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The 13 Best Mascaras of 2023

The Glowsly editors independently test and choose the best products. We may receive commissions on purchases made from the affiliate links.

Mascara is the ultimate makeup must-have. It frames the eyes and elongates the lashes, adding the final touch to any makeup look. Even casual makeup lovers keep a tube around! 

This complete list of the best mascaras 2023 includes newer releases that have blown us away and beloved staples that have been around for years. Regardless of your makeup style, you’ll find your next favorite mascara here.    

Best mascara overview:

How we chose the best mascaras

To compile this list, we researched manufacturer specifications, including formulas, wand shape, and more, to create a short list of the top mascaras. Then, we combed through detailed product descriptions, ratings, and reviews to find the best mascara for each category.

Our picks for the best mascaras

Best overall
Maybelline Lash Sensational Washable Mascara

What we love

  • Gorgeous volume and length
  • Fans out and separates lashes
  • Budget-friendly

What we don’t love

  • Brush takes some trial and error
  • A little wet when first opened

This mascara is our forever obsession: It volumizes, lengthens, and holds a curl while keeping the lashes looking separated. Maybelline Lash Sensational thickens well without clumping, too.

Part of the secret to this product’s fluttery results is the rubbery wand. It’s curved with long bristles on one side for total separation and short ones on the other for control. This unique combination allows users to capture and fan out every lash. That said, it might take a bit of practice to figure out how to apply this mascara based on your eye shape and lash distribution. 

Note that the mascara’s texture can be a little wet when you first open it. You may find that it gives you the best results about a week after you’ve opened it once the formula dries down.

Shades: 4 | Effects: Volumizing, curling, lengthening, separating | Wand shape: Curved, dual-sided with long and short bristles | Waterproof: No, but there is a Lash Sensational Waterproof

Best budget
Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara Waterproof

What we love

  • Budget-friendly
  • Dramatic length and volume
  • Longwearing and smudge-resistant

What we don’t love

  • Not very separating

If you’re a fan of the makeup looks you see on TikTok, Essence Lash Princess is the mascara to try. This budget-friendly option has become a huge social media hit thanks to its low price and intense volumizing and lengthening effects. 

It doesn’t have the separation factor of Lash Sensational, but that’s a bonus for anyone who likes a more noticeable or doll-eyed look. And the drama lasts all day because of the smudge-resistant, waterproof formula. However, if you prefer an easy-to-remove option, you might lean toward the Original Lash Princess.

Shades: 1 | Effects: Lengthening, volumizing | Wand shape: Cone with fiber bristles | Waterproof: Yes

Best splurge
Too Faced Better Than Sex Volumizing Mascara

What we love

  • Intense volume and length
  • Buildable texture
  • Good longevity

What we don’t love

  • Pricey
  • Not a natural look

Too Faced’s Better Than Sex is an iconic mascara — and not just because of its raunchy name. Like our pick from Essence, it brings drama by the boatload. It volumizes and lengthens on the first coat, but it’s buildable should you want even more intensity. The texture is perfect from the start, making it easy to apply on the first go.  

The hourglass-shaped nylon wand deposits a healthy amount of product and effectively coats every lash. Though washable, this mascara has decent longevity and mostly resists smudging. But the result is anything but natural, so it may not appeal to everyone.

Shades: 1 | Effects: Volumizing, curling, lengthening | Wand shape: Hourglass | Waterproof: No, but a waterproof option is available

Best internet-favorite
Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High

What we love

  • Creates ultra-long, fiber-enhanced lashes
  • Thickens and volumizes
  • Longwearing but easy to remove

What we don’t love

  • Can look thick

The original Lash Sensational might be our personal favorite, but Sky High has taken over the internet at large. It’s an ultra-lengthening tubing formula with a unique, extra-flexible wand that bends with the lashes to volumize and extend as you build the layers. It’s infused with fibers that adhere to the lashes for even more length.  

