This category was a toughie. While there are plenty of legit drugstore beauty products out there, many of the highly rated “cult favorites” we tried were pretty disappointing. With a lot of the products we tested, the effect was basically like drawing on our eyelashes with a permanent marker. Sure, they were blacker, but that was about it. But not so with our pick for this price tier, L’Oreal Voluminous Lash!
Far be it from us to use the word “dupe” with any authority, but this stuff strikes us as a pretty good dupe for Buxom, our mid-range favorite. The brush and the effect are almost identical — though it does suffer a bit by comparison in its layerability and curling power (on the other hand, a fair number of reviews praised it for its layering prowess, so IDK!). It did do an undeniably great job separating, lengthening, and volumizing, and honestly, it looked pretty dang good with just one layer. This mascara definitely lives up to the “voluminous” in its title — nearly 400 Ulta reviewers praise its volume-adding abilities. So if you’re looking to pad out sparse lashes, look no further!
Reviewers also call it out as a solid dupe for our runner-up $$ pick, Too Faced’s wildly popular Better Than Sex, and some even gave the edge to L’Oreal for being less likely to clump and flake. Ulta reviewer pris writes, “The Better Than Sex has a brush that tends to clump product more this one [L’Oreal] — [which] has a great brush that separates and lengthens.” (We agree.)
Like our other two picks, the L’Oreal mascara stayed put all day. We didn’t go snorkeling in the stuff, but when it comes to everyday wear — even fairly swampy everyday wear — you’ll be golden. A number of reviewers have noted that it’s one of the few mascaras that can stand up to oily eyelids. It was medium-hard to remove; some reviewers recommend coconut oil, but any oil-based makeup remover should do the trick.
Perhaps our favorite thing about this mascara is that it costs less than $6! Think of all the mascara you can buy with the money you’ll save.