Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect review: we put the viral $5 mascara on trial

Our shopping writer's Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect review – does it actually volumize and lengthen like falsies?

Two circles featuring the Essence Princess mascara for w&h's Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect review.
(Image credit: Future/Kenedee Fowler)
Woman & Home Verdict

This highly hyped mascara is formulated to give a false lash look. After wearing it on my naturally short eyelashes for a week in the hope of retiring my falsies, I wasn't 100% satisfied with my results. But, it still impressed on price, boldness, and volumizing effect.

Reasons to buy
  • +


  • +


  • +

    Cone-shaped brush

  • +

    Free of gluten, parabens, oil, alcohol, and fragrance

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Not the best lengthening mascara

  • -

    Tends to smudge

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.

Thinking about snagging a cult-favorite mascara? Let this Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect review help you decide. With thousands of rave reviews from shoppers and influencers alike, I had to test this internet-breaking mascara.

As a short-eyelashed girl and someone who would always pick false eyelashes over the best mascara, I was excited to try a mascara that promises dramatic length and volume that is like falsies in a tube.


RRP: $4.99 / £4.89

Shades: Black

Key Features: Free of parabens, gluten, oil, fragrance, and alcohol

Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect is super affordable, costing under $5/£5, and is considered one of the best drugstore mascaras by many social media users. The brand claims this is a long-lasting mascara that doesn't flake or fade, giving you longer, fuller, and voluminous lashes just as if you were wearing the best false eyelashes. That all sounds very pleasing, so I put this Essence mascara to the test for a week to see if it lives up to the hype. 

Our shopping writer's Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect review

The mascara packaging

A person holding a mascara tube for w&h's Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara review.

(Image credit: Kenedee Fowler)

All Essence Lash Princess mascaras have eye-catching packaging with vibrant, colorful lettering that stands out against its black tube. The False Lash Effect Mascara definitely appeals to the younger generation with its light green heart and crown design and rubbery grip material. I wouldn't say it's the most luxurious-looking mascara I've seen, but it doesn't look like its got an ultra-low price tag.

Formula and ingredients

Although this mascara is free of gluten, parabens, oil, alcohol, and fragrance, no unique ingredients stand out, just your typical waxes and polymers. But, because of its oil and fragrance-free formula, this is one of the best mascaras for sensitive eyes.

I decided to test this mascara during the week with a high pollen count, and although there was a lot of eye rubbing and teariness, my eyes didn't once burn or become irritable while wearing this Essence mascara. When it comes to the mascara's texture, it's more on the solid, buttery side, which is perfect when applying multiple coats for extra volume.

Applying and first impressions

A person holding an open Essence mascara tube for w&h's Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara review.

(Image credit: Kenedee Fowler)

When you first pull the mascara wand out, you'll notice its narrow tip that slightly broadens out, mimicking the shape of a cone. Its tapered wand is one of those mascara brush types that's great for lifting your inner lashes while its wider end volumizes and lifts your outer lashes. 

I did notice how easy it was to coat each lash, but for someone with shorter lashes and smaller eyelids, this isn't the best makeup for hooded eyes nor the best mascara for short lashes. I prefer ultra-slim mascara wands that instantly lengthen eyelashes without any product transfer on your eyelids. 

Aside from its subtle lengthening effect, I did notice how bold and volumized my eyes were after applying just two coats, which is one of the main reasons I love wearing false eyelashes. So, Essence delivered what they promised in the volume department.

How does it wear?

Before and after pictures of a person wearing the Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect mascara for w&h's Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara review.

Kenedee's lashes before (l) and after (r) applying Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect mascara

(Image credit: Kenedee Fowler)

After wearing the Essence Lash Princess False Lash Mascara for a week while lounging around the house, running errands, and traveling to a state with a high pollen count, I can confidently say I put this cult-favorite mascara through the ultimate wear test. 

I wouldn't say it's the best mascara I've ever tested, but it does apply well, with no clumping and flaking, while giving me the boldness, thickness, and volume my lashes need. However, one thing I strongly dislike in mascaras is smudging, leaving me with raccoon eyes. And this mascara does just that. After one yawn or a wipe of the eye, I immediately had black under eyes. So, this is not for you if you're looking for the best waterproof mascara. In fact, if you do want something completely smudge-proof that offers lasting color and curl, you might be better off asking what is a lash lift. Essence does have a waterproof version, but I can't attest if it has the same volumizing or lengthening effect.

It doesn't specify how long the mascara is supposed to wear for, but I was able to rock it through my 12-hour day, from when I first applied it in the morning until the evening. And since this isn't waterproof, I could easily remove the mascara with just a few swipes of my best micellar water.

Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara review: W&H verdict

Does the Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara live up to the hype? For my short eyelashes and personal mascara requirements, no. But if you have naturally long eyelashes or even medium-length ones, this could be a good option for you.

Because of its volume and bold lash effect, this is a great everyday mascara if you need to quickly add some life to your bare eyes before running errands or going to work. Overall, this is a great option if a little smudge here and there doesn't bother you and you want the best mascara for sparse or thin eyelashes. Plus, it's only $5, which is a huge selling point. 

Kenedee Fowler
Shopping Writer

Kenedee Fowler is a shopping writer based in the United States. She joined woman&home in September 2022, and ever since has been sharing her expertise with the brand to help readers source gifts for any occasion and on any budget, reviews products so you don’t have to, and scout out the best deals and products to give you the best value for your money. Before joining woman&home, Kenedee was a home editorial fellow for Insider Reviews, where she wrote in-depth reviews and articles across the home vertical. Kenedee is a recent graduate from the number one journalism school in the US, the University of Missouri - Columbia, where she gained hands-on experience as a multimedia journalist at mid-Missouri’s local news station.