The best natural-looking mascaras to shop in 2024 for an understating-yet-flattering look

Natural-looking mascara is ideal for a low-key look – here, our beauty editor reviews the best on the market

Collage of three of the best natural-looking mascara buys featured in this guide from Glossier, Max Factor and IT Cosmetics
(Image credit: Glossier/Max Factor/IT Cosmetics/Future)

Some days just call for one of the best natural-looking mascaras, be it a low-key working-from-home morning or meeting friends for a casual lunch. These mascaras are ideal for those relaxed days when you want to look "done" but not too done. 

The best mascaras often promise huge, exaggerated results that are all about enhancing things. MEGA lashes. XXXL Volume. MILES of length. But some days you don’t necessarily want or need that full-blown lash look – and that’s when it’s handy to have a natural-looking mascara or two at your disposal. According to makeup artist James Butterfield, it's possible to use buys you already own for a lower-impact effect. "Removing excess mascara from the wand prior to application will achieve a fresher look," he confirms. "If your natural lashes are fair, then you may prefer to use brown mascara rather than black."

I'll admit, my preference has historically been the best volumising mascaras – I like products that are low-effort, high-impact. However, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed using these natural-looking mascaras. They looked chicer, understated and felt comfier to wear. Consider me converted. To that end, I’ve narrowed down the very best buys for this list. Whether you’re looking for a bit of extra definition, or are looking to try the best brown mascara, there’s an option here for every budget, preference, and style.

The best natural looking mascaras, picked by our beauty editor

How we tested the best natural-looking mascaras

A lineup of Beauty Editor Rhiannon Derbyshire's favourite natural-looking mascaras, including options by Victoria Beckham, Estee Lauder, Glossier, Max Factor, Clinique, Jones Road and e.l.f

(Image credit: Rhiannon Derbyshire)

To compile a guide to the very best buys, I individually tested all of these natural-looking mascaras (as well as a range of others that didn’t make the cut). I tested each one over the course of a few days to make sure they had a rigorous but fair trial and definitely gave the best possible natural lash look. 

I tried formulas and mascara brush types from different brands, price points and styles to ensure I'd tested a wide range of formulas. To narrow down the very best, I assessed whether they went above and beyond in terms of the following factors. 

  • Ease of application
  • Comfortability of wear
  • Brush size
  • Inclusion of any beneficial ingredients
  • Colours available
Rhiannon Derbyshire
Senior Beauty Editor

Rhiannon Derbyshire is the Senior Beauty Editor for Woman & Home and other publications. 

She started interning for glossy magazines while working alongside her Fashion Journalism degree. There, she was lured to the beauty desk, seduced by matte lipsticks, posh shampoos, and every skincare product imaginable. 10+ years into her career, she can confidently tell you why the best mascaras are always high street, and why SPF is a non-negotiable all year round. Ask her about her curly hair routine, skincare minimalism, and how to find the exact right red lipstick