Love long, luscious lashes? The top mascaras, lash serums & primers

How to get gorgeous, long lashes

If there are women who don’t want to have long, lush, thick lashes, Paula Begoun — aka the Cosmetics Cop — hasn’t met them. Begoun herself says, “Most women, me included, don’t feel their face is complete without long thick lashes. If I was stranded on a desert island, I would want my mascara, water, and food — in that order!”

Love long, luscious lashes? The top mascaras, lash serums & primers

Until recently, there were only two lash-enhancing choices: mascara or false eyelashes (with the false eyelash category including lash extensions, too). Traditional falsies come on a strip or as single eyelashes that come off every night, while lash extensions are professionally applied to each lash, and can last up to three weeks.

Today, the expansion of lash primers and lash serums vying for a consumer’s beauty dollars has made trying to decide what to buy confusing and expensive.

“There are outstanding mascaras in all price ranges, but there are some wonderful options that not only build lashes like traditional mascaras, but actually help lashes grow longer, so they look even better with mascara,” Begoun says.

To that end, Paula and her team herewith present their top picks for mascaras, primers and serums that really work.

Favorite mascaras

Mascara doesn’t have to cost a lot to take lashes from boring to bountiful. Paula’s team has found that most of the best mascaras cost less than $10, and perform as well as — and often far better than — their department store rivals.

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Here are five the team can’t stop raving about:

  • N.Y.C. Sky Rise Lengthening Mascara ($1.99) – Don’t let the price fool you, this is sensational.
  • Rimmel The Max Volume Flash Mascara ($6.99) – Brilliant length and thickness.
  • Maybelline Volum’ Express The Falsies Mascara Black Drama ($7.39) – Not the pink and green-packaged one that smears, this is among Maybelline’s superior options.
  • CoverGirl Lash Blast Volume ($7.79) – The ads for this are exaggerated but the results are still impressive.
  • Almay Intense i-Color Volumizing Mascara ($7.99) – Intense is the right word for this lengthening mascara.

Insider tip: All advertisements for mascaras show the models or celebrities wearing false eyelashes — there are never ads showing how the mascara itself performs — so Paula’s Choice Research Team tests every single one they review. Check out reviews of these and hundreds of other mascaras to learn which ones work great, and which ones fall short after rigorous testing.

Are lash primers worth using?

Most primers do very little to enhance lashes. In fact, almost every one tested was easily replaced by simply applying a few more coats of the best mascaras they recommend. Still, there are a few great finds in this category:

  • Smashbox Layer Lash Primer ($18) – Its conditioning formula means this definitely can make a difference.
  • Make Up For Ever Lash Fibers Volume and Length Lash Primer ($21) – The fibers add a base for mascara to grab onto.
  • Dior DiorShow Maximizer Lash-Plumping Serum ($28) – This is a good undercoat for mascara that aids application.
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Lash serums to boost eyelash growth

Numerous products on the market claim to help eyelashes grow longer, stronger, and darker, but research shows that just a few of those products really work.

The only way to get results is with products that contain a drug or drug-like ingredient that is known to stimulate growth and/or prolong each lash’s growth cycle. These growth serums are applied with a brush once daily along the upper lash line. Results are seen at about four weeks, and typically get even better after 12 weeks of consistent application.

The products below are effective, but they don’t come cheap. Still, according to Begoun, “It’s always better to spend money on something you know works rather than continue to waste money on products with disappointing results.”

  •     Latisse ($120 for a 2-month supply; available by prescription only)
  •     RapidLash Eyelash Renewal Serum ($49.95 for 0.10 fl. oz.)
  •     RevitaLash Advanced Eyelash Conditioner ($90 for 0.06 fl. oz.)

From classic mascaras to growth treatments like Latisse, women have more options than ever to make the most of their lashes.The products mentioned here are the ones to turn to for enviable results.

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