We Tried 6 Different Drugstore Mascara Brands To Find The Best One So You Don't Have To (You're Welcome)

    Beauty on a budget, baby!

    Hi everyone, I'm Hannah! While I love shopping for makeup and trying new brands out, I'm tired of breaking the bank for products that end up being super disappointing. So my lovely coworkers Natasha, Tafi, Sarah, and I set out to test some of the most popular drugstore mascaras to determine which brand has the best bang for your buck!

    We decided we would rate the mascaras on a scale from 1 (worst) to 5 (best) in the following categories: ease of application, volumizing, lengthening, separation of lashes, and durability. To test durability, we all agreed to get sprayed in the face with a water bottle to see just how "cry-proof" these mascaras (waterproof and not) actually are.

    Now, let's introduce the chosen mascaras! We have 1. CoverGirl Lash Blast Clean Volume Mascara, 2. Rimmel London Kind and Free Clean, Volumizing & Lengthening Mascara, 3. e.l.f. Cosmetics Big Mood Waterproof Mascara, 4. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Plumping Mascara, 5. Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara, and 6. L'Oréal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Waterproof Mascara.

    1. CoverGirl Lash Blast Clean Volume Mascara

    tube of covergirl mascara

    Apply, apply, apply!!!

    Four women applying mascara

    Natasha's before and after:

    eyes without mascara on top of eyes with mascara

    Spray test:

    Natasha's rating:

    Ease of application: 3

    Volumizing: 4

    Lengthening: 4

    Separation of lashes: 3

    Durability: 4

    Overall score: 4

    Thoughts: This strikes me as a pretty decent mascara overall. It gave my lashes good volume and good length. It was nothing terribly dramatic or exciting, but it seems reliable. 

    Tafi's before and after:

    eyes without mascara on top of eyes with mascara

    Spray test:

    Tafi's rating:

    Ease of application: 4

    Volumizing: 3

    Lengthening: 3

    Separation of lashes: 3

    Durability: 2

    Overall score: 3

    Thoughts: This is a decent mascara and would work in a pinch. I wish it lengthened a bit better.

    Sarah's before and after:

    eyes without mascara on top of eyes with mascara

    Spray test:

    Sarah's rating:

    Ease of application: 3

    Volumizing: 2

    Lengthening: 4

    Separation of lashes: 4

    Durability: 2

    Overall score: 3

    Thoughts: The mascara kept getting on my eyelids as I was applying it and was hard to wipe off. I had to really layer it to get the results I wanted.

    Hannah's before and after:

    eyes without mascara on top of eyes with mascara

    Spray test:

    Hannah's rating:

    Ease of application: 4

    Volumizing: 2

    Lengthening: 4

    Separation of lashes: 4

    Durability: 3

    Overall score: 4

    Thoughts: It glides on really easily and I felt like my lashes looked noticeably longer. I wish there was more volume because I felt as though my lashes were a tad spindly like spider legs, but overall, it's a fairly natural-looking mascara. Also, it's easy to remove, yet holds up against "the elements" (the spray bottle to the face).

    Average overall score for CoverGirl:

    2. Rimmel London Kind and Free Clean, Volumizing & Lengthening Mascara

    tube of rimmel london mascara

    Coat those lashes!

    four women applying mascara

    Natasha's before and after:

    eyes without mascara above eyes with mascara

    Spray test:

    Natasha's rating:

    Ease of application: 3

    Volumizing: 3

    Lengthening: 5

    Separation of lashes: 1

    Durability: 3

    Overall score: 3

    Thoughts: This one really only lengthens your lashes, and I'm a girl who likes length AND volume! The lack of volume veers dangerously close to "spider leg" territory. 

    Tafi's before and after:

    eyes without mascara on top of eyes with mascara

    Spray test:

    Tafi's rating:

    Ease of application: 4

    Volumizing: 2

    Lengthening: 3

    Separation of lashes: 5

    Durability: 4

    Overall score: 4

    Thoughts: The Rimmel mascara worked fairly well. It was easy to use and didn't clump up my lashes, but it didn't give me any length. But, I have very short lashes, so that may not be an issue with the mascara!

    Sarah's before and after:

    eyes without mascara on top of eyes with mascara

    Spray test:

    Sarah's rating:

    Ease of application: 4

    Volumizing: 4

    Lengthening: 3

    Separation of lashes: 2

    Durability: 2

    Overall score: 3

    Thoughts: This one took less coats to see results than the first mascara. It gave me good volume, but it was a little clumpy and made my eyelashes feel pretty heavy, which is my main complaint.