We find that the final result can look overly intense and thick, but we suspect this dramatic effect is what earned the mascara so many social media mentions. Because it’s a tubing formula, it washes off easily at the end of the day but doesn’t flake or smudge otherwise. Plus, it’s ophthalmologist-tested and even suitable for sensitive eyes.

Shades: 4 | Effects: Volumizing, lengthening | Wand shape: Flexible cone | Waterproof: No

Best waterproof
CoverGirl Exhibitionist Waterproof Mascara

What we love

  • Ultra-waterproof
  • Volumizes and lengthens
  • Holds a curl well

What we don’t love

  • Very hard to remove
  • Doesn’t look natural

CoverGirl cracked the code with its totally unbudging waterproof formula. Whether you’re a swimmer or a fan of tear-jerker soaps or rom-coms, rest assured it’ll keep your lashes looking flawless through any activity. In fact, this mascara is so waterproof that reviewers’ main complaint was that it’s a pain to take off — so investing in quality makeup remover is a must.

Paired with a highly volumizing hourglass wand, Exhibitionist creates supersized, lifted lashes that hold a curl and fit today’s more-is-more lash trend. If you prefer a more natural look but still want longevity, we’re also fans of LashBlast.

Shades: 1 | Effects: Volumizing, lengthening, curling | Wand shape: Hourglass | Waterproof: Yes

Best lengthening
Benefit They’re Real! Magnet Extreme Lengthening Mascara

What we love

  • Innovative magnetized formula and wand
  • Incredibly elongating and lifting
  • Non-spidery, separated volume

What we don’t love

  • Can smudge
  • A little pricey

They’re Real! has been at the top of beauty editor lists for years thanks to its incredible ability to create ultra-long, voluminous lashes that don’t look overdone. And Benefit has outdone itself with this magnetized version of the cult-favorite classic. 

The technology behind this new mascara is fascinating. The formula is infused with magnetic minerals, while the brush has a magnet embedded in its core. As you apply the mascara, the magnetic pull of the wand ensures better lift, leading to lashes that look 40% longer. 

If you’re smudge-prone, you might prefer a more waterproof mascara since some reviewers noted this mascara could leave a bit of a residue under the eyes at the end of the day.

Shades: 1 | Effects: Lengthening, lifting, volumizing | Wand shape: Dense and spiky | Waterproof: No

Best tubing
Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara

What we love

  • Longwearing
  • Easy to remove
  • Lengthening and slightly volumizing

What we don’t love

  • Pricey
  • Not as dramatic as some other mascaras

Nothing beats tubing mascara if you have sensitive eyes. Formulas like this create elongating polymers that are water-resistant over each lash. Then, they come off effortlessly with some warm water and rubbing. That means no makeup removal irritation or smudging if allergies make your eyes tear up.

From Thrive Causemetics, this is one of the best tubing mascaras. Not only is it elongating, but it also provides a fair amount of volume. It’s not as thickening as a traditional mascara formula, but it’s still impressive. Plus, it’s available in three shades in case you get tired of black.

Shades: 3 | Effects: Lengthening, volumizing | Wand shape: Tapered with short bristles | Waterproof: No

Best for a natural look
Glossier Lash Slick

What we love

  • Natural-looking definition
  • Fibers for added length
  • Longwearing but easy to remove

What we don’t love

  • Minimal volume

The best mascara doesn’t have to be extremely noticeable. Glossier’s one and only mascara is a subtle lash definer that’s perfect for day-to-day wear. It’s a tubing formula, so it offers more length than volume. There are even fibers embedded in it to enhance length further. The silicone wand prevents clumpiness, so the result looks natural but lengthy. 

Since it’s a tubing formula, you can expect a glorious combination of water resistance and effortless removal, making enhancing your lashes (and un-enhancing them before bed) a little easier.

