To be completely honest, I pretty much consider myself a connoisseur where mascara is concerned. After all, it was the first beauty product that I ever experimented (and subsequently fell in love) with, and my perpetual quest to discover the quintessential formula and application cocktail has remained unwavering. Another constant: my addiction to length. Yes, buxom volume and luxe, super-saturated pigment are vital. But IMHO, sleek, stretched-out lashes are what truly make or break a mascara’s potential to reach its fluttering, oh-so-feminine potential. Ya feel? Plus, it’s one of the only products that are consistently wearable and appropriate. From a 9 a.m. board meeting to 12 p.m. tacos to that 7 o’clock blind Bumble date, a lengthening mascara is always the ultimate beauty accessory.
And while there are now plenty of wand-less products on the market promising sky-high lashes (think extensions, falsies, and lash-enhancing serums), I love the glamorous feeling of coating my fringe with an ample dose of lengthening mascara—plus, it requires significantly less maintenance. It’s by far the most satisfying (and time-consuming) step in my makeup routine, and scouring the web for the very best formulas has become a weekly, if not daily, habit. Yes, it’s a bit of an obsession, but hey, there are worse things to be addicted to, right? So when my lovely managing editor, Lindsey Metrus, asked me to gather some expert intel (via some of the best makeup artists in the industry) regarding the best lengthening mascaras that money can buy, I happily obliged.
Keep scrolling for a list of the very best lengthening mascaras, according to makeup artists.
We recently spotted Benefit’s iconic slate-gray tube, a celebrity and makeup artist staple, in an Instagram snapshot by celebrity makeup artist Monika Blunder. Hey, if it’s good enough for her high-profile clients like Nina Dobrev, Emma Roberts, and too many Victoria’s Secret Angels to count, it’s good enough for us mere mortals. It’s also a favorite of Vanessa Scali, who works with Olivia Culpo, America Ferrera, and Halston Sage.
Why it’s a standout: The staggered bristles and uniquely domed tip promise precise application for out-of-this-world lengthening.
According to celebrity makeup artist Katie Mellinger (she works with doe-eyed beauties like Emma Watson and Bryce Dallas Howard), the brush is what sets this lengthening mascara apart from its competition. Oh, and it’s especially great for getting those itty-bitty lower lashes—what usually feels like an impossible feat.
Why it’s a standout: “The brush on this mascara is the real winner. Because it’s so small and thin, you can really get into the base of the lash, making your eyelashes look crazy long,” says Mellinger.
Another treasure found within the depths of Instagram (seriously, it’s where we do some of our very best scout work), this mascara from Covergirl is one of the best when it comes to lengthening a less-than-lush lash line. We saw it tucked in with a few of Kayleen McAdams’s favorite things and instantly did our research. Not only is this lengthening mascara extremely budget-friendly, but it also boasts a handy three-in-one formula that sparse lashes adore.
Why it’s a standout: Innovative styling paired with the handy, ball-shaped tip make it a great option for every type of lash—from short and sparse to heavy and thick, this one has your back.
It should come as no surprise that this “miracle” mascara created by the legendary makeup artist herself (seriously, head to her Instagram for some of the best beauty looks you ever did see) is always in Charlotte Tilbury’s makeup arsenal. And—deep breath—she even shared with us her tip for perfect application: “For those sexy bedroom eyes, drag the wand outward in the outer corner and brush an extra coat onto the outer lashes.” Celebrity makeup artist Stevi Christine also cited Tilbury’s formula as one of her favorites to use on her clients.
Why it’s a standout: Fluttery bristles expertly coat every last lash while a unique blend of nourishing ingredients like marine glycogen and tamanu oil revitalizes your fringe for easy-on-the-eyes length.
Celebrity makeup artist Jessica Smalls (who works with Janelle Monáe) loves this ultra-skinny wand for her gorgeous clientele. “Whenever I use it on my clients, people ask me if they’re wearing individual lashes. This mascara is like a lash technician in a tube,” she says.
Why it’s a standout: Inspired by the lusciously soft feel of feathers, this formula never feels hard or stiff on the lashes. Plus, due to the super-skinny brush, it helps you lengthen the tiniest hairs on both your upper and lower lids.
Celebrity makeup artist Kelsey Deenihan regularly works with Hollywood’s most up-and-coming It girls, from Lucy Hale to Nathalie Emmanuel—i.e., to say her list of clients is impressive would be a gross understatement. Credit card in hand, we’re basically prepared to drench, lather, and coat ourselves with everything in Deenihan’s makeup bag, especially this va-va-voom formula from Chanel. We’ve repeatedly spotted this lengthening mascara on her Instagram account and since become smitten.
Why it’s a standout: The exclusive “Snowflakes” brush features both long and short bristles for strategic application and eat-your-heart-out length. Plus, soft waxes ensure the end result is supple, never spidery.
A two-for-one pop of nourishment and length, this mascara is another favorite of Mellinger’s and one of the best when it comes to its innovative formula. Caffeine, botanicals, biotin, and shea butter energize and heal while tubed fibers create the same looks as your falsies—sans goop.
Why it’s a standout: “This is one of my fave go-to mascaras. It really covers all the bases. It’s water resistant, has repair and nourishing benefits, and it’s paraben free. As a tubing mascara, it’s one of the better types of mascara to use in order to add a ton of length,” says Mellinger.
When it comes to length (and longevity!), we’ve heard plenty of makeup artists say they turn to a resilient, waterproof formula to get the job done for their clients. And with demanding situations like red carpet events and photo shoots, that can prove to be quite the challenge. Celebrity makeup artist Stevi Christine applauds this one from Make Up For Ever. She also gave us a helpful tip when it comes to mascara: “Replace often and close them tightly.” Easy enough.
Why it’s a standout: A game-changing “micro-defining” complex keeps lashes lifted, long, and precise (so if you’re into clumps, this one’s probably not for you). The cone-shaped brush is composed of soft synthetic fibers, which grab onto your fringe and pump up the volume.
It’s the cult classic of all cult classics, so the real question is what makeup artist doesn’t love this formula? Time and time again, its praises have been oh so sweetly sung by readers, celebrities, and the best artists in the business. Therefore, we weren’t surprised when Christine credited the trademark tube as another (super-affordable) favorite.
Why it’s a standout: If the wallet-friendly price isn’t enough, the famous carbon black pigment, maximum thickening powers, and flake-free formula are sure to make you a believer.
And since lips and lashes go hand in hand, read our editor-approved lineup of the very best lip balms for fall.