The best colored mascaras to inject some fun into your look

Colored mascaras are a great way to inject a bit of fun into your usual makeup look. These are the best ones on the market, according to a beauty expert

Comp image of the best colored mascaras, including the Shiseido ControlledChaos MascaraInk
(Image credit: Shiseido/Dior/Ciaté London)

Most makeup wearers will attest to having several shades of lipsticks or liner to hand. But mascara? For most of us that tends to be black, brown, or perhaps blue at a push. But the best colorful mascaras are a great way to inject more fun into your usual makeup look, especially during the summer months. 

It may not immediately appeal to those who have cemented their signature makeup look as "barely there", but several of the best mascara buys don't just come in the traditional black and brown shades, with brands increasingly branching out into purples, pinks, and even yellow – something that is a growing trend for 2023. 

“We are seeing an increase in colored mascaras this year and we’ve not even hit summer, the time when people tend to go brighter with their makeup,” says Charlotte Knight, founder of Ciaté London. "At the moment, makeup tends to be all or nothing; people are opting for the sheerest, most natural look possible, or they’re going all out with graphic liners and bold shapes.

"The bright mascara trend is being driven by the maximalist makeup looks we’re seeing, and is a natural progression from colorful liner looks," she continues. "It’s truly for the bold ones who love to play with color, and for that reason, I love this trend." If you're feeling inspired to make your makeup bag a whole lot more colorful, the good news is that we've tested a bunch of fun mascara shades to help you find one or two that are right for you. 

How we tested the best colored mascaras

Why you can trust Woman & Home Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

A flatlay of the best colored mascaras included in this feature from Ere Perez, Dior, SUQQU, Ciate, Shiseido, Barry M

(Image credit: Lucy Abbersteen)

To compile an edit of the very best colored mascaras, our expert beauty tester trialed lots of different options from low to high price points to ensure all preferences were catered for. When wearing each mascara, she took all of the following factors into consideration:

  • Packaging
  • Number of shades available 
  • Ease of application
  • Buildability and whether it clumped
  • Wand shape and size
  • Color payoff
  • If it smudged or flaked
  • Price

The best colored mascaras tested by a beauty expert

Dior Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara

(Image credit: Dior )

1. Dior Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara in Brique

Best colored mascara overall


RRP : £29.50 / £33
Key features: Softening cotton nectar, curved wand
Colors: Black, brown, brique

Reasons to buy

Lifts and curls lashes well 
Promises up to 24 hours of wear
Curved wand 

Reasons to avoid

Limited edition, so won't be around forever

Dior’s Overcurl mascara is a well-loved classic, but it now comes in a reddish brown hue, Brique, for those who want to try a lesser-seen shade of mascara. For those not familiar with a beauty industry icon, this particular mascara lengthens, lifts, and adds a nice touch of volume to lashes for a pretty and fanned-out effect. Some of its magic lies in the wand; curved mascara brush types are great because they fit the shape of the eye and are able to get closer to the roots of your lashes, helping to achieve that signature curled appearance.

As for the shade, it’s a nice twist on a traditional brown, and we loved the subtle red tint – it’s not so "out there" that you’ll feel like you’re making a huge statement, but it’s still noticeable. This makes for a great entry point for those wanting to experiment with colourful mascara gradually with a tried and true formula. We love it!

Read our full Dior Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara review for an in-depth guide to this lash lifter and lengthener

Shiseido ControlledChaos MascaraInk

(Image credit: Shiseido)

2. Shiseido ControlledChaos MascaraInk

Best colored mascara for volume


RRP : $25 / £29
Key features: Long-wearing, volumizing
Colors: Black, sapphire, violet, emerald

Reasons to buy

Adds good volume
Hourglass-shaped wands
Very pigmented

Reasons to avoid

Brush is on the large size for smaller eyes or shorter lashes

For a volumizing pop of color in green, purple, or blue, Shiseido’s fluffy-brushed ControlledChaos MascaraInk will set you in good stead – which is why we’ve also rated it as one of the best blue mascaras on the market. Delivering on its promised volume, our tester found that the sizeable hourglass-shaped wand is great for catching inner and outer lashes, while the formula is well pigmented, meaning that it builds the color easily. So if you're looking for one of the best volumizing mascaras in a fun color, you can't really go wrong with this one. 

