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16 of the Best Curling Mascaras for Longer, Lifted Lashes

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Photo by PeopleImages/Getty Images

If you’ve tried both volumizing mascaras and lengthening mascaras and you still feel like your lashes are falling flat, you may be in need of a curling mascara. While volumizing and lengthening formulas make lashes appear fuller and longer, curling mascaras focus on adding lift. As a result, eyes appear bigger and brighter.

In general, curling mascara formulas are typically a bit thicker than other types of mascara and often contain filming polymers. These polymers coat individual lashes and contract once you apply the product causing the lashes to “shrink” and lift, creating a noticeable curl—pretty cool, right? Curling mascaras are also usually accompanied by a specially shaped brush that’s designed to separate your lashes and make sure those polymers can coat and curl every last lash.

Not sure where to start in your search for the perfect formula? We’re here to help. Below are 16 of the best curling mascaras—a number of which have been vetted by Ipsters who received these products in past Glam Bags.

1. Most Iconic Formula:

BENEFIT COSMETICS Roller Lash Curling & Lifting Mascara

BENEFIT COSMETICS Roller Lash Curling & Lifting Mascara

There’s a reason this cult-favorite beauty product is a go-to among makeup artists; an impressive 97 percent of people who wore this mascara reported seeing a noticeable lift in their lashes. This water-resistant formula–which is inspired by hair rollers–uses a patent-pending "Hook ‘n’ Roll" brush with tiny hooks designed to catch, lift, and curl those defiantly straight lashes for up to 12 hours.

"Benefit’s Roller Lash is the BEST mascara ever,” writes one Ipster. "It curls better than any other. It lifts, separates, thickens, and lengthens. It also doesn’t clump or smudge."

2. Best Drugstore Mascara:

MAYBELLINE Lash Sensational® Washable Mascara

MAYBELLINE Lash Sensational® Washable Mascara
Courtesy of MAYBELLINE

Looking for big curl on a budget? This cult-favorite drugstore buy creates layers of lifted lashes for a dramatic fanned effect. The secret: an exclusive fanning brush that features ten layers of bristles to expertly separate every last lash. This is also a "washable mascara" meaning it features a higher water content than most mascaras. So while it may not be the best choice for a pool day, it will feel extra flexible on lashes, so it’s great for those with delicate hairs.

3. Best Volumizing Mascara:

DIOR Diorshow Mascara

DIOR Diorshow Mascara
Courtesy of DIOR

Looking for a curling mascara that also emphasizes volume? Try this formula that comes enriched with revolutionary microfibers. These mini fibers cling to the spaces between the lashes to naturally thicken them without causing your lash line to appear clumpy. It also features a unique "AIR-LOCK wiper system" to prevent the formula from drying out in the tube—a nice perk whether you use mascara daily or only on occasion.

4. Best Tubing Mascara:

THRIVE CAUSEMETICS Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara™ in Brynn

THRIVE CAUSEMETICSLiquid Lash Extensions Mascara™

While tubing mascaras can take a little practice to get used to, when they’re made like this, it's so worth it. This fiber formula wraps around your lashes to thicken, lift, and define them for a look that mimics lash extensions more closely than most tubing mascaras we’ve tried. Plus, this cruelty-free formula also features an Orchid Stem Complex to nourish your lashes and encourage growth.

Ipster cdonahue18 says, “THIS IS MY NEW MASCARA! Lasts so long and makes my eyelashes magically seem like they can just easily touch my eyebrows. The tubing technology makes it so easy to take off, but it honestly will last you overnight if you need to wake up looking good!”

5. Best Waterproof Formula:

TOO FACED COSMETICS Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara

TOO FACED COSMETICS Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara

Looking for a mascara that will look perfect post-workout, swim, or happy cry? Try the waterproof version of TOO FACED's iconic Better Than Sex mascara. While the formula may be more water-resistant than the original, it still features the famous hourglass-shaped brush to quickly curl and lengthen. Try one coat for full, curled lashes or two coats for lashes that could be mistaken for falsies. 

