When it comes to mascaras, it's difficult to know where to start. There are so many formulas out there promising stronger, longer, volumized, thickened, and smudge-free lashes. So how to weed through all the noise? We've got you. Since we have the unique opportunity to try products before they're launched, we have a few thoughts on the best mascaras out there. So much so that we couldn't help but make a list of (read: a love letter to) the formulas that have gotten us through it all—tears, dates, family gatherings, industry events, and yes, even workouts.
"Even though Dior's original DiorShow formula seems to get all the love, I've used and sworn by this magical mascara for years (since high school, if we're getting really specific.) Not only is it one of the only mascara formulas that actually curls—and maintains—the bend of my lashes, it also encourages separation and length. I'm convinced I'll be hooked for life." — Erin Jahns, assistant editor
"This has been a tried-and-true mascara for me for quite a few years now, and every time I stray away from it and come back, I wonder why I ever left. It simply offers the lengthiest, thickest lash effect of any mascara I've tried. I also love the straight up and down wand—it allows me to employ my favorite mascara hack)." — Amanda Montell, features editor
"I love tinted mascaras; they're so much fun and really elevate a going-out look, which can sometimes get stale. My favorite is this blue one from YSL. It's highly pigmented so that the vibrant blue really pops and defines the eyes, but it has an amazing staying power so that the formula doesn't smudge everywhere. Also, it gives my lashes the same lift and volume as some of the best traditional black mascaras out there." — Audrey Noble, associate editor
"I'm very particular when it comes to mascara. My short blonde lashes need volume and length, and I've found very few formulas adequately achieve both. So once I found what I deemed *the* ultimate mascara, I didn't dare stray. But then one day I saw the Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Mascara I'd gotten in a mailing staring me in the face, begging to be tested, so I gave it a whirl. In a word: wow. The brush is big and fluffy, and the formula is a thick, jet-black inky texture that goes against my usual thin silicone brush comfort zone, but the combination is divine and leaves me with the most lush lashes. I've been using it for months now, leaving my old favorite on standby." — Lindsey Metrus, managing editor
"This mascara is perfect for thin, sad little lashes like mine. I'm impatient, so I appreciate when a mascara gives me major volume in just one coat. Unlike most other volume-boosting mascaras, the brush on this guy isn't huge, which means it's easier to wiggle it through your lashes without getting it all over your eyelid. The formula is velvety- smooth, and you can easily build volume without clumping. It's the mascara I recommend to anyone who isn't afraid to spend a little more for quality formula and a major volume boost." — Faith Xue, editorial director
"I applaud the devil who came up with the name of this mascara as much as I admire whoever nailed down its formula. Whenever I want my lashes to look long and separated without having to worry about any flaking or smudging, this is the classic I reach for." — Amanda Montell
"My 18-year-old eyelashes found this pink and shiny mascara tube, and I haven't looked back since. I'm the type of person who loves glamorous, over-the-top, and intensely curled lashes on a regular Tuesday, and this mascara does just that. The thing I love about it the most is it transforms my lashes in lightning speed. In just two coats, I'll look like I got some sleep and have my life together. Plus, it's easy to get off with coconut oil, unlike other mascaras that make you pull out a lash or two during the removal process." — Maya Allen, assistant editor
"For as long as I've been wearing makeup, I've been on the search for my lifetime mascara. After making my way through popular drugstore varieties in high school, bouncing around Sephora options before settling down with Benefit BADgal Lash in college, and then proceeding to not commit but instead rely on mascara samples throughout postgrad life, I think I finally found The One. Dior Diorshow Iconic Overcurl is as close as I've gotten to a mascara I buy time after time—that I love from first swipe until it's all dried up. I had tried the classic Dior Diorshow previously, but the Overcurl iteration gives an extra oomph and effectively holds curled eyelashes in place." — Dacy Knight, weekend editor
"I'm usually not a fan of plastic-bristle mascara brushes because I feel like they rarely give me the volume I want, but Giorgio Armani's Eccentrico surprised me. First all, the formula is super-inky black and has a bit of a wet-shine finish. Very dramatic. I love that I can apply multiple coats and my lashes still look natural, thick, and longer than they ever have on their own. It's a great mascara for layering, too—you can apply it over any other formula without it clumping." — Faith Xue
"To make my lash look even more impactful, I always swipe on a couple coats of this volume-boosting lash primer before applying the Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara. As a duo, these products have a synergistic effect. I had never before been a fan of lash primers (I felt they made the mascara look flaky and sometimes the white coloration was never fully covered up), but this one has become a makeup-bag staple and the perfect pairing to my (most likely) lifetime mascara." — Dacy Knight
Found a formula that speaks to you yet? Sometimes it takes a little trial and error to find the holy grail you've been looking for.