If you’re dealing with short lashes, the best drugstore lengthening mascaras can help give you the added lift you’ve been searching for — and at a fraction of the cost of luxury brands. Some mascaras are even formulated to help strengthen your lashes each time you apply.
There’s a wide variety of fantastic drugstore mascaras on the market these days — so before you start shopping, you’ll want to think about exactly what it is you’re looking for. In addition to length, do you want a bold and volumizing mascara that will give you dramatic lashes? Or, do you need a water-resistant mascara that will hold up during even the most sweltering days?
Ingredient lists are another important thing to consider. If you have sensitive eyes or wear contacts, it’s a smart idea to choose a hypoallergenic mascara, or at least one that’s been ophthalmologist-tested. And if you have brittle lashes that might benefit from fewer harsh ingredients, then an organic option is the way to go.
You’ll also want to pay attention to the brush type. Both rectangular and pointed brushes will add length, and a curved brush will help add curl to straight lashes, according to Cosmopolitan. Of course, there is also the much-debated question over whether nylon or plastic wands are better. InStyle reported that plastic brushes typically work best for lengthening and separating, but since they grab less of the formula, you might have to apply several coats. And if you just can’t stand the texture of plastic wands, don’t worry, there are still awesome lengthening mascaras with traditional nylon brushes.
Take a look at the best drugstore mascaras for lengthening below. All of them are under $15 and highly rated on Amazon, and most of them are cruelty-free as well.
1. The Best Drugstore Mascara For Dramatic Lashes: A Water-Resistant, Lengthening Superstar
CoverGirl LashBlast Fusion Mascara
If you’re going for a more dramatic look, you can’t beat CoverGirl LashBlast Fusion Mascara. Thanks to its super-volumizing, fiberstretch mascara formula and oversized brush, this mascara is a solid pick for bold, statement-making lashes. Amazon shoppers reported fuller, long-looking lashes after just a couple of coats.
If your eyes are particularly sensitive, it’s worth noting that this mascara isn’t hypoallergenic — but it is cruelty-free! It’s also less likely to smudge on hot days since it’s water-resistant; but it’s not completely waterproof, so don’t expect it to hold up if you go for a swim.
What Fans Are Saying: “I’ve been using Covergirl Lashblast Fusion Water Resistant Mascara in Brown Black for the past two years as my everyday mascara. It is long-lasting, makes my lashes look long and voluminous.”
2. The Best Volumizing and Lengthening Mascara
NYX Worth The Hype Volumizing & Lengthening Mascara
Nyx Worth The Hype Volumizing & Lengthening Mascara is ideal for lengthening and volumizing. This drugstore option features a thin nylon brush that tapers at the tip, so you can coat even the littlest baby lashes at the inner corners of your eyes. It goes on smooth, no globbing, and it’s also vegan-friendly and cruelty free.
What Fans Are Saying: “I love this mascara! For the first time in my life I actually have lashes you can see. I read about this on a blog and it was one of the best recommendations I have seen. Thanks for a great product.”
3. The Best Vegan Lengthening Drugstore Mascara
Pacifica Beauty Stellar Gaze Length & Strength Mineral Mascara
If finding a cruelty-free and vegan mascara is important to you, look no further. Stellar Gaze Length & Strength Mineral Mascara by Pacifica Beauty is 100 percent vegan and cruelty free, and it does exactly what the name implies: lengthens and strengthens lashes. It’s infused with coconut oil and vitamin B, and formulated without carmine, silicone, parabens, or phthalates. This pick features a super plush vegan brush that tapers slightly at the tip, so you don’t miss the tiny lashes in the inner corners of your eyes.
What Fans Are Saying: “Amazing! Best mascara I have ever used! I have fine, short lashes and wear mascara daily. I decided to opt for a more natural product than I normally purchase from the drug store. … The color is a perfect brown and upon application my lashes truly doubled in both length and thickness. No clumping or flaking through the day. Easy to remove with soap & water. Good stuff!”
4. The Best Mascara for Short, Straight Lashes
Maybelline Lash Sensational Washable Mascara
If you have short, straight lashes, Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara is a great option. Maybelline’s exclusive fanning brush utilizes ten layers of bristles to reach all of your lashes and create a "full-fan" effect. It’s ideal for curling, lengthening, and volumizing, and Amazon shoppers give it an impressive 4.2 stars. This mascara is ophthalmologist-tested and safe for contact lens-wearers as well, but if cruelty-free labels are important to you, know that Mabyelline does test on animals in places where it’s required by law. (Such as mainland China.)
What fans are saying: “Love this mascara! It’s seriously better than false lashes. I have short, straight lashes that have gotten sparse through the years, so I’ve tried everything to lengthen and curl them. I saw ads for this product, and as I like Maybelline mascaras, (Volume Express is my go-to) I thought I’d try this one. It lengthens and curls better than the faux lashes I sometimes wear, no joke. I did a side by side comparison and I was amazed. And my eyes are sensitive but I have no irritation from this mascara. It dries super quickly — no smearing, flaking, or smudging.”
5. The Best Non-Clumping Waterproof Mascara That Also Adds Length
CoverGirl Clump Crusher Waterproof Mascara
CoverGirl Clump Crusher Waterproof Mascara uses a curved plastic brush with precision-bristle spacing to smash clumps — all while providing incredible length and volume. It’s also waterproof, and Amazon shoppers give it four stars and hundreds of positive reviews.
The only downside to this pick is that it isn’t hypoallergenic, and it can be somewhat difficult to remove. Investing in some reliable makeup removing wipes is a smart way to remove the mascara without damaging your lashes.
What fans are saying: “This is my go to mascara. I’ve been using this for a couple of months, and switched over to buying this on Amazon because it was cheaper than the drug stores around me. I have naturally blonde and short eyelashes. I also have eyes that water frequently so I definitely need waterproof. I usually apply two coats of this. It stays on all day no problem. It gives my eyes just enough volume and just enough length. It doesn’t clump (unless you are applying way too much), and it looks completely natural.”
6. A Lengthening Drugstore Mascara That’s Made With Natural Ingredients
Physicians Formula Organic Wear® Natural Origin Mascara
If you’re going for a cleaner beauty routine, Physicians Formula Organic Wear Natural Origin Mascara is a great mascara for you. This pick reportedly provides five times the length of “regular” lashes, plus lots of volume. Additionally, this mascara boasts 70 percent organic ingredients and is hypoallergenic. Plus its gentle formula is ideal for sensitive eyes. Additionally, this option is cruelty-free, and it comes with a small, round, recyclable brush with ultra-soft plastic bristles.
What Fans Are Saying: “Gives your lashes a thick, long, and natural look. It also comes off very, very easily.”
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