I Always Go Back to This $12 Drugstore Mascara

As someone who’s obsessed with lashes, even my no-makeup makeup routine includes a bold lash. Whether that’s from my favorite lengthening mascara or lash extensions, I love the look of fluttery lashes. I naturally have long, wispy lashes that don’t hold a curl, so the right mascara formula is vital to achieving the long and voluminous look I’m going for.

Over the years I’ve tried hundreds of different formulas, both high-end and drugstore, and there’s one that I always go back to. I keep multiples of it in my makeup bag because I can’t ever be without it, and I compare it to every other mascara that I try because it’s set the bar so high — it’s the L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Waterproof Mascara ($12).

Yes, my lashes are long and wispy, but I don’t have a ton of them. It’s important that my mascara makes them look thicker and does so without getting clumpy (one of my biggest mascara nuisances). Once your lashes get clumpy it’s hard to recover, but I also know that voluminous and clumpy often trail a fine line — you want the former, but never the latter. Three coats can be magic, but once I try to go for that fourth layer, my lashes can turn into a clumpy disaster very quickly.

Choosing the right mascara formula is important for my lashes, specifically, because I like to build up my mascara. First, I apply my mascara as normal, making upward strokes, then I like to zigzag the brush through my lashes to build up volume, and finally, I like to backcomb them to add volume and length. You may think I’m asking for clumps with a three-layer mascara routine, and with some formulas, it does clump, but with the Lash Paradise, the combination of different strokes helps me to achieve just the right amount of volume.

The Brush

I will always give credit where credit is due and I’m able to achieve bombshell lashes thanks to the wavy fluffy brush at the end of the wand. In combination with the formula, I think the brush stands out because the shape helps to boost density and thickness. Not only does the brush do a fantastic job of coating each of my lashes without getting mascara all over my lids, but it also helps to make them look plentiful like I have more lashes than I actually do. As someone who feels insecure about their sparse lashes, this is huge to me.

The Formula

I swear by waterproof mascara because, in my experience, it’s the only thing that helps my stubborn lashes to hold a curl. When I use waterproof formulas, my lashes can maintain a curl all day, while washable formulas let my lashes fall straight almost instantly. Their lasting abilities don’t hurt either; my pet peeve is mascaras that claim to be waterproof and smudge by midday — that’s not this formula.

My mascara never smudges or gets flakey throughout the day, and just to prove how waterproof the formula is, I may have slept with it on before. While I did break every skin-care rule in the book by sleeping with my makeup on, I did not wake up to smudged mascara or raccoon eyes.

The Results

When I take a break from lash extensions, this is truly the only mascara that doesn’t make me feel insecure about my lashes. Between the length it provides, the volume it boosts, and the long-lasting formula that keeps my lashes curled, it delivers everything I want from my mascara. It’s a mainstay in my makeup routine because I know I can always rely on it to exceed my expectations and do what most mascaras can’t.

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