Ask any woman about the beauty product she holds nearest to her heart, and nine times out of 10 she’ll say mascara. For most, it’s indispensable—bigger, bolder lashes can turn even the most beleaguered face into a beacon of light just by enhancing the eyes. That’s all it takes sometimes.
We asked eight of our editors to reveal the mascara they couldn’t face the day without. Surprise, surprise: Every single one of us had strong feelings about one formula or another. One is so good, it was even called out twice.
“I don’t love the look of mascara on me—every single formula clumps and makes my lashes more sticky than anything else, but I do like my lashes to be darker than they naturally are. My solution, outside of lash tinting (which, in my opinion, isn’t with the effort): Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara ($10.50) in Black/Brown, used on my top lashes. The tiny brush absorbs just enough product to tint, without working overtime to define, lift, separate, and everything else most other brands promise and rarely deliver.” —Perrie Samotin, editorial director
“I wear Givenchy Beauty Phenomen’Eyes Mascara ($32) in Deep Black, which is super black. The shape of the brush allows me to get the best coverage on my lashes.” —Melissa Medvedich, creative director
“I was hoping to avoid picking this one since I know it’s [our social media editor] Cady’s favorite too, but the supremacy of Too Faced Better Than Sex ($23) is undeniable—there’s just no other option. It’s the closest thing to slapping on a pair of feathery false lashes, but out of a tube and way less complicated to apply.” —Cristina Velocci, managing editor
“I'm not particularly loyal when it comes to my mascara, and I regularly chop and change depending on what's new and what my friends recommend. Right now I'm using MAC Studio Sculpt Lash ($17), and I'm a fan. For work and general day-to-day errand-running, I'm not looking for huge, dramatic lashes, so I love that this product gives a little definition, separates the lashes, and never gets clumpy (important!). Also, I'm not usually into using a waterproof mascara that stays put for days, so I actually find it appealing that this isn’t.” —Jasmine Garnsworthy, editor
“I used to think weirdly shaped wands were just a gimmick, and then Lancôme Grandiôse ($32) came along. It is so, so worth the investment—it doesn’t flake at all and holds up even without a curler. Sometimes I’ll switch back to one of the other mascaras in my drawer just for a change of pace, and invariably I’m disappointed.” —Hilary George-Parkin, fashion editor
“It was a downright revelation when, just a few years ago, I realized that my fairly small, deep-set eyes actually looked bigger and brighter when I skipped the whole heavy-mascara song and dance I had committed to daily. Uh, eureka? Now, I only wear mascara when I wear a cat eye, which is mostly on the weekends since I have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning, let alone applying liquid eyeliner. Because my relationship with mascara is little more than a fling, I tend to use whatever’s around, but the one tube that’s wormed its way into my everyday makeup bag is Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes ($29). It does not clump—and I can say this with all certainty because it’s immune to even my hastiest and most careless applications—and the finish is well-separated and perfectly fluttery rather than unnatural or stiff. It’s good!” —Rachel Krause, associate beauty editor
“My eyelashes might actually be my favorite feature (they’re fairly long, and they grow very quickly), so suffice it to say that I am an absolute mascara junkie. Drugstore, luxury, cult-classics formulas—I’ve tried them all! The best mascara I’ve ever used, however, is Too Faced Better Than Sex ($23). It’s jet black, goes on smoothly, and distributes length and volume in equal measure. It also never clumps, tangles, or makes my eyelashes look spidery. If I put on one coat, it looks natural, but my best version of natural. I usually go for three coats, which has people doing a double take or asking if I’m wearing lash extensions because it seriously makes my lashes look that good. Better than sex? Honestly, this mascara just might be.” —Cady Lang, social media editor
“I recently discovered Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara ($26), and I’m obsessed. Not only does it last all day, but it gives me insanely long and thick lashes, like former supermodel Twiggy. I’ve never used anything that makes my lashes so long and also doesn’t compromise on volume, and it doesn’t leave black marks above my lids like a lot of mascaras do.” —Kristen Bateman, associate editor