Drugstore Mascara Comparison

When it comes to mascara, I tend to find one that I like and use it for a very long time. I used the same Maybelline mascara for probably 10 years before venturing out to something else. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with that, I do think it’s helpful to try new products out to see if maybe there’s something better out there!

I’ve always had naturally long, decently full eyelashes. I’ve never done a thing to them – I don’t even use an eyelash curler. Even with a good starting base, the mascara you use can make a big difference! From the applicator wand, to the formula, to how it wears throughout the day, there’s something out there for everybody. I chose five of the most popular and highly-rated drugstore mascaras and tested each one. It doesn’t convey quite as well in just a single photo, but I was surprised by how different each one was.

With each of the five mascaras, I started with this mascara primer. If you take away nothing else from this, please consider using a mascara primer! I didn’t start using one regularly until a year or two ago and it makes a big difference. From prepping your lashes to allowing you to use less product, primer is a key step. I’ve been using this one! So, I did one coat of primer and then two coats of mascara. I applied primer, would let it dry a little until tacky, about 30 seconds, and then apply the first coat of mascara. A “coat” isn’t just one swipe of product on my lashes – it’s many! I start at the base, wiggle the wand to the tip, blink, and make sure that I evenly distribute product on every lash. I allow that to dry for a minute or two and then go in to do it a second time. I should also note that I’m not wearing any other eye makeup in these photos – I wanted the focus to be just on my lashes. No shadow, eyeliner, or anything else. Quick note: all photos are completely unedited. 

L’Oreal Air Volume Mega Mascara

This was the first one that I tried. The brush on the wand is very big, which meant that I got a lot of product on my eyelid. It definitely adds volume, since you get so much product on the wand, but I found it to be overall clumpy and bulky looking. By the end of the day, I did notice that there was some transfer below my eyebrows. On the positive side, there was no flaking with this one! If I touched my lashes, product would crumble off pretty easily, but it wouldn’t just flake off with wear. I also didn’t like that my lashes felt crunchy, instead of soft.

Overall, I personally didn’t like this one. If you’re looking for volume and impact, this may be one to consider!

L’Oreal Lash Paradise

You’ll notice that this is the same brand in the primer that I use! I actually used this mascara for a long time, up until I found a different one I liked last spring. Overall, I do really like this one. It adds plenty of volume, doesn’t transfer or flake. It doesn’t add quite as much length as some of the others that I tried. The formula is on the dry side. It does stay soft to the touch, which is what I like my mascara to feel like!

L’Oreal Telescopic

I really like this one for length! The applicator is teeny tiny, so the payoff with product is less than some of the others here. With just the two coats, it didn’t create as much of a bold impact as some of the others, but the lengthening is there. It feels light on my lashes, too. The formula is pretty wet, so I did have to clean a decent amount off of my lid after application, but it was easy to take off.

Maybelline The Falsies Lash Lift

Admittedly, I didn’t realize that I had ordered the waterproof version until after I used it. It’s possible that the formula of it impacted my impression, so the non-waterproof may be different. However, this was definitely my least favorite of the bunch! Even with two coats, I felt like I had nothing on my eyelashes. There was very little impact with this one, even at the base of my lashes. It was lightweight and comfortable to wear, since it was thin. There was no flaking or transfer with this one.

If you prefer a very natural look, this would be a good one to try!

Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High

I knew I had to include this one, since it’s gone viral recently! The name is definitely accurate – I felt like this added a lot of length, especially with the first coat. The applicator was thin and quite flexible, which made it a little difficult to apply cleanly. It was also a very wet formula, as compared to some of the others. If you’re looking for length, try this one!

After trying all five, my pick would be Lash Paradise, which makes sense because I wore it for a long time! I will definitely use the Telescopic and Sky High again, but probably just for light makeup days. I like the lengthening aspect and that they don’t add a ton of volume. When I’m doing a full face of makeup, though, I want volume in my mascara for a bolder finish. My least favorite was Lash Lift, followed very closely by Air Volume. They just didn’t work well for me!

Do you use any of these? Is there another drugstore mascara you’d recommend?

Hi there!

Lauren Bown Lifestyle Blog is an online destination where I share my personal style, beauty finds, and bits of life in hopes to inspire other women to feel good in their skin and find the beauty in the ordinary.

browse the archives

shop my instagram

Leave a Comment


  1. 2.19.21
    Amy said:

    I also used Lash Paradise for a long time! But, I always found that it seemed to dry out and get really clumpy soon after opening it for the first time. Did this ever happen to you?

    • 2.19.21
      Lauren said:

      I’ve had several people say something similar, but I never noticed it getting overly dry. It’s definitely on the more dry side to start out with, compared to some others!

  2. 2.19.21
    Rachel said:

    Hi Lauren,
    Will you be doing comparisons for non-drug store mascaras as well? I’ve been using the Tarte Surfer Curl mascara but was debating on trying the new Lancome mascara and was wondering how those two compared.

    Thank you!

    • 2.19.21
      Lauren said:

      I definitely can! I really like Surfer Curl, but the Lancome one is SO good. I use both, but Lancome is the one I’m reaching for more these days.