We would note that this is a formula that delivers more volume than length, so if you know you prefer more of the latter, you may prefer a different mascara. The brush is also quite large, so smaller eye shapes might not find it the most precise option going. But for nicely accentuated and standout, colorful lashes, we wholeheartedly recommend giving it a go. 

Ciaté Keep An Eye On Mascara in Yellow

(Image credit: Ciaté London )

3. Ciaté London Keep An Eye On Coloured Mascara

Best neon colored mascara


RRP : $16 / £20
Key features: Neon, buildable
Colors: Pink, yellow, turquoise

Reasons to buy

Very bright
Three shades available – blue, pink, and yellow
Buildable and non-clumpy 

Reasons to avoid

You have to apply quite a bit for even color

Some people want their colored mascara to have just a hint of purple or blue, for example, while others want to jump on the bright mascara trend. If you fall into the latter camp, this one is for you; housed in cheerful, smiley face-adorned packaging, Ciaté’s neon-colored mascaras are equally cheerful.

There is absolutely nothing understated about these three bright shade options (pink, yellow, and blue), so if you’re looking for something that’s subtle enough to wear to the office, they probably won’t be your bag. Because the shades are so bright, you do have to layer on quite a lot of the mascara in order to achieve all-over color and not see a hint of your natural lashes underneath – but the good news is the formula is very buildable and won’t clump. 

SUQQU Eyelash Waterproof Mascara

(Image credit: SUQQU )

4. SUQQU Eyelash Mascara Waterproof

Best colored mascara for a natural look


RRP : $31 / £29
Key features: Waterproof, oil-based formula
Colors: Brown, black

Reasons to buy

Natural fluttery look
Separates lashes out nicely
Waterproof formula
Contains camellia seed, olive fruit, and jojoba seed oils 

Reasons to avoid

Natural look won't appeal to all

For those who like their lashes to look naturally fluttery, not clearly sporting mascara, and who are always in pursuit of finding the best waterproof mascara, allow us to introduce this number from SUQQU. A nice added touch is that the formula contains several nourishing ingredients – jojoba oil, olive oil, and squalene – to help keep your natural lashes moisturized while you wear it.

We tested the shade Nuance Bordeaux, a nice hint of red that warms up your usual look. As is the case with lots of colored mascaras, it doesn’t stand out quite so much on darker lashes, so the effect is quite subtle. But it did live up to its waterproof credentials and resist water well. Overall, we would say that this mascara would suit those who like natural-looking mascaras as it doesn't offer dramatic volume - so bear that in mind if you’re looking for something that’s super noticeable. 

Ere Perez Natural Almond Mascara

(Image credit: Ere Perez )

5. Ere Perez Natural Almond Mascara

Best subtle colored mascara


RRP : $30.50 / £27
Key features : Nourishing almond oil, smudge-proof
Colors: Mauve, black, brown

Reasons to buy

Very buildable
Fluttery, false lash effect
Mauve shade is subtle and wearable

Reasons to avoid

Some might want a bolder shade

Some mascara formulas are all about how your lashes look after applying, while others also work to care for your lashes while you wear them, like this nourishing number from Ere Perez. The clue is in the name here, as this formula features almond oil to moisturise lashes, which help to strengthen them in the long run. 

When it came down to application, we loved how buildable this formula was, as no matter how many swipes we layered on it did not clump and kept on accentuating length with a lightweight feel. The end result was pretty and defined as though we’d applied a pair of the best false eyelashes. As for shades, we found that the Mauve option is very subtle and wearable, so if you want an understated purple rather than a shocking or vibrant shade, this is a great option.

Barry M Rebel Lash Mascara

(Image credit: Barry M )

6. Barry M Rebel Lash Coloured Mascara in Purple

Best budget colored mascara


RRP : £4.50 (UK only)
Key features: Vegan, fairly bold shade
Colors: Purple

Reasons to buy

Color builds nicely
Fairly bright

Reasons to avoid

Doesn't lengthen or volumize as well as some others

Fun and affordable are Barry M’s middle names (we’re guessing, anyway) and true to the brand their colored mascara, Rebel Lash, is housed in cheerful packaging and costs less than a fiver. Bonus points: the formula is also vegan for those who make shopping for the best vegan beauty products a priority. 

