The 7 Best Red Mascaras of 2022 to Try When You Want to Mix Up Your Eye Makeup

Our best overall pick is L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Mascara in Deep Burgundy

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Woman applying red eye makeup

Ani Dimi/Stocksy

If you’re anything like us, we’re willing to bet that mascara is a non-negotiable staple of your daily makeup routine. And we’re also willing to bet that 99% of the time it’s a black or brown mascara you’re wearing. But here’s the thing: Swapping out a traditional dark hue for a colored mascara can be one of the easiest ways to change up your entire look. And one of the more unexpected—yet still super flattering options? Red. “Red mascaras can be a great option for those with lighter complexions or who have reddish or pink undertones to their skin,” explains makeup artist and StyleSeat Pro Manuel Espinoza. The red of the mascara is complementary and helps create the appearance of a pretty, naturally flushed look, he adds. (Think of it as building on the effects of your blush.) 

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Our best overall pick is L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Mascara in Deep Burgundy, a formula beloved by makeup artists for its subtle, deep red hue. We love its affordable price point, making it a minor investment if you’re trying something new. If you’re a redhead, consider Just for Redheads Lashes Volumizer in Ginger Red, which has a natural auburn hue designed to flatter.

Red mascaras are also especially flattering on brown and hazel eyes, as they often have a subtle blue undertone that really makes the eye color pop, he explains. And there’s another benefit to opting for a red hue: “The color red actually makes your eyes look bigger, brighter and younger,” says celebrity makeup artist Todd Harris

Fun fact: Most companies are now adding some red pigments to standard black mascara to help create a more wide-eyed look, he adds. Not to mention that red mascaras are a nice choice for natural redheads whose lashes are red too, as it can actually end up looking more natural and less harsh than a stark black.

We conducted hours of research on the best red mascaras, evaluating each formula on benefits, whether or not it’s waterproof, and hue. Each pick was recommended by a celebrity makeup artist to create this roundup of top-rated products loved by the pros.

Ahead, find the seven best red mascaras used by professional makeup artists.

Best Overall: L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Mascara in Deep Burgundy

L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Mascara in Deep Burgundy

Amazon

What We Like
  • Deep hue

  • Easy-grip brush makes separation of lashes easy

  • Volumizing formula

  • Separates lashes

What We Don't Like
  • Not waterproof

This mascara effectively separates and builds volume on every lash, says Espinoza of one of his favorites. He also notes the “unbeatable” price point, a nice boon for those who may not yet want to invest in a more pricey option. Harris is a fan as well, calling the formula his “absolute favorite,” and lauding it for how buildable it is.  And as far as the color goes, the deep burgundy hue is just enough to make a statement, yet still subtle enough for those who may not yet be convinced that red mascara is right for them. 

Benefits: Volumizes, thickens | Size: 0.28 fl. oz | Waterproof: No | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Waterproof: Zeesea Diamond Series Long-Lasting Colorful Mascara in Red Wine

Zeesea Diamond Series Long-Lasting Colorful Mascara in Red Wine

Amazon

What We Like
  • Bright hue

  • Double-curved brush makes application easy

  • Waterproof

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't lift lashes

If you need a budge-proof, smudge-proof, not going anywhere type of mascara, this is it. It imparts plenty of length and volume, in a formula that is waterproof and sweatproof, yet still easy to remove once you’re ready to take it off. The double-curved brush also helps grab every lash at the root, ensuring complete color coverage.

Benefits: Lengthens, volumizes | Size: 0.14 fl. oz | Waterproof: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best for a Bold Look: Maydear Color Mascara in Red

Maydear Professional Color Mascara in Red

Amazon

What We Like
  • Bright hue for a bold look

  • Waterproof

  • Buildable

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't lift lashes

Espinoza says the extra-pigmented formula is choice for anyone who’s ready to embrace full-on red lashes. (It is in fact a vibrant, fire engine red.) He also calls out the lightweight texture, and the fact that it’s quick-drying, both attributes that help to minimize the likelihood of clumps.

Benefits: Lengthens | Size: 0.35 fl. oz | Waterproof: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for a Subtle Effect: Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Push Up Lashes Volumizing & Lengthening Mascara in Berry Brown

Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Push Up Lashes Volumizing & Lengthening Mascara in Berry Brown

Sephora

What We Like
  • Natural looking

  • Lengthens

  • Lifts lashes

What We Don't Like
  • Not waterproof

“If you’re looking to test out a red mascara but aren’t ready to fully commit to a bright stand-out look, I recommend this option,” says Espinoza. “The berry-brown shade is just enough red to stand out, but isn’t too overwhelming when wanting a more subtle color,” he explains. Harris adds that the shade is especially flattering on lighter complexions, and green, hazel, or blue eyes. Also nice: The addition of a lash-lifting polymer that helps to boost and hold lashes in place.

