10 Mascaras That Rival Lash Extensions

From vegan formulas that mimic falsies to multitasking wonders that offer something for everyone, here are the latest mascara innovations that are sure to satisfy.
Written by Meg Storm
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10 Mascaras That Rival Lash Extensionsyunona uritsky/Unsplash

Long before COVID-19-compliant face masks and facial coverings became the norm, I’ve opted for a makeup look that emphasizes my eyes — more specifically, my eyelashes. Understatedly defying the makeup-free protocol of my buttoned-up parochial school, my mother let me start wearing clear mascara in seventh grade, and my love affair with lashes blossomed from there.

Having graduated to black, brown, and even the occasional pop of color (aubergine Tom Ford, anyone?), I’ve been known to layer two or three formulas at a time for the ultimate lifted, lengthened, and separated effect. And, on the rare occasion I find a tube that can accomplish the trifecta, I shout about it from the rooftops (i.e. write an ode to it in a forum such as this).

With 2020 beauty and aesthetic trends shaping up to be all about the eyes (plastic surgeons share their take HERE, while a makeup artist gives us his advice HERE), it seems like as good a time as any to take break down what’s new on the mascara market. From vegan formulas that rival lash extensions to buildable, multitasking wonders that offer something for everyone, read on for 10 of the latest mascara innovations that are sure to satisfy.

The All-in-One: Urban Decay Lash Freak Mascara


Customize your lash look with this three-way wand that volumizes, defines, and lifts. The asymmetrical side builds up volume, while the budding tip adds precise definition. If extra lift is what you’re after, sweep the curved side under your lashes for a fluttery finish. Oh, and the sweatproof formula boats 20 hours of smudge- and flake-free wear. $25, urbandecay.com

The Curler Replacement: Marc Jacobs At Lash’d Lengthening & Curling Mascara


Combine your lash curler and mascara steps with this lifting and lengthening vegan formula that provides both an immediate and long-term boost thanks to conditioners like biotin peptide and provitamin B5. $27, sephora.com

The Fiber Blast: Huda Beauty Legit Lashes Double-Ended Mascara


This dual design has two full-size brushes — one for volume and one lengthening even the tiniest lashes. The volumizing formula features low-gravity (read: weightless) fibers, while the curl-and-length side includes gripping waxes and fibers for an elongated effect. Wear alone or together, depending on the level of drama you desire. $27, sephora.com

The Twiggy-Inspired: L'Oréal Bambi Eye Mascara


This ultra-black drugstore option is a real eye-opener with a mix of long and short bristles that offer lash-by-lash separation and definition. The result? A wide-eye look that calls to mind the swinging sixties. $10.99, ulta.com

The Extension Equivalent: Hourglass Cosmetics Unlocked Instant Extensions Mascara


If you haven’t been able to make it in for your lash extensions, consider this vegan formula the next best thing. Lightweight fibers that instantly lock in place lift and lengthen for fanned-out fringe. $29, hourglasscosmetics.com

The Trendy Tuber: Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara


You’ve likely spotted this influencer-approved formula on your IG feed. Now available in black and brown-black, the flake-free tubing mascara creates the illusion of ultra-long lashes and helps to lengthen over time thanks to a nourishing orchid stem cell complex. $24, thrivecausemetics.com

The Lash Lift: IT Cosmetics Lash Blowout Volumizing Mascara


Drybar for your lashes, this biotin-infused lifting mascara is inspired by the technology used to create the blowdry bar’s famous barrel hairbrushes. And, just like a good blowout, it yields a voluminous result that keeps it shape. $25, ulta.com

The Stay-All-Day: Milk Makeup KUSH Waterproof Mascara


Waterproof mascaras are notorious for being difficult to remove, which inevitably damages the lashes. This conditioning, hemp-infused formula defies conventional wisdom by offering a longwear, full-volume finish (thanks to fallout-free fibers) that you don’t need to tug at to take off. $24, sephora.com

The High Gloss: Laura Mercier Caviar Volume Panoramic Mascara


This thickening formula has a glossy, patent leather-like finish that is perfect for transitioning from day to night. The brand's caviar complex coats lashes from root to tip with nourishing and hydrating conditioners that don’t clump but do keep lashes softly structural. $25, lauramercier.com

The Builder: Guide Beauty Lash Wrap Mascara


Unlike many tubing formulas that only allow for one swipe, this flexible polymer technology is buildable — so you can enjoy as subtle or as bold a look as you’d like. The patent-pending package design, meanwhile, is meant to steady your hand, so you get a mess-free application every time. $26, guidebeauty.com

All products featured are independently selected by our editors, however, AEDIT may receive a commission on items purchased through our links.

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MEG STORMis the editorial & content director at AEDIT.

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