For a while, I loved it, and kept up the process for two years. But somewhere along the line, I started to dislike the look and feel of a false flutter. Sure, they looked great immediately out of the salon, but eventually, they’d grow out, fall out, or I’d anxiously pluck them off (bad, I know—don’t do it), and I’d be left with nonuniform lashes. Because of this, I ditched my extensions and now choose to fulfill my lash fantasies with well-formulated mascaras that give my short, straight lashes length and volume at the same time.
Didn’t think it was possible for a single mascara to do it all? According to celebrity makeup artists, it all comes down to the formula and how you apply it. Keep reading to learn more—and to discover 10 lengthening and volumizing mascaras that the pros applaud.
What to look for in a mascara that volumizes and lengthens without clumping
While it may seem like you need to choose between length and volume (especially if you want to avoid clumping), there are mascaras that do it all—you just have to know what to look for and how to use the product effectively.
“When looking for a mascara that is volumizing and lengthening, it’s really going to be about both the mascara formula and the brush applicator,” says celebrity makeup artist Robert Sesnek. “Choose formulas that are slightly creamy in texture as these tend to build beautifully and avoid formulas that are too wet or watery as these can weigh down the lashes and not build up as well.” Additionally, some lengthening and volumizing mascaras are formulated with fibers, which extend each lash and add fullness.
“I like all of my mascaras to be waterproof as well,” adds celebrity makeup artist Alexandra French. “I have really short lashes and only waterproof mascaras keep them curled and lifted,” which she says can lend to a fuller-looking flutter.
The shape of the brush also matters: In order for a mascara to be both volumizing and lengthening, it must have a densely-bristled wand that can grab lashes close at the root to coat them fully. “Mascara wands/brushes are almost as important [as the formula] because of how they lay and build the mascara up,” explains Sesnek.
In terms of clumping, “It can be caused by the brush part of the wand: If it collects too much product in certain spots, it will clump,” celebrity makeup artist Jamie Dorman previously told Well+Good. She revealed that over-pumping your wand in your tube—which many people do to gather more product on the bristles—can actually dry out the mascara. With that in mind, your best bet to avoid clumping is to only pump the wand into the tube a single time, and brush off any excess before applying so you don’t crowd your lashes with product.
Now that you know what to look for and how to properly apply your mascara, keep reading to discover 10 best mascaras for volume and length, according to celebrity MUAs.
The best mascara for volume and length
MAC, Extended Play Gigablack Lash Mascara — $26.00
While technically described as a sweat- and humidity-resistant formula, the MAC Extended Play Gigablack Lash Mascara acts like a waterproof formula that maintains volume and length, as well as rich pigment. “It’s easy to remove and has a buildable formula,” says French. “There is no smudging or flaking with this one.”
YSL, Lash Clash Extreme Volume Mascara — $29.00
For major volume, notable length, and zero clumps, Sesnek can’t get enough of the YSL Lash Clash Extreme Volume Mascara. “It’s another favorite of mine as it never clumps and has major volume,” he says. “This is a great one for really building smaller and shorter lashes. It’s definitely worth the splurge!”
Rare Beauty, Perfect Strokes Universal Volumizing Mascara — $20.00
For a natural-looking flutter that’s still long and voluminous, French says the Rare Beauty Mascara works beautifully. “It separates lashes perfectly while adding lots of length to the tips,” she says, noting that it creates an allover lift and fullness in the process.
L’Oréal, Voluminous Carbon Black Volume Building Mascara — $11.00
Do-it-all mascaras don’t have to cost $20+. “A staple in my kit for as long as I can remember is the L’Oréal Voluminous Carbon Black Volume Building Mascara,” Sesnek reveals. “I can always count on this mascara to work on pretty much everyone. It’s one of the densest black mascaras I’ve found, and one of the most affordable, and I will use it as long as it’s made.”
NARS, Climax Mascara — $25.00
“I love the NARS Climax Mascara for my sensitive-eyed clients,” Sesnek says. “No clumps on this one and incredibly buildable [for a] full lash effect. Usually, three coats and I’m good to go!”
MAC, MacStack Superstack Mascara — $28.00
For dramatic volume and length, French says the MACStack Mascara is a must. “This is a thicker formula which is amazing for volume and can give you the indie sleaze chunky lash look that I love so much,” she says.
Dior, Diorshow 24h Buildable Volume Mascara — $30.00
Pricier? Sure. Worth it? According to Sesnek: Absolutely. “The DiorShow Mascara is another classic and definitely one of my all-time favorites,” he reveals. “Several coats and you’ll look like you’re wearing false eyelashes but in the best way possible. This formula makes for the longest, fullest, and thickest lashes possible.” To achieve those results, though, he says it’s important to wipe any excess mascara off the wand before applying each coat (of which he recommends multiple for an optimal end look).
Watch what happened when our senior beauty editor put 5 best-selling “clean” mascaras to the test.
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