The journey to the perfect mascara—you know, the one that lengthens, plumps, curls and lifts every individual lash—is a long one. It’s a path that many, myself included, have taken. And thanks to all of the dance recitals and competitions I did as a child, I’ve spent countless years in search of mascara that does, well, everything.
Maybe it’s a lifetime’s worth of makeup ads that have left me with the insatiable need to find my miracle tube of inky black mascara. Maybe it’s the never-ending feed of beauty inspiration seen on the likes of Lucy Boynton, who only makes me a little annoyed that I was not gifted with lashes so astronomically long they could create gusts of wind with a blink of an eye. Whatever the case may be, one thing is certain: I must find that perfect, do-it-all mascara. Or at the very least, I must come close.
From testing out beloved drugstore favorites to shelling out cash for brand names and adorable packaging (hey, it’s effective), I’ve gone up and down on what I’ve deemed to be the most effective mascaras for getting “look at me” lashes. After testing out handfuls of mascaras and researching the favorites of my fellow beauty bosses, these are the only mascaras you need in your makeup kit.
Let’s be honest: It wouldn’t be a proper mascara roundup without calling out these two. I—along with 15,000+ Sephora customers—have used both of them in the past and can attest that they provide lashes so thick and full, they’ll be the first thing you notice in your makeup look.
Ilia’s Limitless Lash Mascara is a cult-favorite option that undoubtedly coats your eyelashes with a clean and highly pigmented formula. But what I love most about this option is its dual-sided brush, which separates every lash for some of the best definition I’ve found from a brand yet. If you’re planning to only wear mascara, I’d highly recommend this one.
“I must find that perfect, do-it-all mascara, or at the very least, I must come close. ”
Honestly speaking—whether it’s in the beauty realm or elsewhere— there’s nothing Rihanna can do wrong, and her new mascara is no exception. Featuring a flattened fluffy brush, this mascara has a lightweight, whipped texture that leaves you with subtly fanned, realistic-looking lashes.
Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to love this mascara—probably because it was my mom who first had me try it out. But after a couple of swipes, I was sold. If you like your mascara to be on the heavier side, you won’t need too many coats of this. Let’s just say that this proves mothers are usually right about most things.
I’m a Chinese woman with very straight lashes—which means I’ve come to accept that there are some things I’ll have to live with (i.e. an eyelash curler). That said, I’m usually looking for a mascara that won’t undo all the hard work I’ve put into curling my lashes for the day. Enter, NARS Climax Mascara, which uses a whipped formula for lightweight lashes that elicited an audible “whoa” the first time I ever tried the mascara.
I was pretty set on my go-to mascara until I became acquainted with Kevyn Aucoin. It’s become my favorite among all the ones I’ve tried. The unique tubing technology gives each lash a swipe of pigment. As a result, my lashes appear longer and more defined. Plus it makes it easier to remove at the end of the day with warm water.
If you’re looking for an option that’ll give you volume and definition without being a major investment, this one will do the trick. I’ve also tried their version with flecks of glitter mixed into the formula, which was perfect for a night out with my ladies.
Made with conditioning Panthenol, (also known as the B-5 vitamin), you’ll be sure to have soft, butterfly kiss-worthy lashes. I give this one bonus points for the added primer.
A beauty industry professional recommended this one to me when I asked for clean mascara options. She mentioned that since these are made with fruit pigments, you avoid any strange scents. Her favorite option? The Dark Chocolate—because, duh.
Another recommendation from a colleague led me to research this cult-favorite mascara—and now I know why it’s become so buzzy. The formula features the brand’s Flake-Free Tubing Technology along with the Orchid Stem Cell Complex, which allows your lashes to receive the best and healthiest treatment possible. Sounds pretty good, right?