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

We love fabulous lashes as much as the next person, but with energy and food prices rising to catastrophic levels, can we really justify £20, £30, even £40 for a 10ml tube of product? The answer is, we don’t have to.

It’s time to let you in on a little secret: beauty editors get to try every new beauty launch under the sun, so you know the products in their go-to kits are the real deal. And when it comes to mascara you’ll find that 9 times out of ten, theirs isn’t a designer brand.

High street favourites such as Rimmel, Maybelline and L’Oréal Paris have nailed their purse-friendly formulas. We’re talking volumizing, lengthening and curling superpowers that won’t take you into your overdraft quicker than the blink of a (very fluttery) eye.

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...

L’Oréal Paris Collagen Mascara, £8

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Lottie London Superfake Mascara, £6.95

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.

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E.l.f Lash Beats Mascara, £6

We’re still in the dark about how a genuinely-good brand can keep its products at such low prices. This nifty little wand deposits fibres onto the lashes for an instant lengthening and volumizing boost. There’s even whispers of it being a great Glossier Lash Slick dupe – not that we like to fan the flames with gossip…

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Collection Elevate-A-Lash Lifting Mascara, £4.99

10/10 for the name, and luckily you’re not paying £4.99 for a play on words. You also get sky-high lashes thrown in for free. Another fibre-laced formula that gives sparse lashes a helping hand. The hourglass bristle brush captures and coats even the tiniest hairs, delivering an all-over slick finish. The cheapest mascara in the line-up (you’ll pay more for a large coffee, these days) but by no means a last resort. Bravo, Collection.

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Maybelline Colossal Curl Bounce, £10.99

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? 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.

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