The best volumizing mascaras for thick, dramatic lashes

We've rounded up the best volumizing mascaras at every intensity level and price point, all designed to lengthen, curl, and lift lashes.

best volumizing mascaras
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Beyond alluring packaging and clever brand messaging, the best volumizing mascaras add dimension and fullness to your lashes, no matter how fine, thin, or short they are. But in a market that’s plagued by subpar options with outrageous claims, finding the best mascara (opens in new tab) is tricky business. That’s why we rounded up our favorite volumizing mascaras currently lining shelves that are bound to work with a simple swipe.

In the world of cosmetics, we're of the belief that a volumizing mascara is a must-have item in any makeup arsenal. We can easily wax poetic about its benefits, but simply put, an exceptional volumizing mascara can create thick, luscious lashes for those of us not #blessed with such, no fussy extensions or sticky falsies necessary. Not to mention, today's roster features impressive, long-lasting formulas, which can withstand everything from a good ol' cry to a sweaty gym session, much like the best foundation (opens in new tab) can.

With your convenience in mind, we've rounded up the best volumizing mascaras that are truly worth the online and offline hype, and kept in mind to suit most lash types and sensitivities, with many being vegan, cruelty-free, and paraben-free. We did our homework, considering both the mascara features offered as well as customer reviews to create a robust and well-rounded recommendation guide. 

Check out the top volumizing mascaras, which includes the cult-status Too Faced Better Than Sex (opens in new tab), among other noteworthy options. And you could even pair one of these with your best eyeliner to add an extra touch of impact.

The best mascaras for volume

Too Faced Better Than Sex Volumizing Mascara

(Image credit: Amazon)

1. Too Faced Better Than Sex Volumizing Mascara

The best overall mascara for volume

Specifications

Formulation type: Volumizing, curling, and lengthening
Highlighted ingredients: Film-Forming Polymer, Acacia Senegal Tree Extract, and Collagen
Formula call outs: Long-lasting formula that holds and thickens lashes; vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free, and paraben-free

Reasons to buy

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Rich color pigment
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Waterproof
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Brush shape helps lift individual individual lashes to add volume, dimension, and fullness
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Lightweight and long-lasting formula that doesn't feel heavy
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Has amassed a global fandom

Reasons to avoid

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Some reviewers say it may smear, flake, and fall flat after continued wear

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara has amassed a substantial and loyal fanbase. Lauded as the #1 prestige mascara in the US, this intensely pigmented, holy grail item features a rounded, multi-functional brush that curls, lifts, and thickens individual lashes at every angle; the enduring formula combats smearing, flaking, and clumping from the get-go. The result: naturally defined and fluttered lashes that look dramatic and won't weigh down nor droop overtime. Truly better than sex?  Over 16,000 reviews on Sephora alone can probably attest!

BeneFit They're Real! Lengthening Mascara

(Image credit: Benefit Cosmetics)

2. BeneFit They're Real! Lengthening Mascara

The best mascara for volume and length

Specifications

Formulation type: Volumizing, lengthening, and separating
Highlighted ingredients: Beeswax
Formula call outs: Glossy, long-lasting formula that holds lash dimension and product in place

Reasons to buy

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Domed-tip brush curls and lengthens individual lashes to give a 'falsies' effect
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Allows for buildable application and coatings
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Accentuates a variety of eye colors, making them "pop"
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Non-clumping, water-resistant

Reasons to avoid

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Could be more full-coverage and lengthening for finer lashes

By design, this nifty and highly versatile lengthening mascara captures individual lashes (yes, even the pesky corner ones) to deliver fullness, dimension, and much-needed length and definition to tiny hairs. The jet-black formula is difficult to beat, which lasts for hours without letting up in coverage. Plus, the brand recently launched Magnet Extreme Lengthening Mascara (opens in new tab), the newest love child of the They're Real family. It has an extender brush that features a magnetically charged core that pulls formula up and out, creating length, lift, and curl. 

