Nowhere is that more evident than in our mascara choices — each of our editors swears by a different magic wand to get her fringe looking phenomenal. And since a good lash enhancer can be hard to find, may we present to you (drumroll, please) the R29 Mascara Hall of Fame.
In our office-wide search for the best mascaras, we uncovered lots of love for Maybelline, some high-end lash-lengtheners that really live up to the hype, and a drugstore cheapie adored by not one, but two editors. Click through to see the lash-enhancers we just can’t live without, then tell us in the comments where yourmascara loyalties lie.
Max Factor False Lash Effect
“Other than lipstick, I’m SO not a makeup girl. But for a special dinner or night out, I love a little mascara, and my go-to is Max Factor False Lash Effect. For a true makeup lazy girl like me, the super-fine brush and velvety formula guarantee easy application and a big impact with the least amount of effort…my kind of makeup.” — Christene Barberich, editor-in-chief
Max Factor False Lash Effect, $11.46, available at Amazon.
Maybelline Full N’ Soft Washable Mascara
“I’m not a loyalist when it comes to mascara. I have short, straight lashes and short of extensions or falsies, no mascara has ever really wowed me. At the moment though, Maybelline Full N’ Soft is my go-to for everyday. It’s nice for a natural look with extra volume and length.” — Piera Gelardi, creative director
Maybelline Full N’ Soft Washable Mascara, $7.99, available at Walgreens.
Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara
“I don’t have very thick lashes, and I find that if I use regular mascara, my ten-or-so lashes tend to clump together into three separate pieces. Not so cute. Clinique’s Bottom Lashes mascara has a smaller wand and a thinner formula, and it coats each lash evenly and smoothly, while elongating and pumping up the volume to a reasonable, non-Tammy Faye degree.” — Connie Wang, global editor
Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara, $10, available at Clinique.
Lancôme Hypnôse Mascara
“I’ll admit that I break the number-one rule of makeup and am generally too lazy to curl my lashes. Short of lash extensions — which I’m addicted to, but are a little pricier than I would like — this is the best quick fix I can find for lifted lashes and open eyes. This mascara doesn’t curl, per se, but it does achieve the same effects and give me long, separated lashes without clumping. And for a girl with three wispy little gray lashes, that’s a godsend.” — Neha Gandhi, deputy editor
Lancôme Hypnôse Mascara, $26, available at Lancôme.
Yves Saint Laurent Volume Effet Faux Cils
“Most. Amazing. Thing. Ever! I have road tested a lot of mascara, and this particular formulation is the best I’ve ever found. My lashes look long and sumptuous, plus it’s easy to take off and doesn’t irritate my eyes.” — Jessica Teves, managing editor
Yves Saint Laurent Volume Effet Faux Cils, $30, available at Yves Saint Laurent.
Le Métier De Beauté Anamorphic Lash Mascara
“I made the mistake of getting lash extensions a few months back, and ever since then I’ve been nothing but underwhelmed by the no-longer-mile-long lashes staring back at me in the mirror. While it may not be quite the same, this lash-lengthener makes my fringe look full, long, and defined, and refuses to flake, smudge, or budge. What more can a girl ask for of her mascara? It’s the closest I’ll get to Zooey Deschanel doe eyes without having tiny hairs glued to my eyeballs, and it’s a lot less labor-intensive.” — Megan McIntyre, senior beauty editor
Le Métier De Beauté Anamorphic Lash Mascara, $34, available at Bergdorf Goodman.
Benefit They’re Real! Mascara
“This stuff seriously reinvents the wheel. It lengthens without looking spider-like, and thickens enough to fool folks into thinking you’re wearing extensions or falsies. The only downside is that it doesn’t come off easily without makeup remover, but hey, I’ll take it.” — Katie Hintz-Zambrano, senior editor, West Coast
Benefit They’re Real! Mascara, $23, available at Benefit.
L’Oréal Voluminous Volume Building Mascara
“Since the age of 15, I have never strayed from this six-dollar mascara. The key is the curved brush — bat those lashes hard into it, et voila — you look like a Latisse commercial! Seriously, people have stopped me in the street to ask if my lashes are real! This is one beauty item I feel absolutely no need to splurge on. Forever.” — Brenna Egan, Los Angeles editor
“Like Piera, I am not a strict mascara loyalist (when it comes to beauty products, I’ll try anything our beauty editor Megan recommends) BUT I always find myself gravitating back toward L’Oréal Voluminous. I am a blonde and wearing mascara makes all the difference in the world. This one has a pretty standard brush (nothing vibrating or unusually bristled here) but the overall effect is what the product promises — voluminous lashes — which is really the ultimate goal for me. ” — Annie Georgia Greenberg, New York Editor
L’Oréal Voluminous Volume Building Mascara, $6.99, available at Drugstore.com.
