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I know lash extensions and falsies are the go-to for, like, everyone (at least in my circle of friends). However, I still have faith that the best of the best of the best mascara in 2019 can still make any set of natural lashes look just as luscious and voluminous. And the best part is that most of the top-rated ones don’t require a designer budget because they’re sitting in the drugstore waiting to become everyone’s new cult fave.
A mascara worthy of repeat purchases needs to possess several standout qualities. First, it should have a wand applicator that’s able to evenly distribute product so it doesn’t create clumps before you even walk out the door. Second, the formula itself shouldn’t be so watery that it barely makes a difference or so thick that it feels impossible to swipe on. It should also include at least one ingredient that carries conditioning benefits, thus making removal more seamless while encouraging longer and stronger lashes over time. (I’m not asking for much, right?)
Finally, quality mascara certainly isn’t limited to a certain price bracket. As much as I love my Diorshow Mascara, I also stan for Maybelline’s classic Great Lash Mascara, because balance is everything. So without further ado, here are 20 of the most affordable and effective formulas with the beauty editor stamp of approval.
Ardell Faux Mink Multi-Layering Mascara
A windshield wiper-inspired applicator for separating lashes.
$9.99 at Sally Beauty
Butter London Power Up Mascara
Formulated with jojoba extract to soften and hydrate lashes.
$20 at Ulta
Catrice Cosmetics Pret-A-Volume False Lashes
Ophthalmologically-tested to ensure safety for those with sensitive eyes.
$6.99 at Ulta
Colourpop BFF Volumizing Mascara
Available in 7 different shades, including black, to suit a variety of vibes.
$6 at Colourpop
COVERGIRL Lash Blast Active Mascara
A sweat-proof formula for the gym or beach.
$9.49 at Ulta
e.l.f. Smudge-Proof Mascara
A two-fer applicator so you can properly coat your top and lower lashes.
$6 at Ulta
essence cosmetics You Better Work! Volume & Curl Mascara
A sweat-resistant formula with a curved applicator so you can reach each and every lash.
$4.99 at CVS
Flower Beauty Warrior Princess Mascara
The hourglass applicator ensures coverage from root to tip.
$10 at Flower Beauty
Kiko Cosmetics Green Me Volume Mascara
A clean beauty option formulated with 99% naturally-derived ingredients sourced from raw materials.
$16 at Kiko Cosmetics
L.A. Girl Volumatic Lash-Lifting Mascara
A next-level volumizer available in five different colors.
$6.99 at Ulta Beauty
L’Oreal Paris Waterproof Telescopic Mascara
The two-sided applicator comes with a flat side for enhancing the length and a comb side for separating lashes.
$10.99 at Ulta
Lottie London #curlboss Curling & Lifting Mascara
The best option for flat lashes that need a quick boost.
$7.95 at Ulta
Maybelline Snapscara Mascara
A colored, wax-free formula that still provides enough hold to lift and lengthen lashes.
$7.99 at Ulta
Milani Most Wanted Lashes Mascara
When you want lashes that resemble falsies, grab this next-level tube.
$9.99 at Ulta
NYX On the Rise Volume Liftscara
A vegan, ultra-black mascara with a unique applicator that lifts and curls instantly.
$11 at Ulta
Revlon So Fierce! Mascara
Believe it or not, there’s literally hundreds of tiny bristles in this applicator to better define lashes as you apply the formula.
$6.29 at Ulta
SEPHORA COLLECTION LashCraft Defining Mascara
This defining mascara is the complete opposite of waterproof formulas, in that it doesn’t require a heavy-duty remover.
$12 at Sephora
Makeup Revolution The Waterproof Revolution Mascara
The ultra-rich formula dries down evenly so you’re left with clump-free lashes.
$10 at Ulta
VDL Mascara Expert Eyebomb Boosting Fixer
This multi-use, jelly formula can be used as a primer for your favorite mascara or used alone to deliver shine and length.
$20 at Ulta
Wet N Wild Lash Renegade Waterproof Mascara
$5.99 at Ulta
The ball point of the applicator means you can finally reach those tiny hairs in the inner corners of each eye.
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