Drugstore Mascaras: 15 Best Volume-Boosting + 10 Best Lengthening (& 5 Not Worth It)

Finding the best volume-boosting and lengthening mascara at a drugstore can be a totally life-changing experience. Sadly, the same can’t be said for those brands that aren’t worth the hype.

Mascara has and always will be our all-time BFF, so makeup fans should know by now that finding a great mascara that doesn't cost an arm and a leg is worth the hassle.

However, it’s natural to have some concerns when it comes to buying mascara. On one hand, shoppers might be willing to spend tons of cash on a spectacular high-end moisturizer, but that doesn’t mean they want to spend a lot on mascara. It’s why they opt for drugstore products as opposed to luxury brands for those items they tend to go through fast.

On the other hand, we have to ask ourselves, is it worth it to always go for the cheapest mascara? What if it flakes or clumps up or transfers onto our eyelids?

It sounds like a nightmare, but it doesn’t have to be. We’ve come up with a list of 15 of the best volume-boosting drugstore mascaras, 10 best lengthening ones and five mascaras that aren’t really worth the hype. So, next time we go drugstore mascara shopping, it won't be a disappointment.

Volume-Boosting Mascaras

30 Milani Cosmetics Big & Bigger Lashes Maximum Volume Mascara, $9


Some of us dream of this level of volume, but you can actually experience it. Saturate each of your lashes in pigment and conditioner using a full volume sculpting brush, which has a flat side that applies the perfect amount of mascara to your lashes. This means you won’t have to worry about your makeup getting all clumpy.

In the end, you’ll wind up with buildable and glamorous volume to make your lashes oh-so gorge. You won’t have to deal with flaking or smudging, either, which is seriously difficult to get from a $9 mascara.

29 L’Oréal Paris Double Extend Beauty Tubes Lash Extension Effect Mascara, $9


This budget-friendly drugstore find is just what your lashes need to look impossibly long. On one end, you’ll get a base coat full of nourishing agents that protect, volumise and strengthen your lashes. On the other end, you’ll wind up with a top coat that covers your lashes in black pigment. Just remember that in order to have long and defined lashes, you’ll need to comb both wands from root to tip.

Best of all, you don’t even need makeup remover when you’re ready to take it off as it washes off with warm water.

28 Avon Mega Effects Mascara, $10

Instagram / @xenophonti

The Avon Mega Effects Mascara comes with a brush that’s curved just like your lashes. This makes it easier to apply straight from the roots and guarantees you’ll apply 40% more of the mascara than what you get from regular wands. In fact, every bristle’s size varies so that every lash gets coated in the black formula. You’ll notice the difference the second you apply it.

So, if you’re looking for a great everyday mascara that glides on smoothly and gives your lashes a real lift, then add this product to the top of your shopping list.

27 NYX Professional Makeup Double Stacked Mascara, $7.49


You’ve tried other mascaras, but the way this one transforms your lashes will impress you in a big way. NYX Professional Makeup Double Stacked Mascara was designed to lift, volumise and lengthen your lashes. This mascara’s unique fiber formula will leave your lashes stacked using three simple steps that lead to fuller lashes.

Once you look at the results in the mirror, you’ll be asking yourself why you didn’t use this before. The Double Stacked Mascara is like the holy grail of makeup and you'll love the clump-free results. Plus, this baby is under $8, so it won't break your bank either.

26 Physicians Formula Eye Boost Instant Lash Extensions Kit, $15


If you love the look of false lashes (or falsies), but don’t have the patience to wake up early enough to glue them on just right, then this mascara is exactly what you're looking for. The kit contains two tubes. One has the lash-boosting mascara you’ve been wanting your whole life and the other has cotton fibers that attach themselves to your lashes, making them lengthier and fuller.

But don’t forget to apply two coats of mascara before swiping the fiber wand from root to tip after curling. Then, add a final coat of mascara to seal. You're all set, baby!

25 Wet n Wild Mascara Mega Protein, $5.85


Think of this product as nutrition for your lashes. The formula contains wheat protein, D-Panthenol, Acai oil and soy to nourish, strengthen and protect your lashes. It also gives them a conditioning boost. But what makes this mascara different from others? It’s simple.

It makes them fuller and thicker, but in a super-fresh and natural way, which means you’ll be applying fewer harsh chemicals that could have a detrimental effect on your gorgeous lashes.

