Beauty Believe It or Not, This $4 Viral Mascara Rivals My $26 Favorite The TikTok find lengthens, volumizes, and defines incredibly well. By Rachel Nussbaum Rachel Nussbaum Instagram Twitter Rachel is a journalist, writer, and editor who specializes in the beauty and wellness industry, writing about the best, safest products the industry has to offer for InStyle, Byrdie, and Shape. InStyle's editorial guidelines Published on April 15, 2022 @ 10:00PM Pin Share Tweet Email We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission. Photo: Getty Images If you've never known the sadness of a sold-out product, I envy you. It's not the worst thing in the world, but it's definitely mid-level annoying to find something that checks every box, only to see it sold out for months at a time. Such was my mascara dilemma, until a spectacular $4 mascara came into my life via TikTok. I've been using the Jones Road mascara for the past two months, and it's one of the best currently on my vanity. Bobbi Brown's latest endeavor specializes in user-friendly, high-performing clean formulas, and I'm happy to say the mascara is perfect in every way: It impressively lengthens, easily thickens, and leaves me with flake-free, dark lashes all day. The curved, fibrous wand sweeps my hairs up and makes application a cinch, yet it slides easily back into the tube without catching formula on the rim (my pet peeve). Unfortunately for me, I'm not the only one so convinced. It's currently out of stock at Credo, and I have no idea when it will be back. To prepare for when my tube eventually runs dry, I've been keeping an eye on other mascara contenders; after writing a story on Amazon's storefront of viral TikTok products, I was influenced into trying Wet n Wild's Big Poppa Mascara. Courtesy Shop now: $4 (Originally $6); amazon.com and ulta.com In packaging alone, Jones Road is my clear favorite. Its sophisticated, matte black tube only bears the brand's white logo, where Wet n Wild's shiny black plastic features a gold crown, the repeating slogan, "bigger is better," and a mix of serif and sans serif fonts that makes me cringe. Still, it's what's inside that counts — and on application, Wet n Wild's formula indeed rivals Jones Road's for effect (and from an accessibility standpoint, the crown's indentations do make the Big Poppa easier to open). The drugstore mascara also features a fibrous wand, but uses an hourglass shape instead of a curved one. I do notice some difference from that aspect: Compared eye-to-eye, the Jones Road leaves my eyes looking a bit more open. That aside, the Big Poppa rivals it for length, volume, and darkness, and after using it for a few weeks, I can confirm it doesn't smudge or flake, either. Ingredient-wise, the Jones Road comes out on top. It uses carnauba and rice bran wax for hold, tara spinosa gum and cellulose for thickness, and glycerin, vitamin E, and panthenol to condition lashes. Wet n Wild's does feature castor oil, which experts say creates optimal hair growth conditions, but it's the second-to-last ingredient, so it's tough to judge the benefits. In terms of availability, though, the Wet n Wild comes roaring ahead — which might be why TikTok can't stop talking (Tok-ing?) about the $4 buy. One video of the mascara in action has over 121,000 views, and another clocks in at over 32,000. "Y'all seeing this too? The volume," commented the latter's creator, user @arianalucidonio. "They're really not clumpy whatsoever. I don't know how, but Wet n Wild, you snapped." They're absolutely correct. I'll be repurchasing The Mascara from Jones Road when it at long last returns, but in the meantime, Wet n Wild's $4 Big Poppa mascara is nearly as good for a fraction of the cost. Get on the former's waitlist at Credo, and get the latter at Amazon and Ulta Beauty. Wet n Wild Big Poppa on my left eye, Jones Road The Mascara on my right.