Best Drugstore Volumizing Mascaras

I have a bit of a thing for makeup, in case you haven’t noticed.  If my house were on fire and all the kids and family heirlooms made it out alright, the next thing I’d grab would be my Maybelline mascara.  You know the stuff in the pink tube with the green lid?  Yes, that one.  It’s less than $5 at the grocery store and I can get it off easily at night with makeup remover wipes.  I love everything about it.

maybelline mascaras

So when I was at the grocery store last week and I saw two different Maybelline volumizing mascaras on sale for less than $5 each, I snatched them up so I could do a little experiment.  It’s called: which Maybelline mascara makes my eyelashes look like a p0rn star?

Not really, it’s which Maybelline mascara will give me the best volume for the price of a cheap lunch?

makeup free

Here’s my face in all its unedited, large pore glory.  No judging.  The point is that I’m not wearing mascara.

mascara wand

Now here are the mascara contenders:

#1 The Colossal Volume Express Mascara

#2 XXL Pro Volume Washable Mascara

#3 Great Lash Mascara {this is the one I already have and use every day}

curled eyelashes

I always curl my eyelashes first.

volume mascara

This is the Colossal Volume Express.

applying mascara

Start from the bottom of your lashes and wiggle your way up.  I blink while I apply, it helps coat all the way to the tips.

volume mascara

Results of the Colossal Volume Express.

Nice, pretty, curly, volume-y.

I will say, inbetween all these photos I took off my previous mascara with my Costco makeup remover wipes and it all came off just fine.

extra volume mascara

Contender #2: XXL Volume

volumizing mascaras

Lots of volume, that’s for sure.

great lash mascara

And….. contender #3 my regular every day Maybelline Great Lash mascara.  With the green top, very important to remember.

maybelline mascara

I think this one’s pretty foxy.

What do you think.  #1, #2, #3?  Honestly, and this is coming from a regular mascara wearer, I can’t tell the difference between the three.  The two volumizing mascaras were on sale for the same price as my regular stuff, but they cost more on a regular day than the Great Lash.

I think they all look the same, but that’s probably because I’m fixated on my sun spots and big pores.

simple face makeup

And here I am, ready for every day with just plain Maybelline Great Lash mascara and some lip-gloss from Avon.  Not terrible for two pieces of makeup I think.  Cheap ones too.

Do weigh in will you?  Are volumizing mascaras worth all the fuss?





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Hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. I do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, home remodel projects, and cool DIY crafts you totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!


  1. kim @ mommyknows :

    I think I like #1 best.

    You are gorgeous of course in all three.

    • Petit Elefant :

      Interesting. Okay, one vote for #1.

      Thanks by the way. You’re always so nice to me. :)

  2. Holly :

    I’ve been using the yellow mascara for a few months now (after thinking that the Loreal brand wasn’t doing the trick)…I’ve found that if I want super lashes, I have to put several coats on. But just one coat is good for my normal everyday life. I don’t see a lot of difference in your trials though!

    • Petit Elefant :

      I don’t see a lot of difference either! Maybe I was expecting rock star lashes with just one coat? It’s nice, but I wouldn’t pay extra.

  3. jen :

    i’m a faithful user of #3 with the green top :)
    it makes me smile when i put it on and you can’t beat the price!

    • Petit Elefant :

      I think it’s the best stuff out there, I really do. $5 a pop? Sold.

  4. Jennifer :

    I totally agree with your (very typical woman) conclusion: once mascara’s on, how can you look at anything except all your other flaws? :-) You look fab in all of three of them.

    • Petit Elefant :

      Oh thank you. I really like a little something on my lashes!

  5. Lu :

    Love how #2 looks, but love the price of #3 the best.

    • Petit Elefant :

      #2? Oh, hmmmmm, very interesting. But #3 really is the bomb. Cheap, cheap.

  6. Stacey :

    My favorite mascara is the Cover Girl Lash Blast (the orange tube). I can’t really tell the difference in your pictures, but I think maybe 2 worked the best.

    • Petit Elefant :

      I’ve tried the Lash Blast but I can’t get it to come off at night! But another vote for #2, duly noted.

    • Tally :

      I adore the orange tube stuff! my absolute favorite!

  7. Carey :

    #3 all the way…it is still my favorite and I have also been using it since I was a teenager.

    • Petit Elefant :

      Me too! I think it’s probably the same mascara my mom used. Maybe not, but it’s been around my house forever.

      • this :

        The green top is definitely the one my mom used. I have fond teen memories of that one. Now I used the orange lash blast, but I’m not loyal at all.

  8. Nadia :

    You have the most gorgeous skin! #3 definitely! Looks more natural.

    • Petit Elefant :

      That’s hysterical that you think I have nice skin! I used to have nice skin but it went the way of the buffalo when I had kids. THANKS though, I’ll take it!

      #3. Okay. :)

  9. Kelly King Anderson :

    Hello Friend,
    I have to say that I personally LOVE Loreal Double Extend mascara with the primer on one end. I used to have eyelash extensions for 2 years and loved the thickness of them but not the upkeep so I searched for something to help me get it back when my lashes were damaged and non-existent after I took them off. This product saved me and I love how it really does thicken (they say 60%) and it has some other type of ingredient because there’s no smudging EVER and I can even sleep in it if I feel like it and it keeps looking good. When you take it off it just comes off in little tubes right on a tissue. Anyhow, try it sometime, it’s around $8

    Best of luck with Social Luxe ;) I know it’ll be fabulous!

  10. Petit Elefant :


    Oh that’s good to know! $8 is something I can manage every once in a while, and if it comes off easily that’s the most important thing!


  11. Alix :

    You look gorgeous in all of ’em….#3 is longer and #2 seems a little thicker….

    I’ve been using the orange Drew Barrymore “Lash Blast” stuff and while it looks pretty fab, that chit won’t come off! I feel like I lose three or four lashes every time. Argh! I recently plunked down some case for a “nice” mascara (“Fresh Supernova”) and it’s actually pretty amazing….lashes don’t get crunchy and they look all lush. But it was pricey as hell. So I doubt I’ll splurge again. What make up remover do you use??


    • Allison :

      I use the Costco makeup wipes, and they’re the best I’ve ever found. They moisturize and remove makeup, and mascara!

      I like the Lash Blash stuff, but I can’t handle makeup I can’t get off. I hear amazing things about L’Oreal, that might have to be my next bet.

  12. Donna B. :

    I used to be devoted to Maybelline Great Lash in the pink and green, too. But after reading some great info. from The Cosmetics Cop, Paula Begoun, I decided to try Volum Express. Still Maybelline, mind you, but it is SO much better. I had no idea that I didn’t have to have raccoon eyes at the end of the day! No more with Volum Express. So my advice is, consider how well it wears in addition to the immediate results.

    • Allison :


      That’s actually great advice, how it wears long term. There’s just something about the way Maybelline mascara wears that I love all around!

  13. Mary Ann :

    I have to say, they all look great, but I’m about to head out and buy #1 now because of how fantastic your lashes look with it on.

  14. Dahlia :

    I just bought #3 today before reading your blog, after complaining for weeks that my current mascara does nothing (probably because I didn’t realize that it’s practically empty!).
    I too can’t really tell which of the three I like the best, so hopefully they’re all the same because I stood for abt 10 min. debating with these exact 3 before finally choosing Great Lash!!