The best volumizing mascaras for thicker and clump-free lashes

We trialed dozens of formulas to find the best volumizing mascaras on the market at all price points

A selection of the best volumizing mascaras from Too Faced, Chanel, and Rare Beauty
(Image credit: Future/brands pictured)

The best volumizing mascaras will give you a false-lash effect without having to reach for the glue. Adding drama, intensity, and fullness, these formulas focus on plumping up lashes for truly amazing results. As well as drama, volumizing mascaras can intensify a smokey eye look and elongate the natural shape of your eyes. Tick, tick, tick!

If you fancy a break from your best false eyelashes, many of the best mascaras focus on volumizing your lashes with a similar level of drama. “Volumizing mascaras represent the holy trinity of mascara needs – thickening, lengthening, and curling lashes,” says Dominic Skinner (opens in new tab), Global Senior Artist for M·A·C Cosmetics. “It’s this combination that gives the general appearance of ‘volume’ whereas other mascaras may only focus on one or two of these attributes."

Here, we’ve rounded up the best volumizing mascaras in the business that is truly worth the hype. No matter how fine, thin, or short your natural lashes are, these formulas will bulk them up without smudging or transferring. For all-out drama, turn your attention to our overall winner, Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara. After a more natural-looking level of volume? Maybelline or Beauty Pie could be your new go-to.

How we tested the best volumizing mascaras

A selection of best volumizing mascaras tested including Maybelline, Milk Makeup, Bobbi Brown, MAC, Rare Beauty, and Sculpted by Aimee

(Image credit: Lucy Abbersteen)

To deduce which formulas are the very best volumizing mascaras, we've trialed several dozen options from various brands across all price points. Our testers wore the formulas on numerous occasions and, to get top marks, the mascara had to tick several of our beauty boxes. The following factors were all taken into consideration by woman&home's beauty testers. 

We looked for impressive staying power, a formula that’s easy to build without flaking or clumping and, most importantly, voluminous, thick results.  For extra points, we looked out for those formulas containing lash-loving ingredients, too 

  • Ease of application
  • How wet or dry the formula is
  • Brush size
  • Inclusion of lash-loving ingredients (like fatty acids and vitamin E)
  • Whether it clumped, flaked or smudged
  • Colors available
  • Price

The best volumizing mascaras, tested by our beauty team

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.

Too Faced Better Than Sex Volumizing Mascara

(Image credit: Too Faced)

1. Too Faced Better Than Sex Volumizing Mascara

Best volumizing mascara overall

Specifications

RRP: $28/£25
Waterproof version available?: Yes
Shades: Black
Extra features: Hourglass-shaped brush, nourishing acacia extract

Reasons to buy

+
Long-lasting
+
Buildable 
+
Lifts and adds volume
+
Hourglass-shaped brush 

Reasons to avoid

-
Can smudge 

Lauded as the number one prestige mascara in the US, Too Faced sells a Better Than Sex Mascara every seven seconds. And after roadtesting it in multiple occasions, we can totally see why people love it so very much. The hourglass-shaped brush is bursting with bristles, grips onto each and every lash, pulling them upwards while adding volume and thickness at the base – and we found it a breeze to apply. The results? A fuller, fluttery set of lashes that adds drama to any eye look in an instant. 

While some volumizing mascaras have a tendency to weigh ashes down, this one feels lightweight despite its impressive plumping powers. We found that wiggling the wand, from the root out to the tip, created the best results. To avoid smudging, just make sure that the brush isn’t overloaded with product. For even more drama, pair this mascara with your best eyeliner – it will really help to enhance and define your peepers. Because it ticks so many boxes and has such impressive credentials, it cinched the top spot in our round-up as the overall best in our testers' opinion. Color us impressed!

