The Best Drugstore Mascaras For Sky-High, Beautiful Lashes That Won’t Break The Bank

Your lashes (and bank account) never looked so good.
Kendall Jenner at the Met Gala in 2024.Getty

Mascara is one of the simplest ways enhance your eyelashes, but the quality, brand and where you buy it can have a big impact on the cost. While some mascaras are more than $100, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best, and the trend towards drugstore mascara proves it. 

While the name of this trend comes from the US, in Australia we use the term to refer to mascara you’d buy at the supermarket or chemist. And thanks to the endless options that are both high quality and won’t break the bank, drugstore mascaras have risen in the ranks.

In fact, makeup artists and celebrities are beginning to join us in the supermarket aisle, often opting for more affordable offerings that have effective formulas and brushes without a high price tag.

So, here’s our pick of mascaras that will add volume, depth, length and colour to every lash length – for under $30.

1. Panorama Mascara by L’Oreal Paris

Panorama Mascara by L'Oreal Paris.

This mascara has become a TikTok favourite, with people raving about the visible length and volume they’ve got from using it. Kendall Jenner has also described it as her “secret weapon” on Instagram.

The multi-level mascara brush is designed for precise application and the formula wraps each lash for perfectly separated length and definition. It also has an impressive 4.8 average rating from over 550 reviews on the Chemist Warehouse website.

Panorama Mascara by L’Oreal Paris, $27.99 (RRP $32.99 ) at Chemist Warehouse.

2. LashBlast Volume Waterproof Mascara by Covergirl

LashBlast Volume Waterproof Mascara by Covergirl.

This mascara has a volumising formula that will make your lashes dense, dark and dramatic without adding any weight. It’s also a great choice when you don’t want to deal with any clumps. The brush and formula work together to max out every single eyelash, leaving you with the ultimate big lash look, even if you don’t have naturally curly or long eyelashes. 

LashBlast Volume Waterproof Mascara by Covergirl, $21.95 at Priceline.

3. Paradise Mascara by L’Oreal Paris

Paradise Mascara by L'Oreal Paris is one of the best drugstore mascaras on the market.

This mascara from L’Oreal adds both volume and length, creating definition in your lashes. The whipped formula is made with castor oil, an ingredient that allows for soft and lengthy lashes without any flaking or clumping. Your lashes will be fully coated after one application and the product lasts throughout the day, with no smudging. 

Paradise Mascara by L’Oreal Paris, $24.95 at Adore Beauty.

4. So Fierce Big Bad Lash Mascara by Revlon

Revlon So Fierce Big Bad Lash Mascara Blackest Black.

The mascara is ideal for gradual tinting, with a unique mix of dyes that can make your lashes darker in as little as 7 days. The brush has a curvy side to reach the very edges of your lashes, with a flat side to separate them for a fanned out look that is truly dramatic.

Revlon So Fierce Big Bad Lash Mascara Blackest Black, $12.47 (RRP $24.95) at Chemist Warehouse.

5. Volum’ Express The Falsies Mascara by Maybelline

Volum' Express The Falsies Mascara by Maybelline.

This cult classic is one of the best drugstore mascaras for creating volume but it’s also one of the best curling mascaras on the market. It has a specially designed, spoon-shaped wand that latches on to every lash and applies and even coat every single time. The formula also lasts all day without smudging and holds the lashes well, which has made it a cult favourite.

Volum’ Express The Falsies Mascara by Maybelline, RRP $20.99 at Priceline.

6. Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara by Essence

Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara by Essence.
Retailing for only $7 and with over 2,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, this mascara does not mess about. The perfect alternative to lash extensions, this product provides both length and volume in a deep black colour that has also led it to become a favourite on TikTok.
Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara by Essence, $7 at Priceline.

7. Lash Sensational Lengthening Mascara by Maybelline

Lash Sensational Lengthening Mascara by Maybelline.

This mascara coats and curls your lashes for a full-fan effect, with a specially designed brush that has 10 layers of bristles. Best of all, you can use it for just about any occasion: apply once for a softer look or create a more dramatic style with repeated applications.

Lash Sensational Lengthening Mascara by Maybelline, $17.39 (RRP $24.99) at Chemist Warehouse.

8. Exhibitionist Mascara by Covergirl

Best Drugstore Mascara

The hourglass-shaped brush works to lengthen and separate lashes to create a full and defined look. No flaking or smudging here either, as the smooth formula keeps the mascara set all day long. As a plus, this product is cruelty-free and vegan.

Exhibitionist Mascara by Covergirl, $24.95 at Priceline.

9. Telescopic Mascara by L’Oreal Paris

L'Oreal Paris Telescopic Mascara.

This drugstore mascara is one of the pricier ones on our list but definitely delivers value for money. Its flexible brush separates and coats each lash, for up to 60% longer looking lashes and intensity.

It also has a 4.5 average rating from over 300 reviews on the Chemist Warehouse website, with one reviewer stating: “I will buy different brands of mascara BUT always go back to this one. I love the skinny wand and it makes my eyelashes long and not gluggy.”

Telescopic Mascara by L’Oreal Paris, $25.99 (RRP $29.99) at Chemist Warehouse.

10. Kind & Free Mascara by Rimmel London

Kind & Free Mascara - Brown Black Loose by Rimmel London.

This mascara is formulated with organic shea butter and offers volume, length and conditioning, for a look that lasts up to 36 hours. Rimmel London has also designed this as a clean mascara, with 99% of ingredients of natural origin and a brush made from 100% bio-based fibres.

As far as drugstore mascara reviews go, this one has a 4.3 average rating from over 500 people on the Big W website – and seems particularly popular for people with sensitive eyes.

Kind & Free Mascara – Brown Black Loose by Rimmel London, $23 at Big W.


Is drugstore mascara better than high-end brands?

Generally, luxury brands have the benefit of using higher quality ingredients within their formulas that drugstore mascaras cannot usually afford. After all, brands like Chanel, Dior, Charlotte Tilbury or Chantecaille have more resources to develop the design of the brush to create the ultimate application effect.

Of course, an expensive price tag doesn’t always mean the best quality. Many drugstore mascaras have effective formulas for a fraction of the cost.

What type of mascara should I get?

Whether it’s a luxury brand or from the drugstore, different mascaras will create different effects depending on your lash length and type. For those blessed with long lashes, a curling formula is the best choice to enhance your natural length. 

If you have straight lashes that struggle to curl, a curling formula is also a viable option. And for short lashes, a thin brush with dense bristles is ideal for catching every lash during application.


What mascara does TikTok recommend?

Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara is one of the most popular drugstore mascara options on TikTok, where it went viral because of its price and performance. Some of the other affordable mascaras on our list have also been featured on TikTok, including:

  • L’Oreal Paris Telescopic Mascara
  • Covergirl LashBlast Volume Waterproof Mascara
  • Maybelline Lash Sensational Washable Mascara

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