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

Beauty products that don't come with a hefty price tag are de rigueur these days, and the 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 energy and food prices rising to catastrophic levels, can we really justify £20, £30, even £40 for a 10ml tube of product? Well, the great news is you don't have to. 

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. 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: Max Factor 2000 Calorie Waterproof Volume, £9.99

With its narrow brush, this is a mascara that manages to coat every lash in a jet black formula that stays put even if you’re going swimming (trust us, we’ve tried it on holiday). Unlike many other waterproof mascaras it doesn’t feel dry or powdery but you do need a good oily cleanser to get it off. We favour a balm that you can really massage into the lashes to break it down.

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2. The best defining budget 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.

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3. The best budget mascara for travel: Milk Makeup Rise Mascara, £9.75

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.

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4. 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.

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5. The best lengthening budget mascara: 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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6. The best curling budget mascra: E.l.f 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. 

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7. The best budget mascara for lifting: 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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8. The best budget mascara for keeping lashes lifted: Maybelline Colossal Curl Bounce, normally £10.99 now £6.59

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.

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9. 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.

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10. 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.

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11. 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.

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