      • 2.19.21
        Stacey H said:

        I got the Lancome Idolé but I’m still getting used to the brush! I can quite decide how to use it! Do you apply with the short bristle side and then flip it over amd come through with the other?

  3. 2.19.21
    Kelly said:

    I started using Lash Paradise forever ago because of your recommendation, and I still use it and love it! I was interested to see if you’d found some other kind I should try, but it looks like I’ll be sticking with my favorite. Thanks for the reviews! 🙂

    • 2.19.21
      Lauren said:

      It’s definitely my drugstore recommendation!

  4. 2.19.21
    Katie said:

    Thank you for this! It was really helpful, especially since I have similar eyelashes to you, never used a curler either. I feel like your likes and dislikes would be mine too. I love info that helps me know what to buy or not buy. ☺️

    • 2.19.21
      Lauren said:

      I’m so glad!

      • 2.19.21
        Emma said:

        Thank you, I’m always looking for a new mascara to buy and try, especially if they are the “trendy” one’s but, I was skeptical about the Sky High. Never heard of the telescopic, but now I’m curious.
        I will definitely try them now.

  5. 2.19.21
    Katie said:

    This was great! Would love a drugstore comparison series for all different products!

  6. 2.19.21
    Shelley said:

    I used to use Lash Paradise forever and love it. I recently tried It Cosmetics Superhero and I’m hooked. Sky high was just ok for me. And you’re right the Lash Paradise Primer is the best. Also love Lancôme Primer and Mascara.

    • 2.19.21
      Lauren said:

      I’ve been loving Lancome Lash Idole — I need to try their primer!

      • 2.19.21
        Lesley H said:

        I do not like Idole. Love Hypnose forever though.

  7. 2.19.21
    Terry said:

    This is a great review! I’ve used Lash Paradise for years now and I love it!! I recently got the Sky High and I love the length but it doesn’t seem to give the fullness that I like , but it’s nice for a change up! 😀

  8. 2.19.21
    Haley said:

    This is awesome! Thanks! I always love comparisons.♥️

  9. 2.19.21
    Natalie said:

    Great review! I love this type of content. I use a couple of these now too including the Sky High (I like bc it’s buildable) and the Telescopic. Keep up the great work.

  10. 2.19.21
    Lorrie Kay Douglas said:

    I have used the Maybelline Great Lash Mascara (not waterproof) since high school and always come back to it. Very inexpensive and the next closest one to it is the Clinique High Impact Mascara. Like you, I was blessed with long lashes so I need something to lengthen and stay on without flaking. I am trying a few Tarte ones you recommended but feel the Maybelline and Clinique are better. Love your posts/blog!

  11. 2.19.21
    Jessica said:

    L’Oreal Voluminous Original in Blackest Black was my OG daily use mascara for many years. Now my affordable go-to is the Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect. Benefit Roller Lash is my pricey fave.

  12. 2.19.21
    Priscilla said:

    Loved your review! How about which drugstore mascara would be good for more fullness or volume not and so much just lengthiness.

  13. 2.19.21
    Lynn said:

    I use the L’Oréal lash primer as well…it’s a must! I’ve been loving L’Oréal Bambi eyes mascara!

  14. 2.19.21
    Laura said:

    Covergirl Clump Crusher is my favorite drugstore mascara!

  15. 2.19.21
    Lesley H said:

    Try Exhbitionist by Cover Girl. I’m a Lash Paradise fan and I love that one too.

    • 2.20.21
      Tate said:

      I came here to say the same thing! I like Covergirl Exhibitionist even better than Lash Paradise actually. Lash Paradise transfers onto my brow bone and under eye (I have naturally long lashes too) but Exhibitionist doesn’t.

  16. 2.20.21
    Bri said:

    I (and many of my girlfriends) also use Lash Paradise (as per your rec) – I have been trying the sky high recently – anyone else find it much Harder to remove?! (Not waterproof either!)

  17. 2.21.21
    Aimee Cardon said:

    Really loved this post! I recently bought Lash Lift waterproof and have been loving it so I am going to try some of the others to see if they work even better for me.

  18. 2.21.21
    Janet said:

    I love the maybelline falsies lash lift. Best mascara ever and loreal voluminous

  19. 2.23.21

    I love Lash Paradise! It’s my favorite after the Lash Sensational by Maybelline! xx

  20. 2.23.21
    Rachel said:

    Great review! I’ll have to give L’Oréal Lash Paradise a try. My all time favorite drugstore mascara for years has been Lash Sensational by Maybelline. It’s the best.

  21. 3.1.21
    Katie said:

    I just bought the Lash Paradise from results of you testing… it is dry, but im gonna give it several days to try it out.

  22. 3.10.21
    Kathy Weston said:

    I 100% agree using a primer is key and I discovered Lash Paradise 1 yr ago and it is my new favourite. My only peeve about this mascara is that it drys and clumps faster so I replace every 2-3 months. But that’s it a problem because it is not an expensive brand. Loreal mascara has been in my makeup bag for 30 years! 💜
    Recommendation a very inexpensive dupe for IT Cosmetics Skinny Lash mascara is Annebelle Skinny Lash. $12 vs $32 and the results are just as good!