Shades: 1 | Effects: Lengthening, separating | Wand shape: Tapered and densely packed | Waterproof: No

Best clean formula
Ilia Limitless Lash Mascara

What we love

  • 99% naturally derived ingredients
  • Very buildable volume and length
  • Dual-sided wand for controllable separation

What we don’t love

  • Pricey

If you only buy natural or clean makeup, you’ve probably been disappointed by countless mascara. Many natural formulas will tint your lashes at best, but Ilia’s Limitless Lash is a natural mascara that delivers the same dramatic effects as mainstream formulas. 

This mascara is made with 99% naturally derived ingredients, but it still manages to provide an intense lash definition. It thickens and extends with a unique dual-sided brush that allows you to focus on either volume or separation. It’s also buildable, so you can adjust the number of coats for different intensity levels.

Shades: 1 | Effects: Volumizing, lengthening, separating | Wand shape: Dual-sided comb | Waterproof: No

Best universal
Rare Beauty Perfect Strokes Universal Volumizing Mascara

What we love

  • Easy to apply
  • Versatile voluminous look
  • Longwearing

What we don’t love

  • A little pricey
  • Not as dramatic as other mascaras

Despite being a new release, this universally flattering mascara from Rare Beauty feels like a timeless classic. Thanks to its flawless texture and slightly curved nylon wand, it’s simple to use, and it builds easily to create a voluminous but not heavy look. 

Perhaps its effects don’t stand out as unique or dramatic, but that’s where the magic is — most users will enjoy it regardless of makeup style. Reviewers raved that it wears well throughout the day despite not being waterproof. 

The formula is vegan, ophthalmologist-tested, and friendly to sensitive eyes, so it works for just about anyone.

Shades: 1 | Effects: Volumizing, curling, lengthening | Wand shape: Semi-hourglass | Waterproof: No

Best for sensitive eyes
Clinique High Impact Mascara

What we love

  • Good choice for sensitive eyes
  • Very volumizing
  • Easy to remove

What we don’t love

  • Can be a little clumpy

Clinique made a name for itself by producing gentle, hypoallergenic products. If your eyes are sensitive, this gentle mascara is a safe bet designed with your needs in mind. This formula is free from fragrances, phthalates, and other harsh chemicals with the potential to irritate.  

The formula is washable, so you won’t need to scrub your eyes when removing it at the end of the day. And you won’t need to compromise on effects, either, as it creates bold, thick, and long lashes. That said, it can look clumpy if over-applied.

Shades: 2 | Effects: Volumizing, lengthening | Wand shape: Cone | Waterproof: No

Best precision
L’Oreal Telescopic Original Mascara

What we love

  • Slim wand for extra control
  • Very elongating
  • Separates lashes

What we don’t love

  • Fragile wand

If you find most mascara wands too bulky and hard to control, give Telescopic a try. It has an ultra-slim wand that allows you to easily get close to the lash line and separates the lashes nicely for a wispy look. 

That said, it still offers drama by extending the length of the lashes. If you want to use it on the lower eyelashes, we recommend you wipe off the wand first to avoid elongating them too much. The slim brush is a little fragile, so be careful when placing it back in the tube — if it catches on the rim, it may break off.

Shades: 4 | Effects: Lengthening, separating | Wand shape: Slim | Waterproof: No

Best 2-in-1
Honest Extreme Length Mascara + Lash Primer

What we love

  • Primer and mascara combo
  • Clean formula
  • Volumizes and lengthens

What we don’t love

  • Can smudge

Can’t go without a lash primer? This mascara from Honest comes with a built-in primer, saving you the need to buy multiple products. The primer adds a base of thickness and length with its slim nylon wand. Then, the mascara adds that final layer of dark definition.

The mascara’s molded wand is packed with dense, short bristles, which are excellent for separation. And you can always use it alone for a more natural look. The formula is free from controversial ingredients like parabens, paraffin, and mineral oil, so it’s a perfect choice for green or clean beauty shoppers. Some reviewers found it smudged, so it might not be ideal for rainy days.

Shades: 1 | Effects: Volumizing, lifting, lengthening | Wand shape: Slim with short bristles | Waterproof: No

Bat your lashes 

Everyone has their unique lash style preferences, which means there isn’t one best mascara out there that’ll please everyone. Your ideal volumizing formula could look like a clumpy mess to someone else. 