One Ipster enthusiastically writes, "Screams!!!!!!!!! THIS MASCARA IS EVERYTHINGGG!!!! The applicator as well as the formula is the BOMB!!!!"

6. Best Multitasking Mascara:

FENTY BEAUTY Full Frontal Volume, Lift & Curl Mascara

FENTY BEAUTY Full Frontal Volume, Lift & Curl Mascara
Courtesy of FENTY BEAUTY

Sometimes you want a mascara that does a little bit of everything. Is that too much to ask? Not if you reach for this multitasking formula. Designed to mimic Rihanna's go-to lash look, it volumizes, lengthens, and provides lashes with a dramatic lift. The ultra-black formula is distributed via a unique flat-to-fat brush. The thicker side is perfect for quickly loading the lashes with the product while the flat side expertly defines and curls. And with the applicator's round, pointed tip, you can go back in to pay a little extra love to those shorter lashes.

7. Best for Small Eyes:

L'OREAL PARIS Bambi Eye Washable Mascara, Lasting Volume

L'OREAL PARIS Bambi Eye Washable Mascara, Lasting Volume
Courtesy of L'OREAL PARIS

If you're always looking for ways to make your eyes instantly appear bigger, this eye-opening mascara may just be the perfect fit. The super affordable, washable mascara uses a unique wide-eyed brush that includes both long and short bristles to separate and lift every last lash for the ultimate doe-eyed look.

8. Best for Wearing During a Workout:

TARTE SEA surfer curl™ volumizing mascara

TARTE SEA surfer curl™ volumizing mascara

For those days when you don't need a full waterproof mascara but you do want something that can make it through a workout, try this sweat-proof, long-wearing formula. With a combination of staying power and healthy ingredients, this formula feels weightless on your lids. It’s the perfect go-to for summer or looking cute on that weekend hike. It’s also made with algae extract to soothe and protect the lashes while vitamin E conditions with every use. Need one more reason to love it? The brush's tapered bristles reach every lash to lift and curl.

"MY NEW FAVORITE," says Ipster sometimesnj1. "This formula is the best. Not too wet, but certainly not dry. The wand is also the perfect thickness and makes lashes go from small and dull to big and long, without looking fake or overdone."

9. Best for Super Straight Lashes:

YVES SAINT LAURENT The Curler Mascara

YVES SAINT LAURENT The Curler Mascara
Courtesy of YVES SAINT LAURENT

Even the most defiant lashes will be able to skip the eyelash curler when using this showstopping curling mascara. The dramatically curled brush does all the hard work for you, creating a smudge-free, clump-free major lash lift in just a few swipes. Your lashes will also thank you for using this super nourishing formula. Made with coconut, walnut leaf, and bamboo oils, it promotes stronger, healthier lashes with every use.

10. Best for Fluttery Lashes:

CHARLOTTE TILBURY Pillow Talk Push Up Lashes! Mascara

CHARLOTTE TILBURY Pillow Talk Push Up Lashes! Mascara
Courtesy of CHARLOTTE TILBURY

This curling mascara has so many swoon-worthy benefits it's hard to know where to begin. For starters, the shape of the brush is specifically designed to load, comb, and lift every single lash—whether they're super straight or on the shorter side. It also features diamond-shaped bristles to dramatically fan out the lashes for a magical eye-opening effect. The jet black formula features super stretchy and flexible polymers that shrink down to create a dramatic push-up effect. Go ahead and ditch the eyelash curler when using this high-tech, top-performing mascara.

11. Best for Sensitive Eyes:

CLINIQUE High Impact™ Curling Mascara

CLINIQUE High Impact™ Curling Mascara
Courtesy of CLINIQUE

If your eyes can be a bit finicky when it comes to eye makeup, try this dermatologist, ophthalmologist, and allergy-tested formula. But just because it's gentle doesn't mean it won't provide powerful results. With its unique curved wand, it's able to swipe product onto every last lash. It's also super long-lasting, staying smudge-proof and flake-free for up to 24 hours. However, when it does come time to take it off, no need for an aggressive makeup remover—warm water is enough to gently wash this mascara off without irritation or damage.

