True story: I used to work at CVS in high school. Aside from the occasionally disgruntled customer asking me why their iced tea wasn't buy-one-get-one-free or why I couldn't quickly locate a carton of ultra-slim menthol cigarettes (I don't smoke! I don't know what these things mean!), it was a pretty decent job, especially when I got to stock the beauty shelves. I felt like an insider when we'd get a shipment of the latest launches and I was able to sneak a whiff or dissect the packaging and formulas. Little did I know that a few years down the road, I'd become a beauty editor and get an even more VIP look at the drugstore giant's offerings long before they hit the floor.
One of those instances happened recently when I chatted with CVS's PR team to learn about the top sales drivers for one of our favorite product categories: mascara. They so graciously sent me back a list of its top 10 best sellers, though, unexcitingly, the winners span only three brands. Clearly, these brands know a thing or two about lifting, volumizing formulas. Below, the top-selling mascaras at CVS.
The design of this fluffy silicone brush is the real hero here, lifting and separating each lash while the inky formula bulks them from within for added drama.
You've likely tried L'Oréal's original telescopic formula, but the carbon-black iteration has double the pigment intensity while still offering up that same great lengthening prowess.
Beyoncé's makeup artist, Sir John, loves this fiber formula for its ability to thickly coat the lashes without the spidery effect. If it's good enough for Queen B, consider it a new part of our makeup wardrobes.
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's makeup artist, Katie Jane Hughes, says this volumizing mascara is "a high end formula at a drugstore price." Celebrity makeup artist Joey Maalouf is also a fan of the formula, praising it for its ability to thicken without clumping or flaking.
Another fiber mascara, this formula attaches lengthening fibers to the tips of your lashes for 20 times more length in just a few swipes. First, apply the primer, which acts as a volumizing adhesive gel to which the fibers will attach. Then, apply the fiber mascara on the opposite end of the tube and watch your lashes grow before your eyes. Who needs to shell out a ton of money for extensions when you can use this great drugstore offering instead?
After 40 years, this classic formula still holds rank as America's favorite mascara. It was one of the first water-based mascaras (if not the first), making it easier to remove than an oil-based formula. It also glides on beautifully to help condition lashes while it lengthens.
For a dramatic, fanned effect, Lash Sensational aims to highlight your many layers of lash hairs with its 10-layer wand. It reaches all areas of your lashes, even those tiny inner lash hairs, to maximize your mascara experience.
If fluffy, irresistibly full lashes are your MO, this whipped formula is going to be your new weapon. It's infused with coconut extract to condition your lashes for soft, clump-free volume—none of those stick-straight, hard lashes you'll get from tackier formulas. See the transformation on our senior editor, Hallie.
This wand features a patented spoon brush to scoop and lift the lashes, taking them to new heights. The inky formula is infused with keratin and fibers to help lashes grow on their own while adding temporary extensions with each coat.
A favorite of Team Byrdie's, this collagen-infused formula plumps lashes for nine times the volume in an instant. It's got a big fluffy brush to separate the lashes and curl them from root to tip.
Up next, take a look at Meghan Markle's favorite mascara.