It has the shortest lifespan of any product in your makeup bag, the first version was released in the 1830s, and the average woman spends up to £2,300 on it in a lifetime. Mascara: it’s most likely the Queen of your makeup bag and one product you wouldn’t leave the house without wearing. Credited for boosting confidence and enhancing natural beauty, it is both a favourite and miracle product to make-up artists and enthusiasts the world over. It’s no surprise then, that when asked what one beauty product they’d rather take to a desert island, mascara is the most commonly given answer by women, no matter their age.
For these reasons, I consider myself very lucky to have naturally long and thick lashes which are ideal for road testing mascaras and whittling down the competition to the very best ones on the market. After all, find a world beater and you’ll never have to reach for those falsies again! Naturally, I love any excuse to shop a new beauty hero, and after reading this, you may well have to surrender yourself to a Saturday spent shopping for a new one, too. After all, mascara is confidence in a tube and can be used sparingly or more heavily to amp up the drama. Having worn mascara since forever, I’ve read, been convinced, and purchased many a new release off the back of campaign imagery and marketing patois alone, so here are my top 10 picks from predominantly high-end brands that keep their illustrious promises. (I’ve always believed if it’s going on you face, you should never sacrifice quality. So long, money).
No matter what you seek, be it longevity, length, pigment, volume, curl, or separation, this list has something for every style. (You’ll also notice I lean more towards products that deliver volume and a deep pigment because with eyes, black and drama is just MORE).
Bourjois Volume One Seconde
Initiating proceedings is a high-street brand which means ‘hakuna matata’ when you take it on a night out to layer up your peepers into the early hours. With its soft flexi brush and open-eyed effect, this was a worthy winner of a Grazia Beauty Award in 2014. The mixed length picots grab every lash – even the most pygmy of hairs – to deliver clump free definition in a gentle manner, due to the rubber (and not firm plastic) bristles. Available from Boots nationwide, £9.99
Chanel Le Volume de Chanel
With the weight of a name like Chanel prefixing any cosmetic, you know that it’ll combine prestige in ingredients and design for a failsafe beauty hero. The Volume de Chanel mascara definitely isn’t the darling of backstage makeup kits for no reason; trust me, this makes as regular an appearance at Fashion Week runways as Anna Wintour. Volume is obviously the bounty here, and thanks to its smart design snowflake brush, it delivers this bold eye style with ease. Available from House of Fraser nationwide,£25
Dior DiorShow Blackout
Dior celebrates beguiling beauty in its campaigns like no other brand. Since I was 16, I’ve always returned to their Blackout mascara for this very reason. It’s extravagant and delivers Halloween sexiness in one stroke. I say Halloween because it uses kohl pigment to enhance your eyes with a black as rich as charcoal. The oversized brush means it’s saturated in the formula for an ultra-dramatic effect, and for these reasons, counts Natalie Portman, Sarah Hyland and Jessica Biel amongst its fans. Available from John Lewis nationwide, £25
Benefit Roller Lash
Following in the steps (or should that be strokes) of their best-selling cult classic, the They’re Real Mascara, the Roller Lash represents new innovation in design for those seeking a fresher, doll-eyed look. With hooks on the picots, this wand truly lifts *every* lash for a long-lasting curled effect, perfect for a flirty daytime look. Just think of Roller Lash as the push-up bra for your lashes. Available from House of Fraser nationwide, £19.50
As one of the most famous clauses in the beauty world, Lancôme Hypnôse has come to represent more than just mascara these days. Its cult product status wouldn’t be possible without its several expert ingredients which have helped launch this formula in three other Hypnôse wands: Star, Drama & Doll. Its softsculpt emollient wax produces up to six(!) times your eyelashes normal volume – sans clump. Enriched with caring ingredients such as vitamin B5, silicon and glycerine, this mascara doesn’t bring the dreaded brittle and flaky look we spend more to avoid, instead giving you supple lashes that have the capacity to be layered up at night after all day in the office. Available from House of Fraser nationwide, £22.50
Yves Saint Laurent Volume Shocking
On one shopping trip in 2013 I was struck by inspiration to try a new mascara. It’s just as well I started for the YSL counter as I may never have experienced the Volume Shocking wand. That may be hyperbole talking, but the application for a show-stopping look is made so easy – glamour-phobes take note – by the modest-sized wand and twisted helix for an instant grab and thicken effect. The formula contains two waxes: one soft for the immediate application and one hard to stabilise the curve. Fancy. Available from House of Fraser nationwide, £25
Estée Lauder Sumptuous Infinite
Estée Lauder describe this product as daring. Whilst that may sound OTT its performance definitely fulfils the promises of somebody’s coffee shop horoscope because it separates lashes like no other. The wand has a curved and a straight edge with firm, tapered bristles to thicken out lashes at the root, with another row of picots solely dedicated to fanning out the ends, separating, defining and filling out the lashes for a beautifully full and balanced look. This is inky perfection in a stroke. Available from House of Fraser nationwide, £25
Eyeko Sport Waterproof
As the only waterproof cousin on the list, she must be good, right? Actually, I think Sport Waterproof mascara is great. Its spoon brush is user-friendly but the formula also allows for heavy-duty layering for a more intense look when, as most likely is the case when near water or the gym when you aren’t wearing anything else. I bought this mascara for my most recent (sob, sob) summer holiday, and loved the really princess-y, fluttery effect that is great for adding length, too – on some nights I even shunned the real thing for this. It’s 100% waterproof, sweat-proof and basically stays on until you tell it differently with a cleansing balm. It’s also enriched with 11 fruit extracts and collagen for a protecting, nurturing effect to counteract the kind of ‘harsh on your lashes’ tattle that is synonymous with waterproof mascara. Available from Space NK nationwide, £18
Max Factor False Lash Effect
One of the most decorated contenders as far as awards go, False Lash is an international beauty icon. Application may take some practice as the bold cone brush has far reach and not just to the ends of your lashes! But this being said, it receives a lot of attention and rave reviews from girls with shorter lashes and makeup beginners alike, who’re seeking definition, and, well, more definition as the bristles can find even the finest of hairs for a longer, more extravagant look. As you’d expect with a product that promises to ape the appearance of an artificial strip lash, the Liquid Lash formula coats lashes from root to tip for full coverage and thus sets to a nice curve. At £10.99 it’s also a bargain, too. Available from Boots nationwide.
Guerlain Maxi Lash So Volume Mascara
One for the seductress in you, this rich black formula intensifies and enhances the windows to your soul for a strictly after-dark, doe-eyed effect. The formula is surprisingly creamy but its elastic ingredient means lashes are instantly plumped out. The fine picots and nimble brush also mean that separation is easy so there’s no danger of spidery lashes or *shudders* clumping. Guerlain have also imbued this formula with several oils to deliver an ultra-glossy appearance that stays, using one that assists setting the lashes to avoid smudging. With the amazing volume and colour, Maxi Lash is not for the faint hearted. To those seeking a natural look, move along. Available from House of Fraser nationwide, £24.50