Dior Diorshow Mascara

(Image credit: Sephora)

3. Dior Diorshow Mascara

The best mascara for volume and curl

Specifications

Formulation type: Volumizing and curling
Highlighted ingredients: Rose essence conditions lashes
Formula call outs: Buildable formula for fuller lashes with a lash-extension effect

Reasons to buy

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Circular brush shape defines, curls, and thickens individual lashes for a dramatic effect
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Evenly distributes product
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Highly pigmented color
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Can apply several coats with no clumping

Reasons to avoid

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A bit expensive
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Some reviewers say this mascara has a heavy rose perfume scent
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May dry out quickly

An elevated cult-status option, Diorshow Mascara features a dense and colossal brush that fully curves and covers lashes in rich pigmented color (and it conditions too!). For those with stick-straight lashes, this glossy tube precisely thickens and lifts, imparting the appearance of full lash extensions. It's also enriched with microfibers and silk proteins, which particularly make lashes thicker, longer, and darker over time.

L'Oréal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Washable Mascara

(Image credit: Amazon)

4. L'Oréal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Washable Mascara

The best drugstore mascara for volume and length

Specifications

Formulation type: Volumizing and lengthening
Highlighted ingredients: Beeswax and Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil
Formula call outs: Smooth glide formula provides silky volume with just one coat; easily removable

Reasons to buy

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Soft wavy bristle brush features 200+ bristles that capture individual lashes
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Formula holds product in place and is extremely pigmented
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Defines and separates lashes
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Affordable, without skimping on quality
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Waterproof

Reasons to avoid

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Some reviewers say it dries and runs out too quickly
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May become clumpy after long-term wear

L'Oréal Lash Paradise defends the argument that just because something is drugstore, doesn't mean it's down-market. The long-lasting formula makes lashes look full and feathery, and doesn't warrant a ton of coatings (though it is buildable to your liking). We'd say it performs at a similar caliber, if not better than, its prestige counterparts—for a fraction of the price.

Maybelline Total Temptation Mascara

(Image credit: Maybelline)

5. Maybelline Total Temptation Mascara

The best drugstore mascara for volume and curl

Specifications

Formulation type: Volumizing and curling
Highlighted ingredients: Coconut extract
Formula call outs: Long-lasting creamy formula that thickens lashes from root to tip

Reasons to buy

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Defines and separates lashes
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Brush evenly distributes product, eliminating the need for multiple coats to achieve full coverage
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Features waterproof iteration
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Affordable, without skimping on quality

Reasons to avoid

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Some reviewers say its texture is too sticky and difficult to remove

It's no secret that Maybelline is one of our favorite mascara brands (opens in new tab) by virtue of remaining timeless, innovative, and offering a heap of options across the board. And Total Temptation is yet another Maybelline darling we'd recommend for your beauty repertoire: Its whipped, velvety texture leverages a dense formula to volumize and soften lashes, and won't make them clump or smudge.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Lash Brag Volumizing Mascara

(Image credit: Anastasia Beverly Hills)

6. Anastasia Beverly Hills Lash Brag Volumizing Mascara

The best mascara for volume and separation

Specifications

Formulation type: Volumizing and lengthening
Highlighted ingredients: Acacia Senegal Gum, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Wax, Paraffin, Synthetic Beeswax, and Glyceryl Stearate
Formula call outs: Creamy, cruelty-free formula prevents lashes from clumping together

Reasons to buy

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Conditions and thickens lashes while adding buildable volume
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Hour-glassed shaped brush coats and gently glides on lashes for full coverage
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Lightweight, water-resistant, and smooth
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No parabens, gluten, and phthalates
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Ophthalmologist reviewed, dermatologist tested and clinically tested

Reasons to avoid

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Some reviewers say it may become runny and flaky, and transfers over time

Anastasia Beverly Hills Lash Brag provides a light and airy formula, but don't be fooled: It's still considerably creamy and adds dimension and layers to baby lash hairs upon application. Thanks to flexible polymers, this formula won't smudge, smear, or run, try as you might. 

Le Volume de Chanel

(Image credit: Chanel)

7. Le Volume De Chanel

The best high-end mascara for volume

Specifications

Formulation type: Volumizing and curling
Highlighted ingredients: Acacia Gum and natural waxes
Formula call outs: Film-forming agents preserve suppleness and help build volume evenly

Reasons to buy

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Deposits intense color pigment that stays in place—no running or globbing
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Flake-free, smudge-free, and clump-free formula
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The Chanel-exclusive 'Snowflakes' brush combines long and short bristles that accentuate eyes
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Don't need multiple coatings, though formula is buildable

Reasons to avoid

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Some reviewers say formula is a bit chunky and could do a better job at elongating lash hairs

