Best Cheap Mascaras for Fantastic Lashes


Having bigger lashes is not something which can be done naturally. Mascaras are used for this purpose. But many products are simply too expensive to use on a constant basis. However, some of the best cheap mascaras under $20 offer reliable results which don’t need to break the bank. With a few big brands and other rising names in the industry, it’s worth having a look over a few of these cheap mascaras.

Features to Consider in Cheap Mascaras

The right mascaras are now always easy to choose. They come with different designs and this makes them even viable for multiple situations and many women use multiple mascaras. If the results can be seen only after a few applications, it is still recommended to keep an eye on the following aspects.

Brush Shape

The brush type is the most important when it comes to mascaras. A fat brush with many bristles is suitable for the most voluminous lashes. Longer and less dense brushes are suitable for lash lengthening. A curved brush is appropriate for curving. Fiber brushes are in trend as well as they coat the lashes first before application.


If bright colors have their place in mascaras, not all options need to stand out. There are plenty of other colors which can be considered for a mascara which can suit a certain look. Navy, burgundy and even deep emerald can be considered as solid alternatives to black mascaras. The following products are seen as the best by most women.

Top 10 Best Cheap Mascaras 2024 (Under $20)

1. Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara

Why we like it: With a unique conic-shaped brush, the mascara is suitable for extra volume.

Editor’s Rating:

Design features
There’s no doubt the conic shape of the mascara will have many women interested. It is a dense brush which suits it for extra volume and carefully-curved lashes. Its design characteristics would not actually inform on how affordable the mascara truly is. Of course, some sacrifices have been made to keep the price low. One of the compromises implies the second packaging which has been completely removed from the product in order to keep it highly affordable.

There are two brush types to consider with the mascara. If the cone-shaped brush is ideal for most users, the Sculpted Volume curved brush can be extra helpful to create the volume effect. Both of them come with elegant black color. This color is general and suitable for any situation from casual outfits to special evening outfits.

Convenient features
Apart from the convenient black colors which can suit any occasion, the brushes also come with durable effect ingredients. Apart from water, the mascara is also rich in beeswax which makes it even more suitable for a long-lasting effect. However, it is also known that wax can be clumpy at times. For this reason, it can be a good idea to use body heat on the mascara first for a few seconds, before applying it.

Together with paraffin, the mascara does a great job at separating the lashes. It provides a courageous look which can certainly look as dramatic as women want. At the same time, the combination of beeswax and paraffin also means the lashes will stay in position with extra volume without the need to invest in fake lashes.

In terms of actual safety, mascara can be used by most women. The product is tested but not on animals. It also comes with no gluten for those women who might be allergic to it. However, it may not be recommended for a number of women with bee allergies.

With a strong effect, the cone-shaped and the curved brush of the mascara can create impactful effects.

  • Available in two brushes
  • Dense cone-shaped brush
  • Lab-tested formulation
  • A strong and lasting effect
  • Not recommended for bee allergies

2. L’Oreal Paris Makeup Voluminous Original Volume Building Mascara

Why we like it: This affordable mascara is one of the proven solutions against clumps and sensitive eyes.

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Design features
Many women experience mascaras differently. But one of the common problems they relate to comes with clumps and the negative effect extra-dry mascaras have on the lashes. It is why the L’Oreal mascara is a suitable option to deal with these problems.

Designed with a dense long brush, the mascara can be used for extra volume. However, applying it can be different for certain lashes. A few good reasons to choose the product includes the extra 5X volume and the quality of the brush, but this is based on the following procedure. First of all, the brush itself needs to be free from clumps. The mascara is then applied from the base to the tip of the lashes. It is here that many women would need to apply a second coat. But before doing so, the lashes should actually dry first. This avoids the creation of extra lumps on them.

Convenient features
The convenient mascara is available in different colors. Black options are present in high numbers and they include carbon black and blackest black. Deep burgundy and cobalt blue are courageous alternatives.

The mascara also comes with a lasting effect. A quick look over the list of ingredients will show that the second name on the list is paraffin. As a type of wax, it is often important to understand that paraffin can clump at low temperatures. It is why the mascara can be held in the hands for up to a minute before application. This would heat the paraffin. Beeswax is also added together with glycerin to offer a unique advantageous look suitable for any event.

