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Sometimes you just want a subtle look to bring out your lashes, and other times you really want to bring on the drama. For those days—and nights!—it’s time to break out the volumizing mascara. That’s right—you don’t need false eyelashes, or the skills required to put them on, to get the look. The right volumizing mascara will deliver the effect without the lash glue or a struggle in front of the mirror.
Forget subtlety—go for a mascara that delivers a full fan of fringe. Depending on what you’re going for, there a few different volumizing options. There are mascaras designed to add curl that allow you to skip the eyelash curler, or lengthening formulas for extra length for your fringe. Regardless of which you opt for, there are a few ways to get the most mileage out of your volumizing mascara. Always start by applying the mascara at the base of your lashes. Get as close to your lashline as possible, gently stamp the mascara against your waterline, and then wiggle the bristles up to the tips. This genius hack helps you fake fuller lashes by filling in the gaps in between them. After that step, you can use your regular go-to application technique. And as a finishing touch, to add length to the very top center of your lashes, which makes a major impact, hold the wand vertically and swipe up on the middle lashes.
Now all you need is the right mascara. These are the top volumizing mascaras that cover every price point.
Best Overall: Yves Saint Laurent Volume Effet Faux Cils Mascara
Warning: People may not believe you when you say you’re not wearing false eyelashes—this mascara is that good. The award-winning formula knows how to bring on the volume and drama. It makes lashes look incredibly full, yet it never clumps or flakes. The formula’s secret weapon isits triple-film complex that coats every single lash with a film to make it curl and keep it in place for a long time. Non-drying, the formula is infused with B5 pro-vitamin to instantly deepen, darken and thicken lashes.
Best Budget: CoverGirl The Super Sizer by LashBlast Mascara
This award-winning fan favorite is not for wallflowers. It creates full, fanned out lashes with its wand that has super short bristles to catch every hair, delivering 400% more volume. For maximum effect, twirl the brush as you swipe it through your lashes for a major look. Then use the comb side to separate and define. Your fringe will be glossy black and glorious.
Best Drugstore Option: L'Oréal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara
The wavy wand boasts 200 bristles to ensure that no lash is left behind, coating every single one for full, feathery lashes. The formula contains extra black pigments for a bold look that’s all about length and volume. It only takes one coat for a full fringe effect.
Best for Curl: Wander Beauty Unlashed Volume & Curl Mascara
When you want a noticeably full fringe, reach for the Wander Beauty Unlashed Volume & Curl Mascara. It majorly lengthens, volumizes and helps lashes hold a curl, and you can add multiple coats without lashes looking clumpy or spidery. The long-lasting, flake-free, smudge-proof formula contains trehalose and peach leaf extract to condition and moisturize. The brush is shaped like a hook to curl and separate lashes and the bristles are packed all over to grab even the tiniest lashes. No wonder it has racked up the beauty awards!
Best for Lengthening: Benefit Cosmetics BADgal BANG! Volumizing Mascara
This mascara is literally out of this world. Developed with space technology, it contains aero-space particles to defy gravity so that it won’t weigh down your long, voluminous lashes. Just one swipe wears for a full 36 hours and its brush is made to reach from corner to corner of your upper and lower lashes for 360 degree reach for insane lashes. You can coat on a few layers of the water-resistant, smudge-proof mascara for extra drama, plus it’s infused with ProVitamin B5 to thicken and strengthen.
Best Natural: Tarte Maneater Voluptuous Mascara
After just two coats, this lengthening and curling mascara promises 23 times more lash volume! The soft-flex brush with hundreds of bristles and light-as-air triple-black formula raise lashes at the roots and fans them out for fluttery lashes sans clumping and flaking. The formula is infused with jojoba to moisturize, strengthen and protect lashes, as well as carnauba wax for lengthening, volumizing, and a smooth application.
Best for Full, Fluffy Lashes: Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes 5 Star Mascara
If you’re wondering what the “5 Star” in the name is referring to, it’s the five-groove brush that leaves the perfect amount of mascara along your lashes to lift them out and up with each swipe. The tiny bristles capture every single hair to coat it from root to tip with the shiny formula. You’re left with fluttery, voluptuous lashes that are curled, separated and lengthened.
Our writers spent 4 hours researching the most popular volumizing mascaras on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 30 different mascaras overall, screened options from 25 different brands and manufacturers, read over 35 user reviews (both positive and negative) and tested 10 of the mascaras themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.