Best clear mascara

Eye Makeup

Even clear mascara has an expiration date, which is usually about three to six months after opening. Keeping mascara past its due date can accumulate bacteria.

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

Which clear mascaras are best?

While once a staple in makeup bags around the world, most of us have forgotten about one of the most versatile makeup products, clear mascara. Whether you have short, long, dark or light lashes, you can find a use for clear mascara. 

With a plethora of choices lining the beauty aisle, you’ll be able to find the best clear mascara that suits your makeup style. However, if you’re looking for a conditioning formula that gives you a full lash look, Maybelline Great Lash Clear Mascara is an ideal choice. 

What to know before you buy a clear mascara

What is clear mascara?

As opposed to mascaras with a black or brown tint, clear mascaras don’t have any pigment. While tinted mascaras add color for dramatic lashes, clear mascaras are designed to do a variety of different functions, including lift, separate, adding volume or holding lashes in place.

How to use clear mascara

Clear mascara is extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of different ways. 

  • Lashes. On lashes, you can use clear mascara to hold or give volume. They can also separate lashes that tend to clump together. Using clear mascara is a great way to achieve that “no makeup” makeup look. Those who have naturally dark or long lashes might opt to use a clear mascara to hold their lashes in place. If you’re going to the beach or pool and don’t want to worry about runny mascara, clear mascara is a great option.
  • Eyebrows. While clear mascara is designed for lashes, many also function as brow gel. Many brow gels have a tint, so opt for clear mascara if you just want to tame unruly brows or hold them in place.
  • Prime lashes. Unlike white lash primer, which can leave residue behind, clear mascara is an ideal first coat before applying a tinted mascara. It can add even more volume and separation than a regular mascara alone.
  • False lashes. When using false lashes, many instruct users not to add tinted mascara. Plus, some mascaras can cause false lashes to clump. However, sometimes false lashes don’t completely blend into your natural lashes or need a little separation. Using a clear mascara to set false lashes helps everything look more cohesive. 
  • Tame flyaways. While this isn’t one of the intended uses of clear mascara, many use clear mascara to tame baby hair or flyaways. It doesn’t make hair look as stiff as a gel or hairspray and is convenient with a small brush.

What to look for in a quality clear mascara


The wand includes everything leading up to, but not including, the brush. While many only pay attention to the brush, the wand is significant in mascara. A stiff brush helps add volume at the base of the lashes, while a flexible wand can better reach the inner and outer corner lashes. 


There are many different styles of mascara brushes that are made of nylon or plastic. Various types are used to add volume or length, separate lashes and a plethora of other benefits. Choose a brush that will help you achieve your preferred look.

Hydrating ingredients 

Mascara can be drying, so it’s helpful to choose a clear mascara with hydrating ingredients like oils and vitamins to keep your lashes looking healthy.

How much you can expect to spend on clear mascara

Drugstore clear mascaras cost between $2-$7, while high-end clear mascaras can cost up to $30.

Clear mascara FAQ

Is there a clear waterproof mascara?

A. While it’s not extremely common, you can find clear mascaras that are also waterproof. However, you don’t have to worry about a clear mascara running or smudging as you would with brown or black mascara because there is no tint.

Is clear mascara healthier for your lashes than regular mascara?

A. No. What makes mascara better for your lashes are the ingredients. Clear and tinted mascaras can be formulated with vitamins or hydrating ingredients to keep your lashes looking healthy. Some even feature lash-growing ingredients. So if you’re concerned about healthy lashes, pay close attention to the ingredients. 

What are the best clear mascaras to buy?

Top clear mascara

Maybelline Great Lash Clear Mascara

Maybelline Great Lash Clear Mascara

What you need to know: Get separated lashes for a natural look with this recognizable pink and green mascara tube.

What you’ll love: Even though it’s clear, it’s still a buildable formula to give a full lash look. It conditions lashes throughout the day to ensure lashes never dry out. Additionally, it can be used on both lashes and brows.

What you should consider: While it gives a dramatic change immediately, results fade soon after applying.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Ulta

Top clear mascara for the money

e.l.f. Clear Brow and Lash Mascara

e.l.f. Clear Brow and Lash Mascara

What you need to know: Not only is this clear mascara affordable, it’s also 100% cruelty-free, vegan and formulated without phthalates and parabens.

What you’ll love: This double-sided clear gel is designed to be used on both lashes and brows. It’s formulated with vitamin B, E and algae extract to keep lashing from drying out. 

What you should consider: Some users have experienced peeling or flaking from this clear mascara.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Ulta

Worth checking out

Covergirl Professional Natural Lash Mascara Clear

Covergirl Professional Natural Lash Mascara Clear

What you need to know: This clear mascara features a curved brush to separate lashes and tame unruly eyebrows.

What you’ll love: The formula is cruelty-free and washes away with just water. Those new to mascara will appreciate the easy-to-use curved brush, which gets a lot of product on your lashes in just a few swipes.

What you should consider: The texture is on the sticky side and might not be appealing to everyone.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Ulta


Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Bre Richey writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.

Trending Stories