The 18 Best Lengthening Mascaras for Barbie-rific Lashes, According to the Pros

Your lashes will be sky-high in no time

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best lengthening mascaras
Paula Boudes for PureWow

We all know that long, fluttery eyelashes are the ultimate sign of glamour. However, if you’re part of the vast majority of the population who wasn’t born with an Elizabeth Taylor-like set and you don’t want to splurge on extensions and refills (which can also be irritating to your eyes), you’ll need to do what millions have been doing since the 19th century and turn to a trusty lengthening mascara.

While many mascara brands promote their product's thickening, darkening and volumizing effects, length is one of the most important factors for achieving that doll-like look. So where do you even start with finding the right option for you? We’ve vetted some of the top options on the market with the help of celebrity makeup artist Priscilla DiStasio and cosmetics guru Juliette Perreux.

Best Lengthening Mascaras at a Glance


Best Overall

Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara

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Armani Beauty Eyes to Kill Mascara

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Best Lifting Lengthening Mascara

Benefit BadGal Bang! Mascara

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Best Cruelty-Free Lengthening Mascara

Hourglass Unlocked Instant Extensions Mascara

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Best Vegan Lengthening Mascara

Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara

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Meet the Experts

  • Priscilla DiStasio is a celebrity makeup artist with more than 15 years of experience. She works with Teresa Giudice and a number of other women from the Real Housewives Bravo franchise, as well as other Bravolebrites. She has also worked on several popular television shows, such as Homeland, Would I Lie to You?, The Traitors, Dancing with the Stars and Younger, as well as done makeup for the MTV Video Music Awards and the Tony Awards. In 2015, DiStasio received the Celebrity Makeup Artist Achievement Award acknowledging her exceptional role in the makeup and beauty industry from the state of New York’s Beauty Chamber of Commerce.
  • Juliette Perreux is a New York-based editorial and celebrity makeup artist who has worked with several notable publications and brands, including InStyle, W, Nylon, Theory, The Webster, the NFL and more, along with celebrities including Olivia Palermo and Dascha Polanco.

What is the Best Lengthening Mascara?

While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, there’s no doubt that some mascaras lengthen your lashes more than others. There are many options out there that will suit your lash-lengthening needs, from the budget-friendly ($15), to the vegan ($15) and waterproof ($29). But according to DiStasio, the best lengthening mascara you can get your hands on now is Thrive Causemetics' Liquid Lash Extensions mascara ($25), which she loves for its ability to simultaneously volumize and define as it lengthens. For Perreux, the favorite is Armani Beauty Eyes to Kill waterproof mascara ($33), which she says both lengthens and holds a curl without the worry of runny eyes.

What to Look for in a Lengthening Mascara

  • Formula: If you want sky-high lashes that go for miles, there are some things to consider before before making your purchase. Most regular mascaras work by coating your lashes in dark pigment for extra volume and thickness. However, fiber mascaras (often called tubing mascaras, as in the case of the Thrive Causemetics mascara mentioned above) were invented in Japan, and work by wrapping each lash in little “tubes” or fibers often made of nylon or silk for major buildable length. Perreux backs this up, noting that they add bulk and length beyond your natural lash. However, there are a plethora of both regular and fiber mascaras out there that’ll give you the results you want.
  • Brush: DiStasio emphasizes the importance of choosing the right brush for the effects you want in a lengthening mascara, such as a curved brush, which can lend some added curl. If you're purely focused on length, opt for a thinner brush with short bristles that will give you more precision and definition at the root and tips.
  • Application process: To best apply your mascara, DiStasio suggests starting at the root and carefully wiggling your way up to the tips, making sure to remove any excess formula from the wand. Perreux also advises you pay close attention to the very ends of your lashes, going all the way up to the tip. If you find your mascara isn't sticking well to your lashes, DiStasio says you can leave the bottle open for a bit to allow it to get a more tacky consistency.

