Unfortunately, as we age, it’s natural for our eyelashes to lose volume and pigment. That’s because, just like our hair, our eyelashes can become thinner and go gray.

But, don’t despair; a good mascara can work wonders.

If you’re looking for the best mascara for women over 40, you’ll find it here, including the best drugstore mascara, just in case you don’t want to invest too much in trying a new makeup product.

The benefits of a good mascara

Of course, you don’t have to wear makeup every day, but I do find that mascara is one of those transformative products that can make a huge difference.

Just a couple of swipes of mascara and a slick of lip balm or gloss can instantly help you to look more put together and give you a feeling of confidence as Amaris is showing in the image above.

What to consider when choosing a mascara – whether opting for a designer brand or the best drugstore mascara

Do you need more volume?

As we age, our eyelashes change. You can lose some eyelashes as well as color, so the mascara which was a favorite in your 30s may no longer work in the same way.

Sensitive or waterproof?

You may find that your eyes become more sensitive or that they water more as you get older, so a sensitive or waterproof mascara may suit you best.

Quick drying

Another good tip is to make sure that your mascara dries quickly so that you don’t end up blinking your mascara onto your eyelids.

The best drugstore mascara – top 10

While you may have a favorite mascara that you’ve been using for years, if you do want to try a new mascara, you might like to experiment with some of the drugstore mascaras here that are super affordable.

Here are some of the most recommended drugstore mascara choices for you.

1. The best drugstore mascara as defined by top ratings

L’oreal’s Voluminous mascara is consistently well-rated, with reviewers praising the formula for adding volume as well as being long-lasting.

Many women recommend that you use a primer under this one for maximum effect.

L'Oréal Paris Voluminous Original Mascara | 40plusstyle.com

L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Original Mascara

2. Best drugstore mascara for length and volume

As an all-rounder when considering the best drugstore mascara, I love the No7 brand. It adds a natural curl with the curved brush and had good staying power.

This has more of a natural effect than some other options, but you can always add one coat for during the day, then layer up for evening.

No7 The Full 360 All-In-One Mascara | 40plusstyle.com

No7 The Full 360 All-In-One Mascara

3. Best drugstore mascara for short lashes 

If you do have short lashes, you may find that you get a more dramatic effect by using a primer underneath your mascara.

This option from L’oreal features a primer at one end and a mascara at the other, so you only have to purchase one product.

L'Oreal Paris Double Extend Beauty Tubes Lengthening Mascara | 40plusstyle.com

L’Oreal Paris Double Extend Beauty Tubes Lengthening Mascara

4. Long lash mascara

Are you looking for a mascara to add extra length? Have you discovered the Tetyana Naturals brand yet? It has very good reviews on Amazon, with women praising it for adding volume without looking clumpy.

Tetyana Naturals 4D Silk Fiber Eyelash Mascara | 40plusstyle.com

Tetyana Naturals 4D Silk Fiber Eyelash Mascara

5. Best mascara for long lashes

Another option to try if you have shorter lashes and want a natural formula is Ilia’s Limitless mascara which contains beeswax to condition.

ILIA Limitless Lash Mascara | 40plusstyle.com

ILIA Limitless Lash Mascara

6. Best maybelline mascara

Surely everyone has tried or has at least one Mabelline product in their make-up bag.

The Colossal mascara is a good choice for a night out as it’s designed to add nine times more volume than your natural lashes.

Let it dry if you want to add an extra coat so that it doesn’t clump.

Maybelline Volum' Express The Colossal Washable Mascara | 40plusstyle.com

Maybelline Volum’ Express The Colossal Washable Mascara

7. Voluminous mascara

If you prefer to achieve a fanned out look with your mascara, this option from L’oreal could be a good option to try.

However, some reviewers say the formula can be drying, so you may wish to pair this one with a lash conditioner.