    Hannah's before and after:

    eyes without mascara above eyes with mascara

    Spray test:

    Hannah's rating:

    Ease of application: 4

    Volumizing: 2

    Lengthening: 5

    Separation of lashes: 5

    Durability: 4

    Overall score: 4

    Thoughts: This mascara also had lots of lengthening, but not a lot of volume. It just made it look like I have naturally long eyelashes. 

    Average overall score for Rimmel London:

    3.5/5 over a solid background

    3. e.l.f. Cosmetics Big Mood Waterproof Mascara

    tube of elf mascara

    Apply that mascara!

    four women applying mascara

    Natasha's before and after:

    eyes without mascara on top of eyes with mascara

    Spray test:

    Natasha's rating:

    Ease of application: 3

    Volumizing: 4

    Lengthening: 3

    Separation of lashes: 2

    Durability: 5

    Overall score: 3

    Thoughts: The wand is so large, it made it difficult to apply coats on my lower lashes, and that's where I saw some clumping. It wasn't as volumizing as the CoverGirl, but it was still pretty decent. 

    Tafi's before and after:

    eyes without mascara on top of eyes with mascara

    Spray test:

    Tafi's rating:

    Ease of application: 4

    Volumizing: 3

    Lengthening: 3

    Separation of lashes: 2

    Durability: 4

    Overall score: 3

    Thoughts: It did a nice job of giving me a bit of volume and length, but it did clump easily. Despite that, it was pretty durable and held on well.

    Sarah's before and after:

    eyes without mascara on top of eyes with mascara

    Spray test:

    Sarah's rating:

    Ease of application: 2

    Volumizing: 4

    Lengthening: 4

    Separation of lashes: 3

    Durability: 5

    Overall score: 4

    Thoughts: It was a little clumpy up close, but looked great from far away. The brush head was really big, so it was a struggle not to get the mascara all over my lids. But, it did make my eyes seem bigger and brighter.

    Hannah's before and after:

    eyes without mascara on top of eyes with mascara

    Spray test:

    Hannah's rating:

    Ease of application: 3

    Volumizing: 3

    Lengthening: 2

    Separation of lashes: 2

    Durability: 5

    Overall score: 3

    Thoughts: This one felt clumpier than the other mascaras so far. It did fan my eyelashes out a bit, but it sort of made them go in all different directions. I wasn't too in love with it. I was worried that if I applied too much, my lashes would clump together. It did hold up against the water though, so it's a reliable waterproof mascara. 

    Average overall score for e.l.f. Cosmetics:

    3.25/5 over a solid background

    4. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Plumping Mascara

    tube of neutrogena mascara

    Really testing the limits of our eyelids today!

    four women applying mascara

    Natasha's before and after:

    eyes without mascara on top of eyes with mascara

    Spray test:

    Natasha's rating:

    Ease of application: 2

    Volumizing: 1

    Lengthening: 3

    Separation of lashes: 2

    Durability: 1

    Overall score: 1

    Thoughts: Clump city, baby! This is the only one I smudged on my lower lash line, as it was tricky to put on. Also, my eyelashes kept sticking together when I'd blink, which was a bit unnerving. 

    Tafi's before and after:

    eyes without mascara on top of eyes with mascara

    Spray test:

    Tafi's rating:

    Ease of application: 4

    Volumizing: 3

    Lengthening: 3

    Separation of lashes: 3

    Durability: 1

    Overall score: 3

    Thoughts: It did not hold up against the water at all. 

    Sarah's before and after:

    eyes without mascara above eyes with mascara

    Spray test:

    Sarah's rating:

    Ease of application: 4

    Volumizing: 3

    Lengthening: 4

    Separation of lashes: 3

    Durability: 1

    Overall score: 3

    Thoughts: Up close, the length looked really good. My bottom eyelashes looked a little clumpy, but that seemed to be my own fault (I'm bad at makeup). I think if I were to wear this one with eyeliner, it would really bring the look together. I definitely could NOT cry in this mascara!

