Best mascara: our favourites for adding length and volume to your lashes

We've waded through Maybelline, Benefit and Max Factor to find the best mascara on the high street right now...

Mascaras are one of our biggest beauty staples, after all, we all want longer, thicker, fuller looking lashes. For most women, mascara is the desert island product they can’t do without. With it’s ability to lift, lengthen and curl lashes, the best mascaras can open up your eyes and elevate your whole look.

With so much to choose from, it is important to know what you’re looking for from your mascara. If it’s volume you’re after, look for a big brush that will apply lots of product with each stroke. Pick a thinner brush with smaller bristles to give natural definition to each lash without clumping.

We’ve rounded up the best mascaras for every preference, so we can promise that you’ll find whatever your lashes need here. From cult classics that have enjoyed best-selling status for decades to the latest innovations trending now, these are the best mascaras your beauty bag is calling out for.

Best mascaras for length, definition and volume

Best Mascara For Sensitive Eyes

best mascara

SHOP NOW: La-Roche Posay Respectissme Mascara, £16

If your peepers are prone to irritation opt for a hypoallergenic formula, they’re less likely to cause irritation. La-Roche Posay’s Respectissme Mascara, £16 is specially formulated for sensitive skin and contact lens wearers and it’s one of our all time favourites.

Best Drug Store Mascara

best mascara

SHOP NOW: Maybelline Lash Sensational, £8.99

This is a great mascara for separating lashes and giving extreme volume. Plus, it’s under £10, so it’s a serious beauty bargain. We also love Rimmel London’s ScandalEyes Retro Glam Mascara, £4.99 Coming in at just under £5 it’s our ultimate choice when shopping on a budget.

Best Mascara For Volume

best mascara

SHOP NOW: Max Factor’s False Lash Effect Mascara, £10.99

Looking for gravity-defying volume? Max Factor’s False Lash Effect Mascara, £10.99 could just be the one for you. The clever comb is made up of miniature teeth which separate each and every lash leaving you with extreme looking lashes sans clumps.

Best Mascara For A Night Out

best mascara

SHOP NOW: Burberry Cat Lashes Mascara, £24

Impossibly thick and fluttery lashes are now a red carpet staple for any and every celebrity. But, as much as we love our false eyelashes, we also want a go-to mascara that we can wear every day and also layer-up for the evening.For a girls’ night out, it really is all about Burberry Cat Lashes Mascara, £24. The brush is big for a reason, it can transform even the flattest lashes into incredibly curled falsies in the blink of an eye. We don’t know where we would be without it, tbh.

Best Mascara For Short Lashes

best mascara

SHOP NOW: Fairydrops Scandal Queen Waterproof Mascara, £18.50

If your struggling to get your little lashes to stand out you should be using Fairydrops Scandal Queen Waterproof Mascara, £18.50. Specifically designed for the needs of Asian lashes, which tend to be short and more sparse, the bobbly brush grabs onto each lash so even the little ones wont be missed. The formula is packed with body building and lengthening fibres that give an instant boost and is enriched with moisturising ingredients to keep lashes looking healthy and conditioned.

Best mascara for separating and defining lashes

best mascara

SHOP NOW, £22, lookfantastic.com

We love the rich pigment of YSL’s Vinyl Couture Mascara, because it gives us voluminous glossy lashes every time. It comes in nine different colours too, including pink, purple, blue and green!

SHOP NOW, £26, lookfantastic.com

SHOP NOW, £21.95, Amazon

The bigger the better, right? Well, Dior Diorshow New Look Mascara has got one of the biggest brushes in town. Just one swipe leaves lashes seriously thick and fluttery and defined.

SHOP NOW, £25.50, Amazon 

When should you replace the best mascaras?

Sadly, the best mascaras don’t last any longer than the mediocre ones.  Experts say that we should invest in a new tube every 3-6 months, even if it’s not quite empty. This is because even the best mascaras can harbour bacteria, which over time can fester in the tube and cause aggravation or even infections. Yuck!

How to apply mascara well

The trick to applying mascara properly is not to get over zealous. Old habits die hard but don’t be tempted to pump the wand repeatedly in and out of the bottle, this pushes air into the tube which cause the product to dry out prematurely and lead to flaky lashes.

It’s equally important not to overload the wand with too much product – this results in clumps.

Instead, twist the wand back and forth to ensure the formula is spread evenly across the applicator.

For maximum impact, start at the root and wiggle upwards, this creates a natural lifted and curled effect. For maximum volume do this 2-3 times, without waiting too long between coats.