Top 10 Best Drugstore Mascaras for an Intense Gaze (2024)

Get ready for a game-changing revelation: great lashes don’t have to break the bank. Yes, you heard it right. The best drugstore mascaras are here to save the day, offering you thick, long, and smudge-proof lashes without emptying your wallet. And the best part? These affordable mascaras start at a mere $5, proving that beauty bargains are just a drugstore aisle away.

Renowned makeup artist Neil Scibelli swears by drugstore mascaras, placing them on par with their luxury counterparts. In fact, many drugstore brands invest in extensive testing and formulation, sometimes even sharing research departments with luxury brands. Our rigorous research and testing, spanning over 100 hours, have helped us uncover the true gems among drugstore mascaras. We assessed wand design, lash separation, clumping, formulation, wear, and ease of removal to bring you the ultimate list of the best drugstore mascaras available now.

So say goodbye to pricey mascaras that drain your wallet. It’s time to embrace the affordable wonders that deliver stunning lashes and stand up to even the toughest wear and tear. With these top-notch drugstore mascaras, your lash game will be on point without breaking the bank. Get ready to flutter those fabulous lashes with confidence!

How We Selected the Best Drugstore Mascaras

Flower Beauty Warrior Princess Mascara

Top 10 Best Drugstore Mascaras for an Intense Gaze- Miller Reviews


  • Creamy formula
  • Hourglass wand
  • Noticeably enhanced lashes with one coat

mighty mascara conquered our testing and emerged as the supreme champion. In a wear test that lasted from dawn till dusk, this creamy wonder held our lashes lifted and full, with minimal smudging even after a long day. We can’t help but be blown away by the sheer brilliance of this drugstore gem. And the secret to its success? Look no further than its expertly-shaped wand, reminiscent of the iconic Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara. The feathery hourglass design effortlessly coats every lash, even the stubborn ones at the corners of our eyes.

But it’s not just the wand that steals the show; the formula itself is equally impressive. While slightly thicker than other mascaras on our list, Warrior Princess manages to avoid clumping or unsightly separation. What’s truly remarkable is how it dries quickly, defying the common downside of thicker formulas that often end up on your upper lid. Not this mascara, though. And when it’s time to bid adieu to your mesmerizing lashes, fear not! Removing this jet-black wonder is a breeze with just a single swipe of a micellar water-soaked cotton round. One word of advice: before applying, make sure to wipe off any excess mascara on the tube’s rim.

Essence Cosmetics Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara

Top 10 Best Drugstore Mascaras for an Intense Gaze- Miller Reviews


  • Wand coats and separates each lash
  • Highly pigmented formula
  • Dramatically lengthens and lifts lashes

The ultimate ticket to achieving stunningly volumized lashes that rival the look of falsies. With just a single coat of this magical mascara, your lashes are immediately lifted and plumped. But why stop there? Apply three coats, and witness the mind-blowing transformation of both volume and length that will leave you in awe.

However, it’s important to note that this creamy mascara, while magnificent in performance, does have a slight downside. The slightly thicker formula tends to clump on the end of the wand, so it’s advisable to give it a quick wipe before application. Additionally, after the eight-hour mark, some noticeable flakes may start to appear. Nevertheless, the mascara wears exceptionally well during those first eight hours, earning it a well-deserved spot among the top contenders.

L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Original Mascara

Top 10 Best Drugstore Mascaras for an Intense Gaze- Miller Reviews


  • Wide color selection
  • Creates noticeable volume
  • Very pigmented

Step out of your comfort zone with the L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Mascara and its stunning array of colors, including the sought-after Cobalt Blue and Deep Violet shades. With its impressive pigmentation, this mascara delivers dramatically darker lashes without the need for countless coats. However, be wary of the potential for minor sticking and clumping when applying multiple coats. To avoid any mishaps, take your time and apply the mascara with care, gently wiggling the wand from the base to the tips of your lashes.

Despite the slight possibility of clumping, the L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Mascara is a remarkable drugstore find. With just a single coat, it brings your lashes to life, providing the volume and intensity you desire. Even after a remarkable 11 hours of wear, this long-lasting formula showed minimal signs of flaking or smudging, making it an ideal choice for those seeking mascara that can withstand the test of time.

CoverGirl Lash Blast Clean Volume Mascara

Top 10 Best Drugstore Mascaras for an Intense Gaze- Miller Reviews


  • Vegan
  • Nourishes lashes with marula and argan oils
  • Doesn’t clump

Despite sharing the same wand as the classic version, this mascara’s smooth and clump-free formula works its magic with just a single coat, surpassing the results achieved by five coats of the original. To truly push it to the limits, we applied five coats and were amazed at how it effortlessly transformed our lashes into beautifully curled and voluminous wonders.

With Covergirl’s Lash Blast Clean Volume Mascara, you can expect exceptional performance and stunning lash results. Whether you opt for a single coat or dare to go all out with multiple coats, this mascara delivers on its promises.

Neutrogena Healthy Lengths Mascara

Top 10 Best Drugstore Mascaras for an Intense Gaze- Miller Reviews


  • Buildable formula
  • Good no-makeup-makeup effect

Let’s talk about Neutrogena’s Healthy Lengths Mascara. While it may not provide a bold color transformation for your lashes, it excels in defining and lengthening them. The mascara’s soft bristle brush, equipped with perfectly spaced bristles, works like a charm to separate and enhance your lashes.

