If you were born with full, long lashes, then congrats to you. The rest of us who want a Bambi-like flutter have to resort to wearing false eyelashes, keeping up with lash extension appointments, or embarking on the never-ending search for the one true mascara that will give us the lash length we’ve been dreaming about all of our lives. The good thing is, there isn’t just one mascara out there to help anyone lacking in the lash department. In fact, there are tons—it’s all a matter of what to look out for when shopping for the best mascaras for short lashes.
Best mascaras for short lashes, at a glance
- Best Overall Mascara: Tom Ford Extreme Mascara, $46
- Best for Bold Lashes: Maybelline Sky High Mascara, $13
- Best Vegan/Cruelty-Free Mascara: Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara, $30
- Best Everyday Mascara: MAC Cosmetics In Extreme Dimension 3D Black Lash Mascara, $26
- Best Waterproof Mascara: Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Classic Defining & Lengthening Mascara, $29
- Best Clean Mascara: Merit Clean Lash Lengthening Tubing Mascara, $26
- Best Precision Mascara: Byredo Astronomical Volumizing Mascara, $46
- Best Volumizing Mascara: Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Push Up Lashes Volumizing & Lengthening Mascara, $29
- Best Conditioning Mascara: Milk Makeup RISE Lifting + Lengthening Mascara, $28
- Best Lengthening Mascara: Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara, $27
- Best Luxury Mascara: Clé de Peau Beauté Perfect Lash Mascara, $55
- Best Drugstore Mascara: Essence Lash Princess, $4
- Best Buildable Mascara: Gucci L'Obscur Lengthening Mascara, $35
- Best High-Drama Mascara: Too Faced Better Than Sex, $28
- Best Lash Curling Mascara: Yves Saint Laurent The Curler Lengthening and Curling Mascara, $29
- Best Colored Mascara: Dior Diorshow Waterproof Mascara, $30
Tobi Henney, a makeup artist whose clients include Ashley Graham, Jessica Alba, and Olivia Culpo, says that people with short lashes should definitely look for lengthening mascaras to get the illusion of longer lashes. “Micro fibers are great in mascaras as they help to build an extra layer around each lash and make them look much fuller and longer,” she says.
When it comes to application tips, makeup artist Omayma Ramzy, whose clients Sydney Sweeney, Jenna Elfman, and Chloe Bennet, will curl her lashes “right at the root and gently bounce the curler out.” But what’s even more interesting is that Ramzy likes to have two mascaras on hand at all times: a new, fresher one, and a “tacky one” that she’s had for longer. Ramzy will apply the older mascara first in order to get thick roots, then follow up with the newer one to add length through second and third coats.
Now that you’re set with all of the professional advice you need, it’s time to learn about the best mascaras for short lashes. Keep scrolling for some of Henny and Ramzy’s favorites, including the best mascara for lengthening, best vegan and cruelty-free mascara, and more.
A longtime favorite of mascara aficionados, Tom Ford’s classic mascara is known for the intense drama it brings to lashes, thanks to the long bristle brush. Henney is a huge fan: “It creates the biggest lashes!” she says. “It creates more drama to the top and bottom lashes. The formula is super creamy which I also love.”
Maybelline’s Sky High Mascara got the TikTok treatment, and for very good reason. The formula is not only buildable and easy to wear, but it also feels lightweight and won’t weigh your lashes down. This could be due to its lash-loving formula, which contains nourishing bamboo extract. This is also Henney’s favorite for “building a really bold lash which will make your lashes look twice the size!”
When it comes to a mascara that’s cruelty-free (and vegan), you can’t go wrong with Thrive Causemetics, which is actually a tubing mascara. According to Ramzy, it coats your lashes, making them “luscious and long.” Ramzy also likes that the formula is powered with orchid stem cells, which are known to support lash growth. Other bonuses? You don’t have to worry about it flaking or smudging, and it’s easy to wash off, so there’s no risk of damaging your lashes.