It's seriously one of a kind! So, if you decide to keep one beauty product for the rest of your life, make sure it’s this one.

24 Almay One Coat Extreme Length Mascara, $5


This mascara is in a class of its own, and it’s just as good as those overhyped high-end brands. It comes with a serum and a mascara of sorts that will give your lashes a longer and more defined appearance. The formula coats each of your lashes with an opaque pigment that adds depth. But the serum also contains vitamins B5, C and E to prevent breakage and damage to your lashes.

It’s also a great lash conditioner so your lashes won't end up dry and clumpy. What more do you want for $5?

23 L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Carbon Black Volume Building Mascara, $6


The rich formula of this mascara is capable of turning even the sparsest lashes into voluptuous perfection with a little help from pro-vitamin B5 and the oh-so conditioning ceramides. The brush offers volumising perfection as it separates, coats and curls each lash, while offering a colour that is intensely black. The formula definitely works, because it holds the curl for up to six hours or more.

So, if you’re a gal on the go but need an extra dose of glam, this should be your bae of mascaras. You don't even need to go touch up after a long day's work. How about that?

22 Revlon “Volumazing” Mascara, $5.67


This mascara is full of Carnauba and Olive waxes, which make it very creamy and nourishing at the same time. The tapered brush comes with a unique design with wavy fibers that loads more of the formula onto all of your lashes, even the small ones. It’s a must-have for any mascara junkie looking for a new fav, and people on the streets will question whether your lashes are real or not. So really, this mascara should be your everyday go-to, especially given the price.

You get extra volume, conditioning waxes and lift, all for a little over $5 bucks. It can't get any better than this!

21 Benefit Roller Lash Curling & Lifting Mascara, $30.98


This one’s a little more expensive for a drugstore brand, but that’s just fine because it's the holy grail of mascaras. And no, we're totally not exaggerating. The formula is simply unique. It goes on smoothly and lifts and separates your lashes. Plus, the packaging is gorge! The formula will definitely get your lashes layered without clumping.

So, go ahead and give yourself those ultra-intense lashes you’ve always wanted but feared you couldn’t have. Your stubbornly straight lashes won’t stand a chance against this mascara’s curling effect.

20 Rimmel Wonder'Lash Lift Me Up Mascara, $5.94


The formula in this product will extend your lashes by up to 99%. So, brace yourself because your lashes will be longer and lusher once you apply this baby. You’ll be hooked, and on top of that, it’s also cheap to boot. But Rimmel's Lift Me Up mascara also comes with a little bonus. Aside from waking your lashes up, the mascara is also scented with a hint of cucumber.

So, you’ll feel like you’ve just left a spa treatment the second you apply this product onto your lovely lashes.

19 e.l.f. Waterproof Length & Volume Mascara, $3

Instagram / @lovetheplanetandyou

e.l.f. Waterproof Length and Volume mascara works great if you want to conceal, plump or define your lashes with a pleasant grey-ish black hue. It's not very dramatic but it's perfect if you're having a lazy day but need fuller lashes fast. It’s also quick drying and the brush heads provide an even coating to give you the length and volume you've always wanted. Plus, it's only $3!

You certainly can’t find a drugstore product that lifts your lashes the way this one does for just a few bucks.

18 Catrice Prêt-à-Volume Smokey Velvet Black Mascara, $7


This formula does it all. If you're looking for a product that goes on smoothly and gives your lashes good lift and separation, then look no further than this luxurious product. It makes your lashes stand out like a queen with its lengthening and volumising formula, but it isn't sticky or clumpy like other brands. It also separates the lashes evenly, and you don't even have to use a curler to make your lashes stand out.

Imagine how much time you’ll save when getting ready in the morning. Fortunately, this little beauty elixir does all the work for you, baby!

17 Neutrogena Healthy Volume Mascara, $9

Instagram / Jackie Aina

The rich, volume-building colour on this Neutrogena mascara is gentle enough for sensitive eyes. It also contains a hint of olive oil that can provide you with 400% fuller, clump-free lashes, all while nourishing them at the same time. There’s even some sweet almond added into the formula that shields your lashes from the harsh elements.

So, you will literally go from "Where the heck are my lashes" to "Holy Cow! Why didn't I get this before?" without ever even breaking the bank. Now, how can any of us say no to that?

