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When it comes to affordable mascaras, no drugstore beauty brand is more celebrated than Maybelline. The very brand that gave us the iconic Great Lash Mascara in its signature pink and green tube 40 years ago, Maybelline has continued to innovate its mascara offering, bringing us groundbreaking formulas and high tech applicator brushes to achieve every lash look we’ve ever dreamt of—all while remaining super wallet-friendly.
It’s no wonder that the brand has built such a great reputation and has become a popular choice amongst makeup enthusiasts and professional makeup artists alike. However, with the number of different formulas out there, it can be tough to know which one is right for you. We turned to celebrity makeup artist Keita Moore to get his expert take on why we can trust Maybelline’s products and which formulas are the best of the best.
When looking for the right Maybelline mascaras to make your lashes sing, you'll want to choose the right formula for the lashes you have. Keep in mind the type of brush it comes with, and how much pigment you're looking for. As for price, luckily none of these will set you back more than fifteen bucks. These are the top Maybelline mascaras on the market.
Best Overall: Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara
Adds length and volume
Maybelline’s iconic Great Lash Mascara first launched in 1971 and, 50 years later, it’s still one of the most popular mascaras out there. In fact, the brand allegedly sells a tube every five seconds. We’re loving this waterproof iteration of the classic formula that simultaneously thickens and conditions the lashes. It has a lash-doubling effect for buildable, smudge-proof lashes that’ll last you all day long.
Benefits: Lengthens, volumizes, defines | Size: 0.4 fl. oz | Shades: 5 | Waterproof: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Maybelline Lash Sensational Washable Mascara
Lashes look fanned out
Curved brush adds lift
Formula is on the wet side
Moore counts this Maybelline mascara as one of his all-time favorites. “The wand is incredible, and the formula is smooth and creamy which helps it apply better on the lashes,” he says. The brush is designed with ten layers of bristles which add length and volume for a full fan effect sans any clumping. The formula, which features mineral pigments, coats and separates lashes without weighing them down. The result? Pretty sensational lashes that are voluminous yet natural-looking.
Not sure which shade to pick? Consider “Midnight Black,” the latest one that’s infused with rosehip oil to keep the lashes extra healthy and conditioned.
Benefits: Fans out lashes, volumizes | Size: 0.3 fl. oz | Shades: 4 | Waterproof: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
Best Curling: Maybelline Lash Sensational Curvitude Mascara
Curved brush adds lift
Holds a curl
Brush feels a little flimsy
When it comes to this intensely curling mascara, it’s all about the brush. This version of the Lash Sensational mascara features an innovative curved fanning brush that shapes and stretches the lashes for some serious wow factor. It’s designed to fit closer to the lash line to get to the root of each lash, while the arched shape allows it to sweep lashes upwards to create perfect curves without having to reach for a lash curler.
Benefits: Curls, defines | Size: 0.3 fl. oz | Shades: 1 | Waterproof: No | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
Best Volumizing: Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara
Separates and defines
Could be more volumizing
Maybelline is known for its innovative brushes, and this one does not disappoint. The Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara’s exclusive Flex Tower brush bends to extend and add serious volume to each lash hair. Plus, the washable formula is infused with both bamboo extract and fibers to create a full effect without ever weighing the lashes down.
When it comes to choosing the right mascara for your individual lash type, Moore suggests reaching for volumizing formulas like this one if you have naturally longer but thinner lashes that need a bit of a boost.
Benefits: Lengthens, volumizes, defines | Size: 0.2 fl. oz | Shades: 2 | Waterproof: No | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
What Our Testers Say
“Since this product can be found at just about any drugstore, it's really accessible and well-priced.” — Khera Alexander, Product Tester
Best Lengthening: Maybelline Lash Stiletto Ultimate Length Mascara
Smooth and creamy texture
Packaging is a little boring
If you’re looking for some next-level lengthening, look no further than the Lash Stiletto Ultimate Length Mascara. This mascara does for your lashes what stilettos do for your legs thanks to its “grip and extend” brush that coats each lash from every angle with its elastic lash-stretching formula. Plus, the buildable formula is infused with vitamin B5 to help condition and smooth each lash—and we all know that healthy lashes are key for a full look.