Keep in mind that mascara should be replaced in as little as three months, so you’ll have to restock regularly to be sure you’re using them to their full potential. Pro tip? DiStasio advises that keeping your mascara refrigerated will help extend its lifetime.

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Best Overall

1. Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara

Thrive Causemetics

  • Why We Love It: easy to remove, vegan, flake-free tubing technology
  • What We Don't Love: may need a few coats
  • Promising Review: "Best mascara I've ever used. Washes off very easy and makes my lashes incredibly long. Love this product."
  • Clean?: yes

Meet the mascara that DiStasio swears replaces the need for false lashes. Thrive Causemetics' Liquid Lash Extensions is formulated with flake-free tubing technology that coats and lengthens lashes from root to tip while conditioning them with the brand's orchid stem cell complex. According to Thrive, the complex supports healthier, longer lashes over time. DiStasio says it doesn't leave any residue under her eyes and doesn't bleed throughout the day, which she notes is especially helpful if you have oily skin.


2. Armani Beauty Eyes to Kill Mascara

Armani Beauty

  • Why We Love It: waterproof, lightweight
  • What We Don't Love: can smudge throughout the day, not cruelty-free
  • Promising Review: "Absolutely my favorite mascara ever. Looks the most natural, very feathery fluttery effect. The least clumpy waterproof mascara that I’ve found. Holds a curl beautifully all day."
  • Clean?: no

Chosen by Perreux as her favorite lengthening mascara, this waterproof formula from Armani Beauty includes micro-waxes that are blended with a fineness agent so they'll go on smoothly while adding both volume and length. Perreux also calls attention to the brush, as it has a nice mid-size that she finds easy to handle. She also notes that the pigment is very rich to make lashes stand out.

Best Lifting Lengthening Mascara

3. Benefit BadGal Bang! Mascara


  • Why We Love It: water-resistant, smudge-proof
  • What We Don't Love: can clump, not as volumizing
  • Promising Review: "I am very particular about what type of mascara I choose and I have to say that Badgal BANG! is the most amazing mascara I have used to date! It immediately lifts my eyelashes without the feeling of being too heavy."
  • Clean?: yes

When it comes to mascara, we're Benefit fans for life. PureWow Commerce Director Nicole Briese has a strong affinity for this pick, which she says makes her eyelashes instantly pop and looks amazing in photos. It's got that tapered brush that's thinner near the end, making it ultra-defining (and easier to get at those bottom lashes), and it's packed with ProVitamin B5 to thicken and strengthen, according to the brand. It's also formulated to be smudge-proof, so you won't have to worry about constant touch-ups throughout the day. Our one complaint? Briese likes a little more volume than it provides, so she tends to pair it with Mac's Macstack (also on our list below).

Best Cruelty-Free Lengthening Mascara

4. Hourglass Unlocked Instant Extensions Mascara


  • Why We Love It: cruelty-free, vegan, smudge-proof
  • What We Don't Love: not water-resistant
  • Promising Review: "I love this mascara! It gives volume and length and stays put—even after a 13-hour work shift (with lots of yawning)."
  • Clean?: no

Friends to the animals will appreciate that this one is cruelty-free, keeping furry friends safe in its formulation process. It will also appeal to fans of that fanned out look thanks to its molded applicator, which is intended to target each and every lash. Although it coats them in innovative “film-forming” technology for a dramatic lengthening look, reviewers note it's still easily removed with a simple face wash. Assistant Commerce Editor Natalie LaBarbera loved how it both separated her lashes and gave them volume in addition to lengthening them: "This mascara glides on easily, creating a natural-but-amplified look, and gave me both the volume and length I'd been looking for after my previous favorite mascara was discontinued."

