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This is going to sound like blasphemy coming from a beauty writer, but I am a recent convert to the church of mascara. For literally a decade, I thought it was completely superfluous to have a makeup routine that sometimes involves two highlighters. But I will test virtually any and every beauty product that comes my way — with a few allergy and skin sensitivity-related exceptions.
Below you’ll find a breakdown of how and why I’ve come to love these four mascaras.
Overall Favorite: Yves Saint Laurent Lash Clash Extreme Volume Mascara
If you take one thing or product recommendation away from this piece, it’s that YSL’s new Lash Clash mascara is one of the best beauty products I’ve tried in recent years. Although I have included a photo to illustrate, it really doesn’t do it justice. Lash Clash makes me look like I have more lashes than I actually do. It also makes my lashes look feathery and full; to me, IRL this mascara almost looks like I’m wearing (subtle) fake lashes. I am full-heartedly obsessed.
Best Everyday Choice: Byredo Astronomical Mascara
I will admit that I first tried the Astronomical Mascara because I love Byredo fragrances and am obsessed with the sculptural packaging of its entire makeup line. So, I was slightly taken back when I tried the mascara, loved it, and began reaching for it on a regular basis. I like the subtlety and everyday wear of this mascara; the result is a my-lashes-but-better effect. Plus, the bend of the brush and thin formula make it super workable on your lower lashes, too.
Left: Wearing Byredo Astronomical Mascara. Right: Wearing YSL Lash Clash.
Best for Dramatic Lashes: Mac Macstack Mascara
Mac recently launched Macstack, a mascara it said can be endlessly layered or stacked, as the name implies, and it very quickly took over TikTok to the tune of more than 17 million hashtag views. The promise of endless stacks seemed too good to be true; I was skeptical, to say the least. With a typical mascara, I can usually get in two swipes, maybe a third before it just feels crusty and clumpy. I got through about eight stacks of this mascara and stopped only because I got tired — not because it was becoming impossible. This is not by any means a subtle mascara, this is a stop-you-in-your-tracks, very visible mascara.
I do, however, have a couple of issues: The first is that as someone with sparse eyelashes, I did have to routinely use a pair of tweezers to gently separate the lashes from each other. Also, I think it works by creating immense drama and visibility at the expense of volume.
Best Long-Term Option: BareMinerals Maximist Phyto-Fiber Volumizing Mascara
BareMinerals is among the pioneers of the growth serum-infused brow gels and this mascara similarly helps with lash growth over time, in addition to the immediately visible benefits. The thing I like most about this mascara is how soft my lashes remain, even after the mascara has dried. I felt none of that stiffness or coarseness that nearly every other mascara I’ve ever tried has had. Although you could probably get at least three swipes of Maximist on before running into any consistency issues, I like doing one very intense and purposeful layer that leaves me with camel lashes.