When shopping around for clear mascara, it may seem like there's little difference between one brand and the next. However, the best clear mascaras will help curl and separate your lashes without any stickiness or flaking throughout the day.
The first thing you want to consider is the type of effect you're looking for with your mascara. One common complaint in using clear mascaras is being unable to see a difference in volume or length when applied. While there aren't many volumizing clear mascaras to choose from, one of my picks is formulated with vitamin E to promote lash growth and encourage volume over time. Another pick of mine — a splurge-worthy mascara from Zuzu Luxe — even has herbal extracts to nourish, lengthen, and, yes, even add more volume to your lashes.
Another important factor to consider is how sensitive your skin is. If you're prone to reactions, you may want to opt for a mascara that's hypoallergenic and ophthalmologist-tested, like my overall best pick below.
The final thing to consider is your budget. While there is some disagreement over how often you should replace your mascara, the rule of thumb is typically every three months. It's important to keep this in mind to make sure you're choosing a mascara you can afford to replace that frequently. Below, I've included a budget-friendly pick that comes in a set of three for just $10, which makes it easy to stock up. All of my picks range in price, with something to suit every budget. Read on to find the clear mascara that works best for you.
1. The Overall Best
What's great about it: This Maybelline New York Great Lash clear mascara has been highly reviewed by mascara-enthusiasts and makeup artists. Reliable and affordable, this option is also hypoallergenic, which is a huge plus. The formula is designed to build volume and lengthen without clumps or flakes. This product is versatile and can be used for your eyebrows as well.
What fans say: "I love this mascara. I like to have a more natural look so it’s perfect for me. It highlights my eyelashes without having any color on them. I do find I have to put 3 coats on before I’m happy with it, but generally put 2 of the colored mascara anyway.... Definitely would recommend if you like a more natural look."
2. The Most Budget-Friendly
What's great about it: For a super affordable option, this E.L.F. clear brow and lash mascara comes in a set of three. Cruelty-free and vegan, this formula is designed to make lashes shine, stay healthy, and look natural. It's also made with long-lasting agents to condition your curl. Along with being cost-effective, each tube is double-sided for extra versatility, allowing you to use just one half at a time or designate one end for lashes and one end for brows.
What fans say: "Looks natural, I forget I'm wearing it."
3. The Most Volumizing
What's great about it: Made in the U.S., the Sormé Cosmetics lash-conditioning clear mascara is a great option that's formulated to nourish and build volume. Infused with shea butter, vitamin E, and jojoba oil, these ingredients allow immediate lengthening, volume, and definition. Because of its vitamin-infused formula, this mascara helps avoid breakage and provides maximum conditioning and hydration.
What fans say: "This works great with or without mascara. Trick is to let lash solution dry before you apply mascara. Solution extends the wear time of my mascara. Usually, my mascara starts flaking off after 9-12 hours, but not with this solution. I curled my lashes and applied one coat and let it dry completely while I got dressed, then I applied my mascara. On days that I don't wear mascara I just apply two coats of this lash solution, but I wait between coats as I do when applying mascara. Natural looking lashes, just enhanced. Solution doesn't flake off or stay wet like other lash conditioning products I've used in the past. I also have very sensitive eye[s] and this doesn't cause a reaction."
4. The Best Splurge
What's great about it: If you want to splurge with your mascara, this Zuzu Luxe clear mascara is an amazing find. Using sea fennel extract, eyebright extract, and aloe leaf juice, it helps with lash protection and hydration. Both volumizing and lengthening, this clear mascara does not flake or clump throughout the day. It's also ideal for sensitive eyes, is vegan, and is free from harmful chemicals like coal tar derivatives, mineral oil, parabens, and propylene glycol.
What fans say: "I've been using this mascara for several months now, and it is fabulous! It doesn't flake or smudge all over my eyes. The brush works well on my eyelashes, and adds length and just enough volume. I don't like thick, clumpy mascara, nor do I want it too thin. As Goldilocks would say, it's juuuuust right. I am thrilled to have a mascara without a ton of fake chemical junk in it, and one that doesn't break the bank when I buy it!"
Also Great: A Reliable Eyelash Curler
What's great about it: In order to get a long-lasting curl with clear mascara, you'll want to also find a reliable tool like this Tweezerman eyelash curler. It's designed with lash pads that are made out of silicone instead of rubber, which makes it durable and easy to clean. Because of its material, the pads will not stick or crimp your lashes. And because of its construction, you can count on this product to give you an amazing curl without much effort.
What fans say: "Best lash curler ever. Easy to use and my lash stay curled all day long."
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