The Top Drugstore Mascaras

Updated 09/23/16

Celebrity makeup artist Kayleen McAdams, who works with Jessica Biel, Sofia Vergara, and Rachel McAdams, stopped by the Who What Wear offices to test over 50 different mascaras (and weigh in on her favorite removers!), all of which cost less than $10. Click through to read what she loved--and why!

CoverGirl LashBlast Volume Mascara ($8) in Very Black

Before she’d even put her bag down, makeup artist Kayleen McAdams announced, “I don’t even need to try the CoverGirl mascaras, because I know the orange one is my favorite!” After using it on Sofia Vergara, the thick orange tube became McAdams own go-to mascara.

Maybelline Volum’ Express The Falsies Flared Mascara ($6) in Blackest Black

“I love rubber bristles,” McAdams says. “They deposit a lot of pigment at the root without getting clumpy.” Maybelline’s purple tube delivered in that department.

NYX Provocateur Boudoir Mascara ($6) in Black

“This interests me,” McAdams says of the two brushes stacked on the same end of NYX’s mascara. The thicker brush is meant to deliver pigment and volume, while the thinner brush is there to comb out your lashes for added definition immediately afterward. But McAdams favored the thicker brush alone: “If the thinner brush wasn’t attached on the end, I wouldn’t really have to comb through it, but it’s nice that it’s there.”

Boots No. 7 Exceptional Definition Mascara ($7) in Black

When McAdams pulled the brush out of the turquoise Boots tube she was a little confused: “I don’t even know which side to use!” The wand featured three sections, each with longer, denser bristles than the side before, but it turns out there’s no wrong way to use it: “It deposits a lot of pigment, but doesn’t look clumpy, which I like.”

Almay One Coat Get Up & Grow Mascara ($8) in Black

McAdams loves the thick, not-too-long brush on Almay’s mascara; she encourages applying multiple coats for the most dramatic results.

Maybelline The Rocket Volum’ Express Mascara ($6) in Blackest Black and L’Oreal Telescopic Shocking Extensions ($10) in Blackest Black

McAdams already mentioned her love of a heavy lash, but full lashes and loads of pigment doesn’t mean she likes it clumpy. “The Rocket’s a bit much alone,” she says of Maybelline’s newest formula, “but if you comb through it with that Telescopic--which I really love--it’s perfect!”

Revlon Lash Potion Mascara ($8) in Blackest Black

McAdams’ favorite of the bunch? Revlon’s new Lash Potion. The kaleidoscopic packaging was a hit, as was the thick, propeller-shaped brush. “It’s pretty black and very wet. I like this one!”

Chanel Demaquillant Yeux Intense Eye Makeup Remover ($34) and Kiehl’s Supremely Gentle Eye Makeup Remover ($17)

After testing dozens of mascaras, we couldn’t let McAdams leave without telling us how to get it off! “If I go out at night and have a lot of makeup on, I like Chanel’s,” she says. After a regular day, during which she just wears mascara, McAdams favors Kiehl’s gentle remover: “My eyes are really sensitive and it’s so mild.”

NYX Provocateur Boudoir Mascara $6
CoverGirl LashBlast Volume Mascara $8
Maybelline Volum' Express The Falsies Flared Mascara $6
L'Oreal Telescopic Shocking Extensions $10
Revlon Lash Potion Mascara $8
Boots No. 7 Exceptional Definition Mascara $7
Maybelline The Rocket Volum' Express Mascara $6
Chanel Demaquillant Yeux Intense Eye Makeup Remover $34
Kiehl's Supremely Gentle Eye Makeup Remover $17

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