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In my experience, a good mascara makes all the difference. On days I don’t feel like spending much time on my face, mascara is the one product I do use—dark, thick lashes seem to elevate even a literal no-make-up look. Another thing I’ve discovered: there are plenty of very, very good mascaras to be found on the cheap, and while I might splurge on foundation or lipstick, I’ll admit I’ve never spent more on a tube of mascara than whatever I might find on the aisles of Walmart.
To help you browse the shelves for the best mascara, I compiled some of my favorites along with those of Janice Kinjo, a celebrity makeup artist (you might have seen her work on faces like Mindy Kaling and Kerry Washington).
Read on for the best Walmart mascaras.
Best Overall: L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Washable Mascara
Benefits: Volume and length | Waterproof: No | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
I’ve bought this mascara again and again and again. And again. The soft-bristled applicator and pigment offer the best of everything, including volume, length, and curl, without ever flaking or clumping together.
Best Budget: Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara
Benefits: Moisture and thickness | Waterproof: Yes | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
The most affordable mascara also happens to be one of the most iconic. For the best budget, do-everything mascara, the Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara has been a go-to for over 40 years and still costs less than $5.
Best Waterproof: L'Oreal Paris Bambi Eye Waterproof Mascara Lasting Volume
Benefits: Volume and curl | Waterproof: Yes | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
For situations when budge-proof mascara is necessary (for me, that means any wedding), this mascara glides on smooth and stays put. The applicator uses a combination of short and long bristles to make it easier to coat every lash, so you’ll get both volume and curl in one stroke.
Best Lengthening: Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Washable Mascara Makeup
Key Ingredients: Bamboo extract and fibers | Benefits: Volume and length | Waterproof: No | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Have you seen the Tik-Toks? Go watch the Tik-Toks. The name sky-high is hardly a stretch—this is the mascara to have if you’re looking for seriously long lashes. The results might have something to do with the fibers in the formula or the flexible applicator, which has a thin, rubbery appearance that makes it capable of coating every lash.
Best Volumizing: CoverGirl The Super Sizer Mascara
Benefits: Volume and length | Waterproof: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
The mascara claims up to 400% volume and length, which is a lofty goal for a mascara with such a tiny brush. But the results come from fibers in the mascara, which help to build lashes and give a fuller look. The design of the wand tapers from short to long, so it lengthens even the tiniest of lashes.
Best Nourishing: Neutrogena Healthy Volume Waterproof Mascara
Key Ingredients: Olive oil | Benefits: Volume and moisture | Waterproof: Yes | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
For a mascara that heals lashes while giving them a boost, this formula from Neutrogena might do the job. Olive oil in the mascara penetrates lashes and hydrates them from the inside out, while sweet almond oil coats the outside of the lash to protect it. Meanwhile, the volumizing formula promises fuller-looking lashes that don’t flake.
Best Applicator: wet n wild MegaSlim Waterproof Skinny Mascara
Benefits: Length and definition | Waterproof: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
The type of applicator can make all the difference in how your lashes look, and when it comes to making sure that every lash (top and bottom!) has a good coat of mascara, a skinny wand can help. “The ultra-skinny brush can capture the shortest of bottom and top lashes. It will define hairs you never knew existed,” said Kinjo. Keep this one on hand for whenever you need a full glam look.
Best Curling: Maybelline The Falsies Push Up Angel Washable Mascara
Benefits: Volume | Waterproof: No | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Unlike most applicators, this mascara has a one-sided wand that looks more like a comb. It not only helps lift lashes for more curl, but the curved, tapered brush creates a cat-eye effect by flaring out your outermost lashes.
Best for Sensitive Eyes: Burts Bees Nourishing Mascara
Key Ingredients: Jojoba oil and Glycerin | Benefits: Length, definition, and moisture | Waterproof: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
If mascara gives you itchy eyes or irritates your skin, a nourishing mascara like Burts Bees might help. It’s formulated without potential irritants like synthetic fragrances and has no parabens, phthalates, SLS, or petrolatum. And of course, it’s ophthalmologist-tested and safe for contact lens wearers to use.
Best for Length: NYX Worth The Hype Mascara
Benefits: Volume and length | Waterproof: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
If length is what you’re after, Kinjo recommends this mascara from NYX. “This mascara enhances even the shortest of lashes. The buildable formula helps control the volume. So, for a more enhanced look just apply a few more coats,” said Kinjo. The tapered brush gives you more control, too, so it’s easier to target each lash.
Best Tubing: L'Oréal Paris Double Extend Beauty Tubes
Key Ingredients: Ceramide R and D-Panthenol | Benefits: Length and moisture | Waterproof: No | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Tubing mascaras work by coating the entire lash with the product and then washing away cleanly at the end of the day with just some warm water. This mascara takes it a step further by including a primer to use first, which helps build longer lashes by nourishing them with ceramides and panthenol.
Best Clump-Free: COVERGIRL Clump Crusher Mascara
Benefits: Volume | Waterproof: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
For those who are seriously clump-avoidant, this mascara from COVERGIRL was literally made for you. Both the formula and applicator were specially designed to avoid any clumping whatsoever without compromising on results—it claims to give you 200% more volume than your bare lashes, no clumps guaranteed.
For everyday looks, try L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Washable Mascara, our favorite overall pick. But it’s good to have a variety of mascaras on hand depending on what you need: the Wet n Wild MegaSlim Waterproof Skinny Mascara (view at Walmart), with its ultra-skinny brush, is great to use for lower lashes or those hard-to-reach inner corner lashes. Waterproof mascara is always handy to have in your makeup bag too, and while we have a few favorite waterproof options, L'Oreal Paris Bambi Eye Waterproof Mascara Lasting Volume (view at Walmart) is a good choice for both volume and curl that won’t sweat, cry, or rub off.
What to Look for When Using Walmart Mascara
Curl lashes first
Kinjo likes Shu Uemura Iconic Eyelash Curler (view at Walmart), as well as the smaller Shiseido Mini Eyelash Curler 215 (view at Stylevana) for those with shorter lashes. Her favorite way to use them is with the “3-squeeze method”: Squeeze once as close to your lash line as you can get, then squeeze once in the middle, and finally once at the tip. “By doing this method, you avoid the 90 degrees angle lash (because you only curled one part of your lashes), and you get a beautiful lasting curl to the lashes,” said Kinjo.
Be gentle when removing mascara
“The best way to remove waterproof mascara is by soaking a cotton pad (not cotton ball because it sheds) with eye makeup remover,” said Kinjo. Apply the cotton pad to lashes for around 30 seconds to break up the mascara, and then gently wipe down and out toward your earlobes. “This helps to reduce tugging on your lashes and helps to wipe away the saturated mascara,” said Kinjo.
Why Trust Byrdie?
Byrdie contributor Joline Buscemi writes about makeup and skincare for several publications and has a closet full of tried and test products to recommend, including several of those listed here.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find any mascaras at Walmart from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at email@example.com and we will evaluate the product ASAP.