Best lengthening mascaras for long and defined lashes

·9-min read
 (Maybelline)
(Maybelline)

In the last few years, there has been a switch-up in our makeup practices. While the contouring, baking and heavily made-up look of yesteryear set the agenda for a while, the move to skinimalism has come particularly welcome as we put aside caked complexions in favour of enhancing our natural beauty.

It will come as no surprise to many that this is the makeup preference du jour. During lockdown, the majority of us forwent our traditional daily application and, once restrictions eased, not only did we seemingly forget how to do the carefully curated faces that we had perfected over many hours of YouTube tutorials, but we didn’t recognise our reflections once we did. Our makeup sat on our dressing tables, untouched and with use-by dates looming.

One of the easiest ways to tap into the trend is a simple base of a tinted moisturiser, CC or BB cream, followed by a simple lick of mascara on the lashes. This is a look that comes without any expertise needed - you just need the right product for the latter.

When it comes to choosing the best mascara, there are two descriptors to look out for; either lengthening or volumising. You’ll find there are an extensive selection of options that do both as well as those that stick to one and do it very well. Lengthening is universally desired and we’re all on the hunt for a product that offers instant drama without a laborious application process or a formula that will flake off during the day.

You want it to stay firmly in place all day, without clumping or smudging, and preferably without the extra step of a pre-mascara curl. It must offer impressive results but the thankless process of trial and error is never kind on the bank balance. Luckily we’ve done the hard work for you in finding the mascara worth your money.

To achieve the fluttery, false lash effect with all the drama you need, lengthening formulas tend to be some of the most foolproof and easy to apply. These will coat the jet black formula onto your precious lashes with a separating and buildable effect.

Look out particularly for the ingredients and nourishing add-ons like vitamin E that are kind to the eye area as well as the shape of the brush. Curvaceous designs will ensure no hair is left behind, while there are also multi-length bristles for luscious lashes on even the shortest.

In order to elongate the lifecycle of your mascara, opt for a twist instead of pumping motion to coat the brush, add eye drops when it starts to dry to give you extra weeks of use and when it eventually does finish, save the brush to use with other formulas or clean it and go over lashes to ensure even application of future products. Don’t be afraid to layer up and even go for a primer to emphasise the look - they come in blue hues but don’t let that scare you off!

Below you’ll find the best lengthening mascaras with no lash extensions necessary.

Gucci L’Obscur

When Gucci launched its makeup collection with an extensive lipstick range, we were excited to see what they would do next and the L’Obscur mascara did not disappoint. Housed in a luxe packaging with the signature pastel pink and gold from the famed Italian fashion house, the formula is designed to emphasise your natural lashes.

With just one flick of the wand, they will appear immediately lengthened and thickened without clumping. It is a buildable formula but you really don’t need many layers as the brush reaches each and every lash with one of the most seamless applications we’ve ever tried. The creamy pigment lasts all day without flaking or smudging. You can apply the traditional horizontal way or vertically to add extra volume.

Buy now £30.00, Selfridges

Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara

This drugstore favourite from Maybelline has reached cult status by those in the know and it’s kind on the bank balance too. XXL lashes are just a few swipes away where the jet black formula creates a false lash effect, coating each hair from root to tip.

Lash extensions without the faff, fuss or financial hit, this is the kind of mascara that people will stop and ask you what you are using. Word to the wise, it applies best on clean lashes to prevent clumping and isn’t the most buildable on this list but once on, it has all-day lasting power and also easily washes off at night.

Buy now £11.49, Boots

Jones Road Beauty The Mascara

Bobbi Brown founded Jones Road Beauty to create premium, pigmented everyday staples with no fuss application and she succeded with The Mascara. Taking you back to basics, this is a product that coats each and every single lash to give a dramatic look that will take you seamlessly from day to play, without depositing too much product and leaving clumps behind. It continues to build and build with every swipe, offering lengthening and volume in equal proportion. The packaging is also sleek and minimal, while the formula is clean, vegan and cruelty-free.

Buy now £24.00, Jones Road Beauty

Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Push Up Lashes! mascara

As part of Charlotte Tilbury’s globally renowned Pillow Talk range (one item in the collection sells every 10 seconds) comes this innovative mascara that amplifies the appearance of your lash look, giving length and volume in spades.

The colourway is named Super Black and that is an accurate reflection of the shade that is dramatic and unmissable. It provides an instant effect thanks to the micro precision brush that combs the lashes while imparting the formula. The bristles are also shaped like diamonds in order to create a wide-eye appearance - welcomed after a sleepless night on the town.

