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I Thought My Friend Got Lash Extensions During the Pandemic, But It Was Really Just This $8 Mascara

I've now been using it for a year, and can honestly say I might never reach for another mascara again.
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My eyelashes are on the short and stubby side, and the fact that they are a mix of blonde and dark hairs has sent me on a hunt over the years to find the perfect black, lengthening mascara. For the record, I typically don't wear much makeup—I can do my entire beauty morning routine in about five minutes or less—and prefer a more natural look, but mascara is one thing that I won't leave the house without swiping on to add dimension. The downside? Many I've found are insanely clumpy and don't do what they're advertised to do: lengthen.

I've tried tons of professional treatments, like lash extensions, lash tints, and lash lifts, but I was either not completely satisfied with the results or the cost of maintenance was not something I was willing to fork over every few weeks or months. So when I went over to my best friend's apartment during the pandemic last year for some "girl talk," and swooned over her crazy-long, natural-looking lashes, I was surprised to learn that her secret was Maybelline's Define-A-Lash Mascara.

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Credit: Courtesy of Subject

While the falsie-like effect is what initially sold me, my best friend told me that she had been using this $8 drugstore mascara for more than 10 years. Considering mascara is a makeup item that no one seems to be very loyal to—whether it's a brand or formula—this spoke volumes of the product, as it had managed to become a staple in her routine for a decade. I had to try it for myself, so I added the Maybelline mascara to my Amazon shopping cart on the spot, standing in the hallway of her flat.

Now that I've been using the Define-A-Lash mascara for a year, I honestly won't reach for anything else. The wiper and brush, which is shaped to mimic the curve of your lash, deliver the ideal amount of formula so that lashes appear defined, separated, and lengthened instead of flaky and clumped together. Plus, with this brush I am able to coat even the tiny baby hairs at the corners of my eyes without poking myself or ending up with gloopy lashes. Even if I do multiple layers to add volume (which is best done when lashes are still wet), my lashes still come out looking wispy, natural, and long—as if I'm rocking extensions or as if I've been treating them with an eyelash growth serum.

And if your eyes tend to be irritated easily, like mine (thanks to year round allergies, ugh), you'll appreciate that the ophthalmologist-tested formula is perfect for anyone with sensitivities. Even Amazon shoppers confirm this, noting that it doesn't bother their eyes, eyelids, or contact lenses. Solid win, overall.

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Credit: Amazon

That said, my best friend and I aren't alone in our fandom. More than 1,500 Amazon customers have given the Maybelline mascara five stars for an impressive 4.6 rating. Reviewers hail it as the "best mascara ever," with dozens commenting on how it works to seriously lengthen without clumps.

"I have used this mascara for years," said a shopper. "I have always been a fan of Maybelline's mascara, and this is definitely their best product. The mascara is never clumpy, even if you are trying to clump it on. The brush is fantastic and the formula is the perfect consistency. It makes my lashes look great and layers perfectly. This is a great mascara for adding volume and length. Lashes are perfectly separated. Never goopy and never leaves you with spider eyes."

"I hate clumpy "volume" mascara, and was looking for a true lengthening mascara. I really like this one. Goes on very smooth, coats well, and really does lengthen. I can finally get the full length of my lashes, even the very thin tips without them looking too thick or clumpy. The result is very classy and pretty," wrote another.

What's more, Amazon customers say they recommend the amazing formula to all of their loved ones, who are now converts too. If you're searching for a mascara that will actually lengthen your lashes, take it from a friend (or two) and add this $8 holy grail to your cart ASAP.