Best Vegan Lengthening Mascara

5. Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara


  • Why We Love It: cruelty-free, vegan, four-in-one formula
  • What We Don't Love: can be clumpy
  • Promising Review: "I love this mascara. I have been buying it for a few years. … You get what you pay for. Definitely would recommend, worth every penny!!!"
  • Clean?: no

This vegan mascara is formulated with a plethora of useful ingredients, such as olive esters that aid in moisturizing, Pro Vitamin B to hydrate and rice bran wax, which can help bind the mascara to your lashes. What it's not formulated with? Nasties like mineral oil, parabens and phthalates. Lights, Camera, Lashes is also a reportedly smudge-proof and flake-free choice with a short-bristle brush to help with precise application.

Best Clean Lengthening Mascara

6. Ilia Limitless Lash Mascara


  • Why We Love It: cruelty-free, flake-resistant, 99 percent naturally derived
  • What We Don't Love: not water-resistant
  • Promising Review: "Love this mascara! Stays in place all day without smudging or flaking. I was so excited to find a clean mascara that makes my lashes look long and thick!"
  • Clean?: yes

This buildable mascara from clean brand Ilia uses ingredients such as shea butter and beeswax to nourish your lashes while lengthening them. It also gives you a separated, natural look with its unique dual-sided brush, which Senior Director of Special Projects and Royals Rachel Bowie confirms allows for a clump-free application: "The brush mechanics make all the difference when it comes to … the top and bottom lashes," she says. "It has staying power, too, and is all natural. Huge fan!"

Use the longer side for ultra-long lashes that know no limits and the shorter side to curl and define. And if that's not enough, Commerce Editor Olivia Dubyak calls out how this formula stays flake-free throughout the day: "Limitless Lash is a hard-to-beat option. It makes my lashes so long and I never find little flakes on the bottoms or tops of my eyes throughout the day."

Best Keratin Lengthening Mascara

7. Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Push-Up Lashes! Mascara

Charlotte Tilbury

  • Why We Love It: micro-precision applicator, keratin conditioning formula
  • What We Don't Love: can take a while to dry
  • Promising Review: "I'm amazed at how big my eyes look. It really opens up my eyes. It's as if have falsies on. The best part is even after two coats my lashes don't feel stiff and heavy, they still feel natural and looks naturally long and thick."
  • Clean?: no

If you're craving length without the stickiness, Charlotte Tilbury's Pillow Talk mascara is here for you. Not too heavy and not too light, this award-winner isn't so dramatic that it looks like we're wearing falsies, but we certainly saw an improvement in our length when we tried it. Its formula features the brand's own Kerestore keratin ingredient, which is intended to condition and thicken lashes, and it stays put for a good long while. Plus, the unique applicator brush has micro-precision, diamond-shaped bristles that work to really fan lashes out as it makes them look longer.

Best Lengthening Mascara Brush

8. Clinique Lash-Doubling Mascara


  • Why We Love It: tapered brush, hypoallergenic
  • What We Don't Love: can smudge throughout the day
  • Promising Review: "I have been wearing this mascara for many years. It is the absolute best on my very sensitive eyes."
  • Clean?: no

Another favorite of Commerce Director Nicole Briese, Clinique's Lash-Doubling mascara has a tapered applicator brush that she says really does feel like it's doubling the fullness of your lashes as it lengthens, even for makeup newbies who aren't great with application. The formula has also been allergy-tested, so you can feel good about using it even on sensitive eyes, as confirmed by reviewers.

Best Buildable Lengthening Mascara

9. Mac Macstack Mascara


  • Why We Love It: buildable, adds major volume
  • What We Don't Love: micro and mega brushes bought separately, can smudge throughout the day
  • Promising Review: "I am picky about mascaras and this one is becoming a favorite for sure. I love that I can layer it without making huge clumps. I have both the micro and the regular and I use both together to get my lashes exactly like I want them."
  • Clean?: no

This long-lasting mascara from Mac is the customizable formula we've been looking for thanks to its buildability. It comes in both a micro and a mega size option, with the micro targeting definition and length and the mega aiming for volume. The micro brush is ideal for short and lower lashes because of its precise application and smaller size. (Briese swears by the larger one for fullness and often layers it on top of Benefit's Bad Gal Lash.) Note that the brushes must be bought separately if you want to use both, making this a pricer option.

