Is it us, or does buying mascara require a small bank loan these days? Newsflash: it doesn't have to, thanks to these affordable, lash-boosting wands
Without any doubt the beauty question the entire Get The Gloss team get asked constantly by friends and family is 'what is the best budget mascara?'. After all, we love fabulous lashes as much as the next person, but with everything costing so much these days, can we really justify £20, £30, even £40 for a 10ml tube of product? Well, the great news is you don't have to. Budget friendly makeup has really stepped up its game in the last few years with formulas becoming more advanced and packaging looking and feeling far more luxe than the price tag would make you think.
And the truth is, of all the products you use on a regular basis, mascara is the product you can afford to spend less on. Not only because the more affordable options do exactly what the pricier ones do, but also because it is the product in your makeup bag that you should be replacing the most consistently to avoid bacteria build-up in the mascara formula and on the wand itself. There's no point splashing out on a product you should be replacing every three months when you don't have to.
So, sit back as we take you on a guided tour of the high street, pointing out the best purse-friendly mascaras along the way...
1. The best waterproof mascara: Beauty Pie The Perfect Waterproof Mascara, £12* for members
It's quite a big claim to call your product 'The Perfect Waterproof Mascara', but this does live up to the title. It has a fairly narrow brush, which makes coating every lash in the jet black formula really easy. The formula stays put for a dip in the pool (trust us, we’ve tried it on holiday) and on hot, humid days when others can melt down your face. Unlike many other waterproof mascaras it doesn’t feel dry or powdery but you do need a good cleansing oil or cleansing balm that you can really massage into the lashes to break it down.
2. The best brown mascara: Max Factor 2000 Calorie Pro Stylist, £10.99
Whether you're looking to create a slightly less defined and more natural look, or you simply prefer a brown mascara over a black one - this is a great option. The formula is a deep chestnut brown shade, great for fair hairs or paler complexions, but will also add definition to darker lashes too. The brush is curved to sit along your lash line, lifting and curling the lashes as you sweep it through.
3. The best defining mascara: Revolution Lift & Define 5D Lash Mascara, £8.99
As the name might suggest, this mascara has the amazing ability to coat each and every lash all the way round making each one stand out more. It comes with a fairly small and narrow wand which makes it easier to grab even the teeny tiny lashes in the inner corner too.
4. The best budget mascara for travel: Milk Makeup Rise Mascara, £11.20
Firstly, a caveat: this is the travel-sized version of this cult, bestselling mascara (the full size, which is double in size is also double the price) however we have this mascara in our makeup bag and it has lasted an inordinate amount of time so whilst it may be small in size it is huge in its long-lasting capabilities and value.
5. The best budget mascara for fluffy lashes: Revlon So Fierce! Big Bad Lash, £9.99
Scraping in under our £10 budget, this shouty red-tubed mascara has, indeed, got a lot to shout about. Rich, glossy lashes are a go with this dual-sided wand, which takes care of no-holds-barred volume on its curved side, and fanned-out separation on its flat side. And if that wasn’t enough, it gradually tints your lashes over time – we’re talking seven days' use for long-term tint. Genius.
6. The best lengthening mascara: Lottie London Superfake Mascara, £7.95
If you favour a skinny, short-bristled wand for maximum control, stop here. And if you prefer lashes that err on the subtle side, don’t be put off by the name. Sure, some clever layering will give you a “super fake” finish, but just a couple of swipes will leave the perfect daytime flutter, with no flakes or smudges to be seen. No fake news here.
7. The best curling mascara: Elf Lash N’ Roll Mascara, £6
We’re still in the dark about how a genuinely-good brand can keep its products at such low prices. This mascara comes with a dual-sided wand. The curved edge creates lift and fans lashes out whilst the flatter side combs through making lashes look longer. The formula is vegan and cruelty-free and it's also smudgeproof.
8. The best budget mascara for lifting: Collection Mile High Mascara, £6.99
10/10 for the name, and luckily you’re not paying £6.99 for a play on words. You also get sky-high (mile high if we really want to keep pushing on with the name)lashes thrown in for free. Enriched with bamboo extract for extra nourishment and a tapered brush that captures and coats even the tiniest hairs, delivering an all-over slick finish. Bravo, Collection.
9. The best budget mascara for keeping lashes lifted: Maybelline Colossal Curl Bounce, normally £10.99 now £8.79
Ok, this is 99p over the £10 cut off, but we think 99 pennies extra for the mascara launch of the year is pretty justifiable, don’t you? Plus thanks to brilliant beauty retailers and the offers they can conjure up you will rarely have to pay full price for this bad boy. It’s USP is a clever hairspray-like polymer that fixes your lash curl in place (because no one wants a midday droop). Like Revlon, this boasts a dual-sided bristle brush – the shorter bristles add volume, the longer ones ensures effortless separation for that sought-after Bambi flutter.
10. The best plumping budget mascara: L’Oréal Paris Collagen Mascara, £8.50
You only have to look at this fluffy, hourglass-shaped wand to realise it’s going to deliver on its promise. Infused with collagen (the plumping skincare go-to), L’Oréal Paris’ most affordable mascara to date isn’t just a one-trick pony. You get plumped lashes, sure, but it also gives 5-star length and separation, with minimal swiping energy required. Drama… but without the drama.
11. The best budget vegan mascara: Rimmel London Kind & Free Lengthening Mascara, £9.99
If you take your beauty vegan, thank you very much, then Rimmel’s latest offering is worth a go. Made with 99% naturally-derived ingredients, the creamy shea butter and biotin formula glides on with zero clumping. But don’t be fooled by this angelic-looking product. Inside the post-consumer-recycled packaging is a formula that delivers a seriously impressive false-lash finish, so you can polish your halo while you party.
12. The best hydrating budget mascara: Barry M Insta Lash Mascara, £5.99
Not just a pretty pastel tube, this lengthening mascara gives impressive ultra-black definition in a single swipe. It’s infused with argan oil - a haircare favourite known for its hydrating and softening abilities. And in case you're wondering, using an oil-laced mascara does not compromise its long-lasting abilities. This one stayed put all day (and night) without so much as a smudge.