Benefits: Lengthens, adds shine | Size: 0.2 fl. oz | Shades: 1 | Waterproof: No | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
Best Waterproof: Maybelline Total Temptation Waterproof Volumizing Mascara
Keeps lashes soft, not crunchy
More product than other options
Doesn't add much length
Sometimes you need something with a bit more lasting power, which is where waterproof mascaras come into play. “Since waterproof mascaras are made to last, they’re really great for tear-jerking events or a person with watery eyes,” says Moore. His pick? The Total Temptation Waterproof Mascara. This creamy, whipped formula is enriched with coconut extract for soft, fluffy lashes that won’t budge, no matter what situation you find yourself in.
Benefits: Volumizes | Size: 1 fl. oz | Shades: 2 | Waterproof: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
Just keep in mind, waterproof mascaras can potentially damage the lids if not removed carefully. “The only thing with waterproof mascaras is that the removal process can potentially be more damaging than traditional mascaras,” he says. “Try leaving a cotton pad soaked with remover on the eye for about 30 seconds and let it gently break up the product, then wipe it off. For whatever residue is left, gently line your eye with a q-tip.”
Best Falsies Effect: Maybelline The Falsies Lash Lift Mascara
Brush adds major volume
Not for contact lens wearers
If you love the look of false eyelashes but struggle with applying them, this is the mascara for you. This one really does it all, providing volume, length, and lift thanks to its thickening fiber-infused formula and double-curved brush that grabs lashes from the root. The result? Lashes that bring all the drama without the fuss of applying falsies. Plus, the formula won’t clump, smear, or flake, so you can achieve a killer lash look that lasts all day long. Moore suggests this formula for anyone with thick but short lashes since it provides an ultra-lengthening effect.
Benefits: Lengthens, volumizes, defines | Size: 0.3 fl. oz | Shades: 4 | Waterproof: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
Best Fiber: Maybelline Illegal Length Fiber Extensions Mascara
Gives dramatic length
Not for contact lens wearers
When it comes to achieving optimal length, look for a mascara that contains fibers like the Illegal Length Fiber Extensions Mascara. Its lash-stretching formula contains fiber extensions that seal onto the lashes without breaking or flaking, delivering up to 4mm of measurable length. Once again, though, it’s all about the brush. The Fiber-Fix brush reaches each lash at six different angles for flawless fiber placement and a bold, dramatic look.
Benefits: Lengthens | Size: 0.2 fl. oz | Shades: 2 | Waterproof: No | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
Best Color Range: Maybelline Snapscara Mascara
Smooth and creamy texture
Whether you’re looking for a simple pop of color or a final touch to a colorful eye look, colored mascaras are a fun way to enhance your natural lashes. The wax-free Snapscara formula allows for ultra-rich pigment payoff, and while it comes in basic black and brown shades, we love that its shade range also includes three gorgeous jewel tones: Deja Blue, Ultra Violet, and Black Cherry. Unlike some colored mascaras that can be a little too much, these shades are vibrant but still relatively subtle. Plus, its non-clumping formula glides on smooth with buildable length and volume.
Benefits: Lengthens, volumizes | Size: 0.3 fl. oz | Shades: 5 | Waterproof: No | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
Best Natural Look: Maybelline Full ’N Soft Mascara
Formulated with vitamin E for soft lashes
Safe for contact lenses
Only comes in black
While we love a dramatic eye look as much as the next person, sometimes we’re feeling something more low-key. That’s why we love the Full ’N Soft Mascara, which creates naturally thick, silky-soft lashes that aren’t over the top—just healthy looking. The formula is enriched with nourishing vitamin E, plus it's quick-dissolving, which allows for easy removal and prevents lash loss.