“This is a great everyday mascara for a nice strong lash look,” says Henney. “It creates length and volume for the lashes and is always in my makeup kit.” The whipped, pigmented formula conditions the lashes with each stroke. Meanwhile, the molded brush helps extend the lashes while creating a nice curl all at the same time and preventing clumps.
Waterproof mascaras are a good thing to have on any particular day, whether you’re dealing with annoying allergies or watching a movie that ends up being a real tear-jerker. Henney says it’s her “go-to” waterproof mascara. “I have used this on countless swim campaigns and Sports Illustrated shoots when the models have to swim in the water,” she says. “This mascara will not move.” Sold!
If you’re into clean mascaras, check out this one from Merit Beauty. The precision brush allows you to add drama to your lashes without getting them clunky or spidery. It also contains rice bran, which helps with length and structure, as well as fatty acids and olive oil esters to condition and nourish. Ramzy says this tubing style macara helps to add length to short lashes with each coat you swipe on.
“This is a newer mascara on the market and I am obsessed with the fluorescent green packaging,” says Henney. She also says the wand, which is curved and made with precision silicone bristles, is great for plumping up the lashes. “I think this is a really fun mascara to add to your collection if you are looking for something new to try!” she says. It’ll definitely look cool on your vanity!
If it’s volume you’re looking for (in addition to length), then look no further than this beloved Charlotte Tilbury pick. You’ll fool everyone into thinking you got lash extensions—thanks to the innovative brush with diamond-shaped bristles that get your lashes lifted and your eyes open. The smudge-proof, humidity-resistant formula also contains lash conditioning keratin.
For a truly clump-free mascara that is so light you’ll forget you’re even wearing mascara, reach for Milk’s RISE option. With a vegan formula that contains a highly nourishing combination of monoi oil and marigold extract, your lashes will be in better shape before you even swipe the mascara on. It also features a powerful, yet weightless, blend of four plant waxes, such as carnauba wax, sunflower seed wax, tree berry wax, and candelilla wax.
This mascara is loved by many, and it’s no surprise why—customers swear by its lengthening powers, which is exactly what you want if you have short lashes. The pigmented, jet-black formula is smudge-proof, so you can wear it all day without worrying about raccoon eyes.
The proprietary square brush on this Clé de Peau mascara allows a precision comb-through of each and every eyelash—crucial for a lush, even coat. The waterproof, protective formula is also made to withstand perspiration, so you might be able to wear this while working out if you feel so inclined.
Another favorite of BeautyTok, Lash Princess rules the drugstore mascara market, thanks to its long-lasting and lengthening powers at an affordable cost to boot. All that drama for just five bucks? Sign us up. The fiber brush allows you to apply two to three coats without your lashes getting heavy or clumping up, so it’s no shock that fans are making the switch from their pricier mascaras to this one.
This award-winning mascara uses a flexible brush with elastomeric bristles that grab onto your lashes, allowing them to lift and separate with ease, while evenly coating the lashes with the product. You can either go light with application for a subtle look, or apply multiple coats for a more intense look without the clumps. The brush is also great for getting into the harder-to-reach, corner areas of the eyelashes.
With one of the cheekiest names ever bestowed about a beauty product, Too Faced’s Better Than Sex mascara was an icon from the jump. But it also doesn’t mess around. This mascara has an hourglass-shaped brush with densely packed bristles that coat the lashes instantly while curling them. The formula also contains both collagen and acacia senegal tree extract for voluminous intensity. Just one simple coat and you’ll be serving all the drama you need.
One look at the brush on this mascara, and you know you’re destined for some serious curl. The brush uses a hybrid technology and curved elastomer bristle combs to lift, extend, and separate the lashes while bringing curl and doe-eye dimension. Even better, you also experience the benefits of a lash-nourishing formula that contains a combination of coconut, walnut leaf, and bamboo oils.
Dior’s legendary runway mascara is already great as a classic black option, as it thickens, extends, and lifts lashes without bogging them down. But if you’re in the market for something fun, such as a colored mascara, add “Catwalk Blue” to your cart. The stunning blue shade will erase any and all preconceptions of it being “too ‘80s” (though, these days, that’s probably a much cooler thing).
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