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Best oil-free mascara

Which oil-free mascara is best?

When looking for an oil-free mascara, you need to consider a number of factors, including color, volumizing properties and the shape of the applicator wand. If you're looking a high-quality oil-free mascara, Lancome Definicils High Definition Mascara is a top choice. It uses a flake-free, non-clumping formula to lengthen the appearance of lashes and comes in both black and brown.

What to know before you buy an oil-free mascara

Oil-free vs. oil-based mascara

There are many reasons why an oil-free mascara is a great choice. Oil-free mascara is less likely than oil-based to irritate sensitive eyes or cause eyelash fallout. If you wear eyelash extensions, you must use an oil-free mascara, as oils cause the glue in extensions to break down and fall off. Oil-free mascaras also often dry faster than oil-based ones, which makes layering a lot easier.

Removing oil-based mascara

Another benefit of oil-free mascara is that it's easy to remove. While quality formulas provide long-lasting wear without flaking or smudging, they can be removed with ease when it's time to take off the day's makeup. All it takes is warm water and a gentle cleanser or an eye makeup remover to wipe away this type of mascara, no tugging or pulling required. 

Types of wands

Mascara wands come in various shapes, styles and sizes to suit different kinds of eyelashes and create different makeup looks. If you want your lashes to appear fluffy, thick and voluminous, a thick wand with densely packed bristles is best. If you want to create definition and length, select a mascara with a thin, long brush. For a curled, winged effect, a curved or hourglass brush is the best choice.

Mascara wands are typically made with either nylon or plastic bristles. Nylon bristles are better for creating a thicker or fluttery look. If you are experiencing clumping on your lashes, you should try switching to a plastic wand, as plastic bristles are better for creating definition.

What to look for in a quality oil-free mascara


Volumizing mascaras work to make your eyelashes appear thicker and denser. They do this by coating the eyelashes in waxes or silicone polymers to give them a fuller look. 


Lengthening or extending formulas make your eyelashes look longer and more defined. They usually contain nylon or rayon fibers that cling to your lashes from the root to the tip. This extends your eyelashes past their natural tip, making them appear longer.


Mascara can come in various colors and shades to suit different looks and preferences, though the main two options are black and brown. Choose a black mascara if you want your eye makeup to be dramatic or your eyelashes are naturally very dark. To create a more subtle eye look, use brown mascara.

How much you can expect to spend on oil-free mascara

The price of oil-free mascaras can vary substantially depending on factors including brand, color and quality. They often range from $3-$40 per wand, though designer brand options can be more expensive.

Oil-free mascara FAQ

How can I tell if my mascara is oil-free?

A. The best way to tell if your mascara is oil-free is by checking the ingredients. If your mascara includes paraffin or hyaluronic acid, it is likely to be oil-based. Silicone-based mascaras often include siloxane or methicone, while water-based ones typically contain fewer chemicals altogether.

Is it safe to use oil-free mascara on eyelash extensions?

A. If you have eyelash extensions, it's not only safe: you must use oil-free mascara to protect them. The oils in mascara break down the glue that holds on your extensions, so using an oil-free mascara is essential to stopping your eyelash extensions from falling off.

What is the best way to remove mascara?

A. The best way to remove mascara is by soaking a cotton pad in eye makeup remover and gently holding it over your eyelashes for 20 to 30 seconds. You should then carefully massage the pad along your lashes to remove any residue. Use a clean cotton pad for each eye.

What's the best oil-free mascara to buy?

Top oil-free mascara

Lancome Definicils High Definition Mascara

What you need to know: This flake-free, non-clumping formula creates the look of longer, more voluminous eyelashes. It is free of sulfates SLS and SLES, formaldehydes, phthalates and retinyl palmitate.

What you’ll love: The makeup wand separates as it applies the mascara, creating a defined, lengthened look. It comes in both black and brown.

What you should consider: This mascara dries very quickly and can be difficult to layer.

Where to buy: Sold by Sephora, Amazon and Ulta Beauty

Top oil-free mascara for the money

Maybelline New York Great Lash Washable Mascara

What you need to know: This conditioning formula is an Allure Readers’ Choice and Best of Beauty award winner. It thickens eyelashes and makes them appear up to twice their usual length.

What you’ll love: It's easy to remove and gentle on eyelashes. It comes in black, brown and clear.

What you should consider: It can smudge underneath your eyes, especially if you wear multiple coats.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Benefit Cosmetics Badgal Bang Volumizing Mascara

What you need to know: This mascara is an Allure Best of Beauty award winner for its volume-building formula.

What you’ll love: The formula is made with layering in mind, so it creates volume without weighing down your lashes. It lasts up to 36 hours without smudging or rubbing off.

What you should consider: It is not available in brown.

Where to buy: Sold by Sephora, Ulta Beauty and Amazon 

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

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