Looking for the perfect mascara that won’t break the bank? The best mascara for length and volume? Your teen might have the idea that she needs to shop at Ulta or Sephora to get the best mascara. But my teens and I have tried expensive luxury mascaras and haven’t been impressed by them. Unfortunately, even trying different brands and types of “drugstore brand” mascara – mascaras at Target, the grocery store, or the drugstore – is expensive too! A few months ago, Target had a beauty box of several full size mascaras, so one of my teen daughters tried all of them at a fraction of the cost. Here, you can get her real reviews of all the best drugstore mascaras – the best to lengthen, to volumize, and the best waterproof mascara.
Where can you find the best mascara
I’ll just start by saying my daughter is way better at applying her makeup and is more of a makeup expert than I am. Not only has she spent hours learning about makeup, but she a gifted artist. This means that when we decide where to spend our money on more expensive cosmetics on brands you can only find at stores like Ulta and Sephora, we spend it trying to find an eye cream that exactly matches her skin tone. Not, as you will see, buying expensive mascara.
My daughter also does dance and theater. This means not only has she applied LOTS of makeup, but that makeup has to hold up to lots of sweat and wear. And she helps other people with their makeup.
She loves to shop at Ulta and Sephora. But, if you happen to have two teens at the same time that you realize you need better eye creams and sunscreens for your own “mature” skin, you might also need to look for ways to save on cosmetics.
There have been some makeup needs that my teens and I have found more expensive brands, like you’ll find at Ulta or Sephora, to be worth the price. But that’s not true for mascara!
Each of these mascaras is what you might call a “drugstore brand.” In fact, we got them from a Target Beauty Box. Target periodically puts together Beauty Boxes, where you can get a range of products at ridiculously low price. They are often only $5! When I saw one with all mascaras just in time for Christmas, I knew it would be a hit with my teen makeup lover! (I’m a Target affiliate, which means that – if I ever figure out how to get Target affiliate links to work! – at no cost to you I get a small commission if you buy something from Target after clicking through a Target affiliate link on my site. But I bought this box with my own money and received nothing for this review. Ha! I doubt Target even knows this review exists!)
My teen’s mascara review covers Maybelline Falsies Volum’ Express, Covergirl Lash Blast Volume, Neutrogena Healthy Volume Waterproof, L’Oreal Voluminous Original, and Maybelline Great Lash from the Target beauty box, plus her favorite mascara that she went back to, even more satisfied than she was before!
Real review and comparisons to find the best mascara
Here’s my daughter’s unbiased review of all the drugstore mascaras she tried from the Target beauty box, plus bonus favorites. And yes, I consider my teen daughter an expert. (And all her friends do too!)
My favorite mascara in the box
Maybelline Falsies Volum’ Express: By far my favorite of the five. Creates nice length, but not a ton of volume. Holds curl well. Easy application: curved wand. Really like using this on the lower-lash line even in combination with other mascaras. This mascara can handle a few tears, but not Avengers Endgame tears. Easy removal, doesn’t smear while wearing.
Mascara you can use the longest – doesn’t dry out!
Covergirl Lash Blast Volume: VERY natural looking. Didn’t lengthen or volumize lashes even with liberal application, but worked for a “no makeup look” on my lashes. Very water-soluble, can’t even tear up or sweat in this one. The formula doesn’t dry in the bottle for a LONG time, though! No flakes/smears with normal wear.
Most waterproof mascara – but not recommended
Neutrogena Healthy Volume Waterproof: My least favorite. Dry formula in just my second use. Fairly easy, nice application on first few uses, but got progressively worse. You can cry in this one without worrying – it is waterproof after all! Very hard to remove even with “waterproof removing” makeup remover. Flaked under my eyes after the second/third day of use. Couldn’t bear to wear for longer than a week.
Best mascara for watery eyes
L’Oreal Voluminous Original: This is a mascara I used in the past, as well as trying it again. Nice length and volume, good applicator. The formula stays nice for quite a long time. However, it holds NO curl in my lashes. Wore this one when my eyes were watery from allergies and it didn’t smear. It’s a fine mascara, but because of the no-curl, it didn’t do anything for me.
Best for beginners mascara
Maybelline Great Lash: Generic mascara. Fine at volumizing and lengthening, pretty easy application with a straight, standard wand. Holds curl a moderate amount for me. You can tear up in this one, but avoid crying. Probably a good beginner mascara because of the price point and its overall general qualities.
My teen’s favorite mascara
My FAVORITE for the past year? Couple of years? I first got it a few months after it came out. It wasn’t in the Target Beauty box, but I went back to it right away after the trial, satisfied that I’d already found the best!
L’Oreal Lash Paradise!
I really like the wand on this one: good for inner and outer corner lashes. Gives me good volume and length. Not my favorite for bottom lashes, but it usually works. Recently, a new tube has gone dry in about a week and a half, but a drop of contact solution or eyelash oil fixes it! Also, pretty dang cry-proof & very sweat proof. However, it is a bit more expensive than other drugstore mascaras. Still, better than some super expensive mascaras I’ve tried (This mascara is supposed to be a Better than Sex dupe, and I like this formula better! Much less dry.)
The Expert Mascara Opinion
So, there you have it! Who better to get advice from than a teen who actually wore all of the different mascaras for full days. In summary, her favorite is L’Oreal Lash Paradise, but she thinks that Maybelline Great Lash is a good beginner mascara.
Bonus! My own favorite mascara
My daughter was looking for a mascara that would lengthen, volumize, AND hold curl.
This baffles me. Her eyelashes – without mascara! – are longer, plumper, and curlier than mine with mascara. I have only tried using an eyelash curler once in my life – after my daughters showed me how to use one. I find an eyelash curler scary dangerous. It’s probably not so scary if you have longer lashes to clamp onto!
All I want out of a mascara is one that will make my eyelashes visible. Being of the age <ahem> when your eyes start to water, or needing to squint to read the fine print when I don’t want to go get my reading glasses, and having a skin tone just one shade darker than a ghost, I need a waterproof mascara.
My current favorite mascara is L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly WaterProof. But after my daughter’s reviews, I’ll be trying the L’Oreal Lash Paradise WaterProof version soon!
Target Beauty Boxes change and are available for a limited time. You can shop to see what’s currently available, or for my teen’s specifica favorite mascaras, by clicking through the link below and searching on Target’s site. You can get a Target Redcard that gives you free shipping.
Or if you’d rather shop at Amazon, I prefer to look for Prime shipping and sold by Amazon.
If you’re one of the regular readers of this blog, you might be afraid that I’ve gotten too frivolous with a whole post about (just) mascaras. Never fear, my next post will be about how the New York Times is to blame for rising teen and young adult suicide rates, as I make progress in folding my my education blog into this one. (Besides, if you’re the parent of a teen girl, finding the best mascara isn’t trivial. It can get expensive!)