If I’m being honest, I’ve never been into doing that much to my lashes. Fake lashes are way beyond of my makeup skillset, lash extensions have always felt like too much effort and money, and an eyelash curler and I are not exactly BFFs after a lifetime of pinching. And because of that, all of my lash energy has instead gone into testing and reviewing tons of lengthening mascaras over my makeup-wearing lifetime to find the best mascaras that’ll give me longer-looking lashes without any flaking, smudging, or clumping.
And while there’s always space for some natural mascaras when you wanna be eco-friendly, or waterproof mascaras for when you’re watching This Is Us, I personally want my go-to daily mascara to give me fluttery, extension-worthy length all the time—which is where lengthening formulas come in. Feel the same? I got you. Ahead, the 17 best lengthening mascaras testing and reviewed by our beauty editors for lashes so good, you won’t want to wear any other makeup. But first, here’s a sneak-peek at the lengthening mascaras you’ll read about.
The best lengthening mascaras of 2021
What to look for in a lengthening mascara
Though, sure, how you choose the right lengthening mascara for you will depend on your budget, vibe, and ingredient preference, there’s still a few factors to keep in mind when picking the best lengthening mascara, including:
Thick mascaras, while great for adding volume and thickness, aren’t so great for length alone. Why? They have a tendency to clump and can be harder to spread evenly throughout your lashes. Look for formulas that contain waxes, nourishing oils, or tiny fibers (think: fiber mascaras) that grip to each lash to hold the product on without getting too thick or stiff.
The key to getting longer-looking lashes, regardless of the formula, is picking a mascara wand with bristles that aren’t packed too densely together. Bristles that are spread farther apart (which is often the case in silicone brushes, which you’ll see in a few of these picks) can separate and define your lashes, coating them evenly with mascara in the process.
Got all that? Good. Now for the 17 best lengthening mascaras, according to Cosmo‘s beauty editor reviews.
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Best Overall Lengthening Mascara
Milk Makeup Kush High Volumizing Mascara
If I could only take one mascara to a desert island (you know, if I needed mascara to survive), it would be this one. I know, bold claim. But hear me out: Of all the lengthening mascaras I’ve tested, the formula in this bb, filled with itty-bitty fibers that cling to your lashes, makes them look the longest. Plus, it’s creamy without being watery, so you can really layer it on for a thicker, ~voluminous~ look.
Best Cult-Favorite Lengthening Mascara
Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara
We can’t talk about lengthening mascaras without talking about this cult-fave from Benefit. And if you haven’t tested it yet, trust me, it belongs in your makeup bag. “I’m obsessed with this formula,” says deputy beauty director Chloe Metzger. “It seriously makes my bb lashes look falsies-level long, and it also thickens and volumizes without flakes.” Plus, thanks to a combo of beeswax and polymers, this mascara will hold your lash length all damn day.
Best Drugstore Lengthening Mascara
E.l.f. Lash it Loud Mascara
Not every lengthening mascara needs to come from a pricey brand—you can get this budget-friendly mascara from the drugstore. “This drugstore classic is popular for a reason,” says beauty assistant Valeriya Chupinina in her product review. “The brush has tons of tiny silicone bristles that separate and volumize my lashes like no other.” Seriously, this wand works literal magic on each lash.
Best Lengthening Mascara on Amazon
Velour Lashes Pretty Big Deal Lash Boosting Mascara with Peptides
“I have teeny tiny baby lashes—argh!—but in my dreams, they’re healthy, lush, and thriving,” says beauty director Julee Wilson in her product review. “Since using this magical tube of mascara, I’m 10 times closer to living my dream. The curved brush lengthens, while the peptide and castor oil formula moisturizes. Basically I look like I have fully/longer lashes, while the mascara is actually working to make that actually happen.” I mean, what more is there to say?
Best Lengthening Mascara for Sensitive Eyes
Ilia Limitless Lash Lengthening Mascara
This clean beauty mascara is filled with shea butter and keratin for ultra-soft (not stiff!) lashes, and if you’re sensitive to strong fragrances, DW, because it’s also completely fragrance-free. “This is the only clean mascaras that gives my short lashes tons of length without clumping or flaking,” says deputy beauty director Lauren Balsamo during her mascara testing.
Best Lengthening Mascara on Ulta
Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara
Thanks to a few moisture-locking ingredients (hi, veggie oil), this lengthening mascara won’t crumble and dry out your lashes after an hour. But the best thing I noticed while testing it? No black flecks under my eyes by the end of the day.