This mascara is an excellent choice if you’re aiming for a natural, no-makeup-makeup look. Its lightly pigmented formula and lengthening effect create a subtle yet noticeable enhancement. However, if you’re seeking dramatic volume or lift, you might want to explore other options, as this mascara is not designed to deliver those specific results.

Black Radiance Waterproof Mascara

Top 10 Best Drugstore Mascaras for an Intense Gaze- Miller Reviews


  • Fortified with soy protein
  • Brings drama without clumping

If you’re in the market for an affordable waterproof mascara, look no further than the offering from Black Radiance. This gem is enriched with soy protein and delivers remarkable length and volume to your lashes. You can layer it up without worrying about clumping or flaking, making it a win-win situation.

What sets this mascara apart is its defining nylon brush that effortlessly reaches every lash, including those tiny ones nestled in the inner corners of your eyes. Just keep in mind that it takes a bit longer to dry, but once it sets, it stays put without budging.

E.L.F. Cosmetics Big Mood Mascara

Top 10 Best Drugstore Mascaras for an Intense Gaze- Miller Reviews


  • Creamy texture
  • Applies smoothly
  • Feathery hourglass wand

If it weren’t for the slightly more challenging removal process, e.l.f. Cosmetics’ Big Mood Mascara would have been neck and neck with Warrior Princess for the title of best overall drugstore mascara. This creamy formula glides on effortlessly, coating and lifting lashes without a single clump in sight. You’ll notice darker and fuller lashes with just one coat, while three coats can give you the appearance of full-on falsies. The best part? Big Mood provides long-lasting volume and lift. Even after 11 hours of wear, our lashes remained full, lifted, and free from smudging or flaking, thanks to the formula’s nourishing infusion of jojoba oil.

Associate Editorial Director Holly Rhue shares her experience: “I’ve tried lash lifts, lash extensions, and expensive high-end mascaras, but nothing compares to the natural, fluttery look I achieve with Big Mood. Just a few coats boost my short, blonde, sparse lashes, enveloping them in a rich, jet-black formula that acts like a push-up bra for my lashes.” While the mascara’s removal may require two cotton rounds soaked with micellar water to completely cleanse, it’s a testament to the impressive long-lasting wear of this must-have drugstore gem.

Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara

Top 10 Best Drugstore Mascaras for an Intense Gaze- Miller Reviews


  • Long-lasting wear
  • Noticeably defines lashes
  • Adds length

Maybelline’s Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara strikes a balance between being neither too lightweight nor chunky. With just one coat, it impressively lengthened and lifted our lashes. The wand, made with spiked plastic instead of bristles, contributed to the mascara’s ultra-defined and easy-to-apply nature.

However, the flexibility of the wand, intentionally designed as such, combined with the lighter-than-expected formula, made it a bit challenging to fully coat lashes from root to tip in a single stroke. Applying a few coats was necessary to achieve noticeably darker and more defined lashes, but the results were worth it once we did.

L’Oréal Paris Telescopic Original Mascara

Top 10 Best Drugstore Mascaras for an Intense Gaze- Miller Reviews


  • Adds immediate length
  • Creates eye-opening lift
  • Little to no clumping

When it comes to achieving jaw-dropping length, L’Oréal Paris’ Telescopic Mascara is a clear winner. Its creamy and lightweight formula glides effortlessly from base to tip without causing clumping or sticking. With just a single coat, you’ll immediately notice the remarkable length, lift, and rich pigment it provides. And if you dare to go for five coats, prepare to be even more wowed by the incredible length it delivers. However, it’s worth mentioning that in the pursuit of such length, a bit of mascara transfer onto the lash line is inevitable.

But fret not! A quick fix with a cotton swab soaked in micellar water easily takes care of any smudges. One thing to keep in mind is that the mascara’s spikey wand can be slightly uncomfortable when wiggling it along the base of your lashes, but it’s a small inconvenience that shouldn’t overshadow its impressive performance.

Milani Highly Rated Lash Extensions Tubing Mascara

Top 10 Best Drugstore Mascaras for an Intense Gaze- Miller Reviews


  • Easy to remove
  • Lengthens and lifts

Milani’s Highly Rated Lash Extensions Tubing Mascara has earned a special place in our hearts for its ability to mimic the look of lash extensions. The formula coats every lash with tube-like polymers with each application, delivering impressive length and lift.

Although it’s not specifically ophthalmologist-tested, our commerce writer, who has sensitive eyes and wears contacts, attests to its eye-friendly nature. She shares, “It lives up to its promises during application and removal, without causing any discomfort. What’s more, I appreciate the inclusion of castor oil and shea butter, which nourish my lashes with every use.”


when it comes to achieving an intense gaze without breaking the bank, the world of drugstore mascaras has plenty to offer. We’ve explored the top 10 options, testing them for length, volume, lift, and wear. From the dramatic results of Flower Beauty’s Warrior Princess Mascara to the versatile color selection of L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Mascara, these affordable finds have proven their worth.

While each mascara had its unique strengths and weaknesses, we discovered that there’s a perfect fit for every lash lover. Whether you prefer a waterproof formula like Black Radiance’s Waterproof Mascara or a tubing mascara like Milani’s Highly Rated Lash Extensions, the drugstore aisle has got you covered.

Remember, achieving those coveted fluttery lashes doesn’t have to come at a high cost—these top contenders prove that quality and affordability can go hand in hand. So, get ready to enhance your gaze and unleash your inner beauty with these amazing drugstore mascaras!

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