The Best High Street Mascaras To Buy On A Budget

The Grazia beauty team reveal their favourite budget mascaras to date from as little as £5.99

Best Cheap Budget Mascaras

by Annie Vischer |
Updated on

Finding the best mascara for your lashes is no easy task. You can't exactly try before you buy, and you only really know whether you've hit on 'the one' after using it for a good few weeks. So we're here to take the leg work out of things for you, and to tell you that there's no need to spend eye-watering amounts to get the best results. Certain budget mascaras are just as good as their more expensive counterparts, as the Grazia beauty team will eagerly attest. Yes, there's the odd mind-blowing expensive mascara out there, but there are just as many cheap ones offering up similar results for the taking. The trick is honing in on the right one.

After priming your eyes and creating your make-up look with the perfect eyeshadow you will want the best mascara to finish off the look. From Max Factor False Lash Effect, to L’Oréal Paris Paradise Extatic, and Maybelline Great Lash, we've narrowed down our edit of the best high street mascaras below.

What are the best high street mascaras?

A few beauty brands stand out from the crowd when it comes to serving up beautiful lash looks on a budget, and often their mascaras end up becoming cult classics for that very reason. Take Max Factor for example, everyone has had a friend recommend the Max Factor 2000 Calorie Mascara and the Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara to them at one time or another.

Maybelline even produced a mascara that Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, recommended to one of her go-to make-up artists

Meghan Markle The Duchess of Sussex

L'Oréal Paris too seem to get it right again and again, and Maybelline even produced a mascara that Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, recommended to one of her go-to make-up artists, Lydia Sellers, back in her pre-Prince Harry days, and that one's under £10 - well, if it's good enough for a Duchess!

READ MORE: The Beauty Product Meghan Markle Loves That Diana Would Never Use

Needless to say spending more doesn't always get you more in the mascara department as these high-quality budget mascara buys prove.

What is the best way to apply mascara?

1: Remove excess product from eyelashes - Before applying mascara ensure your eyelashes are clean from any product from the previous day. Any buildup on the lashes can cause clumps.

2: Remove the wand from the tube - Sounds simple but make sure when you do this, you don't pump the mascara in the tube as this can let air into the product causing it to dry out. You want to twist the wand out to get even distribution of the product. Once out, remove any excess product by wiping it on the edge of the tube (another top tip to prevent the mascara clumping).

3: Look up while applying and wiggle the wand - Several make-up artists often say to tilt your head up slightly, as this will help you to reach each and every lash. Place the wand at the base of your lashes, and wiggle the wand back and forth. Continue by pulling the wand upwards (whilst wiggling the wand) until you reach the tip of the lashes.

4: Apply another coat - After one coat, repeat until you achieve your desired finish. Avoid overdoing it as this can weigh the lashes down, reducing the curl and clumping the lashes together.

5: Apply to bottom lashes - When it comes to your lower lash line, use the left over product on the wand and lightly apply to the bottom lashes.

Is it ok to wear mascara every day?

Yes, you can absolutely wear mascara every day. But to avoid irritation, try applying a moisturising lash primer first as this will help protect and strengthen your lashes. Also, ensure you remove all mascara at the end of the day - using a gentle eye make-up remover that doesn't require rubbing.

It's also important to check the expiry date on your mascara. Always replace the product when necessary, ideally swapping it out every few months. And finally, it's great to take breaks from wearing eye make-up, giving your lashes time to breathe.

Shop: The Best Budget Mascara Buys In The Business


Best Budget Mascaras 2021 - Grazia

Best Budget Mascaras1 of 7

L'Oréal Paris Bambi False Lash Mascara, £10.99

'I tried this mascara a year or so ago and was head over heels from the first swipe. I'm a big fan of hedgehog like plastic brush heads - the sort that are chunky in size with lots of little plastic spikes as opposed to a brush. They seem to grab my lashes from root to tip and give them serious length and curl. This one obliged no end. I got curl, length, volume and staying power.' - Annie Vischer, Beauty Editor.

Best Budget Mascaras2 of 7

Max Factor 2000 Calorie Mascara, £9.99

'No one does mascara better than Max Factor. My favourite is the OG Max Factor 2000 Calorie Mascara. Its tapered tip and fluffy bristles add drama, length and curl.' - Emma Stoddart, Beauty Writer.

Best Budget Mascaras3 of 7

Maybelline Lash Sensational Luscious Mascara, £8.99

'I remember hearing that Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, had recommended this mascara to make-up artist Lydia Sellers back when we knew her as Meghan Markle. Clearly I had to give it a go and I wasn't disappointed. For mega volume and length, this is my go-to.' - Annie Vischer, Beauty Editor.

Best Budget Mascaras4 of 7

Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara, £11.99

'I've already mentioned that I'm a sucker for a chunky, plastic brush on a mascara wand, and this was the first one that persuaded me of their effect. They have enough traction to lengthen your lashes to the maximum degree, and the formula of this one is light enough to give a really natural, wide-awake look with just a couple of coats.' - Annie Vischer, Beauty Editor.

Best Budget Mascaras5 of 7

L’Oréal Paris Paradise Extatic Mascara, £11.99

'Castor oil is well-known for its lash and brow-boosting properties. People the world over use it on them daily to up their condition, thickness and volume - so when L'Oréal Paris first launched a mascara enriched with it I was first in line to give it a try. If you want a long-lasting helping hand with your natural lashes, this is the mascara to try.' - Annie Vischer, Beauty Editor.

Best Budget Mascaras6 of 7

Max Factor Rise & Shine False Lash Effect Mascara, £12.99

'My favourite newer mascara has to be the Max Factor Rise & Shine False Lash Effect Mascara. It's got an hourglass shaped brush and boasts thick bristles on one side to load up loashes with the formula, as well as thin bristles on the other side to comb out lashes and separate them. This one is "the one" for me.' - Emma Stoddart, Beauty Writer.

Best Budget Mascaras7 of 7

Maybelline Great Lash Mascara, £5.99

'This one's an oldie but a serious goodie. I remember hearing about this from every pro when I started out in beauty journalism - it was the go-to for make-up artists on TV and movie sets. If it's a slick look you're after, make a grab for this one.' - Annie Vischer, Beauty Editor.

READ MORE: How To Choose The Best Eye Makeup For Your Eye Shape

READ MORE: 8 Affordable Eye Creams That Truly Live Up To Their Luxury Counterparts

READ MORE: The Best Mascaras Specifically Formulated For Sensitive Eyes

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