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Best mascaras in Canada 2023

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From waterproof to tints to vegan, plus a gem under $10

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Mascara has a history as long as the lashes we wish to attain using it. Since 3000 B.C., we’ve been painting our eyelashes black. But it hasn’t always been for vanity’s sake: in Ancient Egypt, materials like kohl and burnt almonds were applied to lashes and water lines to protect eyes from the sun’s rays. Sometimes these ingredients were mixed with honey or dung to make them coat effectively. And while that sounds anything but sanitary, it turns out carbon powders contained lead salts which boosted immunological response to bacteria.

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Whether for cosmetic allure or health benefits, mascara has evolved with us — for better, and for worse. We’ve used everything from Vaseline and coal dust to turpentine to get that lashed-out look, but thankfully, today’s formulas are much safer and more effective. After all, mascara accounts for a considerable chunk of an over $3 billion industry — in Canada alone. As a nation, we just love our mascara. In fact, the average woman owns up to seven different kinds at any given time and will spend over $3,700 in her lifetime on the sticky stuff.

So whether you’re looking for something all-natural, totally waterproof or cheap and cheerful — there’s a mascara out there for all our fringey needs and expectations. Before you buy, check out our guide for the best mascaras on the market to take your eyes from meh to mesmerizing.

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Quick Summary

Best overall: ILIA Limitless Mascara
Best vegan formula: Covergirl Lash Blast Clean Mascara
Best waterproof: Buxom Lash Waterproof Volumizing Mascara
Best dramatic curl: Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara
Best for a fake-lash look: Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara
Best budget option: L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara
Best last tint/serum: Honest Beauty Honestly Healthy Lash Tint

Best overall: ILIA Limitless Mascara

ILIA Beauty Limitless Lash Mascara PHOTO BY ILIA BEAUTY
ILIA Beauty Limitless Lash Mascara PHOTO BY ILIA BEAUTY Photo by ILIA BEAUTY

Brush shape: Dual-sided
Options: Travel size available
Benefits: Natural, lengthening, volumizing
Volume: 8 mL

Why buy: This mascara is a beauty product checklist come true — and well worth the higher price tag. It’s 99 per cent naturally derived, which for some formula-picky people raises a red flag, but trust us: the consistency and stick factor is like magic. The dual-sided brush takes a beat to get a handle on, but once you do, you’ll love using the short fluffy side for adding volume and curl, and the fine comb side to lengthen and separate for a soft, natural, fluffy look. Plus, it removes gently, won’t irritate those with sensitive eyes, and actually nourishes your eyelashes with organic Shea butter and fortifies them with keratin. If you need more reasons to shop this magic wand, did we mention the brand is Canadian and female-founded?

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Fine print: Made with 99 per cent natural ingredients that are good for your lashes — but not vegan as it contains beeswax.
Price: $37
Where to buy: ILIA | Detox Market | Amazon

Best vegan formula: Covergirl Lash Blast Clean Mascara

Covergirl Lash Blast Clean mascara PHOTO BY AMAZON
Covergirl Lash Blast Clean mascara PHOTO BY AMAZON

Brush shape: Silicone bristles
Options: Waterproof formula available
Benefits: Cruelty-free, long-lasting
Volume: 13.1ml

Why buy: At a price you won’t bat an eye at, Covergirl’s tried-and-true creamy formula is powered by vegan ingredients like argan and marula oil  — but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s too gentle to last all day. We love this formula because it’s reliably flake-free and sticks around until the bitter end. For those looking to spend a little less and get a little more, the larger-capacity tube means you won’t be running out of the good goopy stuff as quickly as you will with some other brands. It’s not the best for building on once dry, but it does offer good volume on initial application.