Best volumizing mascara from Chanel

(Image credit: Chanel)

2. Chanel Le Volume De Chanel Mascara

Best luxury volumizing mascara

Specifications

RRP: $35/£31
Waterproof version: Yes
Shades: Noir, Blue Night and Ecorces
Extra features: Film-forming agents preserve suppleness

Reasons to buy

+
Buildable
+
Great color payoff
+
Ophthalmologist tested

Reasons to avoid

-
Can clump 

If " French girl lashes" were a thing, then Chanel has bottled them to a T with its Le Volume de Chanel formula. Delivering plumped-up, voluminous lashes, this mascara creates a chic aesthetic that doesn’t look too "done" or polished. Instead, our lashes were left looking thick, fluttery and loaded with drama. We could totally imagine wearing this with a swipe of Kohl liner smudged along the upper and lower lash line for a sultry evening look. 

We do have to point out that it’s more expensive than a lot of other mascaras on the market, but it definitely has a luxe feel that's in line with its price tag. We found that the formula glides on effortlessly and can easily be built up for added volume. It also contains film-forming agents to preserve the suppleness of natural lashes and offer an even volume result. The only pitfall that we experienced was that it does have a tendency to clump on the first application – but this is easily solved by making sure that the brush isn’t overloaded with mascara before you swipe it onto your lashes. All in all, we're calling this a super luxurious buy that leaves lashes feeling equally so. 

Maybelline Sky High Mascara

(Image credit: Maybelline )

3. Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara

Best drugstore volumizing mascara

Specifications

RRP: $12.99/£11.99
Waterproof version: Yes
Shades: Black, cosmic black
Extra features: Infused with bamboo extract and lengthening fibres

Reasons to buy

+
Ophthalmologist tested
+
Adds length and volume
+
Buildable 
+
More affordable than many other buys

Reasons to avoid

-
Can smudge

The answer to how often should you replace your mascara is more often than you might think, which means most makeup wearers buy one several times a year. Finding a well-priced option is therefore a must for those who can't or don't want to splash their cash on mascara – and this little pink tube from Maybelline ticked all our boxes and then some. Having taken social media by storm shortly after it launched a couple of years ago, Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara quickly became a TikTok sensation as users shared their impressive before and after results. 

While lengthening your lashes is its unique selling point, we found that it also gave our lashes a welcome volume boost when testing. More than that, it's also very long-wearing; we found that it lasted all day without smudging or flaking, which only adds to its affordable credentials. 

There's also a new Cosmic Black shade that's even richer and more dramatic. Fans of the original formula will be pleased to hear that the flexible, tower brush remains the same and will lift and lengthen lashes like no other. What’s different, however, is the pigment. The latest formula boasts inky black, velvety-rich pigments that coat the lashes for a dramatic result and is up there with the best Maybelline mascaras. Perfect for evenings out or special occasions, expect your fullest flutter yet.

Rare Beauty Perfect Strokes Volumizing Mascara

(Image credit: Rare Beauty)

4. Rare Beauty Perfect Strokes Volumizing Mascara

Best volumizing mascara that doesn't clump

Specifications

RRP : $20/£19
Waterproof version?: No
Shades : Black
Extra features: Castor oil, buildable formula, multi-length brush

Reasons to buy

+
Nourishing formula with castor oil
+
Multi-length brush to catch all lashes

Reasons to avoid

-
Packaging is easily marked

A relative newcomer to the market as mascaras go, but this offering from Selena Gomez's makeup brand Rare Beauty blew us away the very first time we applied it. We found that the formula is the perfect balance of not too wet, not too dry, and is very buildable, so lent itself well to both everyday wear and elevated evening looks. We also loved the design of the wand and how it works with the formula – the multi-length brush catches lashes of all lengths, ensuring that they are separated, lengthened and defined. We'd say it's a strong contender for one of the best lengthening mascaras, too.

If we're being very (very!) fussy and point out one small flaw in the interest of balance, the packaging looks super chic, but we found that it stained quite easily if any other makeup transferred onto it in our makeup bags. But at the end of the day, it's all about the product inside and other than that, it's pure brilliance in our opinion. If you want volume and a touch of drama, but equally don't want your lashes to look too thick, this could just be your perfect mascara match. We loved it. 