There’s also keratin and natural waxes like carnauba contained within the formula so you are conditioning the hair fibres at the same time.

Buy now £25.00, Charlotte Tilbury

MAC Magic Extension Mascara

For a false lash look, MAC boasts some of the best mascaras in the game that offer volume, definition, drama and most importantly, lengthening. This product in particular was created to recreate the appearance of lash treatments with an exaggerated look from the carbon-black hue and the inclusion of the brand’s Crystal Elixir Powder and natural waxes in the formulation that offer conditioning as it builds your bold lash look. This will leave your lashes looking fuller as well as lifted and stays firmly in place from work to after dark.

Buy now £28.50, lookfantastic

DIOR Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara

No lash curler needed, this mascara from Dior provides an enviable vertical lift thanks to the curvature of the wand. It comes in three shades; black, blue and brown and fans out the lashes to effectively open up the eyes. Within the formula is cotton nectar that fortifies the hair fibres and leaves a healthy shine as it gives length, volume and definition. The product has true lasting power and doesn’t flake off throughout the day and the exterior packaging is hugely attractive with its mirrored look.

Buy now £26.10, Boots

Estée Lauder Double Wear Zero Smudge Lengthening mascara

A bright eyed and bushy tail appearance is just a swipe of this wand away. Fake an eight hour sleep with the awakening look that this mascara will give to lashes. This is achieved by the way the brush is created. Micro-fibre bristles separate out each lash, which make it seamless to coat from root to tip. The addition of polymers in the formula keep it long-lasting, up to 15 hours according to the brand, but certainly after hours and throughout the night without smudging.

Buy now £24.50, Selfridges

Benefit Roller Lash

Roller Lash has long been considered a fan favourite with beauty editors everywhere for its foolproof ability to elongate your lashes with no fuss or frills. The formula contains lash-conditioning ingredients like Provitamin B5 and serin that nourishes and thickens. It applies a thin layer with a smooth and easy application, while also separating, lifting and curling without the need for any curlers mishaps.

Buy now £19.60, lookfantastic

M·A·C Stack Mascara

M·A·C’s biggest launch this year comes two years in the making, dubbed its “biggest breakthrough in mascara technology”.

This all begins with the Superstack Mega Brush and Superstack Micro Brush, unique petal-shaped design that staggers the bristles in such way as to leave no single lash uncoated. Speaking off coating, the stats speak for themselves; 95 per cent saw gravity-defying volume, lift and length, while the same amount said mascara builds endlessly.

Amp up your lash looks with the formula that is made to be infinitely buildable without clumping, flaking or hardening. It’s created to be the ultimate all-rounder. No longer do you need to use one product for your lengthening, while another for volume - this does it all through the different length multifaceted bristles.

Buy now £26.00, lookfantastic

Clinique Zero Gravity High Impact Mascara

The hunt for the perfect mascara with equal volumising and lengthening properties is enduring but Clinique is making a convincing claim for the title with its Zero Gravity High Impact Mascara. The brand explains, “we have lash lift-off” before going on to share its ability to lift and curl lashes by 50 per cent.

No additional tools necessary, this is the be all and end all for lashes where the curved brush coats a lightweight gel with a strong hold polymer and clay particles. Clinique has forgone the use of heavy waxes to offer long-lasting results and leaves unsightly drooping out of your beauty routine. The formula doesn’t smudge of flake off throughout the day but is easily removed with just warm water.

The launch comes alongside the new Quickliner for Brows that comes in six shades, the High Impact Easy Liquid Liner in two shades and the High Impact Lash Amplifying Serum.

Buy now £22.00, Clinique

Avon Legendary Lengths Mascara

Avon’s calling with a new lash maximising formula designed to lengthen and volumise. According to a report from the brand, 46 per cent of UK women feel more confident when they have long lashes, so they’ve launched this product to give immediate results. The silicone brush allows for smooth application, while the formula remains in place all day without smudging or clumping.

Buy now £7.00, Avon

Glossier Lash Slick

Glossier’s Lash Slick garners consistently good reviews thanks to its natural effect but also sticking power.

Its weightless and flexible mascara visibly lengthens and lifts lashes thanks to the tiny fibres that coat each hair, giving maximum definition. Not only this, because of its water-resistant (not waterproof) formula, it will stay in place for the whole day without smudging or flaking but is easy to remove, without the need for rubbing which can often irritate the delicate eye area.

If you’re after that subtle looking-great-without-looking-like-you-made-an-effort look that is currently in vogue, this mascara definitely the one to go for.

Buy now £14.00, Glossier

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