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I Tried 9 Budget-Friendly Drugstore Mascaras And Here’s My Review

Beauty & Fashion

The beauty industry is arguably the OG of drops.


New collections are announced everyday, ranging from the newest and improved beauty tool technology to claims of ingredients that house the fountain of youth. There seems to be something launching daily for just about everyone.

When it comes to the mascara world, popular classics like Maybelline Great Lash and CoverGirl Lash Blast have managed to hold the titles of holy grail mascaras for years. While it would be a dream to try every new mascara that hits the shelves on the daily, a girl's only got so much lash and so much coin.

So, if you've ever found yourself contemplating between saving your coins for those holiday gifts or re-upping your beauty stash, I've narrowed down and tested out nine budget-friendly mascaras for every girl, every lash, and pretty much every budget. Peep my selects below!

No 7 Exceptional Definition Nutrient Enriched Mascara

Left: With Mascara; Right: Without Mascara

Color: Black

Price Tag: $8.99

Lash Purpose: Thickening, Lengthening

Claims: Its innovative 3-in-1 wand gives volume and definition to every lash. The left side of the brush loads lashes, the right side combs lashes, and the top targets hard-to-reach lashes. It's also hypoallergenic.

Final Thoughts: I loved the definition and natural look. It felt nourishing while being applied, was easy to remove with a makeup wipe, and was buildable for added volume.

Revlon Ultimate All-In-One Mascara

Left: With Mascara; Right: Without Mascara

Color: 501 Blackest Black

Price Tag: $5.99

Lash Purpose: Length, Volume, Lift, Definition, Color

Claims: High impact formula delivers 5 lash-transforming benefits: volume, length, definition, lift, intense color. The Power Mini Brush leaves no lash behind.

Final Thoughts: I noticed the volume and length the most with this mascara. I liked how it was buildable while leaving my lashes with a glossy finish. It gave me glam vibes and was easy to remove with a makeup wipe.

Maybelline x Shayla: The Colossal Big Shot Mascara

Left: With Mascara; Right: Without Mascara

Color: 228 Baddest Black (also comes in blue & purple)

Price Tag: $6.99

Lash Purpose: Volume

Claims: Delivers fully loaded volume in just one coat. The brush features unique, wavy bristles that cradle lashes, which the collagen formula delivers bold volume.

Final Thoughts: This mascara was one of my favs. First impression, the brush head it totally my style because I'm after mega volume & length. I liked how it had a darker pigment but was still easy to remove with a makeup wipe. I'm definitely interested in trying the blue and purple shades next!

e.l.f 3-in-1 Mascara

Left: Without Mascara; Right: With Mascara

Color: Very Black

Price Tag: $3.00

Lash Purpose: Volume, Lengthening, Definition

Claims: The newest and reformulated mascara by e.l.f. This all-in-one mascara helps lengthen, define, and volumize lashes. The silicone brush has precision bristles to coat lashes for a dramatic look.

Final Thoughts: This mascara is a steal as far as price goes. It separated my lashes nicely and looked natural (more so than dramatic) while still lengthening. The ball end of the brush head made it easy to get to the smaller inner corner hairs. It's also buildable and easy to remove with a makeup wipe.

Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara

Left: Without Mascara; Right: With Mascara

Color: Black

Price Tag: $4.99

Lash Purpose: Volume, Lengthening

Claims: Mascara for an irresistible false lash effect. The conic shape brush provides lashes with dramatic volume and sculpted length. Opthalmologically tested.

Final Thoughts: This mascara was also one of my favs that provided mega volume and lots of pigment. It was buildable, but you have to be careful not to layer too many coats. I found the more I swiped on, the more clumpy it seemed to get. Tip: If you notice slight clumping, take a clean mascara spooly and run it through your lashes as needed for separation.

CoverGirl Total Tease Mascara

Left: With Mascara; Right: Without Mascara

Color: Very Black

Price Tag: $10.49

Lash Purpose: Separation

Claims: To be used for sexy, teased lashes. Use the lash teasing mascara comb for ease and control to tease even the tiniest corner lashes for a full, voluminous look. Said to be suitable for contact lens wearers.

Final Thoughts: First impression, I thought the brush head looked pretty weird, and this was also the priciest of the mascaras tested. I noticed right away how it separated my lashes and made them look longer at the same time. This mascara is great to use on top and bottom lashes and is easily removable with a makeup wipe.

NYX Doll Eye Mascara

Left: Without Mascara; Right: With Mascara

Color: 02 Black

Price: $9.99

Lash Purpose: Volume

Claims: For irresistibly fluttery lashes, this mascara uses a unique blend of natural oils, Vitamin E, and nylon fibers to extend eyelashes for a bold and beautiful look.

Final Thoughts: I had pretty high hopes for this mascara. I was really expecting the wide-eyed doll effect, but the mascara gave more natural vibes. The brush head was a bit flat in the middle, which caused the bristles to be a bit stuck together (at least in the tube I purchased). All in all, this mascara was ok, but I don't think it rose to the occasion to match its name.

Black Opal Color Splurge Waterproof Mascara

Left: With Mascara; Right: Without Mascara

Color: Black

Price: $8.95

Lash Purpose: Curl, Volume, Lengthen

Claims: This splash-proof mascara seals each individual lash with a unique fortifying formula. It curls, volumizes, lengthens, and sets lashes into place for day-to-night wear. The curved brush is carefully designed to fit the contour of the eye, coating each lash with intense black pigments to reveal a lush, defined, and clump-free look.

Final Thoughts: Although the packaging is pretty plain and basic, I liked the look of the dark pigment leaving a glossy finish on my lashes. I usually don't use waterproof mascara because of the hassle to take it off, but this one passed the test and was still easily removable with a makeup wipe.

L'Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise

Left: With Mascara; Right: Without Mascara

Color: Blackest Black

Price: $9.99

Lash Purpose: Volume

Claims: L'Oreals first mascara for voluptuous volume & length. The soft wavy bristle brush holds maximum formula for a dramatic volumizing charge and full fringe effect. The smooth glide formula provides silky volume in one coat. Lashes are feathery soft to the touch.

Final Thoughts: At first glance, the packaging is very similar to Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara (one of my all-time high end favs by the way). I thought it was a pretty comparable dupe and I liked the brush head, making it buildable for extra volume.

Gripe: The waterproof formula is entirely too hard to get off. A makeup wipe was not enough. I had to use an oil-based makeup remover afterwards and I still noticed there was leftover residue on my lashes the next morning. If you get teary-eyed or are looking for run-proof mascara, this formula is definitely the one.

THE VERDICT

So there you have it: the 9 best tried-and-true drugstore mascaras you can turn to the next time your lashes need a little somethin' somethin'. As far as my personal favorites, my top 3 were:

1. Maybelline x Shayla The Colossal Big Shot

2. Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect

3. No7 Exceptional Definition Mascara

What about you? Which ones are you feeling the most? If I left some of your favorites off the list, what are your favorite go-to drugstore mascara picks?

This article is in partnership with Xfinity.

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