If French-girl lashes were a thing, then Chanel Le Volume has it bottled up to a T. We fell in love with how this smooth, super swipe-able formula nailed the defined, pumped-up lash aesthetic we all covet, all while still remaining on the everyday-chic end of the spectrum (we're definitely chalking this up as a quintessential LBD of mascara, for those that can shop within this price point). It's what our Beauty Channel Editor Eunice Lucero-Lee calls her check-all-boxes, "big-day mascara"—what you reach for when there's absolutely no room for any makeup mishaps, like during a hot date, big meeting, or, yup, even your wedding. And yes, it comes in a waterproof version too if you're all about that 9-to-5 perfect lash vibe.

Glossier Lash Slick

(Image credit: Glossier)

8. Glossier Lash Slick

The best mascara for natural volume

Specifications

Formulation type: Volumizing, curling, and sculpting
Highlighted ingredients: Vegan Biotin, which conditions and strengthens lashes
Formula call outs: Hair gel-like formula lifts and holds lashes in place; cruelty-free, paraben-free, fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, allergy tested, dermatologist tested, and ophthalmologist tested

Reasons to buy

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Tapered comb brush leverages tiered bristles that separate and thicken lashes from root to tip
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Two millimeter-long curved fibers hook onto lashes and add length
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Evenly distributes product
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Doesn't flake, smudge, or create raccoon eyes

Reasons to avoid

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Not waterproof, though water-resistant
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Could deliver more volume; a bit subtle

For subtle dimension, Glossier Lash Slick elongates hairs without veering into the too-extra false-lash territory (although fun fact: It was what was used on Michelle Obama's lashes during the Biden inauguration last January, so it definitely does not lack in star power.). Lash Slick's tiny, svelte bristles lengthen and coat lashes from root to tip, while its formula holds lift and curl through continued wear. All in all, it elevates the look of natural lashes, without clumping or flaking like many dense formulas—something the brand playfully refers to as the "baby-extension" effect.

Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara

(Image credit: Thrive Causemetics)

9. Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara

The best cruelty-free mascara for volume

Specifications

Formulation type: Volumizing and lengthening
Highlighted ingredients: Korean Pasque Flower Extract, Orchid Stem Cell Complex, Youth B5 Complex, Castor Seed Oil and Shea Butter
Formula call outs: Glossy polymer formula is easily buildable, long-wearing, and doesn't clump, flake or smudge; vegan, cruelty-free and formulated without paraben or sulfates

Reasons to buy

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Leverages ingredients that volumize, strengthen, nourish, and enhance overall lash health (for longer, stronger hairs)
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Large tube packaging
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Thin applicator offers full coverage and precise application
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Rich color pigment

Reasons to avoid

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Some reviewers say it can be difficult to remove 
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May flake overtime

The award-winning Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara creates visibly longer, thicker, and fuller lashes, courtesy of its unique glossy polymer formula and proprietary Flake-Free Tubing Technology™. Designed to combat raccoon eyes and typical mascara woes, this formula is easily buildable, incredibly long-wearing, and prevents clumping, flaking, and smudging. 

Beautenotions Immaculash 360

(Image credit: Amazon)

10. Beautenotions Immaculash 360

The best mascara for volume and innovation

Specifications

Formulation type: Volumizing, lifting, curling, and separating
Highlighted ingredients: Synthetic Beeswax
Formula call outs: Long-lasting formula thickens lashes, without creating clumps or flakes

Reasons to buy

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Dual wand application that coats top and bottom lashes, providing precise and detailed application at every angle
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Versatile, multi-purpose, and streamlining tool
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Full coverage

Reasons to avoid

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A bit expensive
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Wands are not meant to grasp lashes tightly like a lash curler
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Can be difficult to use

Both adaptable and flexible, IMMACULASH® 360 leverages a novel dual wand that coats both top and bottom lash hairs, while building noticeable volume, lift, and curl. This wand, by design, enables detailed coating, even for your hard-to-reach inner corners and lower lashes. It's truly one-of-a-kind, offering a distinctive and inventive twist to mascara application.

