Maybelline's Great Lash Mascara Is a Classic for a Reason

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Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara

Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara pink and green tube in hand

Celeste Polanco

What We Like
  • Buildable formula adds your desired amount of length and pigment

  • Accessible price point

  • Doesn't smudge throughout the day

  • Multiple shade options

What We Don't Like
  • Applicator does not flow perfectly with lashes

  • Not Byrdie Clean

Maybelline's Great Lash Waterproof Mascara is a drugstore staple, and there's good reason so many people love it. For under $10, you get a buildable formula that wears well all day, and the various shade options make it more than possible to find a good match.


Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara

Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara pink and green tube in hand

Celeste Polanco

We put Maybelline's Great Lash Waterproof Mascara to the test after receiving a complimentary sample from the brand. Keep reading for our full product review.

When I was younger, I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup, and my mother encouraged me to embrace my natural features for what they were. I think this was her way of protecting me from toxic beauty standards and advertising: She did her best to ensure I knew my features were perfect in her eyes. Although this gave me a great foundation for confidence as a child, I’d still catch myself looking at the makeup section every time we went to the store. 

As I grew up, things changed. Surrounding myself with friends who loved makeup helped me see makeup from a different point of view—as a way of creative expression. This new perspective gave me the confidence to go to the store and purchase my first product. Maybe it was a validation of acceptance, perhaps it was me following the crowd, or perhaps it was just Maybelline, but as my first foray into makeup, I excitedly tried Maybelline's Great Lash Waterproof Mascara in the dark brown shade. 

Great Lash Mascara is one of those nostalgic products for me. However, as time went on and I began to explore other brands, I steered away from Maybelline's mascara offerings for years. However, I always loved the formula and am all about an affordable product that makes my lashes look, well, great, so I was excited to give it another try for a review now that I'm a beauty writer.

Curious to see if Maybelline's Great Lash Mascara lives up to its 50 years of praise? Keep reading for my full review.

Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara

Best for: Most lashes.

Uses: An everyday waterproof mascara that provides all-day lift, length, and pigment without smudging.

Hero ingredients: Synthetic beeswax, titanium dioxide 

Byrdie Clean? No; contains petroleum distillates.

Price: $8

About the brand: Maybelline is a Chicago-born and New York City-raised cosmetics brand that has been an affordable makeup staple since its founding in 1914. The brand has created countless beloved products over the past century, with Great Lash Mascara being one of its bestsellers. Currently, Maybelline is a subsidiary of the French-owned brand L’Oréal.

About My Lashes: Long and strong

I don’t mean to brag, but I’ve been pretty blessed in the lash department. I have long lashes that I don’t take for granted. In the spirit of embracing my natural beauty the way my mother always taught me, I like to use mascara to enhance what I already have. I want to add the perfect amount of pigment and length to my lashes so they pop in a natural-looking way, and I love a formula that allows me to build to my desired result.

The Applicator: Sleek and slim

Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara wand

Celeste Polanco

The brush is exactly how I remember it—sleek and slim. The bristles are tiny, which helps coat every part of the lash and avoid wasting product. This is great for avoiding clumps and maintaining control over how much you’re putting on. The only downside I found with this brush is that it doesn't have a curve to it, which means it won't flow with your lash if you like a nice curl. My suggestion would be to use a good lash curler before using the brush—this way you'll get the look you want, and the straight shape might actually help you to achieve major length.

The Feel: Light as air

The formula of Maybelline's Great Lash Mascara feels almost nonexistent on my lashes. I love when products feel lightweight while still creating your desired look. Because I love my lashes to stand out, I decided to reapply the mascara midday, and the additional layer didn't feel heavy at all. In fact, the bristles glided through perfectly without any clumps, and I continued to wear it throughout the day without any major issues.

Could I honestly ask for anything more when it comes to a mascara? The formula is lightweight, comfortable, and wearable—everything I wanted.

The Ingredients: Tried and true

I get nervous when using waterproof mascaras as some formulas contain high levels of PFAS, a group of chemicals that make products last longer but also can lead to various health issues. While Maybelline's Great Lash Mascara is not Byrdie Clean due to the inclusion of petroleum distillates, which are subject to uncertainty as they have been contaminated in certain studies, it does include more naturally derived ingredients than I expected.

