I Tested $292 Worth Of Mascara — & A $7 Formula Was My Favorite

Mascara is the push-up bra of the makeup world: It lifts and enhances our lashes and is an essential step in our glam routine. Thankfully, the product's popularity means there are countless tubes to choose from. For example, Ulta's website lists over 375 options, while Sephora boasts precisely 284. Translation: Picking one isn't as straightforward as it seems. Want length without clumps, a maximum curl, and a waterproof formulation? You have hundreds of options to pick from — at least.
For me, I look for dramatic length first, with volume a close second. Seems reasonable and doable, right? You'd think, especially considering there are so many tubes flooding the market. But I've sampled dozens upon dozens of mascaras over the years, from drugstore to luxury, but have yet to find The One. I end up using a tube for a month or two, but rarely replace it. What can I say? My lashes have commitment issues.
After surveying friends and colleagues, I found that mascara fatigue was actually quite common, and very few people I spoke with had actually found their holy grail tube. So in the name of lash commitment, I put 11 mascaras to the test — and my favorites might actually shock you.
For a breakdown of every formula I tried, complete with before and after lash shots, click ahead. Here's hoping this bring you one step closer to finding your mascara soulmate.