When it came to testing, we found that this mascara defines and separates lashes fairly well, though it won’t give you mega length or volume. However, the formula does layer well enough that the pop of color is bright and clearly visible, which is key to a good colored mascara. It’s not the best performing in our edit, but if you want to spend as little as possible on your new fun makeup bag buy and for your lashes to look bright and colorful, this isn’t much of an investment to give a go. 

How to choose the best colored mascara for you: Expert tips on picking the right tone

At woman&home we stand by there being no rules when it comes to makeup, and you should wear whatever makes you look and feel your best. If you want to make your eye color really pop, however, color theory can come into play. 

"Makeup is all about fun, however, it can be interesting to look at colour rules sometimes, too," says Knight. "Looking at the color wheel for inspiration, theory would say that to make your eyes pop the most, you may want to opt for a contrasting color – the shade that is on the opposite side of the colour wheel – to the color of your pupils. Although our eyes aren’t as bright as the shades seen on traditional colour wheels, you can draw inspiration from them."

  • Blue eyes: "Purple mascara adds gorgeous definition and will really make your eye color pop," says Rachael Divers, resident makeup artist at Face the Future. "The same as blue mascara, rich purple tones help to emphasize the whites of your eyes and give a dazzling effect."
  • Brown eyes: "In my opinion, [brown eyes] sit close to orange on the color wheel," Knight explains. "Orange’s contrasting color is blue – the evidence is clear when you see how incredible brown eyes look with a bright blue mascara!"
  • Hazel eyes: "A deep, rich green mascara will give you the perfect contrast against the whites of your eyes and will also bring out those gorgeous golden tones of your eye color," says Divers. "If you do have hazel eyes, you’re in luck – blue, green, brown, purple, and black mascara will all look incredible on you!"
  • Green eyes: "A soft brown mascara adds such a beautiful contrast without looking too heavy," Divers recommends, while Knight adds: "I would recommend trying a pink mascara for a contrasting shock of color, or a blue for a more complementary, subtle pop."

How to wear colored mascara

Once you’ve selected a colorful mascara, the next thing to do is work out the best way to wear it for you. How experimental are you feeling? Do you want it to be the sole piece of color in your look, or part of an all-out glam?

"If a natural look is more your thing, apply your regular makeup as normal, but use a colored mascara instead of your usual black,"  says Divers. "If full-on color feels a little scary, try layering colored mascara over your regular black mascara for a more subtle tint." This works particularly well with the best blue mascara, which layers beautifully over black for a hint of color.

If you’re someone who loves to play with color, the possibilities are endless. "To play up those spring brights, match your mascara to your colored eyeliner for a fresh, fun look, [or] sweep a contrasting eyeshadow shade across your upper lid before adding your colored mascara,” Divers suggests. "Think along the lines of a coral-peach eyeshadow teamed with blue mascara. If you’re in doubt, take a look at the color wheel, which will help you to see the level of contrast between colors."

And of course, there’s a classic smokey eye, one of the most reliable eyeshadow looks. "If you want to create a gorgeous siren smokey eye, go for golden, brown, and warm peach eyeshadow shades teamed with a rich purple or deep blue mascara for a gorgeous contrast. Tie your look together with a deep red glossy lip for the ultimate catwalk couture finish or opt for a neutral nude lip to keep the spotlight firmly on your eyes."

Lucy Abbersteen

Lucy is a UK-based beauty journalist who has written for the likes of Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, OK!, Women's Health and more, as well as contributing to woman&home. Her work covers everything from expert skin and haircare tips to the latest product launches and the show-stopping beauty looks spotted backstage at London Fashion Week. During her career she's interviewed some seriously famous faces, from Little Mix to Drag Race royalty The Vivienne, as well as chatting to the industry's leading hairdressers, dermatologists and make-up artists.