Best volumizing mascara from Benefit

(Image credit: Benefit)

5. BeneFit They're Real! Lengthening Mascara

Best lengthening volumizing mascara

Specifications

RRP: $27/£23.50
Waterproof version available?: No
Shades: Black
Extra features: Contains nourishing beeswax

Reasons to buy

+
Buildable 
+
Adds length 
+
Separates lashes

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be hard to remove

Just one look at this brush and you can tell the sort of results it gives. A long-time favorite of many, we love how the super-fine bristles of this best-selling mascara capture every single lash (yes, even those pesky corner ones!). The result is a longer, fuller flutter that’s also extremely voluminous. The jet-black formula is difficult to beat and we found it stayed put for hours without smudging or transferring. And thanks to the brush design (which expertly separates lashes), there’s not a single clump in sight. Big tick from us!

The downsides to this formula? While it is long wearing, we did find that this formula could be a little hard to remove. Our top tip is to use one of the best cleansing oils, that’s also suitable for the delicate eye area, to gently take it off. Despite this one drawback – which does contribute to its longevity, after all – it’s still an award-winning wand that can lift, separate and plump up lashes for a false-lash effect. We highly recommend giving this mascara a whirl – we don't think you will be disappointed!

Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara

(Image credit: Bobbi Brown )

6. Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara

Best volumizing mascara for a smokey eye

Specifications

RRP : $32/£27.50
Waterproof version available? : No
Shades: Black
Extra features: Kohl pigments

Reasons to buy

+
Long-wearing
+
Separates lashes with no clumping whatsoever
+
Adds just the right amount of drama

Reasons to avoid

-
May smudge on very oily skin

Another brand that we genuinely think makes some of the best mascaras on the market, Smokey Eye was an easy winner in this round-up. The reasonably narrow, tapered brush is the perfect size to wiggle into the root of your lashes to extend length, as well as separate and add volume – which is great if you don't have lots and lots of natural lashes. Meanwhile, its formula's Kohl pigments gave our lashes a pitch-black look that makes it, as its name suggests, a perfect pairing for a classic smokey eye.

On one tester with an oily complexion we did find that it printed above the lids a little on occasion, but setting the area with a small amount of translucent powder easily solved that problem. It's also not the cheapest formula on the market by any means, but these things aren't enough of a drawback to cost it its place in our hearts, and we're very much hooked on the smokey lash look.

Beauty Pie Uber Volume Boost Volumizing Mascara

(Image credit: Beauty Pie )

7. Beauty Pie Uber Volume Boost Velvet Mascara

Best nourishing volumizing mascara

Specifications

RRP : $30/£28 ($12/£10 for members)
Waterproof version available? : No
Shades: Black, brown
Extra features: Vitamin E, shea butter, micro-fine pigments

Reasons to buy

+
Very buildable 
+
Separates lashes well
+
Nourishing formula

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite pricey without the membership

The first time we applied this volumizing mascara from Beauty Pie, one thing that stood out to us was that, although not visibly saturated with product, we could build a lot of the formula onto our lashes before we even had to think about dipping it back into the tube. In fact, for some preferences, the amount that coats the brush is plenty for everyday wear. It was super easy to distribute it onto the lashes evenly and layer up without even a hint of clumping – the polar opposite of some of the volumizing mascaras that didn't make the cut! Its buildability also really impressed us.

We also love that it comes in both black AND brown (many mascaras only come in black) for those who prefer brown mascara for everyday wear, and the velvety finish is equally lovely. Without taking out a monthly membership, this mascara is definitely towards the pricier end of the scale, though Beauty Pie is also known for its high-performing skincare products, too. If you've always wanted to give some a go, this could be your sign to try them (and the mascara, of course!).

Milk Makeup Kush High Volume Mascara

(Image credit: Milk Makeup )

8. Milk Makeup High Volumizing Mascara

Best volumizing mascara for fluttery lashes

Specifications

RRP : $26/£23
Waterproof version available?: Yes
Shades: Black
Extra features: Vegan, hemp-derived cannabis seed oil, criss-cross bristles to coat every lash

Reasons to buy

+
Separates really well
+
Creates a fluttery effect 
+
Not clumpy
+
Nourishes lashes

Reasons to avoid

-
Brush is very thick

Milk Makeup is still less than a decade old but many of its products have arguably achieved cult status in the years since, including their well-loved Kush mascara. This is another formula that darkens lashes and gives wow-worthy length. What we particularly loved about this formula when testing is that it didn't leave lashes at all crispy, and was very lightweight.

