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Mascara Must-Haves: Our Favorite Things

If you were stranded on a tropical island with George Clooney (or whoever your hunk or hunkstress of choice is) and could take only one beauty item, what would it be? Many of our friends and family members didn’t even bat an eyelash before giving us their answer: mascara. Members of our editorial team reveal which brands they rely upon to lengthen, thicken, and darken their lashes … for maximum island eye-batting flirtation.

Maybelline Full N' Soft

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Most of my girlfriends prowl the aisles of Sephora for DiorShow and the like, but I’ve found that Maybelline Full N’ Soft does just as good a job at prettying up my peepers. The gently rounded brush never fails to extend and separate my lashes—no clumping—and it stays put all day. Best of all, it costs only about five bucks—which frees up the extra $15 or so that I would have spent on a designer brand to squander on overpriced eye cream.

—Annie Tucker Morgan, Editor

Benefit BADgal Lash Mascara

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I’ve tried really, really hard to like $6-and-under mascaras. They’re usually fine for about a week—until I end up with what looks like one unicorn horn–like eyelash on each eye. Recently, one of Benefit’s overly enthusiastic salesclerks (is there any other kind there?) sampled some BADgal Lash Mascara on me, and just like that, my mascara life changed. I’m not sure what the hoodoo-voodoo is in Benefit’s mascara that makes my lashes look so long and thick without looking too done up (maybe it’s that oversize wand?), but I’ll take it—and the $19 price tag that accompanies it. Because no one wants to be on the receiving end of one giant batting eyelash.

—Rebecca Brown, Editor-in-Chief

MAC Zoom Lash Mascara

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My best friend is a makeup artist. Whenever I need makeup, I say, “Meghan, I need powder, blush, and something to hide the nasty stuff under my eyes,” and she immediately shows up with a bag of goodies. Considering I know nothing about color palettes and false eyelashes, this is a great thing. Last month I told her I was in desperate need of new mascara. Within days she handed me the Holy Grail of perfect lashes—MAC Zoom Lash mascara. This mascara literally triples the length of my lashes, leaving them perfectly curled and always ready for action. At $15, that’s hot.

—Shyla Batilwalla, Editorial Coordinator

Maybelline Great Lash Mascara

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I believe certain cosmetics are worth buying at a department store, but mascara is definitely not one of them. After using fancy brands for years, I switched to Maybelline Great Lash and found that I don’t really need $25 worth of mascara to look good. To heck with expensive curling, conditioning, or volumizing formulas; Great Lash is cheap, ubiquitous, washable, and just as effective as pricier brands in every way. The best part is that since I’m not spending a fortune on it, I can actually replace my tube every three months like I’m supposed to.

—Allison Ford, Staff Writer

DiorShow Black Out Mascara

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Believe the hype: DiorShow Black Out mascara is every bit as amazing as people say it is. If Maybelline Great Lash is my dependable husband, DiorShow is my sexy French lover. One swipe doubles the length, dramatically volumizes, and fans my lashes around my eyes. Plus, its deep-black color gives my eyes a sultry appearance. At $25, DiorShow’s a bit too expensive for frequent purchases. But you can’t put a price on happiness—and I’m fiercely loyal to my dark paramour. After all, to borrow a phrase from my other French lover, I’m worth it.

—Bijani Mizell, Editorial Assistant

Maybelline Volum' Express Mascara

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Because I’m almost always bespectacled, I usually don’t have much need for mascara. But on the rare occasions when I break out the contact lenses, I take great pleasure in sweeping that magic wand through my lashes, and Maybelline Volum’ Express in Very Black makes them look perfectly long and lush. It doesn’t get clumpy or turn my eyelashes into tarantula legs after a few hours, and it doesn’t require constant reapplication. There are probably better brands out there, but for someone who only occasionally ditches the glasses to bat her lashes, Maybelline’s perfect. 

—Vicki Santillano, Staff Writer

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