With a dense brush, the mascara is truly versatile in color and long-lasting with added paraffin.

  • Made with a dense brush
  • Creates more volume, up to 5 times
  • Available in multiple colors
  • A good addition to the L’Oreal range
  • Thick for some lashes

3. L’Oreal Paris Makeup Lash Paradise Mascara

Why we like it: As one of the mascaras with a very dense brush, it is recommended for long lashes with high volume.

Editor’s Rating:

Design features
The mascara features a unique brush, with over 200 bristles which are made for volume. Since it has so many bristles, the mascara is not recommended for lash lengthening as much as it is for volume. The great news is that it is also available in 9 colors. These colors can be matched to the type of hair, skin and even outfit of the day.

But the volume of the mascara is often seen too strong for many lashes. This is why the manufacturer does not recommend diluting the mascara. It is also avoidable adding saliva or water into the mascara for hygiene reasons.

Convenient features
Applied in one or two coatings, the mascara is very strong and it has a long-lasting effect. Among its ingredients, users can find paraffin, carnauba wax, beeswax, and jojoba oil. The waxes are present to a high degree which means the mascara is thick. It can also be advisable to warm it up with the body first, in order to avoid clumps.

Since it also comes with jojoba oil, the mascara has a hydrating and shiny effect on the lashes. The essential oil is known for its hair benefits. Apart from these benefits, the product also comes from a trusted manufacturer, which means the product is properly tested. Without allergic reactions, it can be considered among the mascaras for sensitive eyes or those wearing contacts. It can be successfully paired with one of the multiple L’Oreal primers of the moment.

Of course, the mascara has its limitations as well. One of them is the brush size which is big, but even too big for small lashes. It does not taper towards the end so this is why a few women might struggle to reach the root of the lashes, at least not without clumps.

As one of the volume-giving mascaras, it comes with a strong effect, combining multiple types of wax.

  • Does not clump
  • Made with a large 200-bristle brush
  • Available in 9 colors
  • Works with L’Oreal highlighters
  • Difficult to coat short lashes

4. L’Oreal Paris Makeup Voluminous Million Lashes

Why we like it: With a micro-brushes wand, the mascara is one of the most popular volume solutions for perfect lashes.

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Design features
Over the years, the L’Oreal Paris Million Lashes has made its way on top of the preference list for many women seeking the most attractive lashes. Its unique brush with multiple micro-brushes lives up to its name and potential. Every lash is lifted with little effort and women can rely on it for immediate results.

Of course, no mascara offers its full results from the first application, but Million Lashes is the closest to this objective. Used at home and in professional salons, the mascara is truly unique with its own brush which is instantly recognized in the beauty world.

The design of the mascara allows for easy application. For this reason, people can simply find the product to work to a high standard when applying from the roots towards the ends with no clumps. Removing the mascara is straightforward. Warm clean water and soap are all that’s needed.

Convenient features
There are many convenient aspects of mascara. One of them is the ophthalmologist-tested formulation. So many products come with negative effects on the eyes that this in itself, is worth mention. Having a look at the list of ingredients, women can also see L’Oreal uses different waxes to create a lasting effect.

The Million Lashes is made with paraffin, white wax, and beeswax. Together, these waxes offer impressive results. They are known for their durable profile and for their ultimate lasting effect. Although they are present in different quantities in other formulations, they also work great with the unique Million Lashes brush. For this reason, the product is one of the mature options for women to consider.

Avoiding clumps is crucial with mascara. Both mascaras with and without wax are prone to clumps. If women want the Million Lashes to be as free from clumps as possible, they should take a short break before applying the second coat on the lashes. At the same time, warming the formula up a bit before use is also advisable.

With a unique brush and one of the tested formulations for eye health, the Million Lashes mascara is suitable for daily use.

  • Made with a unique brush
  • Contains paraffin and white wax
  • Easy application
  • Hard-to-match lifting
  • Not the most appealing smell

5. It’s So BIG Volumizing Mascara

Why we like it: The water-based formula comes with many natural ingredients like beeswax to offer a natural solution for volume.

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Design features
Made with a corset-style brush, the mascara offers plenty of great characteristics for such a low price. The end of the brush is suitable to coat difficult to reach lashes. The narrower middle part is designed to hug the lashes for maximum volume. The lower end of the brush helps with curling during application.