This mascara also contains hemp-derived cannabis oil to nourish your lashes while you wear it, but don't panic – it contains no THC and isn't psychoactive. The brush is quite chunky, and the mascara tube itself is unusually heavy, but we still found it relatively easy to build length and volume for a very fluttery finish that stayed put – absolutely no flaking here. All in all, it was easy for us to see why this mascara is such a crowd-pleaser!

Best volumizing mascara from Dior

(Image credit: Dior)

9. Dior Diorshow Mascara

Best curling volumizing mascara

Specifications

RRP: $29.50/£30
Waterproof version: Yes
Shades: Black, blue and brown
Extra features: Rose essence conditions lashes

Reasons to buy

+
Buildable 
+
Doesn't clump
+
Intense black pigment
+
Great range of colors

Reasons to avoid

-
Can dry out easily

If you’re after a cult classic formula that’s garnered a loyal fanbase, turn your attention to Dior’s Diorshow Mascara. We found that its maxi-sized, chunky brush deposits just the right amount of pigment for a voluminous, fanned-out finish – without any clumps, naturally. As well as volumizing, it lengthens and curls lashes, too. So much so, we’d highly recommend this mascara to anyone with short, straight lashes as it will coax them into place and keep them there all day/night long.

Another selling point of this top-rated mascara is the lash-loving formula that’s brimming with silk proteins to strengthen and lengthen natural lashes over time, too. If we had to knock a mark off, it would be because the formula dries quickly which did lead to some flaking during the testing period. Our top tip is to quickly apply it in light layers for maximum volume and minimum flaking. It really works, trust us on that front!

Best volumizing mascara from Anastasia Beverly Hills

(Image credit: Anastasia Beverly Hills)

10. Anastasia Beverly Hills Lash Brag Volumizing Mascara

Best volumizing mascara to separate lashes

Specifications

RRP: $25/£26
Waterproof version: No
Shades: Black
Extra features: Cruelty-free formula

Reasons to buy

+
Buildable
+
Doesn't clump
+
Lightweight 
+
Ophthalmologist tested 

Reasons to avoid

-
Can transfer over time

Fun fact: Lash Brag was Anastasia Beverly Hills’ first foray into mascara, and it's quite something in our opinion. Barely a few years old but already a lash sensation, this mascara has won over several beauty enthusiasts and bagged several prestigious awards. Featuring a chunky, hourglass-shaped brush, Lash Brag gave us full-bodied lashes that rivaled our favorite falsies. But instead of weighing lashes down (which false eyelashes have a tendency to do), this formula felt ultra light while we wore it, almost as though we weren't wearing any mascara at all. 

While we love the look (and feel) this mascara gave us, we did find that the formula started to flake and transfer by the end of the day. To avoid this, we recommend applying less in the morning and topping it up towards the end of the day instead, if so desired. But overall, it’s a great volumizing pick that pairs especially well with bright eyeshadow looks for added definition.

Best volumizing mascara from Guerlain

(Image credit: Guerlain)

11. Guerlain Noir G 24h Intense Volume Curl Mascara

Best volumizing mascara for drama

Specifications

RRP: $38/£31
Waterproof version: No
Shades: Deep black
Extra features: 360° effect and 24-hour wear

Reasons to buy

+
Impressive staying power
+
Buildable
+
Curls and adds volume

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

Prepare to fall head over heels for Guerlain’s super luxurious mascara offering: Noir G. A total game-changer – and we don't use that term lightly – this lash-lifting formula delivers a full fringe of inky black lashes, thanks to ebony and midnight blue pigments. Equally important to mention is that we found it does so without clumping or transferring. We were so taken by this mascara that it’s become an everyday staple in at least one of our testers' beauty kits. And while it goes big on volume, we appreciated the way it separated and fanned out our lashes, too.  

What sets this mascara apart from other Guerlain mascaras is the curved brush, which really hugs onto the lashes to stretch them upwards. You can expect to see longer, lifted lashes that appear denser at the roots. And don’t worry about your lashes appearing blue, if that's not your thing – we can confirm that the blue pigments only enhance the black mascara for a deep, intense darkness. 