16 Almay One Coat Thickening Mascara, $8.29


This drugstore mascara is a lifesaver that will work wonders on pretty much everyone. Whether you have tiny, short, long or barely-there lashes, this mascara will coat every strand and make them longer and more voluminous without flaking or clumping. You won't have to apply many coats or apply two different mascaras to get the results you want.

Best of all, it’s perfect for those of you who have sensitive eyes. The formula is non-irritating and very gentle. But you’ll still get those thick voluminous lashes you’ve always wanted.

Best Lengthening Mascaras

15 L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Original Mascara, $6


If you're looking for a mascara but you can't afford to splurge on luxury brands, then this drugstore alternative will work wonders. It’s formulated to give your lashes the length you've only dreamed of. And you won’t need to take your mascara with you to the bathroom for touch-ups because the product has clumped or flaked after a few hours. You simply have to apply one or two coats and voila! You’re done for the day.

Plus, it may be the darkest mascara you’ve ever used in your life. So if you have a flair for the dramatic, then this might be the mascara of your dreams.

14 Rimmel Lash Accelerator Mascara, $8

Instagram / @efua_pee_

What you want is what everyone else wants and that’s lashes that are thick, beautiful and lengthy. Rimmel Lash Accelerator Mascara's micro-fibers and grow-lash complex extend lashes up to 99%. Long lashes have never been easier to achieve with this product. So, your lashes will stand out like they never have before.

FYI, the secret isn’t in the formula itself, but rather the synthetic bristles and the way they paint each and every one of your lashes. What you’ll end up with is a mascara that will never leave you feeling disappointed.

13 Maybelline New York Lash Discovery Mascara, $6


This mascara will give you the deepest black and ultra-intense lashes you've always wanted. This brand will definitely get your lashes layered without clumping, and the mascara doesn't smear, so you could literally sleep with it on. But, you know, don't do it! Even if you're planning on doing your makeup again the next day, always, always, always, (and I do mean always!) remove your makeup at night!

If you want a buildable, full look, then try Maybelline New York Lash Discovery Mascara. The fanning brush reveals more layers of lashes, and it's suitable for people who wear contact lenses.

12 Maybelline New York Gigi Hadid Lash Sensational Mascara, $12


This product has the name of one of the most gorgeous models in the world. So, if it’s got the Gigi Hadid stamp of approval, then you know we're going to give it a try! This product can be used for both a natural "no makeup" makeup look, or a totally dramatic, "hey look at me" type of look.

The applicator brush is designed to lengthen your lashes and provides a certain amount of thickness too. It also bends so that it can fluff out the tiniest of your lashes and make them look fuller. We're sold!

11 Pixi by Petra Lash Lift 188, $18


This mascara’s dual-chamber looks just as intense as the results you’ll get. Once you unscrew the wand, you’ll have an innovative volumising brush for your top lashes that is truly magical. But you’ll also find a thin spoolie if you simply unscrew the top part. This spoolie works miracles on your bottom lashes and those tiny hairs on your eye’s inner corner.

So, when you walk out the door, you’ll have the lengthy lashes of a supermodel who's ready to rock. Best of all, you’ll get an intense black formula that won’t smudge.

10 Stowaway Waterproof Lengthening Mascara, $9


If you love to shape your lashes with an eyelash curler, then you’ll like the way this product's thick formula keeps your lashes in place. It won’t make them look like they’re weighed down, either.

Aside from the fact that it thickens, curves and lengthens your lashes, it has a very essential bonus. It’s waterproof! So, if you get caught in a rainstorm or decide to take a dip in the pool, you won’t have to worry about looking like you’ve been crying all night.

9 Glossier Lash Slick, $16


This mascara's tapered comb or brush gives you a natural look, which is perfect for those days when you don’t feel like going out with a full face of makeup. It separates the lashes and lengthens them too. But it won’t provide unnatural volume that will make heads turn for the wrong reasons.

The shine polymers in the formula will give your lashes a hint of glossiness. It’s also allergy-tested so it’s perfect for those of you who have extremely sensitive eyes. Plus, you can cry, sweat or squint as hard as you want, and this baby won't smudge...ever!

