stands out is that it doesn’t feel heavy. This lightweight product will last all day without causing any irritation. Plus, with washable and waterproof variations, you'll be the maestro of your makeup routine, setting the tone for the day.
Pick between brownish black and very black to begin creating a look that fits your style and gives you a final appearance you really love.
7. Best for Waterproof Wear: NYX Worth the HypeWaterproof Mascara
There’s just nothing like a good waterproof mascara to really get you through the day, and the NYX Worth the HypeWaterproof Mascara might just be the perfect mascara for the job. It offers thickening capabilities paired with a buildable formula for all-day comfort, and it does it all without fading or smudging as the night goes on.
Whether you're longing for an everyday natural look or a full-on glam vibe, this mascara has got your back — all you need to do is master the perfect number of layers.
The product applies comfortably to each of the individual lashes, which means a little bit goes a long way. The secret is in the brush: a tapered tip that reaches out to the tiniest of your lashes, even those shy baby hairs in your inner corners, to give them their time in the spotlight.
So, if you're on the prowl for a tried and true waterproof mascara, one that's dependable and versatile, the NYX Worth the HypeWaterproof Mascara may be worth a try.
8. Best for Volume: L’Oréal Voluminous Volume Building Curved Brush Mascara
TheL’Oréal Voluminous Volume Building Curved Brush Mascara draws on the natural beauty and elegance of your eyes to add a touch of drama and boldness that will really make you stand out.
Even if you wear no other product throughout the day, this mascara is sure to have heads swiveling in your direction — it’s the mascara you definitely want to wear if you’re looking to make strangers fall in love across a crowded New York train station.
Part of the reason the L’Oréal Voluminous Volume Building Curved Brush Mascara is so effective is because of the brush. The curved brush helps to separate the lashes from one another, so when the product goes on, it’s smooth and even. This helps to both thicken and build onto the lashes in a natural and chic way.
You’ll also enjoy smoother, softer lashes with every application, because L’Oréal Voluminous Volume Building Curved Brush Mascara contains panthenol and ceramide-r, which help protect the lashes from damage and actually condition them. You’ll get that soft, feathery feeling while achieving a bold look every time.
As the mascara sets on your lashes, it manages to add depth and volume without making it look overdone, and the result is a naturally enhanced and chic set of lashes that are hard to ignore.
It’s also ideal for individuals with sensitive skin and people who wear contact lenses, especially since you really only need one application of the product. That reduces the chances of clumps or smudges and limits any potential irritation with use. Find it in black or brown and begin creating the ultimate dramatic eye look with L’Oréal Voluminous Volume Building Curved Brush Mascara today.
9. Best for Smudge-Proof Color: Neutrogena Healthy Volume Mascara
If you’re looking for reliable volume with no flaking or smudging, this beauty product from Neutrogena has your back. It offers great volume-building capability paired with plumping and protective ingredients like sweet almond oil and olive oil for truly healthy lashes.
This formula is dermatologist and ophthalmologist-tested, and it works to build your lash volume up to 400% instantly. Coming in the classic trifecta of carbon black, black, and black brown, there's a shade just waiting to complement your unique style and personality. Each color swipes on rich and full, painting your lashes with a tantalizing depth of coverage.
And here's the kicker: it does all this without the dreaded menace of clumps.
The Neutrogena Healthy Volume Mascara is a true staple that will give you volume and comfort all day long. Boost your confidence and your day-to-day or night-out makeup look with a swipe of this mascara.
10. Best for Lightweight Fullness: MaybellineGreat Lash Mascara
If you recognize the little pink and green bottle of MaybellineGreat Lash Mascara, you’re not alone. This drug store product has been a staple of girls’ makeup bags for over 40 years, and there’s a good reason it’s not going anywhere — several reasons, in fact.
MaybellineGreat Lash Mascara is the workhorse of drugstore makeup, and it’s there for you no matter what the next TikTok trend or new makeup look might be. It delivers incredible thickness without any weight or irritation to the eyes or skin. Plus, it's an undercover conditioner for your lashes, helping you achieve that show-stopping makeup look you adore.
The secret to its magic? A lash doubling formula that amps up the volume of your lashes, giving them a natural-looking thickness without clumping or dryness. Crafted with a hypoallergenic recipe, it’s a dream come true for contact lens wearers, and you can tailor the thickness and appearance to your heart's content, depending on the number of layers you apply.
That’s not the only way to customize the MaybellineGreat Lash Mascara to match your style, though. It’s also available in different color options you’re sure to love. From sultry blacks, warm browns, and even a daring royal blue, with shades like very black, brownish black, dark brown, and royal blue, this mascara invites you to play and experiment.
The Final Lowdown
If you want to create a totally stand-out makeup style, try something new, or just feel comfortable and confident in your own skin, the right drugstore mascara products can help. You can experiment with shades, colors, styles, and methods to fit your needs, and you don’t have to worry about spending a lot of money along the way.
While there’s something to be said about the luxury brands we love, we can’t deny that our teenage selves had the right idea when they picked out plumping, volumizing, and long-lasting mascaras in the drugstore aisles.
When it comes to drugstore mascara, you have many exciting options to pick from. Whether you’re searching for volume, color, hold, or length, there’s a mascara for the job. You can even find products that are vegan, cruelty-free, and comfortable for people with sensitivity or who wear contacts.
Avenue B is here to help you pick out the perfect eyeliner, lash primer, and mascara for pigment, hydrating, and everything in between. Explore our catalog to find drugstore mascara options today, and begin walking out the door with your head high tomorrow.