Maybelline Lash Discovery
“I’ve been wearing this one since I was fifteen, and though I’ve strayed from time to time I always come back. I don’t go for super-thick lashes, preferring a more natural-looking longer lash, and this mascara just does the trick. It layers well for when I do want something more dramatic, and it simply never clumps.” — Kelsey Miller, SEO editor
Maybelline Lash Discovery, $7.49, available at Ulta.
MAC False Lashes
“I’ve been wearing this mascara for years, primarily because someone once asked if I was wearing falsies when I had it on. That was three years ago, and I haven’t strayed since.” — Holly Thomas, D.C. editor
MAC False Lashes, $20, available at MAC.
Benefit BadGal Lash
“My all-time favorite mascara doesn’t come in the form of just one, but rather is the power of two! I use both Benefit’s BadGal Lash and They’re Real! Mascara. BadGal Lash gives me the fullness I’m looking for, so once it’s dry I add a coat of They’re Real! for length. I’ve used this combo for quite some time now and am obsessed!”” — Angela Tafoya, San Francisco editor
Benefit BadGal Lash, $19, available at Benefit.
“I love the CK One Mascara because of the great adjustable brush. Simply twist the cap and you can get those little small lashes that we sometimes miss in the corners! Also, the black shade, Show, makes you look like you’re wearing false eyelashes — in a good way!” — Rebecca Taras, Chicago editor
CK One Mascara, $18, available at Ulta.
Clinique Lash Power Mascara
“I love Maybelline Great Lash, because it is a classic, but there is actually this Clinique conditioning mascara that I stole from my mother that I quite adore. As far as mascaras go, I have no problem going drugstore. I like black because I tend to go for the dramatic and it works with my ultra-pale skin.” — Leila Brillson, global news editor
Clinique Lash Power Mascara, $16, available at Macy’s.
Guerlain By Emilio Pucci Le 2 De Guerlain Mascara
“I’m not much of a pro when it comes to makeup — usually just red lipstick and not much else. But my roommate in college introduced me to blue mascara and I’ll never look back! It’s the perfect way to try something outrageous without overdoing it.” — Lexi Nisita, associate community editor
Guerlain By Emilio Pucci Le 2 De Guerlain Mascara, $36, available at Sephora.
Dior Diorshow Mascara
“My motto: The bigger the lashes, the better. And after many years of testing out mascara formulas that clumped, flaked, ran, underwhelmed, and made my eyes itch (ew), I finally tried Diorshow and have never looked back. It gives lashes that little dramatic boost I love, without any awful side effects.” — Gina Marinelli, assistant editor
Dior Diorshow Mascara, $25, available at Dior.
Revlon Grow Luscious By Fabulash Mascara
“I’m not a die-hard mascara-wearer, so I am a-okay with using the affordable drugstore variety. My personal favorite is Grow Luscious by Revlon — it gives my lashes that oomph I’m looking for, and it’s super easy on my wallet. Plus, it lasts forever, so the little bit of money you spend goes a long way.” — Seija Rankin, editorial assistant, East Coast
Revlon Grow Luscious By Fabulash Mascara, $4.99, available at Target.
Maybelline Define-A-Lash Mascara
“It may be a drugstore brand, but this baby knows how to define and lengthen my lashes — no clumps or goop included. Add, with the affordable price tag and the fun, bright-green tube, this is a go-to mascara with pizzazz.” — Diana Nguyen, top editor
Maybelline Define-A-Lash Mascara, $6.22, available at CVS.
Yves Saint Laurent Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils Shocking
“Most of the time, the only eye makeup I wear is mascara, so I love this YSL Shocking Mascara because it is amps up my eyes but still looks and feels super natural. I get overwhelmed by all the promises mascaras make (and deciding what quality I care about the most, like volumizing versus lengthening) and this one does it all. I’ve been a total devotee since a makeup artist turned me on to it on a shoot a year ago.” — Willow Lindley, fashion & beauty assistant
Yves Saint Laurent Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils Shocking, $30, available at Nordstrom.
CoverGirl LashBlast 24 Hour Mascara
“I’m not going to front like I’m a makeup girl. I’d rather splurge on moisturizer or nail polish. That’s why when I need to buy makeup, I make a beeline for CVS and the budget-friendly beauty products. Some items have failed me, but CoverGirl’s won my heart. It lasts forever, but not a pain in the tush to take off at night!” — Sarah St. Lifer, editorial assistant, West Coast
CoverGirl LashBlast 24 Hour Mascara, $7.79 available at Drugstore.com.
Clarins Instant Definition Mascara
“I absolutely love Clarins Instant Definition Mascara. The dual brush with the thin tip makes it easy to get every last lash without creating a huge mess. A bonus: The color is inky-black, which helps my eyes look more awake!” — Tara Rasmus, beauty contributor
Clarins Instant Definition Mascara, $24, available at Clarins.
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