8 L'Oréal Paris Telescopic Original Mascara, $8.19


The Telescopic Original mascara uses a flexible precision brush that bathes every single lash in a luxurious formula that is also volumising. The lengthening effect is great, too. You can get it in black-brown, black or blackest black. It also boasts that it can keep your lashes curled and won’t transfer to your under-eye area, which is actually a pretty common issue with most mascaras. And best of all? This miracle elixir promises to lengthen your lashes by up to 60%.

You’ll love this product because it’s really not that expensive and gets the job done.

7 Neutrogena Healthy Lengths Mascara, $6


Mascara formulas can easily irritate your eyes if you're a bit sensitive, or if you bought a new tube from a questionable brand. But it's not like we're about to quit mascaras forever, right? Fortunately, the Neutrogena Healthy Lengths Mascara lengthens your lashes to give you a natural look without any of the fuss. Your lashes won’t be over-the-top thick, but you’ll still get a soft fringe that’s oh-so pretty.

The wand is also small enough that it lets you apply the mascara to your lower lashes without accidentally applying it to places you don’t want.

6 Rimmel Scandaleyes Wow Wings Mascara, $10.77

Instagram / @rimmellondonus

If you’re looking for a favourite drugstore mascara that will give you long lashes and won’t smudge or flake, then look no further than Rimmel Scandaleyes Wow Wings Mascara. It’s Fantabulous! It separates your lashes and makes them look extra-long with its two-sided brush.

You’ll have dramatic, bold lashes that are up to 11 times their original volume. Yup, we know. It's seriously amazing.

So, think of this mascara as your holy grail for a great everyday look. No other mascara will ever matter to you anymore.

The Worst Drugstore Mascara

5 Avon Daring Definition Mousse Mascara, $7.99


If you’re looking for a mascara that lengthens and volumises, you’ll want to stir clear of this product. It does absolutely everything it shouldn't do. It flakes, smears and runs down your face. Essentially, you’ll wind up looking like you got dumped at prom. The formula itself is quite thick, so when you apply it you’ll end up looking like you have three thick lashes in each eye.

The consistency is absolutely terrible too, so just keep that in mind. C'mon Avon, who needs a mascara that clumps and flakes all over the place? We don't!

4 Smashbox SuperFan Mascara, $19


If you have short lashes, then you're about to get really disappointed. This mascara won’t make them longer, not even after a few coats. It will clump what little lashes you do have. It also smears rather easily and tends to dry out quickly. The formula itself is thick and makes you wonder what the heck they were thinking when they came up with this product.

It doesn’t add any volume to the bottom lashes, either. And while this mascara claims to be buildable, the reality is that even after you apply three coats, it still won’t build up. It will simply make a shambles. So, you’ll probably need to have a Q-tip handy.

3 E.L.F. Earth and Water Mascara Duo, $8

This mascara seems to apply okay, so you’re lulled into a false sense of security that you’ll be okay when all is set and done. But it’s a lie. When the mascara starts to come off, it comes off in clumps. And there’s a more frightening side effect that will give you bad dreams for weeks.

These clumps often take some of your lashes with them. But the lashes that remain won’t look any better either. In most cases, they end up looking coarse and brittle. Thanks, but no thanks!

2 MegaPlump Mascara, $3.99


The MegaPlump Mascara won’t give you any length, but you might see a tiny bit of volume if you apply three generous coats. Apply them quickly, though, because the formula is very dry and you’ll wind up with little mascara on your lashes. Oh, and don’t assume that your lashes will look plumped like the product’s name suggests. It basically sticks and clumps to your lashes, which makes it a little more difficult, and sometimes painful, to remove.

Applying mascara should never be this complicated. So, if you see this at the drugstore, keep on walking.

1 Avon Astonishing Lengths Mascara, $10


Oh Avon! What the heck where you thinking? If you see this product on the shelf, just say “thank you, next!” This mascara promises to make your lashes longer and luscious, but it's just an exaggeration, really. They won’t appear thicker either. Essentially, this product doesn’t do anything for your lashes. At best, you might notice your lashes getting a little darker. But the formula won’t build no matter how many coats you apply.

Some folks have even noticed that their lashes break off halfway, so you could end up with short eyelashes. If that wasn’t bad enough, it takes time for the mascara to dry, so it’ll smudge. We can't help but ask, "Why?"

Sources: Your Tango, The Cut, Elle, Allure, Cosmopolitan, Vogue, Live About, Huffington Post, Makeup Alley, Total Beauty, Rimmel London, Priceline, Smashbox, Sephora

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