10 best mascaras

We've found the formulas that will keep your lashes looking enviably long 

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The Independent Online

Mascara can be a tricky one to get right. It can be too clumpy, too spidery, too black, too dramatic or not dramatic enough. It is a staple that most make-up-wearing women rely upon and once the perfect mascara has been found, there’s often no going back.

What people want from their mascara varies, coming down to the desire for thicker, longer or curvier lashes. Bearing this in mind, we put a range of mascaras, from high-end to high street, to the test. Applying an average of three coats in the morning, we looked to see how our mascaras looked on first application and how long they lasted throughout the day.  

1. Eyeko Lash Alert: £19, Marks & Spencer 


Despite being released very recently, Eyeko’s latest mascara is already making waves. Its Black Magic mascara is a popular one but we think Lash Alert might just overtake it. The wand of the brush is arched to help create that perfect curved shape even on the lower lashes (a notoriously difficult area). The wand helps to spread the lashes out with no clumps, while also appearing to add another few centimetres to your lash length. The brand says the product is a treatment as well as mascara due to the fact it includes growth-enhancing ingredients such as shea butter and amino acids. The mascara also includes caffeine so that even the most sleepy eyes can look bright and wide awake after application, which we found when putting it to the test the morning after a night out.

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2. Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara: £19, Debenhams


It’s a bold statement, which we’ll leave it up for readers to decide, but this mascara ranks highly with us. The unusual-shaped curved wand gives a good shape, which is intensified by the bold, black colour creating wonderful volume. This one is also long-lasting, having checked it seven hours after application it looked exactly the same as when we first applied. At £19, it’s also mid-range of the price spectrum, and we think the results make it worth the money. 

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3. Max Factor Masterpiece Mascara: £8.99, Superdrug


A long-time favourite and popular mascara (it was the most recommended by numerous friends ahead of trials) Masterpiece is primarily a firm favourite because of its results and value for money. The thin brush is excellent for spreading and separating the lashes equally, as well as providing length. The brush was created to be more similar to natural lashes than a traditional brush as well as being thin enough to reach and shape those tricky outer lashes.  

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4. Lancome Hypnose Drama Mascara, £24.50, Lancome


Living up to its name, this was the most dramatic-looking mascara we tried. So, if you’re looking for eyelashes to wow and be noticed, this is the one for you. It creates long, thick and perfectly curved lashes with a bold colour. As it is at the pricier end of the spectrum, it might be one to keep for nights out and special occasions. Also comes in brown.

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5. Benefit Roller Lash Mascara: £19.50, Look Fantastic 


Benefit has long been considered as one of the leading brands when it comes to eye make-up. Roller Lash lengthens and defines lashes, separating them equally in just two-to-three coats. Apparently, 97 per cent of consumers agree the mascara visibly lifts eyelashes, we found out eyes looked bright and lively without the heavy feeling of mascara. 

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6. Nars Audacious Mascara: £21, Space NK


This is a new addition to the Nars range and is best characterised by its spiky red brush, which makes it brilliant for separating the lashes equally and creating a dramatic effect. The brush has over 200 bristles and lengthening hooks and you can feel the lashes getting longer and better-shaped with each coat. Despite the impressiveness of the brush, the product feels light and natural, while lasting all day.

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7. Tom Ford Ultra Length Mascara: £36, John Lewis


This one is super-black in colour, so very dark and dramatic on. Despite this, it does not look too much or too exaggerated and you don’t have to apply too many coats to get that ideal length, just a couple will do. It was specifically designed to withstand high temperatures and humidity, something that is evident in how long it lasts as we were able to wear it all day and evening without having to apply (and even struggled taking off before bed).

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8. YSL Volume Effect Faux Cils: £25.50, Selfridges


This does not require as many coats to achieve that wonderfully arched long-lash effect. Created with special mineral pigments, the mascara is a bold black, which is translated onto the lashes with powerful effect. The brush spreads out the lashes equally, while also creating a thick volume.

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9. Mac Extreme Dimension 3D Mascara: £19.50, John Lewis


This mascara has one of the biggest and boldest brushes, which creates an equally separated, full-volume and lengthening look. The tip of the brush also includes small bristles to curve and define those inner, outer and lower lashes. Made with carbon black, the effect is dramatic and the look lasts all day. Mac claims the Extreme Dimension 3D will increase volume by 98 per cent, we don’t know about exact number but we’d say it’s pretty effective. 

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10. L'Oreal Volume Million Lashes: £9.99, Boots


The volume and lengthening abilities of this mascara are brilliant, especially when considering the price tag. Cheaper mascaras can make lashes clumpy, but there were no such problems here, and it lasted all day without flaking.  An added benefit of this mascara is that the volume is buildable, so how dramatic you go is up to you depending on the occasion or just how you are feeling that day. A couple of coats for the daytime should suffice but add one or two more for a night out. 

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The Verdict: Mascaras

Eyeko’s Lash Alert comes out on top due to the lengthening, shaping and volumising abilities of the product without looking too heavy. Too Faced’s Better Than Sex comes a close second and Maxfactor’s Masterpiece deserves a mention for the length and volume you get, despite the relatively low price tag. However, in an extremely competitive field of cosmetics, all of the above products come out shining in one way or another.

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IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing