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Budget Beauty

The best cheap mascaras

July 18th 2015 / Katie Robertson Google+ Katie Robertson / 0 comment


Mad for mascara? We’ve rounded up an edit of the best budget brands that won’t break the bank

Ask a person what one special, luxury item they would take to a desert island (food and clothing aside) and you’re likely to be met with answers such as ‘photographs of loved ones’, a ‘family heirloom’ or something survival smart, such as a lighter or matches. When giving my answer however, personal possessions take a back seat, as do rudimentary tools - because when given the chance to keep hold of just one item in my life, it would without a doubt be mascara. Shallow, yes. Strange, perhaps - but I just need it.

I can trace the beginning of my obsession back to my childhood when, while holidaying at a school camp, a 14 year old boy proceeded to point out that my blonde eyelashes and pale skin made me look like I ‘had no eyes’, which quickly developed into me receiving the nickname Casper. Cruel or not - he had a point. With brighter than bright blonde hair and almost translucent skin, most of my features lie almost undetectable to the human eye. Indeed, what those feigning sympathy would describe as an ‘English rose’ complexion is what also always leads my mother to consistently point out that ‘I don’t look well’ - despite 25 years of pointing out that it’s just simply my face.

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Once I discovered mascara though, everything changed. The lashings of dark, dramatic liquid finally gave me the license and the confidence to join the human world. Quite literally eye opening, I was immediately hooked by the way just a few strokes of jet-black paint managed to totally transform my face. Like many would only feel themselves once in their pure, barefaced state, I only truly feel myself when my eyelashes have been made visible. So as you can imagine then, I never go anywhere without it.

Given that my interest in makeup developed in my mid-early teens, I never would have been able to explore the marvels of mascara had it not been for the bevy of high-streets brands that made beauty so readily available to money-starved adolescents like myself. And, you don’t develop a strong obsession without picking up a few favourite buys along the way.

What I love so much about mascara is that unlike many other beauty products, those produced by high-street brands are often as good, if not better than their top-shelf counterparts. Combine the right formula with a kick-ass wand, and a cheap as chips mascara is just about all you need to achieve a full-volume, fluttery finish. Not to mention, the cost of just one high-end mascara can allow you to purchase roughly three budget mascaras that all create a different look - making scrimping on the pennies here style as well as spend savvy. So, without further ado, here is my edit of the best budget brand mascaras that I simply can’t live without.

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As my inaugural mascara brand I always feel a large amount of nostalgic love for Rimmel, which is perhaps why I’ve been unable to whittle my choices down to just one. Super long-lasting (a good three months) and always delivering an even, wet coating they are, in my humble opinion, possibly the best brand for all-over performance. In particular, Rimmel London ScandalEyes Xxtreme Mascara, £4.99, delivers a healthy dose of intense length, volume and definition, while their new Wonder’Full Wake Me Up Mascara, £7.99, is jam-packed with vitamins and cucumber essence, which gives a more casual, fresher look.


For the ultimate in wide-eyed beauty Maybelline’s Lash Sensational Multiplying Mascara, £7.99, is the perfect product. With an intricately designed precision brush it works to coat each and every lash - including the teeny tiny ones at the corner of the eye and on the bottom lid, delivering a full, fanned out finish. Similarly, Max Factor’s best-selling Masterpiece Mascara, £9.99, blends their impressive IFX brush technology (read: flexible) with a gel-like volumizing formula that leaves a picture perfect framing effect on eyes.


If full on, false looking lashes are your aim I would highly recommend L’Oreal Paris Million Lashes Excess Mascara, £10.99. Employing their uber popular ‘Millioniser Brush’, which contains a multitude of bristles that work to lift and separate simultaneously, this mascara manages to achieve the perfect combination of product density and even coverage - not to mention the excess wiper helps to remove any extra formula so that lashes are kept clump-free. It’s been when wearing this mascara that I’ve smugly denied wearing lash extensions on a number of occasions to different people.


For the best value for money NYX Voluptuous Mascara, £8, hits it out of the park every time. With an uber wide, tapered brush this mascara packs on the formula and is ideal for creating layers of dark, dramatic lashes. With a wand this thick you might expect it to be a little on the messy side, but it’s surprisingly lightweight and pliable, making big, beautiful lashes a total cinch.

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