Best volumizing mascara from Sculpted by Aimee

(Image credit: Sculpted by Aimee)

12. Sculpted By Aimee My Mascara Volume & Length Black

Best conditioning volumizing mascara

Specifications

RRP: £17 (UK & Ireland only)
Waterproof version: No
Shades: Black, brown
Extra features: Contains vitamin B5 to nourish and condition the lashes

Reasons to buy

+
Lifts and lengthens 
+
Vitamin B5 conditions lashes 
+
Buildable 
+
Lightweight 

Reasons to avoid

-
Can clump a little 

If you’re after instant impact and va-va-volume, we reckont that could be the mascara for you. A long time in the making, founder Aimee Conolly tested several formulas before settling on "The One" that she was happy to put her name to. When testing we noted that its creamy texture glides on effortlessly, delivering ultra-black pigments that give lashes a really rich darkness. Laced with nourishing vitamin b5, it conditions and strengthens lashes, too. As for the brush, it has a curved shape that captures every hair, and we loved the way it grabbed on to hard-to-reach corners with ease. 

To apply, we recommend following one of Conolly’s top tips. “Slowly blink on the brush as you wiggle it back and forth to comb through all of the lashes,” she advises. We found that two layers are the perfect amount for a fuller, longer look. Any more, and you may find that the formula smudges and transfers below the lash line and onto your eyelids. But do it right, and you'll love it. 

Best volumizing mascara from MAC

(Image credit: MAC)

13. MAC In Extreme Dimension Mascara

Best long-wearing volumizing mascara

Specifications

RRP: $34/£24
Waterproof version: Yes
Shades: 3D Black and Dimensional Black
Extra features: Moulded brush delivers optimal amount of product

Reasons to buy

+
Ophthalmologist tested
+
Lengthens and boosts volume
+
Buildable 
+
Glides on smoothly

Reasons to avoid

-
Can clump 

Most of the mascaras we tried for this feature had a curved or hourglass-shaped brush, which is why we were really intrigued to put this one from MAC to the test. According to the brand, the large, molded brush stores the optimal amount of product in three reservoirs to deliver the maximum amount of mascara with each stroke. We can confirm that it definitely coats lashes on the first swipe and that the brush reaches every hair, despite it being completely straight. An intriguing design that pays off!

We did notice, however, that it doesn’t curl lashes as well as the other mascaras we tried – we'd recommend an eyelash curler for that. But that being said, it really did turn up the volume on our lashes, delivering big on thickness and length. Another selling point of this mascara is the fact it stays put all day long (and we’re not just saying this). Seriously, this mascara does. Not. Budge. 


How to choose the best volumizing mascaras

There are a couple of factors to consider when choosing the best volumizing mascara for you, which some of the industry's leading makeup experts have broken down below. 

  • Your natural lashes. “Think about your natural lashes and what you would like to add to them,” says Aimee Connolly (opens in new tab), makeup artist and founder of Sculpted by Aimee. “If you have naturally straight lashes, look for a mascara that adds volume and curl. If you have a hooded eye shape, consider a waterproof formula so that it won't easily transfer onto your eyelids, and if you have thin lashes opt for a lightweight formula that isn't too wet to avoid weighing your lashes down.” 
  • The wand. “What you want to look for is the wand,” says Skinner. “A comb is going to create a fine, separated lash. A densely compact brush will help add length. However, for volume, what you are looking for is a rubber style brush that will drop a generous amount of mascara to the lash base as it spreads it through the length of your lash while keeping everything separated.” This results in a dramatic, chunky look that perfectly complements full glam faces and moodier fall makeup looks alike. 

How to apply the best volumizing mascaras

“When applying mascara, think about how you add volume to your hair – it’s all about the root,” says Skinner. “So, start by building up the product in the root of your lashes before drawing the mascara through to the tips, in an upward motion. A little side-to-side, zig-zag wiggle will give a "back comb" effect to help support the fuller lash look you want,” he continues. 

“Don’t forget your bottom lashes,” Connolly adds. “if you add a lot of volume to your top lashes, it's a good idea to balance the eyes by applying a light layer to the bottom lashes, too.”