Best Long-Wear Lengthening Mascara
Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez Perfect Strokes Universal Volumizing Mascara
There are exactly one-million celeb beauty brands on the market, and not all of them are worth the hype. But IMO, Rare Beauty def is, and so is their lengthening mascara. One swipe of this buttery formula defines each lash, and the definition actually lasts. I coated my lashes at 8:00 a.m., and after a full day of commuting on the train (read: sweating heavily with steamy face-mask breath), my lashes still looked jet-black, long, and flake-less.
Best Thickening Mascara for Length
Trish McEvoy Dramatic Lash Mascara
Thanks to the shorter bristles on the wand of this lengthening mascara, you can really load on the formula for a thick, volumized finish. Wanna amp up the thickness even more? Try this tested-and-approved mascara hack: Wiggle and wriggle the wand into the base of your eyelashes before slowly swiping upwards. Repeat a few more times before the mascara sets.
Best Buildable Lengthening Mascara
Pat McGrath Labs FetishEyes Lengthening Mascara
A lot of mascaras we tested claimed to be lengthening or volumizing, but ended up just feeling clumpy and dry when we tried them. This lengthening mascara, however, is formulated with a dose of panthenol (aka vitamin B5) to give it a bit of slip when you swipe it on, leaving us with a smooth, length-boosting finish no matter how much we piled on.
Best Volumizing Lengthening Mascara
Huda Beauty Legit Lashes Double-Ended Volumizing and Lengthening Mascara
This dual-sided mascara allows you to get the best of both worlds: thick, voluminous lashes and super-long lashes. The lengthening formula is spiked with fibers, which are the magic ingredients for long-lasting length. Start with the lengthening side (aka that weird-looking skinny brush) to draw out each lash, then build on it with the volumizing side for an added oompf.
Best Innovative Lengthening Mascara
Fenty Beauty Full Frontal Volume, Lift & Curl Mascara
It’s no surprise that Fenty Beauty is on the list of celeb brands that are worth the money, especially the Full Frontal Mascara. The magic is in the wand, which has a “fat” side (to add volume to your lashes) and a “flat” side (to curl, lengthen, and define). I tested ’em both out, and my lashes went from non-existent to long and fluttery. Yes, pls.
Best Tubing Mascara for Length
Em Cosmetics Pick Me Up Volume + Length Mascara
The real MVP of this lengthening mascara is the spiky little bristles on the brush. They separate and grip your lashes, fully coating them and making them look extra long. Even better, it’s also a tubing mascara, meaning the formula is filled with polymers that wrap each lash in a “tube” to lengthen and thicken, rather than just being painted to one side of your lashes.
Best High-End Lengthening Mascara
Dior Diorshow Mascara
Listen, I know $30 feels like a lot for a mascara, but this cult-favorite mascara really does deliver the length thanks to a fiber-spiked formula and a wand that separates each lash as you brush it on (seriously—it got deep into my lashes when I tested it). If you’re going to splurge on one designer item, let it be this one. (And BTW, It comes in a brown mascara, too, if you like a subtler shade).
Best Lengthening Mascara Primer
Lancôme Cils Booster XL Super-Enhancing Mascara Primer
If you have shorter lashes, your mascara might need a little extra help to get the length you’re looking for. Pick up this eyelash primer, formulated with micro-fibers that stick to your eyelashes and plump them up. After swiping on the primer, immediately follow with a few coats of mascara while the primer is still wet. The result? Longer, clump-free lashes.
Best Lengthening Mascara at Nordstrom
Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Classic Defining & Lengthening Mascara
Hate stiff, crunchy lashes? Same. Thankfully, this lengthening formula is filled with a mix of soft waxes and oils (hi, palm oil and jojoba oil) to leave your eyelashes flexible and moisturized. The wand’s bristles are also super dense, so in my testing, I found it best to really wriggle the wand between my lashes before pulling upwards for the best finish.
Best Conditioning Mascara for Length
DHC Mascara Perfect Pro Double Protection
Tapered bristles are truly the best way to reach the lashes in the corners of your eyes without getting mascara all over your face, and luckily, this lengthening mascara has ‘em. Even my smallest lashes stood out during testing, which was v impressive. Plus, the formula is loaded with vitamin E (to moisturize) and kaolinite (a thickening clay) to keep the formula from flaking or smudging away.
Best Serum-Infused Lengthening Mascara
Bareminerals Strength & Length Serum-Infused Mascara
While I’d love to imagine a world in which every lash serum magically grows my lashes overnight, only prescription-strength serums can do that (same with eyebrow serums, BTW). So the next best thing? This serum-infused mascara that uses peptides and black currant oil to support stronger, healthier lashes each time you use it. The dual-sided brush is pretty cool, too: Use the paddle side to really load up your lashes with mascara, then flip to the comb side to lengthen and define.
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