Maybelline Lash Sensational review: our honest take on the budget bestseller

Our beauty team's Maybelline Lash Sensational review reveals if the cult lash-booster lives up to the hype

A smudge of mascara formula and the mascara tube we tested in his maybelline lash sensational review
(Image credit: Future/Fiona McKim/Maybelline)
Woman & Home Verdict

This product has a stellar reputation - and we can see why. The smooth and silky formula is a joy to apply and the unusually multi-layered brush catches every tiny lash for plenty of lift and curl. It won't add bulkiness if that's what you seek, but otherwise, this is a brilliant budget-friendly buy.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Wide, curved and flexible comb wand

  • +

    Lash-multiplying look

  • +

    Feathery finish

  • +

    Very long wearing

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Cheap packaging

  • -

    Not much volume

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This Maybelline Lash Sensational review will assess whether this mascara – known as one of the top budget mascaras on the market – can really beat spendier rivals. 

When we’re trying to scout out the best mascaras on the scene, it's easy to assume that high-end splurges are superior. Luxe packaging and impressive claims can go a long way to convincing us that a spendy buy will give us the lashes we have spent years striving for.

Specifications

Price: $11.99/£9.99

Waterproof version available: Yes

Mini version available: No

Added extras: Six lengths of bristles, low wax formula reduces clumping

Then again, anyone who has looked into the best drugstore mascara has probably come across Maybelline Lash Sensational. This sub-$12/£10 mascara boasts a cult following and market-topping sales. With a lash-multiplying effect that hinges on its signature layer-reveal brush (more on that later), this budget buy promises to give you lashes worthy of any premium mascara. But does it deliver?

Our Maybelline Lash Sensational review

Maybelline Lash Sensational packaging

Maybelline Lash Sensational

(Image credit: Fiona McKim)

It's fair to say that the packaging of Maybelline Lash Sensational does betray its price tag somewhat. We liked the pretty reflective blush color and the tube's oval silhouette, which reflects the curved lash shape you get from using the product, but the casing itself does feel a little bit flimsy. It’s not a dealbreaker by any means – in fact, it just means that your makeup bag feels a little lighter.

Really, the shining glory of this mascara is what's inside. Firstly the neck of the tube is just the right size to smoothly swipe away excess product from the wand and leave a perfectly-sized dollop behind. The brush itself looks great too, uniquely chunky, squat, and extremely curved with an array of different bristle types (six, in total) 

What's the formula like?

Many of the best Maybelline mascaras are known for their dark and silky formulas, and Lash Sensational is no different. It claims a low wax blend as the secret behind its inky black hue and smooth texture, which coats each lash without clumping or the dreaded spider-leg effect. 

As a slightly looser, 'wetter' formula this lends itself to layering and, true to its promises, we found that it does indeed glide onto lashes seamlessly – no clumps or drying in sight.

Ease of application

Maybelline Lash Sensational held by our beauty editor to show the wand

Maybelline Lash Sensational tube and wand 

(Image credit: Fiona McKim)

Due to its silky feel and also that curvy little brush, this is unusually pleasant to apply. The delicate arch of the comb hugs each lash as you work it upward, leaving them fully coated after just one swipe. It's just flexible enough to wiggle around as you apply and wouldn't scratch or bother the lash line whatsoever, even when you work right down at the root. 

The silky texture of the liquid also allows for layering without the comb getting caught in already-coated lashes as they’re drying. We’ve tried a lot of mascaras in the past and, have to say, this application process was one of our favorites.

Maybelline lash sensational results

From the first swipe of our Maybelline Lash Sensational review, we got a feathery, lengthened, and defined fanned-out look with a delicate curl, which could almost pass for a natural flutter. Further coats just cement the look, with a microdose of volume along with each layer.

This is not the heftiest pick when it comes to volume and drama – even after a few layers, you don’t get huge amounts of thickness on the lashes. However, we love the lash-multiplying effect you get from the mini bristles on the comb, and if you do want any extra volume, the formula is smooth enough to pair with another, more dramatic option like Too Faced Better Than Sex or L’Oréal Paris Lash Paradise.

While we didn't experience any smudging with this, it may not be as robust as some others that we’ve tried. Because our lashes were so lifted to start with, they did start to droop after a few hours of wear. We also noticed a tiny bit of flaking later in the day, but luckily the texture of the formula meant that the flakes were easy to dust away without leaving any telltale smudges on the skin.

Maybelline Lash Sensational review: w&h verdict

Overall, this is a great buy. The stretchy inky formula and nimble brush come together in sweet harmony to create a beautiful, even lash look. You'll get bags of lift and separation, and very little in the way of mess or smudging, which is a bonus. 

Of course, like any makeup product, Maybelline Lash Sensational does have its weaknesses. It doesn't offer the total flake-free wear of some of our other favorites (both high-end and budget) and we would like a little more volume after a few coats. But if you are into layering you could always pair it up with any of your best volumizing mascaras as the smooth, clump-free formula will almost certainly play nicely with others.

We won’t completely give up our luxury go-to mascara for good, but this Maybelline Lash Sensational review has certainly convinced us to dip into the lower end of the price spectrum as part of our lash wardrobe. 

Aleesha is a digital shopping writer at woman&home—so whether you're looking for beauty, fashion, health or home buys, she knows what the best buys are at any moment. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 and has since worked with a number of brands including Women's Health, Stylist and Goodto. A year on the w&h news team gained her invaluable insight into where to get the best lifestyle releases first—as well as an AOP awards nomination.

With contributions from