Our top pick, Maybelline Lash Sensational, hits a fine balance, offering trendy volume while keeping lashes fluttery and separated. That said, as you browse our list, consider your personal needs to find the mascara that’ll deliver whatever lash look you want.

How to pick the right mascara for you

Some of us want all the drama, while others seek subtle definition. To find the perfect mascara for you, consider what kind of mascara wands you prefer as well as which effects and ingredients can create your desired results.


  • Nylon. Nylon wands are a little old-school, but their flexible, dense bristles excel when creating volume.
  • Molded. Made of silicone or rubber, molded wands are very popular nowadays, thanks to their separating effect. 
  • Cone. Cone-shaped wands are the most common as they’re very easy to use. Expect a straightforward application and a balanced amount of length and volume. 
  • Comb. Wands that look like combs are usually molded with a design intended to create a lot of separation. Most comb wands are dual-sided, with a shorter side that’s better for volume and a longer side ideal for separation.  
  • Slim. A slimmer wand with shorter bristles often makes it easier to apply mascara to smaller eyes or the lower lash line. Shorter bristles can still effectively volumize and separate lashes, except for those with dense lash lines. 
  • Hourglass. Thanks to Too Faced’s Better Than Sex, hourglass wands are associated with va-va-voom volume. It’s mostly just aesthetic, though — the curved shape can make it a little easier to fit the wand close against the lash line, but the dramatic effects are mostly courtesy of the dense nylon bristles. 

Effects and formulas 

  • Volumizing. Volumizing mascaras that enhance lash thickness are extremely popular for creating a dramatic look. That said, they can make the lashes look clumpy if you’re not careful.
  • Separating. Separating mascaras usually add less volume, but they fan out the lashes for a fluttery, natural look that’s still noticeable. 
  • Lengthening. Lengthening mascaras extend the lashes, usually with a stretchy polymer formula or fibers. They often also offer either volume or separation. They usually work for everyone unless your lashes are already naturally long, in which case they might be overwhelming. 
  • Curling. Look for a curling mascara if your lashes are straight or curve downwards. While most mascaras don’t curl the lashes themselves, a curling mascara can help to hold a lift after you’ve used a lash curler. Slightly dry or waterproof formulas usually do the best job. 

Longevity and removal

  • Washable. Washable mascaras come off with water or most face washes, which is best for sensitive eyes. That said, they tend to have shorter longevity and are more likely to smudge during the day. 
  • Waterproof. Waterproof mascaras are designed to repel water and are excellent if you live in humid or rainy conditions or want to swim or exercise while wearing makeup. That said, they can be very difficult to remove without a strong or oily makeup remover, which may irritate sensitive eyes. 
  • Water-resistant or smudge-proof. Water-resistant or smudge-proof formulas should mostly stay put if you sweat or tear up a little, but they may still transfer if you submerge your face in water. Most makeup removers will take them off easily. 
  • Tubing. Tubing mascaras are made of polymers that wrap around the lash. They’re water-resistant in most day-to-day conditions, but they come off with just a bit of friction and water. They’re ideal for sensitive eyes that need easy removal and reliable longevity. 


What is the top-rated mascara? 

Our top-rated mascara is Maybelline Lash Sensational, thanks to its ability to keep the lashes looking separated and fluffy while still providing immense volume and length. It has over 100,000 five-star reviews across several different platforms. 

That said, just because it’s highly rated doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. Take your own preferences into account when selecting the best mascara for you. 

What mascara is everyone talking about?

Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High is the most talked about mascara right now, thanks to its dramatic volumizing and elongating effect, extended longevity, and easy removal. 

Are high-end mascaras worth it?

For the most part, we think the answer is no. Many drugstore mascaras offer similar results to their high-end counterparts. Unless you prefer more expensive organic formulas or high-end packaging, you don’t have to splurge for enviable lashes.