Over the years, I’ve tried pretty much every popular mascara on the market. But I’m decidedly hard to impress.
For starters, I tend to rub my eyes a lot—which means that in order for a mascara to really wow me, it has to actually stay put. No flaking, no running, no raccoon eyes.
My natural lashes are also VERY straight, so I tend to prefer a mascara that helps lift them and give them a curl that will hold all day.
I also like a mascara to be super black and pigmented, because I find that the darker the mascara I use, the more my eyes pop.
And finally — I’m a gal who likes to layer. I can’t stand when I add a second coat or third coat of mascara and it gets clumpy or makes my lashes look weighed down.
Below, I wanted to introduce you to four mascaras that have passed my test! Some are new, others are old standbys. I’ve also noted which mascara would work best based on what you’re looking to achieve.
Too Faced Better Than Sex
Best for: Volume and Fuller Lashes
If you haven’t yet tried Better Than Sex… what are you waiting for?! There’s a reason this is considered a holy grail mascara by virtually every makeup guru— and even though it’s been around for a while, it’s popularity has truly stood the test of time.
I remember the first time I tried using this was on a weekend trip with a girlfriend. Her lashes looked INSANE, so when we were doing our makeup to go out one night, I asked her if I could borrow it.
We both kept saying we felt like our lashes were so long and thick, we could literally fly away.
That was probably 7 years ago…. and it’s been a staple of my makeup bag ever since.
Caliray Come Hell or High Water
Best for: Length & Serious Staying Power
So tubing mascaras can be incredibly polarizing, but let me just say—if you’re open to trying one, let this be the one you try.
Quite frankly… it is amazing. Doesn’t smudge AT ALL, curls my straight lashes like crazy, and is SO easy to take off. You literally just use warm water, and the little tubes just slide right off of your lashes, without the typical raccoon-eyed mess of traditional mascaras.
I will add one caveat though: it’s not a great crying mascara (lol.) So I probably wouldn’t recommend it for a wedding. After a particularly stressful week last week, I found myself in tears—with little tubes coming off of my lashes.
As long as you don’t plan to cry… it’s a 10/10 for me.
YSL Lash Clash
Best for: Thickness and Curl
YSL Lash Clash, $29
I’ll admit the first time I tried this I wasn’t initially wowed, but that’s just because I wasn’t applying it properly. Once I got the hang of how to get the most out of this mascara, I decided it was a winner for me.
The key with Lash Clash is layers, layers, layers.
I find that with each coat, my lashes continue to get thicker and more lifted. I love that no matter how many coats I add, it doesn’t clump. It also feels feathery light—like I’m not wearing anything at all.
When applying (and this really goes for all mascaras) I’d recommend wiggling the wand at the base of your lashline and then sweeping up to ensure the curl stays perky.
For added thickness, I like to let a few coats dry before adding a final layer.
Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Push Up Lashes
Best for: Feathery, Whispy Lashes
The Charlotte Tilbury mascara is a phenomenal option for anyone with super short lashes, because the brush is nice and tiny—allowing you to get into every little corner.
I’ve been trying to think of a way to describe the effect it has on my lashes, and I keep coming back to the word “whispy.”
This isn’t the mascara I would recommend using if you’re looking for a lot of volume, but if you need length and the ability to maneuver a skinny brush… look no further.
If you have straight lashes like me, you probably prefer to curl them with a lash curler before applying mascara. These are the two I recommend:
Shiseido Lash Curler: This one has been an old favorite of mine for years. It’s consistently the top-rated lash curler at Sephora for a reason!
Tweezerman ProMaster Eyelash Curler: I went into Sephora recently on the hunt for a new lash curler, and I was told this would be good for anyone with almond or deep-set eyes. I really like it.