12. Best for Length and Lift:

BENEFIT COSMETICS They're Real! Magnet Extreme Lengthening Mascara

BENEFIT COSMETICS They're Real! Magnet Extreme Lengthening Mascara

If you're equal parts interested in a lengthening mascara as you are a curling mascara, this formula is a bit of both. At its core, it primarily lengthens, providing lashes that are up to 40 times longer than your natural lashes. However, what's all that length without some lift? Try wiggling the staggered-bristled wand from the base of lashes to tips to create sky-high, super long lashes that might just get mistaken for false lashes.

One Ipster puts their results simply: "BOOM!!!! ....that's the look you get from this," they write. Another Ipster adds, "Great mascara. Did not clump and separated lashes very nicely. I actually really enjoyed this brush."

13. Best Longwear Mascara:

M·A·C COSMETICS Extended Play Perm Me Up Lash Mascara

M·A·C COSMETICS Extended Play Perm Me Up Lash Mascara
Courtesy of M·A·C COSMETICS

You already trust this legacy brand to provide reliable, long-lasting eyeshadow, so why not turn to them for all your lash lift needs as well? With its dramatically curved brush, this curling mascara provides an instant, dramatic lift that stays fully smudge-proof for up to 16 hours. And while it is sweat and humidity-resistant, it's also washable and will come off easily with warm water.

14. Best Buildable Mascara:

IL MAKIAGE ICON High Volume & Intense Curl Mascara

IL MAKIAGE ICON High Volume & Intense Curl Mascara

Speaking of buildable mascaras... this one hits all three big mascara duties by lifting, curling, and lengthening all at once. The lightweight, creamy formula makes it great for those times when you need that extra lift, allowing you to apply multiple coats without worrying about weighing the lashes down. It also comes with a special football-shaped brush that helps to grip those teeny, tiny lashes. Use it to create a natural look or layer up for a dramatic, fanned-out effect.

"This is one of my favorite mascaras I’ve received,” says one Ipster. "It has a nice balance of length but it’s not too thick.”

15. Most Nourishing Curling Mascara:

WANDER BEAUTY Unlashed Volume & Curl Mascara

WANDER BEAUTY Unlashed Volume & Curl Mascara

Skip the finicky falsies and instead opt for a few swipes of this glossy black, lifting mascara. The hook-shaped brush is able to grab those tiny lashes to help maximize length and curl. As an added bonus, the formula is also made with peach leaf, walnut, and licorice extracts to help keep your lashes moisturized throughout the day and ward off flaking.

After trying this curling mascara one Ipster wrote, "I absolutely love this! The container makes it so much easier to get the product. This separates, curls, and lengthens my lashes. I am in love."

16. Best for Growing Longer Lashes:

SUGAR COSMETICS Uptown Curl Lengthening Mascara

SUGAR COSMETICS Uptown Curl Lengthening Mascara

This longwear fiber formula will get you through the day looking extra bright-eyed. The jet black mascara manages to add drama to the lashes without drying them out or weighing them down. The nourishing formula even includes ingredients that encourage growth for naturally fuller, thicker lashes. And for a curling boost, this mascara features an ergonomic, curved brush that makes it easy to coat every last lash–even those tiny ones in the inner corners of your eye.

“Forget a lash lift, this mascara is the bomb,” writes Ipster scottcala12. "It’s amazing."

Want to test all the best curling mascara formulas? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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About the author
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Cortney Clift
Cortney is a New York-based freelance writer who has written about beauty and wellness for more than six years. She was previously the senior writer and special projects editor at Brit + Co where she covered a wide range of news and lifestyle topics.
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Article Last Updated November 11, 2021 12:00 AM