Beeswax helps coat and lengthen lashes, kaolin clay works to create the ideal consistency while absorbing excess oil, and cetyldimethicone adds the waterproof quality. You'll also find wheat germ oil's high levels of vitamin E, which work to nourish lashes and protect the sensitive area, as well as stearic acid, which protects the hair shaft without weighing it down or dulling it. This list of ingredients made me feel safe using the product, especially after knowing how tough it can be to grow healthy lashes.

The Results: Long, natural-looking lashes

Byrdie writer Celeste Polanco's lashes before and after applying Maybelline's Great Lash Mascara

Celeste Polanco/Design by Tiana Crispino

Reconnecting with Maybelline's Great Lash Mascara reminded me why I loved it the first time. I love how it enhances my lashes in a natural-looking way, seamlessly coating each one while providing the perfect amount of length. To be transparent, this isn’t the kind of mascara that will give you a dramatic result with a single coat—if you’re into a bolder look, you'll have to do a bit of layering. Two strokes throughout my lashes were good enough to give me the natural look I wanted. 

The mascara wore quite well throughout the day, without any smudging even as I ran errands, worked out, and went through the rest of my busy schedule. After some time, I noticed the mascara began to lose its impact as well as flake a bit onto my cheekbones, which signaled the perfect time to test out reapplication. This went pretty well: The mascara didn’t smudge or clump this time, either, which really impressed me.

When it was time to remove my makeup at night, I didn’t want to go in with just soap and water, as I thought it might be too harsh. Instead, I started with an oil cleanser to melt away the product, then continued with my face wash. This double-cleanse was enough to remove all of the product, which was a great experience for a waterproof formula.

The Value: Affordable and well worth it

As someone who didn’t always have the money to buy high-end makeup, Maybelline was always one of my go-to brands. The products have always been fairly affordable while achieving a high level of quality, allowing me and countless others to enjoy their beautiful results all day long. I believe this is a huge part of the reason why Maybelline has remained popular for over a century.

Great Lash Mascara has been one of Maybelline's most popular products since its launch in 1971, and despite its fan-favorite status and proven quality, a tube of the famous formula will only run you about $8. You’ve likely spent more at Starbucks.

Similar Products: You've got options

Glossier Lash Slick: This product has been a personal favorite for years. Glossier's Lash Slick ($16) is a weightless formula that gives your length a boost in the most natural-looking way, creating the perfect finishing touch for a minimal, radiant makeup look. It's a bit more expensive than Great Lash, but the formula steers clear of petroleum distillates and is water-resistant (not waterproof), which minimizes smudging but ensures easy removal at the end of the day.

Rimmel Kind And Free Clean Mascara: Rimmel’s cruelty-free and vegan mascara ($6) delivers volume, length, and an incredible 36-hour wear. It comes in two colors—brown and black—for lashes that look lengthy and natural.

Final Verdict

Some things never change, and Maybelline's Great Lash Mascara proved that can be a good thing. It’s reliable, affordable, and an overall good product, just how I remembered. I’m excited to have this mascara in my kit again. I highly recommend purchasing this product if you’re looking for an everyday pick-me-up at an accessible price point.


  • Product Name Great Lash Waterproof Mascara
  • Product Brand Maybelline
  • Price $8.00
  • Weight 0.43 oz.
  • Full Ingredient List Petroleum Distillates, Pentaerythrityl Hydrogenated Rosinate, Carnauba Wax, Polyethylene, Synthetic Beeswax, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Ceresin, Beeswax, Kaolin, Magnesium Carbonate, Aluminum Stearate, Silica, Propylene Carbonate, Cetyldimethicone, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben, Tocopheryl Acetate, Wheat Germ Oil. May Contain: CI 77492, CI 77499, CI 77491 / Iron Oxides, CI 77007 / Ultramarines, CI 77891 / Titanium Dioxide.
Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Whitehead HD, Venier M, Wu Y, et al. Fluorinated compounds in north american cosmetics. Environ Sci Technol Lett. 2021;8(7):538-544.

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