Best Cheap Lengthening Mascara

10. Essence Lash Princess Mascara Pack


  • Why We Love It: budget-friendly, paraben-free
  • What We Don't Love: can flake throughout the day
  • Promising Review: "Dark and glides on the lashes very smoothly, I love it! Makes my lashes appear longer and thicker."
  • Clean?: no

When it comes to cheap lengthening mascara, you simply can't beat Essence Lash Princess. From the very first swipe, you'll see a major sculpting effect, and at this price, it's a good contender for those looking to replace their pricier luxury mascaras. The formula is thick and heavy, however, so if you're the type who likes the no makeup look, it likely won't be for you. (Shoppers with weaker lashes mentioned it weighed down their natural curl, though we've had no problems with it.)

Best Drugstore Lengthening Mascara

11. Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky-High Mascara


  • Why We Love It: lightweight, allergy-tested
  • What We Don't Love: can be difficult to remove
  • Promising Review: "It glides on effortlessly, coating every single lash from root to tip. The consistency is perfect—not too wet or dry, striking the ideal balance for easy application."
  • Clean?: no

We couldn't wait to try this mascara after it went so viral on TikTok that it sold out at most retailers. (Peep those 86,000-plus 5-star ratings.) Coming in the blackest of black (along with many other shades if that's not your thing), it has a flexible tower brush that allows you to coat your lashes in bamboo extract from multiple angles for a full, fluttery look that won’t feel too heavy. Having tried it for ourselves, we think Essence is the better buy overall when it comes to a budget-friendly option. However, bamboo extract is antimicrobial, so it may be a good choice for those who tend to get eye infections easily.

Best Waterproof Lengthening Mascara

12. Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara

Too Faced

  • Why We Love It: waterproof, cruelty-free
  • What We Don't Love: can smudge throughout the day
  • Promising Review: "One of my favorite mascaras [because it] works super well and stays on great. Even though it's waterproof, you don't have to scrub it to take it off. This is a little clumpy when you first open it, but the more you use it, it gets better."
  • Clean?: no

The waterproof version of this cult-loved mascara (which DiStasio calls out as a great option for girls' night thanks to not only its lengthening effects, but the dark color and volume it offers, too) delivers decent length in even the wettest of conditions. This version comes with an extra-stiff hourglass shaped brush to deliver results that stay put all day, according to 94 percent of users.

Best Smudge-Proof Lengthening Mascara

13. Estée Lauder Double Wear Mascara

Estée Lauder

  • Why We Love It: smudge-shield formula, reported 15-hour wear
  • What We Don't Love: not cruelty-free
  • Promising Review: "This is the only mascara that I have ever used that hasn’t transferred to my under eye area ... and I have tried A LOT of different mascaras. This is the one I keep going back to. It remains the best."
  • Clean?: no

For those who prefer to get their long lashes without looking like Alice Cooper by the end of the day, there's this tubing formula. According to the brand, it won’t budge for a whopping 15 hours due to its “special polymers,” aka molecules, that are designed to withstand even the most humid (or sweatiest) of days. The applicator is designed with micro-fiber bristles that are intended to detangle and separate lashes to deliver a rich coat of color, and shoppers say the brush's larger size makes it "easy to get into corners."

Best Defining Lengthening Mascara

14. Lancôme Définicils Mascara


  • Why We Love It: non-clumping formula, precise application
  • What We Don't Love: not good for sensitive eyes, may need several coats
  • Promising Review: "I have tried other brands but I keep coming back to this one. It's always perfect. Doesn't bother my sensitive eyes and washes off easily."
  • Clean?: no

With a brush that has innovative, precise “hedgehog” like bristles, this lengthening mascara gives you ultimate separation and definition for a natural-but-long look without pesky flaking, according to the brand. Formulated without sulfates or formaldehydes, it comes in a deep black shade, but has a softer brown option if subtlety is your thing. Just note that the retailer, Ulta, writes this mascara may be challenging for sensitive eyes, so if you find mascara to be easily irritating, you may want to opt for another pick.