    Hannah's before and after:

    eyes without mascara on top of eyes with mascara

    Spray test:

    Hannah's rating:

    Ease of application: 3

    Volumizing: 3

    Lengthening: 4

    Separation of lashes: 4

    Durability: 1

    Overall score: 3

    Thoughts: It took a lot of coats for me to feel like it was working. Once it was on, my lashes looked long. It wasn't too clumpy, but it didn't have as much volume as I was expecting. I know it's not specifically waterproof, but it didn't endure that water for a second. It was ready to come off INSTANTLY. 

    Average overall score for Neutrogena:

    2.5/5 over a solid background

    5. Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara

    tube of maybelline mascara

    Second to last one. We've got this!

    four women applying mascara

    Natasha's before and after:

    eyes without mascara on top of eyes with mascara

    Spray test:

    Natasha's rating:

    Ease of application: 4

    Volumizing: 4

    Lengthening: 5

    Separation of lashes: 4

    Durability: 5

    Overall score: 5

    Thoughts: Despite a remarkably bendy brush, this one ended up giving me incredibly long lashes without going into "spider leg" territory. My only wish is for there to be a touch more volume. Otherwise, it's my favorite so far. Looking at my reflection in my phone camera, I keep batting my lashes like a Disney princess. This is the most excited I've been about mascara in a hot minute.   

    Tafi's before and after:

    eyes without mascara on top of eyes with mascara

    Spray test:

    Tafi's rating:

    Ease of application: 4

    Volumizing: 4

    Lengthening: 5

    Separation of lashes: 4

    Durability: 4

    Overall score: 4

    Thoughts: Looks fabulous and actually lengthened my lashes. I would definitely purchase this one. 

    Sarah's before and after:

    eyes without mascara on top of eyes with mascara

    Spray test:

    Sarah's rating:

    Ease of application: 5

    Volumizing: 5

    Lengthening: 5

    Separation of lashes: 4

    Durability: 5

    Overall score: 5

    Thoughts: This one made my lashes look SOOO much longer. I've never had a mascara do this before! The brush head is extremely flexible and it was easy to apply. I would buy this one in a heartbeat! This honestly might be my new go-to mascara.

    Hannah's before and after:

    eyes without mascara on top of eyes with mascara

    Spray test:

    Hannah's rating:

    Ease of application: 4

    Volumizing: 3

    Lengthening: 5

    Separation of lashes: 5

    Durability: 5

    Overall score: 5

    Thoughts: Wow, this made my lashes look sooo long. It almost looks like I have fake lashes or lash extensions! It's not super voluminous, but that lengthening is too good. I will be using this again. It's also so durable. I love it!

    Average overall score for Maybelline:

    4.75/5 over a solid background

    6. L'Oréal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Waterproof Mascara

    tube of L'Oreal mascara

    Last one!!!

    four women applying mascara

    Natasha's before and after:

    Spray test:

    Natasha's rating:

    Ease of application: 4

    Volumizing: 3

    Lengthening: 4

    Separation of lashes: 1

    Durability: 5

    Overall score: 3

    Thoughts: Another clumpy gal! My lashes felt too stuck together to really get good volume. The length was great, though. It was difficult to take off, even with waterproof makeup remover. 

    Tafi's before and after:

    Spray test:

    Tafi's rating:

    Ease of application: 3

    Volumizing: 4

    Lengthening: 4

    Separation of lashes: 3

    Durability: 4

    Overall score: 4

    Thoughts: This was the only tube where I actually noticed the smell of the mascara, and that was off-putting.  

    Sarah's before and after:

    Spray test:

    Sarah's rating:

    Ease of application: 4

    Volumizing: 3

    Lengthening: 3

    Separation of lashes: 3

    Durability: 5

    Overall score: 3

    Thoughts: I felt pretty neutral about this one. It was fine. It wouldn't be my first choice, but it would work in a pinch!

    Hannah's before and after:

    Spray test:

    Hannah's rating:

    Ease of application: 3

    Volumizing: 3

    Lengthening: 3

    Separation of lashes: 3

    Durability: 5

    Overall score: 3

    Thoughts: It was pretty good, but it wasn't my absolute favorite. I would definitely use it in a pinch if I had to — it still gets the job done. It was definitely waterproof. It held up nicely, and was actually a bit tough to remove.  

    Average overall score for L'Oréal Paris:

    3/5 over a solid background

    UNANIMOUS WINNER: Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara

    tube of maybelline mascara

    What do you think? Is there a drugstore brand that you swear by? What should we try next? Tell us in the comments!