L'Oreal Paris Voluminous Butterfly Lengthening Washable Mascara | 40plusstyle.com

L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Butterfly Lengthening Washable Mascara

8. Great lash mascara

Maybelline’s Great Lash mascara is one of those iconic drugstore options that many of you will have tried.

If you want to enhance your lashes without adding color for a natural everyday look, you could try a clear mascara.

Maybelline Great Lash Washable Mascara | 40plusstyle.com

Maybelline Great Lash Washable Mascara

9. Best covergirl mascara

Another iconic brand that most women have tried at one time or another when searching for the best drugstore mascara is Covergirl.

If you haven’t given it a try since you were younger, you may want to give the new mascara formulas another shot.

The Super Sizer is a good option for adding impact for an evening make-up look. The brush is smaller than some other mascara wands, so you can get to smaller lashes.

CoverGirl LashBlast The Super Sizer Mascara | 40plusstyle.com

CoverGirl LashBlast The Super Sizer Mascara

10. Conditioning mascara

Most mascaras feature conditioning elements as well as adding color. If you are concerned about thinning lashes, you may want to give Rimmel’s Lash Accelerator a try.

It features a Propacil formula, which is usually used in shampoos for hair loss prevention.

Rimmel Lash Accelerator Mascara with Grow-Lash Complex | 40plusstyle.com

Rimmel Lash Accelerator Mascara with Grow-Lash Complex

Other Mascara recommendations

If you have a bit more to spend you can look at some of the top brands for mascara. Here are our recommendations for the top mascaras for women over 40.

1. Best lengthening mascara

An iconic mascara that is a favorite in my make-up bag. Goes on smoothly, separates lashes well for a natural look, and stays put all day.

A good choice if you have short lashes.

Lancôme Définicils Lengthening and Defining Mascara | 40plusstyle.com

Lancôme Définicils Lengthening and Defining Mascara

2. Best mascara for volume

Chanel’s volume mascara is another product which has won legions of fans. The formula expands so your lashes look thicker.

It doesn’t clump so you can also build up layers until you get the look you want.

CHANEL Le Volume de Chanel Mascara | 40plusstyle.com

CHANEL Le Volume de Chanel Mascara

3. Volume mascara

Another good option if you are searching for mascara to give you extra volume is Lancome’s Hypnose Drama formula.

The brush shape means that your brushes fan out to create a bigger impact.

Lancôme Hypnôse Drama Instant Full Volume Mascara | 40plusstyle.com

Lancôme Hypnôse Drama Instant Full Volume Mascara

4. Brown mascara 

If you are particularly fair, you have blonde or gray hair, or you want a more natural look for daytime, you may want to consider wearing brown mascara during the day and then black for evening.

A good option for an everyday five-minute make-up look.

Benefit They're Real! Tinted Lash Primer | 40plusstyle.com

Benefit They’re Real! Tinted Lash Primer

5. Best waterproof mascara

Many women choose a waterproof mascara, whether you are swimming or at the beach or not.

A waterproof mascara can have better staying power, whether you are worried about smudging, your eyes tend to water, or you have an emotional event such as a wedding to attend.

However, do bear in mind that waterproof mascaras are more likely to dry out your lashes than other types of mascara.

You could always invest in an eyelash conditioner if that is something you are concerned about.

Also, you will definitely need a decent make-up remover to make sure you remove all traces of your mascara.

Lancôme The Monsieur Big Waterproof Mascara | 40plusstyle.com

Lancôme The Monsieur Big Waterproof Mascara

6. Best mascara for sensitive eyes 

Many of us find that our eyes get more sensitive as we age, or perhaps you are a contact lens wearer and want to make sure your mascara won’t cause irritation.

Clinique’s high impact mascara adds volume and length, but gives a relatively natural look that is more suited to day-to-day. It’s also safe for contact lens wearers and those of you with sensitive eyes.

Clinique High Impact Mascara | 40plusstyle.com

Clinique High Impact Mascara

7. Best smudge proof mascara 

If you want to make sure that your mascara stays put all day, Estee Lauder’s double wear make-up is designed to last for 15 hours.

