When it comes to mascaras, I’ve found one thing to be true: the best mascaras are from the high street. Seriously. I’ve tried countless high end mascaras, mascara primers, waterproof mascaras, mascaras with lash serums in, but still I keep returning to the same mascara I’ve been using since I was 17. If Maybelline discontinued this mascara, my lashes would never be the same again (more on that below).
Whether you’re a makeup novice or dedicated pro, mascara is a universal staple when it comes to our makeup bags. A quick swipe in the morning can transform bleary eyes into fluttery, wide-awake peepers (and don’t forget that all important eyelash curler!).
Nowadays there are so many options out there when it comes to eyelashes, from false eyelashes to lash extensions and even DIY lash kits. And while I’ve tried my hand at them all, if I’m honest, I’ll always come back to my favourite humble high street mascara.
More on mascara:
- How to master mascara application to your lower lashes like a pro
- The ultimate hacks to applying perfect, smudge-free mascara every time
- The best high street makeup under £10, as recommended by makeup artists
Which got me thinking, what are people’s ultimate high street mascara choices? I posed the question to the rest of the Eliza team to see if they too had one stand-out budget mascara they returned to time and time again, and it turns out, they sure did.
The best affordable mascaras in 2023
Below, find out the best high street mascaras that the team always make sure to have to hand, and get shopping!
Oh, and if you’re wondering when it’s time to part with your current mascara, makeup artist Rose Gallagher wrote a handy guide on how to know if your makeup is past its sell-by date. FYI, if it’s looking a bit crusty and clumpy, it’s probs best to say goodbye.
Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara, £8.99
Chosen by: Hannah Thompson, Beauty Content Creator
“I cannot overstate how much I love this mascara. For the record, I’ve got long lashes but they’re lacking in volume and curl, and I’m really picky about the way I want them to look. This mascara delivers on fanned-out, volumised, fluttery lashes every. single. time.”
“The formula is quite slick at first, but after a few applications it becomes tackier (which I prefer) and features a graduated curved brush, which makes it great for catching even the most outer corner lashes.”
“My advice for the perfect lashes: apply a lash serum every evening (Rapidlash has absolutely transformed my lashes which now multiply with abandon) and always use an eyelash curler before going in with the mascara. You’ll never look back.”
Max Factor Masterpiece Volumising Mascara, £11.99
Chosen by: Rebecca Fearn, Beauty Editor
“Anyone who knows me will be aware that I am a bit of a mascara snob; I love a Chanel, a By Terry, and a Kevyn Aucoin, me. But recently, since starting at Eliza and being convinced to try out some high street brands (Hannah, I’m looking at you), I’ve had a bit of an awakening.”
“I love the brand new Maybelline Sky High iteration, for example, but the biggest high street mascara flex goes to this Max Factor beauty, which gives me my favourite long, glossy natural lashes for less £££. Quite literally, a masterpiece…”
More on eye makeup:
- The makeup palette that’s revolutionised my routine, while also saving me money
- The best liquid eyeliners for creating this year’s graphic liner look
- 6 of the best under-eye concealers for hiding even the most tired eyes
Rimmel Extra 3D Lash Mascara, £4.99
Chosen by: Ana Bakalinova, Head of Product
“I have very short eyelashes and like something that gives a lot of definition, so this one is perfect for me. It has a very intense black pigment that makes my eyes pop and my eyelashes longer, plus it’s less than £5, so you really can’t go wrong.”
Max Factor False Lash Effect Volumising Mascara , £11.99
Chosen by: Hannah Blake, Managing Director
“My favourite mascara of all time is the Max Factor False Lash Effect Volumising Mascara. It has a great silicone brush that combs through your lashes effortlessly, and the formula lasts all day. One coat for long looking lashes and two coats for dramatic false lash effect. At £11.99, it’s a total bargain and comes in black, brown & blue.”
Maybelline Sky High Mascara, £11.99
Chosen by: Tivina Elliot-James, Picture Editor
“With very short lashes I am forever looking for mascaras that add length. After being sucked in by the TikTok hype over the Maybelline Sky High Mascara, I decided to give it a try and was not disappointed. My lashes were definitely longer and a quick brunch with the girls confirmed that it had worked; no sooner had I sat down, the compliments began rolling in. For me, it’s a new fave!”
Eyeko’s Lash Alert Mascara, £10
Chosen by: Krissy Turner, Fashion Editor
“I have such a niche mascara requirement that only a handful I’ve tried over the years manage to tick the box: my lashes are naturally fairly long, thick and dark, so I’m rarely swayed by promises of longer, thicker, blacker lashes. Instead, mine are unruly, not helped by the fact that I swear by a silk eye mask at night which squashes them into weird angles by the time I wake up. What I need from a mascara is an instant lift and firm hold that stays in place from 8am to 8pm, all without flaking. Easy, right?”
“Well one of my favourites, Eyeko’s Lash Alert is the biggest bargain; it does all that and more (and definitely ticks the longer, thicker, darker boxes if you’re interested). It has a properly sturdy wand (key for me), which manipulates my lashes into place for a full day. It comes off easily with micellar water too, so no faffing around with panda eyes for too long.”
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