Do you notice any differences (on average) between more affordable and more expensive mascaras?

I think mascara is a place where you can readily get high performing mascara for under $10, though I still find I gravitate toward higher-end favorites, but I think it’s more because I have them accessible/already owned. We might see more recent technology or innovation at a higher-end brand first, but it makes it way to its more affordable sister brand (e.g. a L’Oreal-owned brand) quickly.

— Christine


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Jill Avatar

I have tried the cheaper mascaras and they just didn’t work for me, I tend to hover in the midrange pretty consistently. Clinique has always had my back for mascaras and when they do their big sales I can stock them up pretty close to drugstore prices.

Kat Avatar

I feel like the only person, who actually does notice the difference. Drugstore “dupes” never work the same for me as higher end mascaras. Asian ones are a bit better, but usually they don’t have enough volume for me

Leslie Avatar

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been using Loreal Voluminous Carbon Black and even when I try the more expensive brands like Lancome Hypnose, I always return to Voluminous. I’ve also tried samples of Diorshow, various Chanel mascaras, Maybelline Great Lash (it’s awful….don’t know what all the hype is about). But for the money, and the quality, I mostly use Loreal. Don’t get me wrong….Hypnose is a really good mascara. But if I can get the same quality and effect from a less expensive mascara, I will use it. Every once in a while I get the urge to buy Hypnose again lol. There are a couple of Chanel mascaras I haven’t tried yet…..I may try to get a sample of them. 🙂

Mariella Avatar

Not really. One of my best mascaras is the original L’Oreal Voluminous. I have pricier ones from Lancome, Marc Jacobs, Lise Watier, etc. but generally don’t find the worth the high prices. I do like a sample Dior mascara I got (mostly because it smelled nice and was REALLY black) but not enough to shell out for it since I rarely wear mascara.

Seraphine Avatar

This is the only category in which I can say a solid, resounding “No”!

Over the years, I’ve tried everything from drugstore to midrange to high end, including just about all of the most-hyped mascaras, but I keep returning to CoverGirl Clump Crusher Waterproof. It is most definitely my HG mascara.

Penny Avatar

The last few years I mistakenly thought you had to pay top dollar to get really good false lash effect mascara…..Recently I happened to see a You-Tube video about Mabelline Sky High mascara and Loreal Lash Paradise mascara and they were really hyped so I figured what the heck and tried them and was really very pleasently surprised…They were just as good if not better in some respects to my high end expensive ones like the PML ones which I love….I think mascaras are something that you really can buy at the drugstore and save your money for things that “are what you pay for” in cosmetics……

HeavyMetalJess Avatar

Yes, for me it’s about clumping and how much the formula irritates my eyes. A more costly brand (I use Urban Decay) tends to bother my eyes less and doesn’t clump on the wand or the lashes. I also feel like you can’t layer mascara with cheaper brands without having issues, but I can wait for high end brands to dry and apply a second coat without issues.

I definitely feel like this is a place people should spend a bit more money. I don’t wear mascara often, so I usually buy travel size tubes so I can throw them out as soon as they expire. It seems like only the more expensive brands even offer this.

Nancy T Avatar

Because I have super sensitive reactive eyes, believe it or not, I much prefer the more simple, un-fragranced formulas of L’Oreal Lash Paradise WP, Maybelline Full & Soft WP or even the Japanese mascara, Heroine Make mascara (THEE most waterproof stuff ever! Oh, and it doesn’t smudge, flake or weigh my wimpy lashes down either.) That said, I am able to use Clinique tubing mascara without issues, but it doesn’t provide the level of blackness and impact that I desire.

Kat Avatar

I personally have never been able to tell the difference! My go-to for probably 10+ years has been L’Oreal Voluminous (Black-Brown, Carbon Black, and Burgundy). I also have been enjoying the Maybelline Colossal Curl Bounce mascara lately. I’ve certainly tried nice HE mascaras and enjoyed them, but haven’t found them better, or at least not $10-20 better.

BrandiD Avatar

I’m always open to trying a new mascara, but I find most of them focus on building length (which I do not need – hello spider lashes) rather than volume, which I DO need. My favorite mascara line by far is the Cover Girl series, from Clump Crusher to Lash Blast Volume and Lash Blast Fusion (best). The high end mascaras I’ve tried haven’t wowed me any more than the cheaper ones, and I always end up going back to Lash Blast Fusion. For me at least, this is one area where the price doesn’t change the results.

Genevieve Avatar

Most mascaras I buy are in the low cost range – I don’t wear enough mascara to justify a high price tag. Some of my favourites are from the Australian brand Designer Brands – they have a lovely tubing mascara called Centre Stage and an Argon Oil one, which I like,

Cheryl Avatar

Drugstore all the way. Tried the expensive one’s and I wasn’t impressed. Maybelline or L’Oréal.
The lady above is right, great lash was horrible.

Stacey Avatar

Wow. That is a great question & 1 that I really had to ponder. My issues is lack of experience with really HE mascaras ($30+). So for the ones I have tried, all in that mid range, I have to say it’s down the middle. I can pick apart mascaras on performance til the cows come home. But to piggy back on some really good points, agreed that I feel my lashes, after using more affordable formulas, are in lesser shape after removal. Which has become super important to me with age/losing lash health & weath. So I will gravitate towards HE now in hopes of better quality. But like, Maybelline has been great to me. Full & Soft will always stay in rotation. But my F/T HG is Lancome Idole.

Nina Avatar

I’m not big on mascara. I have friends who have over 6 mascaras at a time. I did have one by Givenchy that I was loyal to; then poof it is gone. Now I just have a tube of something from the ds with the word paradise in it. Eyeliner is my thing and there I CAN tell good from bad.

miss.mercurial Avatar

Mascara is one category that I really don’t care much about (other categories include highlighter and bronzer because I rarely wear/ don’t know how to use them).
I dunno if it’s because I wore glasses for so many years or what, but I honestly cannot tell the *visual* difference between most formulas. I absolutely have preferences in formulas and brushes (tubing mascara or go home, smaller rather than bigger brushes, drier over wetter formulas) but beyond those qualifications? Can’t see a reason to pay more. I’ve worn volume mascaras that I do see a noticeable difference with, and the Djvu fiberwig mascara gives me extremely long lashes, but I don’t like how the volume (non-tubing) ones wear, and I won’t pay the price for Fiberwig lol. I guess I’m just easily pleased? It might also have to do with the fact that you’re supposed to replace them so often that I can’t and won’t justify paying HE prices.

I know a lot of people are very ride or die dedicated to their preferred formulas, though, which is why this category always bemuses me.

Anita Avatar

Every time I found a waterproof drugstore mascara that I liked, it got discontinued. I’d then have to try mascara after mascara until I found one that looked good and didn’t make me look like a raccoon.
I honestly thing it is cheaper for me to buy the high end ones I like instead of tube after tube of drugstore duds. I don’t think any high end mascaras I love over the last several years disappeared from Sephora before I needed a replacement.

Ana Avatar

My HG mascara, surprised me too, since last year been Maybelline Sky High Waterproof mascara. Found it way better than other expensive ones I have tried all these years (not many, as I only ventured in eye makeups since the pandemic, LoL).

Jane Avatar

I STILL don’t have a go-to mascara and my favorites in the past have been HE formula’s by Guerlain, YSL , PML or NARS, and I don’t like spending a lot of money for mascara. However, whenever I try lower-end brands for the past few years, I end up with bits of product falling off each lash or clumps. Great Lash (the famous pink and green one) doesn’t give much thickness or lengthening, but if you need a quick simple basic mascara, it still does the trick. I don’t prefer it, but it’s good to know.

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