When you’re starting off using makeup, mascara is an easy product to add into your daily routine. But you might find yourself at the drugstore looking at dozens of mascara options, totally clueless where you should begin! There are so many great mascaras out there, but I’ve limited it down to the TWO best drugstore mascaras that I think are PERFECT for beginners.
Why only two? Because I’ve tried lots, and have only loved and repurchased these two.
Even more importantly, because when you search online you can find lots of outdated guides about the best 10 or 15 mascaras – which is way too many for a beginner to choose between. A classic too many jams situation.
Giving you only two recommendations allows me to go into greater detail about both mascaras and how you should choose between them.
Let’s dive into it!
To start, there is one question you need to ask yourself:
Do you want waterproof mascara or regular mascara?
Choose waterproof if you’ll be in hot and humid climates (vacations!), exposed to water or sweat (exercise, constant rainy weather), or have an important or emotional event (weddings, dances, WEDDINGS!!!!!)
Otherwise, choose regular mascara. It will be less damaging on your lashes because it is much easier to remove at night!
Overall Best Drugstore Mascara for Beginners
Maybelline Great Lash Mascara. Hands down!
This mascara is great for so many reasons (besides just its name).
It is the most cost effective, GOOD mascara on the market at a $5 or less price point! This is less expensive than most drugstore mascaras, which typically range from $8-13, but still has the same quality.
The best part is that Great Lash comes in multiple styles, shades, and wands to suit everyone’s preferences!
You can get Great Lash in a normal, washable formula, as well as a waterproof formula (though I do have a better recommendation for the BEST waterproof mascara at the drugstore below)!
Additionally, Great Lash comes in many shades:
- Very Black
- Blackest Black
- Brownish Black
- Dark Brown
- Royal Blue
Which is SUPER awesome.
As a beginner, you might be looking for a mascara that is more subtle and less intense than a super black shade, and the Dark Brown or Brownish Black shade is PERFECT for this!
Or maybe you need a clear brow gel? The clear mascara works perfect for this. OR if your tween wants to wear makeup, but you feel like they’re too young? Clear mascara separates and defines without adding any pigment – a win-win situation.
There are also a few different wand shapes available:
- Regular rounded wand
- BIG wand
- Lots of Lashes tapered wand
- Curved wand
Basically, they cover all the shapes you desire, all with the same formula that has won Allure’s reader’s choice awards for 20 years!
Now, not every shade/wand/type combination is available, but I’m sure you could find a mascara from this line that would work for you.
My favorite variations of this mascara are these ones (all linked!):
In my opinion, the Very Black classic mascara with the typical rounded wand is a GREAT option for beginners.
It’s hard to go wrong with such a classic and ordinary mascara like this one. I suggest you start here!
This is my favorite black, washable mascara in the line. The large wand (and it is BIG!) helps you achieve more volume with your lashes, but it does make it a little harder to not get it on your eyelid.
Like I said above, this is great for beginners and tweens or teens who want to practice with mascara, without risking getting dark pigment anywhere! Or, you can use this as a clear brow gel. Either way, it’s great!
This is the royal blue shade, as a swatch so you can see the color of it! This will make your eye color pop, especially if you have blue eyes.
- This mascara is great
- It is a super awesome price (as low as $3.99 on Amazon! Up to $6 in some stores)
- There are many variations!
- I love it
Best Waterproof Drugstore Mascara
If you’re looking for the most waterproof and affordable mascara you can find, this is it: L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Waterproof Mascara (which I’ll refer to as just Lash Paradise)
NOTE: This mascara does come in a non-waterproof version, too!
This stuff will NOT budge*. It is seriously waterproof – I wore this on my wedding day, and was confident in it holding up!
Lash Paradise is also said to be a dupe for the infamous Too Faced Better Than Sex cult favorite mascara – at less than half the cost. If you’ve wanted to try that high end one, this wouldn’t be a bad formula to test out!
It also comes in a few different colors, such as various “blacks” and a dark black brown.
This mascara has a wonderful wand, which provides volume and length to your eyelashes without being overly clumpy. To avoid clumps, I recommend wiping off excess product when you take it out of the tube, and you should be set!
Lash Paradise is a little more pricey than Great Lash, but it is worth it for its staying power. You can find it at most stores for $10-12, though Amazon has it a bit cheaper at $7:
When I want waterproof mascara, I prefer this to my high end mascara – no joke, that’s how awesome it is. I recommend 100%!
* TIP! Since this formula is SO waterproof, it helps to have a good makeup remover. An oil based remover, or an actual oil such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, or olive oil will help remove tough mascara without damaging your eyelashes. Be gentle and take your time!
Want to know a bit more about mascara before you dive in?
I wrote an Ultimate Guide to Mascara not too long ago!
I think that’s all the info you need in order to get a great mascara from the drugstore!
If you’ve tried either of these mascaras, leave me a comment and let me know what you think of them!
Or, if you have a different favorite drugstore mascara, help out some fellow Beauties in the comments and let them know 🙂
Catch ya later,