Mascara Finder: What to look for when choosing the right mascara for your lashes

We show you how to compare mascara brands and products to get the lashes you’ve been dreaming of.

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Best Mascara

Best Rated Mascara Brand:

A good mascara is a staple of any makeup bag and Max Factor has claimed the title of this year's best rated mascara brand. Beating out a number of big names in this category, Max Factor received a top overall rating as well as a 94% recommendation rating from its customers. The beauty giant also scored well for volume, ease of application and being long-lasting.

Key facts about comparing mascara:

  • There are many different types of mascara available, and each one promises to do something spectacular for your lashes – lengthen, volumise, curl and a whole lot more.
  • When buying mascara, consider the type of lashes you have and the look you want to create.
  • Also consider the type of wand the mascara comes with. The shape and design of the wand determines how easy a mascara is to apply and ensures that you can style your lashes just the way you like.
  • Price can range from around $3 to more than $40 per 100ml.

Types of mascara

There's a huge range of mascara products available, each promising something different. This includes lengthening mascaras to make your lashes appear longer, volumising mascaras to help thinner lashes appear more plump, curling mascaras to give you that movie-star curl, and products that define your lashes to help them really stand out.

However, one important but often overlooked area when choosing mascara is the wand. These come in a variety of shapes and designs, each of which is best suited to a different purpose.

For example, curved wands help curl lashes, skinny wands help you coat each individual lash, and wands with round tips help you focus on key areas. Then there are pine cone wands that allow you to fan out your lashes, spiral brushes to separate lashes and add volume, and fine wands designed for targeting bottom lashes.

Consider exactly what type of look you want to create before deciding what type of wand you need. You can also check out our Beauty Finder™ hub for plenty of reviews of the latest and greatest mascaras on the market.

How to compare mascaras

When you're ready to compare mascaras to find the right product for your needs, remember to consider the following factors.

Type of lashes

Are your lashes thick or thin, straight or curly? This will determine the type of mascara you choose. For example, if you have thin lashes you may want to add volume, while those with straight lashes may want to look for a curling mascara.

The look you want to create

Think about exactly how you want your lashes to look, and the overall style you’re going for, before you buy. For example, if you want thick and lush lashes, a volumising mascara could do the trick. If you’d like to really open up your eyes, a mascara that lifts and curls could be a good pick.

Ease of application

As we’ve already mentioned, the wand is a hugely important factor when choosing mascara. Different-shaped wands can be used to create a variety of looks, while they also affect how easy it is to target those hard-to-reach areas.


There’s a variety of different colours available to help you create your own unique look, from purples and greens to reds and golds. But if you’re just going for a classic look that’ll go well with everything, you can’t go wrong with black.


If you’re heading out on a rainy day or maybe just watching The Notebook, waterproof mascara will prevent running and smudging.


If you'd like to avoid products that have been tested on animals or that contain animal products, look for cruelty-free and vegan mascaras.


One thing you'll immediately notice when shopping for mascara is that prices can vary dramatically from one product to the next. Even if you're in the cosmetics aisle of your local supermarket, expect to find mascara ranging from $3 to more than $40 per 10ml. As always, be sure to check the price per 10ml for each product to ensure a fair comparison.

3 things to consider

There are a few other factors you should consider before choosing a mascara:

  • Test it out. Finding the right mascara will often require a little trial and error. So before splurging on a big-name brand, sample a few different affordable options. Once you know what type of mascara works best with your lashes, you can start comparing specific brands.
  • Is waterproof mascara the right choice? Some experts recommend avoiding waterproof mascara when possible due to the fact that it's very difficult to remove, which can result in damage to your lashes. If you can set waterproof products aside for special occasions only, you'll reduce the risk of losing any lashes.
  • How to remove mascara. What goes on must come off again, but Google "how to remove mascara" and you'll generate a host of different methods and strategies. Generally speaking, most approaches involve using either a commercial makeup remover or, if you'd prefer something more natural, something like avocado oil. Using a cotton pad soaked in your product of choice, hold it against your eye for 30 seconds and then wipe gently downward. Be careful not to rub or scrub this sensitive area.

If you're ready to start shopping for mascara, you might want to check out our guide to the best mascaras in Australia first, not to mention our guide to the best waterproof mascaras. Then it's time to take a look at the top sites to buy mascara online to find the product you want at the right price.

Best rated mascara brand award breakdown

Total Score Overall rating Value for Money Ease of application Long-lasting Volume
Max Factor 8.13 4.47 4.19 4.51 4.3 4.28
Bareminerals 8.12 4.45 4.4 4.05 4.3 4.5
NARS 8.01 4.39 4.16 4.32 4.16 4.29
Dior 7.87 4.24 3.93 4.48 4.59 4.48
L'Oreal 7.85 4.26 4.14 4.28 4.22 4.3
Laura Mercier 7.84 4.28 4.06 4.56 4.44 4.44
MAC 7.83 4.34 3.9 4.22 4.28 4.24
Estee Lauder 7.82 4.32 4 4.27 4.17 4.22
Lancome 7.78 4.32 3.84 4.12 4.14 4.14
Rimmel 7.77 4.2 4.45 4.16 4.18 4.08
Clinique 7.76 4.22 3.88 4.12 4.27 4.14
Revlon 7.74 4.2 4.14 4.34 4.18 4.06
Maybelline 7.71 4.14 4.12 4.35 4.12 3.92
Elizabeth Arden 7.36 4.13 3.94 4.13 4 4.09
Other 7.76 4.21 4.21 4.28 4.23 3.98
Data: Finder Retail Brand Survey, 2020, Kantar. Metric out of 5 stars unless indicated. Methodology and more info. Kantar logo

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