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If I only had one (1) beauty product to choose to use for the rest of time, it would hands down be a good mascara. I just feel like my face looks all wrong until I put mascara on. Being such a fan, I’ve tried many over the years — ranging from the luxe to the stupidly affordable. And honestly, the best mascara is the cheap kind. So I gathered some recs from people in the PEDESTRIAN.TV office and some of my own to give you a list of the 10 best mascaras under $20.

Behold!

Maybelline The Falsies Lash Lift Mascara, $12.47

I found this one after a beauty Instagrammer I follow named Cher Webb used it in a video.

The lash lift style effect was noticeable, so much so that I immediately got myself a tube on Amazon (which has a truckload of cheap mascara, FYI). I really like this mascara, especially as the final coat at the corners of my eyes. It really lengthens the lashes and, yep, gives them a lifted appearance.

Flower Beauty Lash Warrior Mascara, $9.99

Speaking of Instagram, my other favourite MUA to follow, Katie Jane Hughes, used this mascara in one of her how-to vids and sang its praises — it wasn’t a paid mention either, so I take that shit as gospel. It’s extremely volumising and extremely cheap. Thank you to Flower Beauty creator Drew Barrymore for this gift.

Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara, $12.47

My colleague Georgia sung the praises of this Maybelline MVP that went viral on TikTok, saying: “Bought the Maybelline Sky High mascara after seeing it on the Tok. It’s seriously good. I got straight AF lashes, and so so so good. 2 coats and I could fly away.” If that’s not a glowing review, I don’t know what is?

Essence I Love Extreme Volume Mascara, $7

Sorry, but seven bucks is basically FREE. I’m pretty sure I can find that in coins at the bottom of my handbag. My colleague Lav raved about this mascara when I asked my workmates about the best mascaras under $20, saying it gives her an insane amount of volume (as it says on the tin, I guess) without the need for falsies.

MECCA MAX Wink Ink Super Mascara, $20

On the more expensive side of this list at a whopping twenty bucks, this MECCA MAX one is my go-to mascara at the moment. I love how it thickens and lengthens my lashes in one hit – it’s not clumpy, but definitely makes me look like I have twice the amount of lashes somehow. Genius.

L’Oreal Lash Paradise Mascara, $17.46

A bit of a cult item, this L’Oreal mascara looks unassuming but serves major lengthening and defining powers. One of the greatest non-clumping mascaras I’ve ever come across (let alone one of the best mascaras under $20), and it’s currently sitting at 4.5 stars on Amazon from over 10k reviews, so it ain’t just me that loves it.

Maybelline Full N’ Soft Mascara, $7.47

In case you hadn’t noticed, Maybelline really knows how to make a fkn good mascara. This el cheapo beauty was recommended by my workmate Sofia, who says: “This has the effect of a tint and a lift in one. It’s a classic mascara that has been around for years, but I am so loyal to it because it’s that good.”

McoBeauty XtendLash Mascara, $20

I hear a lot about this “amazing Woolies mascara” and when I asked about the best mascaras under $20 my mate Bree was quick to chime in to say that out of the tubing mascaras on the market, this cheapie fkn slaps. (ICYMI, tubing mascara coats each lash with a water resistant tube and minimises flaking and panda eyes.)  And the bonus is you can pick it up when you go down to the supermarket to get bread and milk. Winner.

Rimmel London Scandaleyes WOW Wings Mascara, $8.97

I once heard about this mascara on the now-defunct Girls Advice group on Facebook (RIP to a real one), and it’s deserving of a spot on this list of the best mascaras under $20. A girl popped up a pic screaming about how she didn’t use lash extensions and that this mascara was the greatest invention in history. I will agree, it is insanely lengthening and curling but a LOT comes out on your brush when you first open it, which can lead to clumps. So wipe a little on the bottle before applying and you’re laughing.

Maybelline Lash Sensational Full Fan Effect Mascara, $11.47

You didn’t think I was gonna round off a list of the best mascaras under $20 without another Maybelline mention, did you? This one comes from my workmate Leah who raved about it, saying “it’s super dark and doesn’t clump up – and you can usually grab it for $10-15.” CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP. We love to see it.

At PEDESTRIAN.TV, we independently choose and write about stuff we love and think you’ll froth too. We have affiliate partnerships so we might get a bit of money from any purchase you make based on our recs, cool? Cool. FYI - prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.
Image: Pretty Little Thing / Instagram @cherwebbmakeup