The Best Clear Mascaras

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by Isabella Sarlija
Elite Daily/Amazon

Looking back on your first foray into makeup might have you harking back to products like watermelon-flavored lip gloss, icy blue eyeshadow, and, of course, clear mascara. While many people may think of it as a symbolic segue into beauty, there’s more to clear mascara than meets the eye (…lash). The best clear mascaras add definition, curl, and length to your lashes without ever changing their natural color, making them perfect for nailing the no-makeup makeup look. All you have to do is curl your lashes, then apply a coat or two of clear mascara. It really is as simple as that.

But don’t let the simplicity of the technique fool you: Clear mascaras have tons of other benefits you might not be aware of:

They Can Help Support Lash Growth

Cosmetic companies understand that their consumers like to know that there are *actual* benefits to the products they’re buying. Lately, a ton of clear mascaras that contain hair-building ingredients, like collagen or peptides, have been hitting the market, meaning that while you’re adding length and definition to your lash hairs, you’re also supporting them to grow stronger over time.

Clear Mascaras Are Multi-Purpose

Skinimalists, this one is for you. Since clear mascaras are so great at providing hold, you can also use clear mascara on your brows in place of a brow gel. And if you’re always looking for ways to up the ante on your edges, clear mascaras can help you shape the baby hairs along your hairline, too. (Similarly, they can also be used in lieu of hair mascara to smooth down flyaways and static hairs when you’re rocking an updo.)

You Can Use Clear Mascara As A Lash Primer

Suppose you’re not ready to give up your ultra-black mascara, after all. Luckily, you can still incorporate a clear mascara into your makeup routine. Clear mascara makes a great eyelash primer since it provides hold without adding visible pigment. You’ll end up with that length and volume that layering mascara can give you without any of the goopy, spidery excess product.

Shop The Best Clear Mascaras

If you’re in a time crunch, here are the best clear mascaras:

  1. The Best Affordable Clear Mascara: Maybelline Great Lash Mascara
  2. The Best Clear Mascara Made For All Ages: Petite ‘n Pretty Featherlight Clear Mascara & Brow Gel
  3. The Best Clear Mascara With Lash-Strengthening Peptides: Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Diamond Mascara
  4. The Best Clear Mascara With Vegan Collagen: Pacifica Beauty Vegan Collagen Lash Serum & Primer
  5. The Best Waterproof Clear Mascara: Etude House Dr. Mascara Fixer

1. The Best Affordable Clear Mascara


  • Is the most cost-effective.


  • None.

If you plan on going past your lashes and using a clear mascara on your brows and hairline, you’ll probably go through your clear mascara tubes fast. Luckily, Maybelline’s iconic Great Lash mascara will hold your hairs in place all day long without breaking the bank with frequent re-purchases. The best part? This formula isn’t drying like traditional, pigmented mascaras typically are — it contains glycerin to help condition your lashes throughout the day.

Key Ingredients: Glycerin, Panthenol Cruelty-Free: No

2. The Best Clear Mascara Made For All Ages


  • Pediatrician-tested and safe to use on everyone.


  • It’s a bit pricey for a kid-friendly makeup product.

Clear mascara is often the first type of makeup a parent will allow their child to use. If you’re buying a clear mascara to help teach your young one the ins and outs of mascara application, consider this pediatrician-approved option. No worries, though; you can buy one for yourself, too, since it contains castor oil to condition the lashes, while oleanolic acid helps to promote healthy hair growth.

Key Ingredients: Castor Oil, Oleanolic Acid Cruelty-Free: Yes

3. The Best Clear Mascara With Lash-Strengthening Peptides


  • Has a large wand to cover more surface area in a single swipe.
  • Great for people with sensitive eyes.


  • Some reviewers report that the wand *can* pick up more product than necessary, resulting in having to wipe off excess product before application.

If you’re in the market for something that can help enhance your natural lashes over time, consider this peptide-rich clear mascara from Physicians Formula. To take it back to biology 101, a peptide is an amino acid chain that connects to other peptides to form proteins. This formula contains myristoyl pentapeptide-17, which just so happens to be the peptide that’s found in most lash growth serums since it stimulates keratin production. So, not only will this formula add an instant curl, but it’ll also help support your lashes in the long run.

Key Ingredients: Myristoyl Pentapeptide-17, Mineral Water, Vitamin E Cruelty-Free: Yes

4. The Best Clear Mascara With Vegan Collagen


  • This formula is ultra conditioning, making it great for those with brittle lashes.


  • This doesn’t create a curl for those with straight lashes.
  • This product doesn’t contain fragrance, but it *does* have a medical scent that could be off-putting to some.

When considering purchasing a new mascara, there’s a ton of focus on the curling, lengthening, or volumizing benefits that a formula can offer, and little focus on how well a formula can hydrate your lash hairs. If you’re looking for a formula that will nourish your lashes throughout the day, consider this lash serum, which contains vegan collagen, vitamin B, and vitamin E to support and hydrate each and every last lash hair.

Key Ingredients: Vegan Collagen, Vitamin B, Vitamin E Cruelty-Free: Yes

5. The Best Waterproof Clear Mascara


  • This formula is waterproof.
  • Reviewers report that it helps to hold a curl all day long.


  • Some reviewers note that the tube size is relatively small for the price.

Need something that’ll last through a blazing summer day or an intense gym session? Reach for this K-Beauty favorite to create curl and volume without a spec of pigment. Want to know the best part? Etude House’s Dr. Mascara Fixer is waterproof, meaning you can enjoy that natural-looking lash look all day long without worrying about your curl or volume drooping. It can also be used like a lash primer to waterproof any other pigmented mascara you apply on top.

Key Ingredients: Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Ethylene/Propylene Copolymer Cruelty-Free: No