Honestly, what would we do without our holy-grail glam essential: mascara? It lifts, lengthens, curls, and enhances our lashes, making it a daily necessity when getting ready. But with so many tubes to choose from, it’s gotten harder and harder to find the best mascara for you—especially when there’s a shocking 284 options at Sephora alone.
We picked five of Sephora’s best-selling formulas to try and relieve the mascara fatigue. With my naturally long, but thin and flat lashes, I look for dramatic volume and precision first, with length as the next big factor. After putting these popular formulas to the test for a full day’s worth of activities, I’ve narrowed down my favorites, giving you my final rankings from last to first. Here’s hoping you’ll come closer to finding your ride-or-die mascara.
5. Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-In-1 Mascara
Claims: The conditioning formula lengthens, curls, and adds 330 percent more volume to lashes.
Our Award: Best Hypoallergenic Mascara
Pros: I’ll give it to Tarte, this mascara did create crazy volume, transforming my thin lashes into a full-looking set while hydrating from root to tip. The natural, vegan ingredients also didn’t make my eyes water, which other popular formulas tend to do, making it the best mascara for sensitive eyes.
Cons: I had high hopes for this mascara, as it promises to condition, curl, lengthen, and add volume. Sadly, I don’t think it held up to all its claims. It did give me thick lashes, but the formula was pretty clumpy, didn’t hold on to each individual lash, and weighed down my lashes throughout the day, making them flat.
To buy: Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-In-1 Mascara, Sephora, $23
4. Lancôme Monsieur Big Mascara
Claims: A 24-hour mascara that delivers high volume with its thick bristles.
Our Award: Best Volumizing Mascara
Pros: I love this Lancôme mascara formula because it’s buildable and not too tacky, so I can put on several coats without looking spidery or clumpy. It also lasted all day long, enough to where I actually had to use makeup remover to take it off. Might I go as far as to say it’s actually waterproof? I mean, it did last through my workout session, so you decide.
Cons: I wasn’t the biggest fan of the big, thick brush, finding it difficult to reach the lashes in my inner corners and bottom lashline. I attempted once, thinking maybe if I was careful I would succeed, but mascara smeared all over my eyelids just the same—never again. Although it thickened my lashes, it didn’t add any length, so I’d start with a lengthening mascara, then go in with Lancôme Monsieur Big Mascara to really bring the volume.
To buy: Lancôme Monsieur Big Mascara, Sephora, $25
3. Benefit They’re Real! Mascara
Claims: This lengthening mascara curls, volumizes, lifts, and separates lashes with every application.
Our Award: Best Natural-Looking Mascara
Pros: Because I have naturally flat lashes, I was intrigued by this mascara’s curling properties. Let’s talk about the wand: The staggered, rubber brush combed through every single lash from the root, giving me eye-opening length. The precision bristles and rounded tip defined and curled my tiniest lashes, even my bottom lashline. I curled my lashes before applying, but this mascara held that curl for the rest of the day, which I rarely see. I was also surprised by how soft and silky my lashes were after two coats. Benefit’s They’re Real is by far the best mascara for defined, natural-looking lashes. I’ll be adding this one to my stash for sure.
Cons: Though this mascara does add volume, I wouldn’t say it’s an overwhelming amount of thickness. It’s just enough to show off luscious, long lashes.
To buy: Benefit They’re Real! Mascara, Sephora, $24
2. Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara
Claims: The curvy, wide brush gives lashes falsie volume and instant dimension with its ultra-pigmented formula.
Our Award: Best Lengthening Mascara
Pros: I can’t say enough about Marc Jacobs’ Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara. I was happily surprised at how wispy my lashes looked using a wavy wand. Usually, I end up with lashes stuck together and clumps everywhere, but the defining tip of each bristle seperated and defined every lash. Not only did this Marc Jacobs mascara define, but it lengthened my lashes three times, giving me the look of full eyelash extensions without feeling heavy. And all in one swipe—that’s right, one—thanks to the super thick, black formula.
Cons: My only complaint is that I thought this was too much for my everyday look, but to each their own. I think I’ll reserve this one as my “night out” mascara.
To buy: Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara, Sephora, $26
1. Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara
Claims: It simultaneously separates, coats, and curls each lash to voluminous perfection via a collagen-fueled formula.
Our Award: Best Everyday Mascara
Pros: I’ve been looking for an everyday thickening and lengthening mascara for years now, never quite loving what I end up picking out. That is until I finally tried the cult-classic formula of beauty gurus everywhere, Too Faced's Better Than Sex Mascara. After two coats, it truly lives up to its voluptuous claim, giving my thin, flat lashes a silky black tint, insane volume, and unexpected length, minus the clumps. It lasted all day without fallout, smudging, or irritation, making it the best mascara for my day-to-day, through sweaty spin class and all.
Cons: I do have to wipe the applicator off before I apply to avoid clumpiness, but the results after are simply stunning. I’m saying goodbye to my drugstore mascara, and hello to my new holy grail, Too Faced’s so appropriately named Better Than Sex Mascara.
To buy: Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara, Sephora, $23