Disclaimer: I rarely wear mascara. On a night out (or for a special occasion), I’ll slap it on, but as a serial “face toucher” (something that I got seriously told off about when a skin expert came to give our routines an overhaul), wearing mascara on the daily is just a recipe for panda eyes.

On a normal day at the office, you’ll find me with a full face of makeup sans lashes. And it seems I’m not the only one. While mascara remains the holy grail beauty product for many, cool girls and makeup artists have been ditching mascara this year and trying out the combination of bare lashes and a bold lip instead, which I love.

However, after testing out all of the concealers on the market to bring you a guide to the best ones, I wanted to turn my attention to another beauty staple, and I reckon that mascara is a good place to start. I have to say that I found some seriously good ones. So much so that I’ve actually been wearing mascara more regularly again.

Before we get started, I wanted to give you the lowdown on my natural lashes. My bare lashes are dark brown in colour (which is why I’ve never been too fussed about having to wear mascara on the daily) and they’re pretty curly. In fact, they’re so curly that they curl back on themselves in places, meaning that they look even shorter than they already are. They aren’t the thickest (meaning that when I do look for a mascara, I like something that adds volume at the roots), but it’s their length that I always want to boost.

There are tons of mascaras on the market promising to volumise, lift, lengthen and perform a lot of lash magic tricks. But of the 38 that I put to the test over the last few weeks, these are the only nine that I’d genuinely recommend. Keep scrolling for my before and after photos, and then shop my favourites.

Rating: 7/10. I’ve spoken before of my love of this Glossier mascara as an everyday option. While it won’t deliver a dramatic, falsies effect, it will extend lashes and give them a soft, natural finish that I loved. As someone who doesn’t reach for mascara every day, it’s a safe bet.

Rating: 8.5/10. I had extremely high hopes for this mascara by Pat McGrath, the “mother of makeup.” She’s known for her boundary-pushing products, and this mascara didn’t disappoint. It really lifted my lashes from the roots to deliver a wide-awake look and made them look thicker and fuller too.

Rating: 8/10. This mascara was a dream to apply. The texture is really creamy and glides onto lashes to coat them with pigment. My lashes were left really fanned out and fluttery. Love.

Rating: 6.5/10. Having never tried a 100% natural mascara before, I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one. Although it won’t be up your street if you like a dramatic lash look, it did a great job of defining my natural curl. I wore just one coat for an everyday look, but it could be layered up if you want more volume.

Rating: 9/10. This is one occasion when the name of a product really does deliver. This Stila mascara generally left my lashes looking more huge than before. The brush is pretty mega, which means I did make a bit of a hash with applying it (my eyes are slightly hooded, so getting mascara all over my lids is pretty commonplace), but once it was on, I was seriously taken aback by the finished result.

Rating: 10/10. At a fraction of the price of some of my other favourite mascaras on the list, this one from Kiko Milano really delivered. I’m always looking for a mascara that will genuinely extend the appearance of my short, curly lashes, and this one really did the job. As well as lengthening, it delivers volume and thickness for my favourite lash look of the bunch.

Rating: 7.5/10. If you’re looking for thick, clumpy, dramatic lashes (in a good way), then this lash-maximising formula from Marc Jacobs delivers on all counts. It basically mimics the appearance of fake lashes without the hassle of applying them, which is a definite win in my book.

Rating: 9.5/10. At the other end of the price scale to my Kiko favourite comes this gem from Chantecaille. Yes, it’s the most expensive on the list so I’m almost pained to say that I think it might be mascara love. My lashes looked super volumised, thick and long. It’s love.

Rating: 8/10. Sometimes, you just need a mascara that’s going to do the basics and do them well (a bit of definition, some subtle volume and a little extra length). On those occasions, this classic mascara from Max Factor does the trick. For me, this is the perfect “work” mascara, as it defines your lashes without making them look too OOT. Plus, it’s affordable.

Next up, I try hundreds of products for work but I always come back to these ones.

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