Best mascara formula: I tested five mascaras and one formula beats them all


best mascara

Mascara is a makeup bag essential that’s used to lengthen, curl, thicken and add volume to eyelashes (Image: EXPRESS)

Mascara is my all-time favourite beauty item and is the one product I favour above anything else in my makeup bag.

Forget foundation, blusher, eyeliner, eyebrow pencil and even concealer; mascara is my go-to for bigger, less tired and more defined eyes.

So, why mascara? Unfortunately, I was not blessed with long, luscious, voluminous lashes but short, stubby fine eyelashes that look pretty non-existent under certain lights.

And while there are plenty of other solutions out there such as eyelash lifts, tints, serums, fake eyelashes and extensions, for a low-maintenance person, mascara has always felt like the best option.

With this in mind, I’ve tried hundreds of mascara formulas over the years ranging from luxury brands such as Clinique to high street favourites such as Rimmel.

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best mascara

Benefit’s Fan Fest Fanning Volumising Mascara was number one for me (Image: EXPRESS)

So which mascara is best? I’ve tested five mascaras at different price points to find the best formula.

1. Benefit Fan Fest Fanning Volumising Mascara

Price: £25.50

While shopping at my local Benefit makeup counter, I was informed about the brand’s latest mascara offering, Fan Fest Fanning Volumising Mascara, which claims to give lashes a “24-hour full-fan effect”.

Fans of the cosmetics brand will be well aware that all of their mascaras with some formulas already earning cult status.

Before the release of Benefit’s Fan Fest Fanning Mascara, I was a huge fan of the brand’s They’re Real! Magnet Extreme Lengthening Mascara and the BADgal BANG! Volumising Mascara. Both products gave my eyelashes that false-lash effect we all crave without having to mess around with eyelash glue.

But Benefit’s new Fan Fest Mascara may have just beaten them all. The product’s full-flex fibre brush has a 40° curve that’s flexible and curves around lashes from root to tip, giving them definition and a beautiful fanning effect.

The mascara’s formula is also luxurious and contains cranberry extract and rice wax to avoid clumping and ensure lashes stay nourished.

Benefit claims the mascara is “smudge-proof”, “water-resistant” and “humidity-proof”, and I couldn’t agree more. The formula didn’t even budge after a three-mile walk in the rain.

And it’s not just me who thinks this is a winning formula, in fact, the mascara has garnered a whopping 2,469 five-star reviews on the Boots website.

While this isn’t the cheapest mascara out there at £25.50 a pop, shoppers can try out the mini version for just £13.50 first.

LOOKFANTASTIC are currently selling the formula for just £20.40, giving shoppers a saving of £5.10.

best mascara

MACStack Mascara Mega Brush was a close second (Image: EXPRESS)

2. MACStack Mascara Mega Brush

Price: £27

I’m a big fan of MAC Cosmetics, especially their Studio Fix Fluid Foundation, Studio Face and Body Foundation and their individual eyeshadow pots, so I was pleasantly surprised when I tried out the MACStack Mascara and discovered I loved it. The product has become a go-to in my makeup bag and is really easy and fast to apply.

MAC claims the product is a “continuously buildable, clump-resistant mascara that stacks on infinite layers of volume and length” – and I couldn’t agree more.

For a more natural look, I only apply a small amount and when I want to create that false eyelash-effect look, I layer it up to add volume and length.

What’s more, this product comes with two brush options, a “mega brush” and a “micro brush” so shoppers can choose the best option for their lash type.

The MACStack Mascara Mega Brush has received a whopping 18,000 five-star reviews on the Boots website, so it comes highly recommended.

The only sticking point with this product is the price. At £27, this item is nearing £30 which for many is extravagant.

However, LOOKFANTASTIC are currently selling MACStack Mascara Mega Brush for £21.60 which means shoppers can save £5.40.

best mascara

PS… False Lash Queen Volumising Mascara was surprisingly effective (Image: EXPRESS)

best mascara

Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Waterproof Mascara does the job (Image: EXPRESS)

3. PS… False Lash Queen Volumising Mascara

Price: £3.50

A dupe of the award-winning Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara, this is just as good in my opinion and a massive £24.50 cheaper.

I was introduced to this beauty product as a student and now always have one stashed in the bottom of a bag when I’m on the go. The formula effortlessly volumises my stubby lashes while adding length, giving me that false lash look.

Primark claims the formula aims to deliver an “intense false lash effect”, “dramatic volume”, “fullness” and “length” which it certainly does.

However, there are a few downsides to this formula. I’ve found that after a few months, this mascara can start to look a little clumpy. The brush is also quite large which means it can be difficult to apply the product to lower lashes.

But I think you will be hard-pushed to find anything as good as this for £3.50.

4. Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Waterproof Mascara

Price £11.99

Maybelline’s Lash Sensational Sky High Waterproof Mascara is one of the few waterproof formulas out there that does the job.

Whether you’re taking a dip in the sea, doing an intense workout at the gym or walking in the rain, this mascara won’t budge.

There has been a lot of hype around this product, and I can see why. The “flex tower” brush works well to separate my lashes and create a natural, fanned look while adding volume.

This formula also doesn’t clump at all which can be a common problem in waterproof formulas. However, the effective waterproof formula does come with a downside – it’s very difficult to remove.

best mascara

Lacura Too Legit Mascara works brilliantly on lower lashes (Image: EXPRESS)

5. Lacura Too Legit Mascara

Price: £5.99

Clearly a dupe of Benefit’s They’re Real! Mascara, Aldi’s version, Lacura Too Legit Mascara, comes with a smaller price tag at just £5.99.

This cruelty-free formula from the supermarket giant claims to be “long-lasting”, adding “curl, definition, dramatic length” to lashes.

While many people have raved about this mascara, I wasn’t sure it lived up to the hype until that is, I tried it on my lower lashes.

Mascaras formulated to add lots of dramatic volume can make lower lashes look clumpy and heavy which is where the Lacura Too Legit Mascara comes in.

The tiny bristles are perfect for creating a natural lower lash look adding both definition and length.


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