Benefits: Volumizes, defines | Size: 0.3 fl. oz | Shades: 1 | Waterproof: No | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
What Our Testers Say
"If you’re a die-hard drugstore mascara kind of person and your interest is piqued, I say you should definitely give Maybelline's Full 'N Soft Mascara a go. With its unbeatable price, versatile wand, and dramatic, long-lasting finish, it's one of the best accessible options I've used." — Nicole Kliest, Product Tester
Runner-Up, Best Natural Look: Maybelline Great Lash Clear Mascara
Lashes look glossy
Can be used on brows
A little sticky
When you want something even more low-key, consider this clear version of Maybelline’s cult-favorite mascara. This pigment-less mascara conditions the lashes while providing a natural separating effect with a subtle lift. “When I’m on set doing a no-makeup makeup look but want lash enhancements involved, I’m reaching for this mascara,” says Moore. “This formula lengthens your natural lashes without any black pigments.” The best part of all? It can be used to set your brows, too!
Benefits: Grooms, separates | Size: 0.4 fl. oz | Shades: Clear | Waterproof: No | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
Best Treatment: Maybelline The Falsies Lash Mask Eyelash Conditioner
Lashes feel soft
Can be used overnight
Helps reduce eyelash fallout
Okay, so maybe this one isn’t technically a mascara, but every mascara aficionado knows that a little TLC is essential for natural length, volume, and curl. Formulated for those who love their falsies or whose stressed-out lashes need a little more love, this overnight conditioning mask is infused with Pro-Kera Complex fibers, argan oil, and shea butter to fortify and condition. After cleansing and removing makeup, apply it like you would any mascara before bed to wake up with soft, healthy, and revitalized lashes.
Benefits: Conditions | Size: 0.3 fl. oz | Shades: N/A | Waterproof: No | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
While we think all 12 of the above products are worthy additions to your makeup bag, our top pick would have to be Maybelline’s Great Lash Waterproof Mascara, an award-winning waterproof version of the brand’s best-selling OG mascara. We love it for its thickening and lash-conditioning abilities, and for the fact that it really doesn’t budge—even when you’re submerged in water. We also have to give it to the Lash Sensational Mascara for creating a stunning fan effect—and pretty effortlessly at that, due to its fancy innovative brush. And considering that our eyes are all we get to show to the rest of the world these days, we’re all for a product that adds a bit of drama. That said, the Falsies Lash Lift Mascara is an absolute must for its false lash-mimicking volumizing, lengthening, and lifting abilities.
What to Look For When Buying a Maybelline Mascara
Simply put, Maybelline’s mascaras are tried and true and you can rely on their formulas to get the job done. “Maybelline mascaras are classic, and their formulas stand the test of time, which is why I trust them,” says Moore. “I’ve been using them my entire career. If you love it, don’t let it go—and if it’s not broken, don’t try and fix it!”
Formulas aside, Moore also considers Maybelline’s brushes worthy of praise. “They’re so amazing because they help the products get deep down to the root of the lashes,” he says. Getting deep down into the roots will not only help to create more eye-popping effects but will also keep the lashes separated and prevent clumping.
When it comes to really bringing attention to the eyes, it’s all about the pigment. Moore points out that Maybelline has some of the blackest black shades out there, which is great for anyone with thin, pale lashes as well as those with dark lashes in need of a pick-me-up.
When it comes to Maybelline’s prices, you really can’t go wrong. “There’s a mascara for everyone, and the best part is they all ring up for less than $15,” says Moore. “More expensive products don’t always mean better quality.”
Is Maybelline mascara bad for your eyelashes?
Is it OK to wear mascara everyday?
Over a million people in the U.S. alone wear mascara regularly. It's considered perfectly safe, and shouldn't be a problem. If you find that mascara is drying for your lashes, you can use a lash conditioner. You can also use eyelash growth serums to help give you longer, fuller lashes without wearing mascara.
How do you properly apply mascara?
For maximum length and volume from your mascara, celebrity makeup artist Jaleesa Jaikaran suggests a six step process, which starts with choosing the right formula for you and ends with some finishing touches. She recommends an "up-out-in" method that involves moving the wand in motions that coordinate with different areas of your eyes.
Why Trust Byrdie?
While Byrdie contributor Jenna Igneri has only been writing about makeup for the past six years, she considers herself a lifelong makeup enthusiast, stealing her mother’s products since childhood. The first mascara she’s ever tried? Mom’s tube of Great Lash, which she wore for her first dance recital at age 5. Never one to master false eyelash application, she still prefers a good mascara to enhance her lashes and has tested hundreds over the years—including many of the ones featured on this list.