Get your hot girl summer started.

Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
Advertisement
Best Mascara
Credit: Stocksy

Strolling down the makeup aisle in the drugstore can be seriously overwhelming. Not only are there dozens upon dozens of products staring back at you underneath harsh fluorescent lighting, but you also have to make your decision without testing anything out.

Plus, when you throw in the fact that most of us haven't worn (and probably even bought mascara in over a year, it's hard to know where to even get started.

But let's be real: with more and more people getting vaccinated, we're pretty sure we're all ready to go outside and get this hot girl summer going. And whether you're planning on doing a picnic in the park, having a small indoor gathering, or checking out the post-pandemic dating scene, there's an under-$20 mascara out there for you that will make you forget all about your old strip lashes.

To help you find the right mascara formula for you, we're breaking down the best of the best, below.

Best Lengthening Drugstore Mascara: Maybelline Lash Stiletto

Macaras
Credit: Courtesy

Billing itself as "the only mascara that does for lashes what stilettos do for legs," Maybelline's Lash Stiletto mascara is the go-to for extreme lash lengthening — 70% longer-looking lashes, to be exact. The red-bristled brush is designed to grip every last lash, from the root all the way to the tip. Bonus: Vitamin B5 in the formula simultaneously conditions and boosts shine.

Shop now: $10; ulta.com

Best Lash-Conditioning Drugstore Mascara: Almay Get Up & Grow

Almay Get Up & Grow

Infused with pro-vitamins, Almay's Get Up & Grow mascara gives you all the benefits you expect (lengthening, intensifying), while also helping to strengthen lashes and prevent against future breakage. Per Amazon reviewers, the formula is also suitable for extremely sensitive eyes and is smudge-proof.

Shop now: $15; amazon.com

Best Volumizing Drugstore Mascara: L'Oreal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara

Macaras
Credit: Courtesy

Another perennial favorite, this volumizing, soft-bristled mascara from L'Oréal Paris washes off as easily and smoothly as it goes on. The soft bristle brush — with more than 200 bristles — catches every lash for a full feathered effect.

Shop now: $11; target.com

Best Thickening Drugstore Mascara: Milani Highly Rated Mascara

Milani Highly Rated Mascara
Credit: Courtesy Target

Milani's Highly Rated Mascara is, in fact, quite highly rated — even earning a seal of approval from makeup influencer Jeffree Star. The plant-based formula envelopes lashes from root to tip to build serious volume, especially with a few coats.

Shop now: $10; target.com

Best Waterproof Drugstore Mascara: NYX Worth the Hype Waterproof Mascara

NYX Professional Makeup Worth The Hype Mascara
Credit: Courtesy Target

Sometimes you want to build lash length and fullness on your own, using multiple coats of mascara — but a lot of formulas clump up too quickly, resulting in chunky, spider lashes. Not this one from NYX, which, per its name, is worth the hype. It's also a steal at under $10.

Shop now: $8; target.com

Best Double-Wand Drugstore Mascara: L’Oréal Paris Double Extend Beauty Tubes Lengthening Mascara

L’Oréal Paris Double Extend Beauty Tubes Lengthening Mascara
Credit: Courtesy Amazon

The Double Extend Beauty Tubes Lengthening Mascara by L'Oréal Paris is the two-in-one product you never knew you needed. It's a primer and mascara in one in an easy-to-transport tube that costs less than ten bucks. First, apply the primer, which is infused with ceramides to nourish and strengthen lashes, and helps create the ideal base coat for step two. Then swipe on the topcoat of mascara, which promises not to run, clump, flake, or smudge.

Shop now: $10; amazon.com

Best All-in-One Drugstore Mascara: Maybelline Great Lash Mascara

Macaras
Credit: Courtesy

This tiny pink and green tube is famous for a reason: It really works. Maybelline's Great Lash Mascara might very well be the most recognizable drugstore mascara of them all — it debuted 40 years ago. The smooth, clump-free formula and small, nimble, lash-building brush have proven to be a winning combo for decades.

Shop now: $6; target.com

Best Drugstore Mascara for Sensitive Eyes: Neutrogena Healthy Volume Mascara

Neutrogena Healthy Volume Mascara

Dermatologist- and ophthalmologist-tested, Neutrogena's Healthy Volume Mascara is ideal for contact lens-wearers and those with sensitive eyes. It's infused with olive oil and sweet almond to protect lashes naturally, sans irritation.

Shop now: $10; target.com

Best Non-Clumping Drugstore Mascara: Maybelline Snapscara

Maybelline Snapscara
Credit: Courtesy Target

Celebrity makeup artist Jamie Greenberg cites this as one of her all-time favorite drugstore mascaras, saying that she loves "a thick, long lash that's inky." It delivers all of the thickening, lengthening, and volume-boosting features of a quality mascara in easy on, easy off fashion. That's thanks to its wax-free formula, which glides on and swipes off in, you guessed it, a snap.

Shop now: $6; target.com

Best Colored Drugstore Mascara: L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Original Mascara

L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Original Mascara

This classic mascara from L'Oréal Paris is great for a lot of reasons, not least of which because it comes in a variety of bold hues, including burgundy and cobalt blue. Swipe some on for an instant boost of color.

Shop now: $9; target.com

Best Bargain Drugstore Mascara: Wet 'n Wild Mega Volume Mascara

best drugstore mascaras
Credit: Courtesy

It costs $4 — need we say more? But really, with an oversized brush and a clump-free, quick-drying formula that promises thicker, longer, and fuller-looking lashes, you can't go wrong with this pick from Wet 'n Wild.

Shop now: $4; target.com

Best Dramatic Drugstore Mascara: Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara

best mascaras
Credit: Courtesy

The brush on Maybelline's Lash Sensational Mascara has a supposed ten layers of bristle to visibly lengthen and feather lashes with just a single coat — but the formula is also meant to be buildable, so you can amp up the drama as much as your heart desires.

Shop now: $5; amazon.com

Best Drugstore Mascara with Built-In Primer: Honest Beauty Extreme Length Mascara + Lash Primer

Honest Beauty Extreme Length Mascara + Lash Primer
Credit: Courtesy Target

"Honest is all-natural and comes with built-in primer," Greenberg explains, adding that it's another one of her favorites. The mascara formula, in addition to being natural, delivers high-performance lash lengthening and a clump-free finish.

Shop now: $17; target.com