The best volumizing mascara
For many people, mascara is that one makeup product they just can't live without. Having long, thick lashes can make your eyes pop even if you aren't wearing any eye shadow or liner. If your main goal is thicker, fuller lashes, you need a volumizing formula. Volumizing mascara doesn't just make your lashes darker and longer; it coats them completely to give them a plumper look, too. It's perfect for an evening out or a special event, though it also works well for everyday wear, especially if you have thin lashes.
Confused by all the volumizing formulas? Our buying guide has all the answers you need to find the best volumizing mascara for your makeup bag. We've included several product recommendations, including our top pick from Elizabeth Mott, which features a natural wax formula that can boost volume and hold a curl all day.
Considerations when choosing volumizing mascaras
Volumizing mascara contains specific ingredients to help boost lash volume. Some formulas feature collagen, which is a natural protein that can strengthen and thicken the lashes. Other volumizing mascaras rely on waxes to help thicken lashes and resist smudging and running. Many volumizing mascaras are also enriched with vitamins and nutrients to help moisturize and strengthen the lashes.
If you're leery of chemicals in your makeup, opt for a paraben-free, sulfate-free, formaldehyde-free, and non-GMO formula. You can also find vegan volumizing mascara if you prefer cruelty-free makeup options.
Waterproof vs. regular
As with any mascara, ask yourself whether you need a regular or waterproof formula. Regular volumizing mascara can run or smudge when it's exposed to moisture, leading to raccoon eyes if you cry, sweat, or get stuck in the rain. The benefit of a regular formula is that it's easy to wash off without having to scrub at your lashes too much.
On the other hand, waterproof volumizing mascara can hold up well in the face of tears, sweat, and rain. It won't smudge, streak, or run, so you never have to worry about your makeup getting ruined. But, because it's budge-proof, taking it off can be a real pain. You need a special waterproof eye makeup remover to get it off, and even then, you might need to scrub a bit.
Like most mascaras, classic color options for volumizing mascara are black and dark brown. The dark color helps amplify the thickening effect, so your lashes appear as full as possible. It also helps with lash definition and shows up better in photos than mascaras in other colors.
A volumizing mascara typically features a standard mascara wand with a spoolie that has fine bristles to coat each and every lash. There's some variation in terms of the shape of the spoolie head. Most are cylindrical, but you can find triangular, curved, or hourglass-shaped spoolies, too.
With a volumizing formula, the shape doesn't matter quite as much as how densely packed the bristles are. A densely packed spoolie makes it easier to evenly coat all your lashes with the mascara, so your lashes look thicker and fuller.
You can spend anywhere from $5 to $40 on a tube of volumizing mascara. Drugstore formulas usually range from $5 to $12, but you can pay between $15 and $25 for a volumizing formula from a premium brand with nutrients like collagen. For a luxury volumizing mascara that provides bold results, expect to spend $25 to $40.
Q. What type of shelf life does a volumizing mascara have?
A. Like any mascara, a volumizing formula has a short shelf life. Toss your tube once it's been open for three months to avoid eye infections.
Q. What's the best way to apply volumizing mascara?
A. You usually get more volume if you angle the brush slightly as you apply it. Position the spoolie right at the base of your lashes and wiggle the brush back and forth as you drag it toward the tips. This ensures that the mascara evenly coats the entire length of your lashes.
Volumizing mascaras we recommend
Best of the best: Elizabeth Mott's IT'S SO BIG Volumizing Mascara
Our take: A quality mascara that delivers major volume and length and doesn't smudge as easily as the competition.
What we like: Boosts volume but doesn't clump or weigh down lashes. Smudge-resistant even when crying or sweating. Easy to take off without leaving residue behind.
What we dislike: Can flake a bit.
Best bang for your buck: Maybelline's Volum' Express The Colossal Waterproof Mascara
Our take: An affordable volumizing mascara that wears a long time on the lashes and delivers big volume thanks to its user-friendly wand.
What we like: Curved wand works well to separate lashes and keep them from clumping. A tube can last an entire three months without drying out. Doesn't flake.
What we dislike: Doesn't hold a curl all day.
Our take: An excellent high-end volumizing mascara that creates a full, thick look no matter how thin your lashes are.
What we like: Brush separates lashes and limits clumping. Offers a rich, dark color for added intensity. Lasts all day long on the lashes.
What we dislike: Can dry out somewhat easily.
Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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