This approach delivers optimum quantities of mascara and it avoids one of the common problems causes by brushed and ingredients, clumps. It is suitable for even application. At first, a corset-style brush might not seem like the most interesting solution for the precise application. But after a short while, it even results can become addictive. But the biggest advantage of the design is that the bristles are actually able to reach the shorter lashes, which is not always the case with regular brushes.

Convenient features
With a water-based formula, the mascara pride itself on not using certain damaging ingredients. At the same time, the mascara can also be recommended for better separation, which may not always be the case with oil-based formulas.

Based on natural beeswax, the mascara is mainly suitable for women who might have already experience some side effects such as skin redness due to the synthetic ingredients in other mascaras. At the same time, the product is also suitable for other occasions where extensions can be applied with ease.

Apart from beeswax, the mascara also uses carnauba wax, which is a rare and expensive ingredient in mascara. Its role is to replace the petroleum-based paraffin. Of course, the effects of paraffin are still debated as it’s not as bad as many women think. However, seeing carnauba wax in a combination with beeswax can only mean that the long-lasting effect of the mascara can be maintained for the entire duration of the day.

The mascara is also very resistant. It resists sweat, tears, and water. So it can even be considered when going to the gym. It is one of the main reasons the mascara can also be one of the daily choices for active women.

With many natural ingredients, the mascara is suitable for extra volume even on shorter lashes.

  • Resists sweat and tears
  • Made with beeswax and carnauba wax
  • Based on a corset-style brush
  • Made for even application
  • Packaging can be improved

6. DHC Mascara Perfect Pro Double Protection

Why we like it: This water-based formula uses a short list of ingredients which are already proven for their effects on the lashes.

Editor’s Rating:

Design features
As one of the few lengthening solutions at this low price point, the mascara is suitable for everyday use. While its brush is not specifically targeting volume first, many women can attest that it actually does a good job at keeping the lashes in position for the entire day.

After applying it on the lashes, it is expected for it to maintain its look even after a long day at work. Applying the product is easy. Unlike oil-based formulas, it can actually be applied over makeup. Having the lashes ready early in the morning is one of the advantages of this distinct characteristic. Taking it off the lashes is easy as well. There are a few methods to achieve this. The manufacturer recommends massaging the lashes with warm water. But a few women have noted how easy it is to remove the mascara with jojoba oil. Whichever the chosen solution, it is best to ensure lashes are clean at the end of the day.

Convenient features
Based on a few natural ingredients and 2 types of wax, the product is easy to apply. It is also advisable for women who would like to avoid paraffin products due to certain preferences. Since it is based on white wax, the mascara is one of the products which can maintain its look for the entire duration of a day.

To avoiding clumping, it is advisable to apply the mascara in small amounts. A single coat can be enough for some lashes. But the true lengthening effect can be seen with a second coat. The good news is that the mascara should not be re-applied through the day. With no flaking, it remains on the lashes, keeping them in place.

Based on natural wax, the mascara is an alternative for longer lashes first.

  • Made with natural ingredients
  • Can be removed with warm water
  • Lasts through the day
  • Suitable for a thicker look
  • Available in black only

7. Vivienne Sabó Cabaret Première

Why we like it: Based on paraffin and wax, the mascara offers show-stopping lashes which last.

Editor’s Rating:

Design features
With a thinner brush design, the mascara is advisable to coat the lashes from root to tips. It is among the top products when it comes to durability and comfort. While the brush is thinner than its alternatives in this class, it also means that it is easier to use. For this reason, women can actually find it to be more practical to apply on shorter lashes. Furthermore, it can be among the options to consider for improved speed of application. This can be important early in the morning.

With a true black look, the affordable mascara also offers thicker lashes. Even its small brush is able to properly coat them to a thicker profile. The sot formulation is what allows this thick coating in one or two tries.

Convenient features
With a rich formula, the mascara uses a series of proven ingredients which help the brush prepare the lashes for volume. Using synthetic beeswax, the manufacturer also opens the mascara to women who might be allergic to bees. Carnauba wax is also used in combination. This premium wax has proven to work well with beeswax. These waxes are held together by paraffin which is why it allows the lashes to stay in place for a longer time.

With added rice bran wax, the mascara offers an all-black formulation which is suitable for blondes and brunettes. While it is not available in any other color, it may still be all that’s needed for a daily formula. The good news is that unlike many wax mascaras, it maintains its look through the day. There’s no flaking to worry about as there is no need to check the lashes from hour to hour.

