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Makeup Pros Share the 9 Best Mascaras for Thin Lashes + the Application Trick That Boosts Volume Instantly

All it takes is using a few coats of these superstar formulas

Nothing against the rest of the products in our makeup bag, but there’s nothing quite as invaluable as a good tube of mascara. No matter what kind of makeup look you’re after, a few quick swipes is all it takes to leave you looking instantly fresher and more well-rested. And while our beloved tubes are often thought of as a way to add length to lashes, they can actually work wonders for enhancing thickness and volume, too. And this is especially important as our lashes become sparser as we get older — but maybe the mascara you used to rely on isn’t working as well for you now. So, we asked makeup artists to share the best mascara for thin lashes and the best ways to apply it. Keep scrolling to discover the top formulas that are sure to work wonders for you.

How our lashes change and become thinner as we get older

Woman with sparse eyelashes which can be made thicker by using the best mascara for thin lashes

If your eyelashes seem to be getting thinner and more sparse with each passing year, it’s not your imagination. Just like the hair on your head, lashes can thin as a result of hormonal changes that come with age, specifically a loss of estrogen, explains Marisa Garshick, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York and New Jersey. Some women may notice thinning in both areas, while others may just see it in one spot or the other, she adds, noting that this can start even in your 30s. Daily wear-and-tear (think rubbing your eyes, overly aggressive eye makeup removal) can also take a toll on your lashes overtime and contribute to both thinning and breakage, adds Dr. Garshick.

Related: Castor Oil Proven to Regrow Hair on Head, Eyebrows + Eyelashes — For Pennies A Day!

How mascara can ‘thicken’ thin lashes

Enter the beauty of mascara. “Mascara can make lashes look thicker in several ways,” says celebrity makeup artist Brandy Allen. Many formulas (specifically volumizing ones) contain ingredients such as waxes and polymers that coat each lash, making them appear fuller. Other mascaras contain tiny fibers that cling onto and build up on the lashes, creating a thicker look, she explains. Either way, the effect is immediate. Plus, a few coats of mascara also make the eyes a focal point and creates the illusion of bigger, more awake eyes. This effect can help draw attention away from any facial flaws like fine lines and wrinkles.

Related: Tubing Mascara: The Older You Are, The More You’ll Benefit From This New Approach To Lash Building

How to apply mascara to volumize thin, sparse lashes

mature woman applying mascara in mirror
Jason Homa/Getty

It’s all about layering on multiple coats. The more product that’s built up on your lashes, the fuller they’ll look, explains Allen. Crystal Brown, a makeup artist in Nashville, Tennessee, agrees, and recommends three coats of mascara to get the best benefits. The key to avoiding clumps? “Wait 15 to 30 seconds in between layers. This is enough time to let the mascara settle, but not so long that it completely dries in between coats,” says Brown. Also helpful: As you apply each coat, make sure to wiggle the brush back and forth at the root of your lashes. This builds volume from the very base, enhancing the overall effect of fullness, explains Brown.

For more mascara application tips, watch the below video from @fabulous50s on YouTube.

The best mascara for thin lashes

Swipe on any of these expert-approved picks for a fuller flutter in seconds.

Best primer to use before mascara

Jane Iredale PureLash Lash Extender and Conditioner
Jane Iredale/Walmart

Jane Iredale PureLash Lash Extender and Conditioner (Buy from Walmart, $17.49)

All of our pros agree that layering a lash primer underneath mascara is yet another way to help bulk up sparse lashes. Not only does it increase the thickening effect of the mascara, it also helps it last longer, explains Brown. This is her pick, which is a conditioning formula that offers the added benefit of keeping lashes moisturized and healthy.

Best mascara for volume

Lancôme Monsieur Big Volume Mascara

Lancôme Monsieur Big Volume Mascara (Buy from Sephora, $30)

“The name says it all,” notes celebrity makeup artist Todd Harris, who always has this mascara on-hand. He says the volumizing and thickening effect is so noticeable that it creates an almost false lash-like effect, leaving eyes looking larger and more open. The formula is long-wearing, too, so there’s no need to worry about smudges.

Best lengthening mascara for thin lashes

Benefit BADgal BANG! Volumizing Mascara
Benefit Cosmetics

Benefit BADgal BANG! Volumizing Mascara (Buy from Ulta, $29)

This mascara has a cult-following, with thousands of five-star reviews across different beauty retailers. It features a thin, easy-to-maneuver wand that gets between every lash and coats from root to tip for the ultimate length.

Best splurge mascara for thin lashes

YSL Lash Clash Extreme Volume Mascara

YSL Lash Clash Extreme Volume Mascara (Buy from YSL, $32)

For those who want lashes that look thick and full, not spikey or spidery, this is worth every penny. It’s a go-to for Harris, who lauds the soft and velvety appearance it delivers, while still packing a major volumizing punch. Allen is also a fan, adding that the fact that it’s super pigmented further contributes to the illusion of fuller-looking lashes.

Best drugstore mascara for thin lashes

COVERGIRL LashBlast Volume Mascara

COVERGIRL LashBlast Volume Mascara (Buy from Target, $9.49)

“This is affordable, doesn’t clump and is smudge-proof,” says Brown of one of her top choices. It comes in both black and brown shades, and, per the name, contains a specially shaped brush that helps ensure each lash gets coated with the volumizing formula.

Best multi-tasking mascara

Product image of LYS Beauty Lash Confidence Mascara, one of the best mascaras for thin lashes
LYS Beauty

LYS Beauty Lash Confidence Mascara (Buy from Sephora, $19)

Prefer that your mascara be a jack of all trades? Allen calls this a “triple threat” for its ability to lengthen, volumize and curl in one fell swipe. Plus, it contains moisturizing avocado oil, which helps keep lashes nourished in the process.

Best lifting mascara for thin lashes

Rituel De Fille Lifting + Lengthening Mascara
Rituel De Fille

Rituel De Fille Lifting + Lengthening Mascara (Buy from Rituel De Fille, $28)

While this may not be called a volumizing or thickening formula, Allen says it’s still a great option. Lifting formulas make the lashes appear more visible, which ends up making them look thicker, too. This particular tube lifts, lengthens and volumizes — plus, Allen also likes that it creates nice separation and definition.

Best mascara for a natural effect

The Lip Bar Big Timer Volumizing Mascara
The Lip Bar/Target

The Lip Bar Big Timer Volumizing Mascara (Buy from The Lip Bar, $16)

“This is a great everyday mascara that gives lashes just a little bit of extra volume without going over the top,” says Allen. The curved wand is also ideal for creating a touch of curl that further enhances the lash-thickening effect.

Best tinting mascara for thin lashes

Revlon So Fierce! Big Bad Lash Mascara

Revlon So Fierce! Big Bad Lash Mascara (Buy from Amazon, $8.42)

This may look like a standard tube of mascara, but it offers something others don’t. Not only does it thicken and darken lashes immediately, it’s also infused with natural dyes that gradually tint your lashes over the course of seven days. The double-sided brush is another boon, with a curvy side for adding “insane volume,” according to Allen, and a flatter end that helps lift and separate lashes.

For more of our favorite beauty products for mature skin, click through these stories:

Here’s the Best Red Lipstick for Your Skin Tone + The Makeup Artist Trick to a Plumper Pout

The Best Tinted Moisturizers For Mature Skin, According to Celebrity Makeup Artists

10 Best Eye Makeup Products for Women Over 60 — Look Younger in Seconds

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