Honorable Mentions

We'd be remiss if we didn't call out our other favorites, which have also earned a permanent spot in our shopping carts. They similarly leverage exceptional formulas and ingredients to lift and provide volume; and are backed by happy shoppers. Here are our runner-ups we love:

For overall volume: Lancôme Hypnose Drama Instant Full Body Volume Mascara  (opens in new tab)

For volume and length: Urban Decay Perversion Mascara (opens in new tab)

For volume and curl: It Cosmetics Hello Lashes (opens in new tab) and Yves Saint Laurent (opens in new tab)

The Shock Volumizing Mascara (opens in new tab)

For volume and length drugstore: Essence Bye Bye Panda Eyes! Mascara (opens in new tab)

For volume and curl drugstore: Maybelline Lash Sensational Washable Mascara (opens in new tab) and Maybelline Colossal Big Shot Mascara (opens in new tab)

For volume and separation: CoverGirl LashBlast Clump Crusher (opens in new tab)

For natural volume: Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-In-1 Mascara (opens in new tab)

A luxury option for volume and lift:  Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara  (opens in new tab)

A cruelty-free option for volume: Ilia Limitless Lash Mascara (opens in new tab)

An innovation option that features unique technology and design for volume: IT Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara (opens in new tab)

How do I choose the best volumizing mascara?

When searching for mascaras, it's imperative to consider your eye shape, wand preferences, and overall design, your eye sensitivities, and specific call-outs, such as whether the mascara lengthens, volumizes, curls, or achieves all of the above. You'll also want to factor in your lash type, as different formulas work better with certain types of lashes. Fine lashes, for example, need buildable formulas that create dimension and fullness.

And although not too common a practice, it's equally important to examine the ingredients. Some ingredients work better than others at eliminating flakes and clumps, all while lasting throughout the day and night. This consideration is especially crucial for those with eye sensitivity, as certain ingredients are more irritating.

If you have sensitive eyes, look out for the terms like ‘allergy-tested,’ ‘ophthalmologist-tested’ and ‘ophthalmologically tested” on the packaging—these phrases generally denote that they’ve been tested and analyzed by eye specialists. We also recommend carrying out a patch test. Swipe a little mascara on your outer lashes and leave it there for a few hours. If it doesn’t give you any discomfort, take it as a green light to apply it all over your eyelashes or, if you’re still anxious, apply it from the mid-lengths upwards.

What are common mascara problems and solutions to follow?

Your mascara can seriously make or break your look, so it’s important to address these common quandaries as they come—and thankfully, we’ve provided sound solutions to keep in mind:

Smudges and fall-out: This happens when mascara pigment stains and bleeds under eyes and/or on your brow bone. The solution: opt for long-lasting formulas with ingredients like silicone and minerals that dry faster, last longer, and prevent dreaded panda eyes post application.

Clumping: Choose a moisturizing formula with a shaped brush that hugs lashes and evenly distributes product. Also, be sure to wipe off excess product!

Stiffness: Stiff lashes are prone to flaking, breakage, and nasty “spider eyes” (which happens when your lashes clump together unflatteringly). To combat this, be sure to look out for conditioning ingredients, like jojoba oil or vitamin E.

Flaking: This occurs when mascara leaves a trail of residue under your eyes and typically feels crusty, crunchy, and sticky to the touch. Go for a mascara with a high concentration of waxes, which hold product in place and make the formula less “tacky.” To safeguard further, you can:

1. Go over your mascara with a waterproof top coat to seal in the formula;

2. Apply a building primer base; or

3. Wait for your mascara to dry completely.

Irritation: Certain mascara formulas may cause eye irritation, such as itching, watering, etc. Luckily, we’ve created a best mascaras for sensitive eyes (opens in new tab) guide, which serves as a useful destination that addresses your concerns.

How often should I replace my mascara?

Compared to other beauty products, mascaras have the shortest shelf life, so it's recommended to replace them around two to three months after opening (behind each tube, you'll find a small icon with a number inside it, which indicates the number of months that it's safe to use the product after opening). Over time, your mascara brush will collect bacteria and germs, which may cause irritation, discomfort, and even infection if not properly addressed. 

Good luck and happy shopping!

Dominique worked as a shopping writer at Woman & Home and while with the brand she covered products, sales and deals, and market news across categories. Before joining the team, she penned stories as an editorial fellow at Insider Reviews, the affiliate commerce team at Insider Inc./Business Insider. The bespectacled NJ transplant specializes in commerce journalism, women’s lifestyle content, and hoarding makeup—much to her mother’s dismay.