The formula is particularly good if you live somewhere particularly humid or you are going somewhere warm on vacation.

Estée Lauder Double Wear Zero-Smudge Lengthening Mascara | 40plusstyle.com

Estée Lauder Double Wear Zero-Smudge Lengthening Mascara

8. Best natural mascara 

Just as we are more concerned about the ingredients in our food, many of us are delving more deeply into the ingredients in our beauty products.

If you are looking for a natural or organic formula, you could think about RMS’ volumizing mascara, which features organic plant waxes and is paraben-free.

It’s not as long-lasting as some of the other brands’ mascaras, but it does give a lovely natural look.

RMS Beauty Volumizing Mascara | 40plusstyle.com

RMS Beauty Volumizing Mascara

9. Best curling mascara

Do you usually curl your lashes? You could, of course, invest in an eyelash curler. If you do curl your eyelashes, you will notice that you get a much more open-eyed look.

However, you don’t necessarily need to add a curler to your make-up kit. You could try a mascara especially designed to curl lashes while also adding color, length and volume.

If you do have lashes which are very straight, or which naturally have a downturn instead of curling upwards, Dior’s iconic Overcurl mascara is well reviewed.

Dior Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara | 40plusstyle.com

Dior Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara

10. Bottom lash mascara

Many women avoid putting mascara on their lower lashes for fear that it can transfer onto the skin under your eyes.

But, a special lower lash mascara can be easier to apply to the smaller, shorter lower lashes. Apply lower lash mascara first and then apply make-up to your upper lashes.

Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara | 40plusstyle.com

Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara

Mascara primer

Another good idea when looking to add volume to thinner lashes is to use a lash primer.

Just as you would use a primer under foundation to create a good base for the rest of your make-up, you can use a volumizing primer for your eyelashes to make them look thicker when you add your mascara.

This Lancome primer conditions as well as adding volume before you add your usual mascara over the top.

 Lancôme CILS BOOSTER XL Super-Enhancing Mascara Base | 40plusstyle.com

Lancôme CILS BOOSTER XL Super-Enhancing Mascara Base

Another good option could be YSL’s Flash Lash primer which dries clear on your lashes, ready to add your mascara.

Yves Saint Laurent Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils Flash Lash Primer | 40plusstyle.com

Yves Saint Laurent Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils Flash Lash Primer

Lash conditioner 

If you want to look after your lashes in the same way as you look after your hair, have you thought about investing in a lash conditioner?

neuLASH’s serum features pumpkin seed extract and is designed to condition thinning lashes.

neuLash Lash Enhancing Serum Duo | 40plusstyle.com

neuLash Lash Enhancing Serum Duo

Or you could try the lash conditioner from Revitalash, which reviewers say makes a difference to the look of your lashes within around two months.

RevitaLash ADVANCED Eyelash Conditioner | 40plusstyle.com

RevitaLash ADVANCED Eyelash Conditioner

False lashes

Of course, if you want to create a major impact for a party or event, you could always add false lashes rather than relying only on mascara.

Mac’s false lashes have good reviews for quality.

MAC 34 Lash False Lashes | 40plusstyle.com

MAC 34 Lash False Lashes

Continue reading:

  1. What Is The Best Foundation For Mature Skin?
  2. How To Apply Eyeliner After 40 & The Best Ones To Use!
  3. How To Create A Flattering, Natural “No Makeup” Makeup Look Over 40

What do you recommend as the best drug store mascara? Or do you have another favorite mascara?

Like this article on the best drugstore mascara? Share it on Pinterest!

The best mascara for women over 40 - including the best drugstore mascara for luscious lashes | 40plusstyle.com

Feature image by Amaris


Sylvia is 40+style’s editor-in-chief and has been helping women find their unique style since 2011. An alumni of the School of Color and Design, she is devoted to empowering women of any age to look and feel their best. Read more about Sylvia and 40+style on this page.

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