Take innovative formulas, put them together with state-of-the-art brushes and offer them at purse-friendly prices, and you’ve got Maybelline’s winning mascara collection. It’s no-wonder then, that one of the brand’s mascaras is sold every seven seconds in the UK.
No other make-up brand has such a popular portfolio of lash-defining formulas, not just in the UK but the world over. And, its line-up doesn’t just include best-selling mascaras, but also those that have stood the test of time – Great Lash, which launched in 1971, is celebrating 50 years of delivering its classic flutter.
But, it should come as no surprise that Maybelline is constantly delivering such well-loved formulas, when it was in fact the first brand to launch mascara. Its legacy dates back to 1915 when a young woman named Mabel Williams discovered mixing coal dust with petroleum jelly added definition to her eyes.
Picking up on what she was doing, her entrepreneurial brother started selling a mail-order adoption of it, which did so well that the company Maybelline was born – named using the combination of “Mabel” and “Vaseline”.
Back then, the mascara was sold as two separates, a brush and the formula. It wasn’t until 1959 when the mascara as we know it today was put together and sold as one, where the product is already on the spiral brush in the tube.
By 1971, make-up needs had moved on. Multi-tasking, busy women who had joined the workforce needed convenience and Great Lash was released in response, as a quick and easy-to-apply, and take off formula. Fifty years on, its recognisable pink and green tube has without doubt earned its cult classic status. By the year 2000 one sold every 1.2 seconds, helped along with the famous advertising “maybe it’s Maybelline” tagline.
A whole host of mascaras have since joined Maybelline’s collection. We got to know the latest offerings by putting them to the test to make it easy for you to pick a formula that works for you – there’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all when it comes to mascara.
No matter what look you’re after, whether it be fuller, thicker, longer, curled or more defined lashes, there’s the perfect pick for your flutter and all at under £10.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
The best Maybelline mascaras for 2021 are:
- Best Maybelline mascara – Maybelline lash sensational sky high mascara: £9.99, Superdrug.com
- Best for natural soft definition – Maybelline great lash mascara: £5.99, Boots.com
- Best for all-round length, volume and curl – Maybelline lash sensational mascara: £8.99, Feelunique.com
- Best for dramatic volume – Maybelline the colossal mascara: £7.99, Boots.com
- Best for lift and volume – Maybelline the falsies lash lift: £9.99, Lookfantastic.com
Maybelline lash sensational sky high mascara
Best for: Length and volume
The brand’s newest wand launched in January 2021 and has been flying off the virtual beauty shelves since going viral on TikTok. In fact, it’s been the number one selling make-up product in Superdrug ever since it came out. The sky’s the limit with this mascara, promising full volume and limitless length, and if social media is anything to go by it really delivers.
We found out for ourselves when we gave it our own test drive. The long, thin brush head is soft and flexible, which did take some getting used to if, like us, you normally prefer a rigid, fatter brush. It’s easy to master though and once you have you’ll love how it can catch every single lash, and even get to those annoying teeny tiny ones. While the bamboo extract and fibres do create weightless volume, it’s the lengthening of the lashes we were most impressed by. Our tester’s short, straight lashes have truly never looked so elongated and fanned-out. You can believe the hype.
Maybelline great lash mascara
Best for: Natural soft definition
After half-a-century of being swiped on lashes around the globe, this formula must be doing something right. Before the pandemic, one Maybelline great lash mascara sold every three seconds in the US. For some of us, it’s a nostalgic beauty product spanning generations. Even as a teen in the Nineties, this was a firm favourite beauty staple, next to the Lancôme juicy tube lip gloss and the Calvin Klein CK one perfume.
It’s been a long time since we tried this legendary formula, so we couldn’t wait to see if it lived up to our fond memories. The brush looks very small and simple at first glance but after putting it to use we’d forgotten how precise it is at getting to every lash for a full look. You have to move fast with it and build thicker lashes quickly if that’s your desired look, but no matter how many coats you apply this is only for people who want a natural look. Think fine, well-separated and defined lashes.
Maybelline lash sensational mascara
Best for: All-round length, volume and curl
This is the UK’s best-selling mascara. It launched back in 2015, so is another formula that’s standing the test of time. Its consistent consumer praise shows people turn back to it time and time again. Perhaps it’s the unique “layer-reveal” brush with different lengths of bristles that works for so many. It creates a fuller, longer and fanned-out effect, and its low-wax formula delivers a true black colour.
At first, we actually found the curved brush a bit confusing to use but we soon got the knack when we realised that, with the right turn of the wand, you not only get to the root but can cover the ends quickly too. We loved how buildable this mascara is, making it great for creating different day to night looks. If you’re looking for a do-it-all formula, this is it.
Maybelline the colossal mascara
Best for: Dramatic volume
For next-level, attention-grabbing volume, this is the wand that’s really going to “va va voom” your lashes. The oversized brush, combined with the collagen-infused formula that plumps the hairs, makes this a super quick and easy to use mascara. Just one wiggle from root to tip and there’s, well, a colossal difference – lashes look lifted, longer and super thick. We like to add a few extra coats for a real dramatic effect. A great pick as an alternative to lash extensions.
Maybelline the falsies lash lift
Best for: Lift and volume
Inspired by the popularity of lash lift salon treatments that colour, curl and make lashes look thicker, this mascara launched last year. It contains hair polymers, which are often found in hair styling products like hairspray to create hold. It also carries adhesive properties to stretch, lift and hold lashes in place, mimicking the salon treatment.
We can see why this is the UK’s second favourite mascara. It certainly creates an eye-opening effect with the big double-curved brush that lifts lashes at the roots. We loved how long-lasting this formula is too, lashes stayed lifted all day without any drop or panda eyes. This did make it a little more difficult to remove, but nothing a good cleansing oil couldn’t handle.
The verdict: Maybelline mascaras
Our best buy goes to the new lash sensational sky high mascara for next-level volume, length and definition. Lashes look remarkably thicker and well-separated, creating a fanned-out flutter. We predict this to be the next number one best-selling mascara. If you prefer, a “no-make-up” make-up look stick with the classic great lash mascara and if you’re getting ready for the post-lockdown social go for drama with the the colossal mascara.
Need more make-up inspo? We’ve reviewed the best products to buy from Glossier
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