Benefits: Volumizes, lengthens, lifts | Size: 0.33 fl. oz | Waterproof: No | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Drugstore: Maybelline New York Snapscara Mascara in Black Cherry

Maybelline New York Snapscara Mascara in Black Cherry

Amazon

What We Like
  • Clump-free formula

  • Volumizing

What We Don't Like
  • Not waterproof

It’s hard to decide what we like best about this formula. Is it the fact that it imparts tons of clump-free volume? The fact that it’s wax-free so that it both goes on and removes super smoothly? Or the cherry Coke-colored hue that flatters a wide array of skin tones and eye colors? Happily, there’s no need to choose—and the affordable price is just the icing on the cake. The point is, make sure to grab this standout drugstore mascara. 

Benefits: Volumizes | Size: 0.34 fl. oz | Waterproof: No | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best for Redheads: Just for Redheads Lashes Volumizer in Ginger Red

Just for Redheads Lashes Volumizer in Ginger Red

Amazon

What We Like
  • Natural looking

  • Volumizing

  • Buildable

What We Don't Like
  • Not waterproof

As mentioned, red mascara can be a great choice for redheads, helping to enhance the natural hue of their lashes. Case in point: This aptly-named pick, features a gorgeous auburn shade, a warm reddish-brown that’s perfectly flattering. We also appreciate the volumizing, buildable formula, which happens to be hypoallergenic and non-irritating, too. 

Benefits: Volumizes | Size: 0.32 fl. oz | Waterproof: No | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Color Options: Gwong Handaiyan Curling Lengthening Mascara in Dark Red

Gwong Handaiyan Curling Lengthening Mascara in Dark Red

Walmart

What We Like
  • Vibrant hue

  • Waterproof

  • Easy applicator brush

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't add volume

For anyone who wants to make a red mascara part of a rainbow of other options, this is a good pick. The vibrant, true red is one of a dozen colorful shades, all of which can be mixed and matched and even used together. The teeny-tiny brush reaches each and every lash (even the small ones on the inner and outer corners of the eye), and the formula is waterproof as well.

Benefits: Curls, lengthens | Size: 0.17 fl. oz | Waterproof: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Final Verdict

We deemed the L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Mascara in Deep Burgundy as best overall, not only for the versatile formula (beloved by pro makeup artists), but also for the subtle, deep red hue and affordable price point. If you’re not quite ready to fully embrace red lashes, consider the Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Push Up Lashes Volumizing & Lengthening Mascara in Berry Brown for a more subdued effect, while the Just for Redheads Lashes Volumizer in Ginger Red is a natural auburn hue that is in fact especially flattering on redheads.

Meet the Expert

  • Manuel Espinoza is a makeup artist and a StyleSeat Pro based in Los Angeles with over a decade of experience in the industry.
  • Todd Harris is a celebrity makeup artist, groomer, and skincare expert. He’s also the co-founder of the Trans Beauty Clinic.

What to Look For When Choosing a Red Mascara

How Red It Is

Obviously, not all red hues are created equal. While there are plenty of red-red options out there, if you want a more subdued take on the trend, consider opting for a deeper berry or burgundy tone.

The Formula

“Like any mascara, choose one that gives you your desired effect,” says Espinoza. “No matter whether you are looking for length, fullness, or volume, a red or colored mascara can give you all these same benefits as normal black mascara,” he says.

Waterproof or Not

Similarly, consider whether or not it’s waterproof. Waterproof formulas are ideal for longer days (and/or situations when you know there may be water, sweat, and/or tears involved), though they may be harder to remove. 

FAQ
  • How do you apply red mascara?

    Apply it as you usually would, with one caveat: “Use red mascara on top lashes only as adding color to the bottom lash line can sometimes leave you looking a little washed out and sickly,” advises Espinoza. Or, try layering one coat of the red mascara over your favorite black option, suggests Harris. 

  • What are the benefits of using red mascara?

    “Using colored mascaras help to brighten and enhance the colors of your eyes, and can be a fun addition to your outfit or look,” says Espinoza They can also have a youth-boosting effect, creating the appearance of bigger, wider, younger-looking eyes, notes Harris.

  • Do red mascaras expire?

    Yes, just like any mascara, they can dry out and begin to harbor bacteria if used for too long. Ideally, aim to replace your mascara (no matter what color it is) every three months or so.

Why Trust Byrdie

Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there.  In the nearly 15 years she’s spent working as a beauty editor, she has yet to meet a mascara she won’t try.

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