Best Strengthening Lengthening Mascara

15. BareMinerals Strength and Length Mascara


  • Why We Love It: cruelty-free, vegan, smudge- and flake-proof
  • What We Don't Love: can be clumpy
  • Promising Review: "I'm very happy with the mascara just for how it goes on and makes for a naturally beautiful look—no clumps or mess, just subtle build and strong separation."
  • Clean?: yes

While many mascaras claim to make your lashes healthier, this one is unique, because it reportedly keeps maximizing growth even after removal with its red clover peptide serum. In one clinical study conducted by the brand, 100 percent of users reported that their lashes felt stronger and noticed less fallout. Not only that, its brush with five rows of bristles evenly distribute pigment for a lengthened, lifted look.

Best Everyday Lengthening Mascara

16. Glossier Lash Slick Mascara


  • Why We Love It: cruelty-free, water-resistant
  • What We Don't Love: can dry out quickly, may be too subtle for some
  • Promising Review: "This is my absolute favorite mascara for everyday use. I prefer natural makeup looks for most days and this mascara does just the right amount of tinting, separating and lifting without any heaviness."
  • Clean?: no

If you’re looking to simply enhance the appearance of your natural lashes, then Glossier has the product for you. This water-resistant, weightless mascara coats and conditions them with tiny fibers for a mini lifting and lengthening effect to make you the queen of the “no-makeup makeup” vibe, as shared by PureWow's Senior Food Editor Katherine Gillen. "I'm more a fan of natural looking mascara that adds length without looking spidery, and this checks those boxes," she says. The mascara has also been deemed suitable for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers.

Best Splurge-Worthy Lengthening Mascara

17. Pat McGrath Labs FetishEyes Mascara

Pat McGrath Labs

  • Why We Love It: buildable, conditioning formula
  • What We Don't Love: not cruelty-free, pricey
  • Promising Review: "This is my favorite, and I mean ALL-TIME FAVORITE mascara. My eyes pop when I use this. No other mascara functions like this and when you wear it, your eyes stand out."
  • Clean?: no

Yes, this one is pricey. At $34, it's one of the most expensive mascaras on our list. But it's also formulated by pro makeup artist Pat McGrath herself and features hydrating and conditioning peptides that condition to maintain the softness of your lashes while protecting from free radical damage, according to the brand. It's also buildable, leading to a more custom length and lift for your lashes.

Most Natural-Looking Lengthening Mascara

18. L’Oreal Voluminous Mascara Pack

L'Oreal Paris

  • Why We Love It: natural look, budget-friendly, suitable for sensitive eyes
  • What We Don't Love: may need to add primer for a full effect
  • Promising Review: "I cannot believe how long my lashes look. I tried this and people asked me if I got lash extensions."
  • Clean?: no

DiStasio calls out this L'Oreal mascara for its ability to add some life to your lashes at a budget price, giving them a long-yet-natural look. According to the brand, the mascara is also formulated to resist clumping while reportedly thickening lashes by up to five times their natural state. To get even longer, fuller lashes, the brand suggests pairing it with the Voluminous conditioning primer ($17).

Need a Mascara That Doesn't Flake? We Asked Editors and Experts to Share Their 13 Faves

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natalie bio photo e1692204716113

Assistant Commerce Editor

Natalie LaBarbera is PureWow's assistant commerce editor. She writes about all things shopping, including fashion, beauty, travel, wellness and more, searching for the best...

purewow author

Freelance Writer

Jackie Manno is an avid shopper, and is always staying up to date on the latest products, especially in beauty and fashion, to help empower readers, make them feel beautiful and...

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