If you love the way mascara looks but hate the way it feels, the best lightweight mascaras may change your tune. Thanks to their thin formulas and smartly designed brushes, they won’t make your lashes feel heavy or sticky, nor will they cause your hairs to clump together — but they will deliver length, volume, definition, and anywhere from a hint of tint to an intense wash of color.
Most of these mascaras are ideal for achieving natural-looking lashes, since they tend to focus more on elongating and separating than “beefing up” your lashes (for lack of a more elegant term) — the latter can cause clumps, which is often to blame for heavy-feeling lashes. But some of the mascaras on this list are surprisingly buildable, especially those that are marketed as volumizers. (Lengthening mascaras, on the other hand, are better for achieving a subtle effect.) And because they’re so lightweight, many of these mascaras are excellent options for contact lens wearers, or people with sensitive eyes.
Scroll on to shop five of the best lightweight mascaras that are so weightless, you won’t even know they're there.
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1. The Overall Best Lightweight Mascara
According to the 1,200+ reviewers who bestowed it with five-star ratings, this L’Oreal Paris Air Volume Mega Mascara does exactly what its name promises: Amps up your lashes without weighing them down, thanks to its mousse-y, air-injected formula. One reviewer with short, straight lashes reported that this is one of the only mascaras that can curl their lashes (and keep them that way) without feeling “heavy or crunchy.” Others confirm that it lengthens your lashes beautifully, too, so it almost looks like you’re wearing falsies. But unlike falsies, it feels totally lightweight. A foolproof option all around.
2. Best Volumizing Mascara
If you’re after even fuller, thicker lashes, go for Maybelline Full ‘N Soft Mascara. It’s infused with vitamin E to keep both your lashes and the mascara itself feeling soft, so it doesn’t make your lashes feel stiff as it thickens them. This gets bonus points for its versatility, too: Keep it to one coat for subtle definition and volume, or build it up for a more dramatic effect.
3. Best Lengthening Mascara
For long, defined lashes, this Neutrogena Healthy Lengths Mascara is a must-have. Its slim wand and separated bristles deliver a hint of color with virtually no weight and no clumping whatsoever. But the length is real: One Amazon reviewer reported that it “nearly triples” their lashes in length. The gentle formula contains vitamin E, olive oil, and rice protein to help nourish and strengthen your lashes over time, and it claims to be smudge-proof, as well. A great choice for people with sensitive eyes, watery eyes, or contact lens-wearers.
4. Best 2-in-1 Mascara & Primer
Lash primers do a ton of good in this world: They’ll lengthen and separate your lashes, help your mascara apply more evenly, and increase your mascara’s longevity. If you don’t like the feeling of mascara, though, you probably shy away from layering yet another product underneath it — but this primer and accompanying mascara from Honest Beauty manages to feel like nothing. The mascara is amazing, too. It delivers both length and definition, stays on all day, and has a rich, jet-black color. This one's also a safe choice for people with sensitive eyes, as all Honest Beauty products are formulated to be extra gentle.
5. Best For Bottom Lashes
The ultra-skinny brush on this Tonymoly mascara is ideal for catching and coating your lower lashes, or for lightly defining, elongating, and tinting your upper lashes (including those hard-to-reach inner lashes) — all without depositing a ton of product. Since the brush is so small, it’s physically incapable of clumping. It’s also worth mentioning that the formula is packed with actives and extracts more commonly found in skin care products than cosmetics — like centella asiatica, panthenol, ceramides, and mushroom extract, to name just a few.