12 of the Best Lengthening Mascaras for Next-Level Lashes

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woman with long eyelashes

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We have yet to meet someone who doesn’t want longer lashes. It’s a seemingly never-ending, universal quest, as evidenced by the dizzying amount of mascaras on the market, not to mention alternative options such as extensions and falsies. On that note, extensions undoubtedly deliver the most dramatic results, though require lots of time, upkeep, and can be pricey. Falsies are great, but the struggle is real when it comes to gluing on a strip. Which brings us back to mascaras, the easiest, most effective, fastest way to add length to your lashes. But, per our point about the dizzying amount of options available, how do you separate the ones that *actually* deliver on their lash-lengthening claims? All you have to do is keep reading because we rounded up the top tubes out there (many of which do even more than just lengthen). 

Here, the best lengthening mascaras at every price point.

Best Overall: Hourglass Unlocked Instant Extensions Mascara

Hourglass Unlocked Instant Extensions Mascara

Courtesy of Sephora

This formula may be brand new, but we’re already OBSESSED. (Please note the capitalization.) Byrdie Associate Editor Holly Rhue loves it, as does actress Daisy Edgar-Jones, who recently partnered with the brand. As the name suggests, it delivers a legit extension-esque look with just one coat, so much so that we audibly gasped when we first tried it. Credit lightweight fibers and a film-forming technology that also helps ensure it stays smudge-proof all day; though FYI, it does require a little bit of elbow grease to remove.

Best Budget: Maybelline The Falsies Lash Lift Mascara

Maybelline is arguably best known for an amazing line-up of mascaras. And nothing against the iconic Great Lash or other stand-outs in the portfolio, but this one takes the cake for delivering XL length. It offers gorgeous lift and curl too, thanks to a double-curved brush. The black shade is great, but try the blackest black if you really want to up the drama factor.

Best Volumizing: Kevyn Aucoin Beauty The Volume Mascara

Kevyn Aucoin Beauty the Volume Mascara
Courtesy of Sephora

Your search for a mascara that both lengthens and volumes ends here. The tubing formula coats each and every lash in tiny tubes that make them look both fuller and longer, without any clumping. Added jojoba oil also leaves lashes looking healthy and glossy, for an end result that’s very natural-looking, choice for every day.

Best Featherweight: Pat McGrath Dark Star Volumizing Mascara

Pat McGrath Dark Star Volumizing Mascara

 Courtesy of Sephora

If you love the look of mascara, but don’t love how many thick formulas feel, reach for this one, a recommendation from Byrdie’s Senior Editor Hallie Gould. Because it’s a gel-hybrid formula that uses micro-fine pigments, it both glides on super smoothly and feels completely lightweight. Flexible polymers add lift and length, but won’t weigh down lashes, so they end up looking and feeling fluttery. Bonus points for the contoured brush, which helps ensure even application from root to tip.

Best Natural Effect: Glossier Lash Slick

Glossier Lash Slick

 Courtesy of Glossier

Sometimes you want super dramatic lashes, and sometimes you just want a little something-something so that they’re not totally bare. That’s when this mascara comes in. Another one of Gould’s go-to's, it also happens to be one of the brand’s best-rated products—for good reason. Tiny fibers make for natural-looking length and lift and the finish is gorgeously glossy. Also nice: It is dermatologist- and ophthalmologist-tested, a great pick for those with sensitive eyes.

Best Thickening: Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes Mascara

Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes Mascara
Courtesy of Sephora

While this pick definitely does bulk up (even the puniest) of lashes, it also does so much more. The multi-tasking mascara lengthens too, hence its appearance on this list, but also curls and separates creating a beautiful, fanned-out effect. Plus, it’s beautifully buildable, so you can easily customize it to your liking.

Most Popular: Benefit They’re Real! Lengthening Mascara

Benefit They’re Real! Lengthening Mascara

 Courtesy of Sephora

An oldie but goodie, you can’t go wrong with this mascara OG. It lengthens and lifts, curls and separates, and has a domed tip on the brush that lets you reach even those itty-bitty lashes at the corners of your eyes. Ulta reviewers go gaga for it, raving about how well it works and how long it lasts.

Best Drugstore: L’Oréal Telescopic Mascara

Look closely and you’ll see that the brush on this mascara has two different sides. Use the flat side first; it imparts major length, leaving lashes looking up to 60% longer, according to the brand. Then turn it over and use the comb side to brush through lashes; it separates each and every one, ensuring there are no clumps and lashes look even longer.

Best Natural: Ilia Limitless Lash Mascara

Ilia Limitless Lash Mascara

 Courtesy of Ilia

We’ve sung the praises of this mascara hundreds of times but will continue doing so because it’s just that darn good. There’s the clean formula to talk about; mascaras are notorious for containing lots of potentially-questionable chemicals, making this even more noteworthy. It relies on a litany of natural ingredients such as beeswax, shea butter, aloe, jojoba seed oil (you get the picture) and imparts both gorgeous length and volume with its dual-sided brush. Easily buildable and clump-free, it stays put all day, but still comes off super easily with just soap and water.

Best Waterproof: Beauty Bakerie Eyelash Icing Mascara

Beauty Bakerie Eyelash Icing Mascara

 Courtesy of Ulta

For those instances when you know the likelihood of mascara smears and smudges is high (a summertime wedding, beach day, a viewing of The Notebook), opting for a waterproof formula is choice. More specifically, make it this one. It adds a ton of length and definition, and once dry isn’t going anywhere. Cue the waterworks.

Best Tubing: Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara

Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara

 Courtesy of Thrive Causemetics

Once hard to find in the beauty world, tubing technology is now mainstream, and there are plenty of tubing mascaras you could choose from. But we strongly suggest you go for this one, a fave among beauty editors. Film-forming polymers (AKA little tubes) coat lashes from root to tip making them looking noticeably longer and more defined. (And the tapered, conical brush helps you reach every lash.) Plus, the formula is also chock full of hydrating and strengthening ingredients to improve the condition of your lashes over time.

Best Lifting: Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Push Up Lashes

charlotte tilbury pillowtalk mascara

Courtesy of Charlotte Tilbury 

Yep, another Charlotte Tilbury mascara made the list. She likens this one, her latest launch, to a push-up bra for your lashes. The uniquely designed brush has two flat sides and two bristle sides that grips each and every single lash to lengthen and boost them sky-high, so much so that you may just be able to ditch your lash curler for good. Meanwhile, a blend of waxes in the formula adds fullness while keratin conditions.

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