The best volumising mascaras to buy now

The days of affordable mascaras being inferior are long gone

There is a reason that mascara is most people’s desert island pick if you corner them and ask which beauty product they would keep if they were forced to part with all but one. Mascara is – in my opinion – one part of beauty’s holy trinity, along with concealer and eyeliner. Correctly applied, these three alone can elevate a face from tired to sublime, but mascara is particularly transformative. It can enlarge and change the shape of eyes, find eyelashes where there previously appeared to be none, and best of all, make you look awake when you’re anything but.

The frustration with mascaras is that they don’t last well. It really is necessary to switch them out every three to four months, otherwise you’re inviting potential eye infections (which tend to counteract the aesthetic benefits of mascara). Less importantly, but still important if you are wearing mascara for aesthetic reasons, older products will also glob, flake and move more, creating a sub-par finish.

The days of affordable mascaras being inferior are long gone. If you have the budget to splurge, there are certainly some exquisite luxury options, but you don’t have to spend hugely to get a high quality mascara. Today’s column is a love letter to my favourite entry in the mascara lexicon – the volumisers. We’ll look at water- and smudge-proof as well as natural finish offerings another time. Today, it’s all about oomph – the mascaras that give you big, dramatic lashes

Mac Magic Extension Mascara (€22 at is new and appeals deeply to my love of a good volumizing all-rounder. It makes lashes very big, very black and gives excellent length and separation. It also lasts well without flaking or crumbling. YSL Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils (€34 at Brown Thomas) is a classic and – I think – a genuine contender for one of the best volumising mascaras of all time. The price is immense for a short-lived product, which is why I used to occasionally pick one up on my way through airports back when those existed. Still, if you're in a spendy mood or want a special occasion mascara, this one is exceptional and gets better as it ages and the formula stiffens a little.


Maybelline The Falsies Lash Lift Mascara (€13 at pharmacies nationwide) is my preferred affordable alternative to the YSL option – it is not by any means identical but offers a finish in the same family. A big bristled brush – the best for even distribution and clump-prevention – creates a dramatic, deeply pigmented finish that adds mass to the lashes.

Revitalash Double-Ended Volume Set (€38 at is a mascara and primer duo from the bestselling lash growth serum brand. You have to really be into lashes to use a primer, as it is an extra step, but the added volume makes it worth it. This mascara is water resistant rather than waterproof, so you'll be safe in drizzly weather, but it isn't one to wear while doing laps at the pool.

Product of the week  

CND Vinylux in Wrapped in Linen (€14.95 at