From no-clumps and lash-lengthening to separating and volumising, the mascara buzzwords make us feel stressed before we've even started. Shop the best and get beauty team tips in our round-up of the best...
Mascara is one of the hardest beauty products to buy. When faced with shelves and shelves of different wands and formulas promising to make your lashes longer, fatter, more voluminous and basically a much better and more beefy version of themselves, the choice can simply be overwhelming and the urge to stick to the same old formula you've been using since you were 16 is very tempting indeed.
It is also, annoyingly, one of those 'can't live without' products,' the thing that we wouldn't leave the house without, the product that ties a look together neatly and makes eyes pop. A smoky eye without a lick of mascara just doesn't look right, while even the most natural beachy look of glowing skin and a layer of gloss is given oomph and definition courtesy of the black stuff.
To help you pick a mascara that'll work for you, we've pulled together this guide of our tried-and-tested best mascaras. You'll find ones that do a bit of everything, and those that are geared towards more specific niggles. Or, try out this match-making mascara quiz to find the best mascara for your eyes only.
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Once you've chosen your weapon, remember the mascara rules. First, never pump the wand in and out of the tube - doing so will introduce air into the mascara paste and dry it out more quickly. Next, when you apply, the easiest way to coat a lash properly is to start right at the roots and gently wiggle up to the end of the lash. If you find you have too much on the ends, just pinch them gently to remove any excess.
Final pro tip? Don't be afraid to use different mascaras all on the one eye of lashes - try using waterproof mascara on lower lashes if you find you often end up with smudges under your eyes, and grab a lengthening wand to use on outer lash corners for a little extra flutter.
Want a bespoke mascara recommendation, created specifically for your lashes AND budget? Check out our sister site Powder.
1. Urban Decay Troublemaker Mascara, £19.50
As well as boasting the ability to make your lashes "super-fat, super-long, and sex-proof," Urban Decay's latest launch also lasts forever, is lightweight on the lashes, and doesn't smudge one bit.
2. Victoria Beckham Estee Lauder Eye Ink Mascara in Blackest, £36
Trust VB to nail this category on the head. The woman who’s well-known for loving a smokey eye has created the ultimate perfectionist’s mascara, with a head small enough to manoeuvre into the base of lashes, and a formula that is easy to build AND which is fine to apply over lash extensions as it can be removed with warm water. #Perfection.
3. CLINIQUE HIGH IMPACT LASH ELEVATING MASCARA, £18
This one keeps stubbornly straight lashes lifted high and proud, keeping them curled to perfection all day long - plus it's ophthalmologist-approved for even the most sensitive of peepers.
4. L’Oreal Paris Telescopic Mascara, £10.99
Use the flexible comb wand to coat hard to reach, tricksy lashes for the ultimate flutter.
5. Lancôme Hypnose Star Mascara, £24.50
6. Dior Diorshow Mascara, £25.50
The ultimate mascara for brushy wand lovers, this is enriched with microfibers to thicken lashes without clumping for a satisfying boost.
Dior | £25.50
8. Clarins Supra Volume Mascara, £21.50
This is a must-have for plumped-up lashes, and the brown shade works amazingly for fair or ginger lashes.
Clarins | £21.50
9. Clinique High Impact Extreme Mascara, £20
Although the Clinique staples can always be relied upon, their newer products are well worth keeping up with - and that includes the High Impact Extreme Mascara. This is volumising mascara at its very best.
Clinique | £20
10. Guerlain Cils D'Enfer Maxi Lash Mascara, £25.50
If you like to layer your mascara for extra wow-factor then Guerlain’s Cils D'Enfer Maxi Lash Mascara is the one for you. The lightweight formula builds beautifully layer upon layer without looking clumpy.
Guerlain | £25.50
11. allbeauty, Yves Saint Laurent Mascara Volume Effect Faux Babydoll, £25.50
Ever since we saw Cara D wrapping her luscious lashes around this YSL mascara in the advert, we were sold on this beauty product. This 24-hour mascara claims to keep up with you all day, no matter how hard you want to party. Ahem, Cara D.
Yves Saint Laurent | £25.50
12. Fairydrops Scandal Queen Quattro Mascara, £18.50
Famed for its ability to hold lashes in a curl, this mascara is a dream if you like your lashes separated and fluttery - and for that not to budge all day; Fairydrops is truly smudge-proof.