Your Best-Bet Drugstore Mascara


As a self-professed drugstore makeup whore, I have to backtrack and publicly acknowledge my affection for a product that's proven itself worthy of "staple" status: Maybelline Full 'N Soft Mascara. While I'll never be one of the streamlined, "Oh I just use five products forever and ever" types (also: I'm convinced these types are absolute liars), I wouldn't complain if, in some alternate universe that allotted me one mascara for the rest of my existence, I was left with only Full 'N Soft. In Very Black, because that's how eyelashes should be.

The product is thick enough to hold a small peak when you remove the wand from the tube, but applies in a very thin layer, with enough fluidity to really get between and coat each lash. The brush is quite hairy, leaving the lashes separated and fluffy, which I guess is how the Maybelline marketing geniuses came up with the Full 'N Soft monicker. ("We'll spell 'and' with an apostrophe-n! Women go nuts for that shit!") And it wears so well! Especially for those who prefer very natural, undetectable mascara, this stuff is clump-free and really does feel soft on the lashes. But my favorite part is that it was invented to be easily removed with just soap and water—no irritated eye skin, oily makeup-remover residue clouding your vision, or worse: lash loss.

Oh, and it's around $6.

—Annie Kreighbaum

Photos by Mathea Millman. 

See more of the best drugstore mascaras for every lash effect you could dream of here.

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  • Sarah

    So happy to see this groggy eyed on a Monday morning because it's exactly what I've been looking for. Thanks, Annie!

  • Cat

    L'oreal Telescoptic (with the pink cap) - the brush is lovely because it comes out looking clean, but the perfect amount of product is on it. Also, the brush allows you to get in there, meaning to the lash line and it really pulls thru clean. I'm just so happy to put this on everyday, because there is no "wonder what my mascara will do today".

  • Kristin

    Maybelline Full 'N Soft Waterproof is my one and only. Maybelline is kickin' it with their eye stuff.

  • Isabel

    Does it come in waterproof?

    • shoumi

      it does! the smell of the WP version is really bizarre though, like a straight up melted tire.

    • Janet Lee

      Yes, it's in all-grey tube.

  • Clever Girl Reviews

    I've never tried this one so maybe I should pick it up. How do you think it compares to L'oreal Voluminous Full Definition?

    • Janet Lee

      I've found that it's somewhat less clumpy than the Loreal one. But then again, a lot of women like clumpy, depending on their lash type.

  • Katy

    My favorite drug store mascaras at the moment are Revlon's PhotoReady 3D (it's a They're Real Brush, with Diorshow-esque formula), and L'Oreal's Voluminous Butterfly Mascara, which has this amazing/weird brush. Neither make your lashes look particularly "soft," or "natural," but I'm of the Dolly Parton School of Makeup.

  • innaboxx

    Yeah, I've been using this for years for basic mascaraing and it is SO superior to the pink and green maybeline one everyone recommends. Minimal smudging, no clumping, no spider lashes. Mascara, to me, doesn't seem worth the brand name splurge.

    • Janet Lee

      Been using Full and Soft (sorry, Full 'N Soft) since I saw Sarah Michelle Gellar's ad for it :) It was over 10 years ago, I think. I never really understood the appeal of the Great Lash mascara, or why it's the best-selling mascara. Maybe they thought if someone says that over and over, we'll try it just to see what the big deal is, thereby increasing the number of tubes bought. I guess it worked! I like FNS for volume and Illegal Length for length and definition. I used to wear it in the 90s, and it was discontinued, but they brought it out again.

  • Thu

    L'Oreal Voluminous with the gold cap is pretty kick ass!

  • shoumi

    I love this mascara too, I've been using it since I was a teenager. Lately I've been concerned that they're going to discontinue it. Ever notice the display of it get's smaller and smaller every year?

  • Janine

    I live and die by Cover Girl's "Remarkable" mascara (waterproof). I wear contacts and have sensitive eyes (always tearing). This mascara is THE best. I use it every day, in the winter when it snows, in the summer when it's humid here on the East coast, to the beach, in the rain and mist. It doesn't come off until you take it off. I have been wearing it over 10 years. It never smudges or flakes. And it's very easy to take off. Ever.

  • Neelam

    I am almost convinced that Maybelline's volum' express the Colossal holds some sort of magic in that tiny yellow and purple tube!

  • Louise Corbally
  • Amy

    love this! i use l'oreal voluminous the original one, but I'm all out and since the brushes are identical I think I'll give this one a try next. thanks!

  • Jessica

    I have heard many lovely things about this mascara... and as a makeup enthusiast, I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't tried it yet! This will be the next one I purchase when I use the ones I have. :)
    Jessica (

  • Nomadic D.

    YES! Thank you! People are always extolling drugstore mascaras like Great Lash and others that, in my experience, are really pretty crappy. But this is THE BEST EVER. I actually like it a lot more than most high end mascaras I've tried, and this is pretty much the only one I'll use. I try and keep one in very black and one in brownish black on hand always, and between those two I never want for anything else. I gush a little more about it here: in case, that wasn't gushing enough for you ;)

  • Amanda

    I've literally been using this mascara (in waterproof) since the eighth grade (I'm 22 now). Every other product in my stash is high end and snooty (Tom ford and chantecaille etc.), but I will be forever loyal to full n' soft. I don't understand when people tell me that they're "always trying new mascaras", because it's the only product I've ever felt like I have totally on lock. I'm making that trip down the drugstore makeup aisle every 6 months til I die to get this stuff. Thank you ITG for spreading the love!

  • beeswaxnoneofyour

    I also thought for drugstore, this one was miles better than Maybelline Great Lash (do not get that particular hype!) and L'oreal Voluminous (always ran like anything on me). Rimmel Magnif'eyes (don't know what it was called in the US) was the best drugstore mascara, but of course they got rid of it. L'oreal Million range mascaras are pretty good too though. Swear by Charlotte TIlbury mascara ever since it came out though. That stuff is like holy grail miracle in a tube for someone like me with ultra oily skin. No need to wipe the wand, curl your lashes, use separate thickening or lengthening formulas, or comb out after. She must have made one serious deal with the devil for that formula!!

  • Patricia

    They don't sell this in Europe. Damnit.

  • Janet Lee

    I'm from Australia, and I actually buy mine from amazon (the US one), because Maybelline and Loreal mascaras are around $US6, whereas they're around $AUS20 in Australia, so even with the conversion rate and shipping, they're still cheaper. I also like Lash Discovery for corner lashes and I can't always find them here, so I order from Amazon.

  • Stephanie

    This is also my fav mascara, can't beat it!

  • Malta Notebook

    I've been using Full n Soft for YEARS! Best mascara ever! Xo

  • mickey519

    the best i have ever used!!

  • Helle D.

    I totally agree! It could be my one and only for ever and ever! I can't find it in Denmark anymore so I have to stock up when I'm in New York. I use the waterproof kind.

  • Emily

    Amen to that! I've been using Full N Soft for years and haven't strayed. LOVE!

  • Zoe Archer

    I have never heard of this mascara from Maybelline. I will have to keep an eye out for it. I love the Rocket though at the moment.

  • evelyn

    how does this compare with the maybelline illegal lengths mascara? which do you think is better?


Maybelline Full 'N Soft
Maybelline Full 'N Soft Mascara