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Fine print: This mascara is formulated without parabens, sulphates, mineral oil, and talc, making it great for those with eyes sensitive to those ingredients.
Price: $7.99
Where to buy: Amazon

Best waterproof: Buxom Lash Waterproof Volumizing Mascara

Buxom Lash Waterproof Volumizing Mascara PHOTO BY SEPHORA
Buxom Lash Waterproof Volumizing Mascara PHOTO BY SEPHORA

Brush shape: Hourglass silicone bristles
Options: Non-waterproof formula available
Benefits: Cruelty-free, volumizing, waterproof
Volume: 11 ml

Why buy: Enriched with rose water and Vitamin E, Buxom’s mascara comes with a super-dense, curvy brush which does a great job at evenly coating your lashes without clumping. For those seeking a formula that stands up to H20 and lasts through the night, this one won’t require multiple applications in order to get the same effect as its non-water-resistant counterparts. We love how easily it glides from root to tip and builds lashes thick quickly so you don’t have to waste 10 minutes in front of the mirror recoating.

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The fine print: A little pricey, but long-lasting
Price: $33
Where to buy: Sephora | Amazon

Best dramatic curl: Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara

Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara PHOTO BY SEPHORA
Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara PHOTO BY SEPHORA

Brush shape: Hourglass fibre bristles
Options: Black
Benefits: Volumizing, all-in-one Formula, smudge-proof
Volume: 13 ml

Why buy: Free of parabens, sulphates and phthalates, this mascara comes in right at the middle in terms of price, but it will give you the most dramatic curl and depth of all our formulas. In two swipes of this traditional-style fat, crimped fibre wand, you’ll get a bold look that won’t smudge or budge all day. If curly, crunch-free voluminous lashes are what you seek, this recipe’s blend of waxes which build to a soft finish will satisfy.

Fine print: Expect a slightly larger tube and no waterproof formulas available.
Price: $30
Where to buy: Sephora

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Best for a fake lash look: Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara PHOTO BY SEPHORA
Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara PHOTO BY SEPHORA

Brush shape: Hourglass fibre bristles
Options: Black and Chocolate Brown
Benefits: Thickens, lengthens and curls
V
olume: 8 mL

Why buy: If soft, dramatically fluffy, false-looking lashes are what you seek, Too Faced’s mascara will have you ready to flutter all day long. Tens of thousands of 5-star reviews can’t be wrong: this mascara is an award-winner for a reason. The fanned-out brush might take a little getting used to, but once you do, you’ll be batting your lashes all day long thanks to its shape which helps build and lift the corners of your eyelashes for that snatched, cat-eye look.

The fine print: Ophthalmologist tested and suitable for contact lens wearers.
Price: $37
Where to buy: Sephora | Amazon

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Best budget option: L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara

L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara PHOTO BY SEPHORA
L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara PHOTO BY SEPHORA

Brush shape: Fiber bristles
Options: Blackest Black, Black, Dark Navy, Black-Brown and waterproof
Benefits: Long-Lasting, conditioning, volumizing
Volume: 8.3 mL

Why buy: Lash Paradise just can’t shake its spot from the top of almost every beauty editor’s hit list for the full, fanned-out look it creates in zero time. Containing an infusion of floral oils to keep lashes soft, this mascara builds volume the quickest of all our picks. For those who prefer a more traditional fibre bristle brush over silicone or curved, this crowd-pleasing wand does the trick. If you’re pinched for time and money, this mascara continues to take the cake without being too cakey.

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Fine print: It’s not all-natural, but does contain an infusion of floral water to condition lashes.
Price: $13.96
Where to buy: Amazon

Best serum/tint: Honest Beauty Honestly Healthy Lash Tint

Brush shape: Spiral-fiber bristles
Options: Black, Brown or Natural (clear)
Benefits: Gentle, healing
Volume: 8 ml

Why buy: For those seeking a break from mascara, especially if you’re recovering from a heavy season of wearing falsies or using lots of waterproof formulas, usher in Honest Beauty’s serum-infused lash tint, created to support lash health from root to tip. It won’t give you a dramatically full look, but it will enhance, darken and lengthen your lashes while conditioning with castor oil, red clover and plant protein for optimum health. We also love that the tube and packaging are made from 100 per cent tree-free paper.

The fine print: This tiny tool is EWG certified (meaning it’s free from chemicals of concern).
Price: $19.99 USD
Where to buy: Honest Beauty | Amazon

Shopping Essentials is a new category that features highly researched products, new and exciting launches or behind-the-scenes info — learn more.

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