Free from clumps, the mascara can come to offer fanned lashes to many women. But in order to remain free of clumps with so many types of wax, it needs to be evenly applied. It also needs to be applied in small quantities. Furthermore, the manufacturer also advises using less product for a more natural look instead of the try-hard look often seen with mascaras. Removing it is not complicated. At the end of the day, women can simply wash and rinse the lashes with clean warm water a couple of times. The lashes are then left to dry naturally.

With a strong formula, the mascara is recommended for natural lashes even to those allergic to bees and beeswax.

  • Made with synthetic beeswax
  • Formulated with carnauba wax
  • Based on a thin brush
  • Easy to handle
  • May need extra effort on long lashes

8. Vicious Technology Natural 4D Silk Fiber Lash Mascara

Why we like it: Made with pure silk fiber, the mascara is recommended for its thick brush.

Editor’s Rating:

Design features
This unique mascara comes with an unmistakable brush. It is one of the thickest brushes to consider. As a result, the mascara is mainly suitable for women who already experience problems lifting the lashes with other types of brushes.

But the brush might not be as advisable for teenagers as it takes a bit of practice to master such a thick design. Its main problem arises with the shorter lashes towards the edges, which might take a bit of extra effort to lift and which may see clumps as a result. But women who want to enjoy the highest volume can consider the brush for their own daily use.

Convenient features
Made with a water-based formula, the mascara is suitable for eye safety. Its non-toxic ingredients such as the pure silk fiber are highly advisable for women seeking an enhanced lift. At the same time, the even coating of the fibers means that the lashes will stay in position for the entire duration of the day. In many cases, it is highly suitable for working women who need to look sharp for the entire day.

Another distinct advantage of the thick brush comes with the coating itself. All women should be able to attain their desired effects with a single coating. Unlike many other mascaras, the brush can achieve the effects without a second coat.

The waterproof formula with natural beeswax also means the product is easy to remove. All ingredients wash out with water. Warm water is recommended for deeper results. Warm water also removes any wax traces better than cold water.

With such a thick brush, the mascara is recommended for lasting results with a single coating.

  • Made with a thick bristle brush
  • Deeply pigmented color
  • Based on washable ingredients
  • Recommended for instant results
  • Shorter lashes might need extra attention

9. Maybelline Makeup Full ‘N Soft Washable Mascara

Why we like it: This ultra-black mascara is recommended for its nourishing formula with extra Vitamin E.

Editor’s Rating:

Design features
With a regular brush which narrows towards the top, the mascara is easy to apply. Of course, for the best results, Maybelline actually recommends starting from the outside and coating the lashes towards the interior.

The brush is considered versatile. It can even be used by women who have never used mascara before. Since the length of the bristles is not constant on the brush, they can be used in different areas of the lashes. Shorter lashes can benefit from the shorter bristles.

As the design of the brush is user-friendly, so is the actual formulation. One category of women who could not use mascaras before included contact wearers. But today, women who wear contact lenses can use the Maybelline mascara with confidence as it comes with an approved formula.

Convenient features
The convenient formula of the mascara is what can actually determine better overall volume without impacting the health of the lashes. The water-based formula contains wax and paraffin which keep the lashes in place. The ingredients have already been proven for their versatility and this is why so many women consider them for the ultimate volume.

But the nourishing formula goes even further. Unlike many other mascaras which only focus on looks, the Full ‘N Soft also comes with added Vitamin E. The vitamin is known for its hair and skin benefits. It also allows the lashes to remain softer. Over a long period of time, the difference in the results will begin to be notable.

Simply put, the formula protects the lashes against fall outs in time. Even if it gives the lashes a somewhat unnatural level of volume, it still protects them by nourishing them. This is why the lashes will fall out at a reduced rate. The formula is also free form allergens. Most women can consider using it on a daily basis as a result. When the lashes don’t need to look the sharpest, women can simply wash the formula out with clean water.

With a nourishing formula, the mascara offers an impressive solution for women seeking maximum volume.

  • Based on natural ingredients
  • Includes paraffin
  • Designed with a thick brush
  • Includes Vitamin E
  • Natural look not for all women

10. Essence I Love Extreme Volum