Whenever I see someone with super long, thick, dark eyelashes, I assume that they have lash extensions. Though extensions are a foolproof way to get the lashes of your dreams without growth serums or falsies, they're not exactly low maintenance.
Eliminating oil-based makeup removers, not rubbing your eyes, and not getting the lashes too wet or hot are just a few of the limitations that come with extensions. And that's why I've settled on enhancing my lashes the old-school way: with mascara.
It turns out that the best lengthening mascara, one that rivals any set of extensions, is only $8 at your favorite drugstore. NYX's Worth the Hype Mascara ($8; target.com) adds length and volume that's equivalent to the results you'd get from the extensions. The formula is buildable, so you can customize how dramatic of a finish you get depending on how many coats you swipe on. Its fluffy brush has a tapered tip that makes it easier to reach every single lash—including those hard-to-reach small hairs at the inner corners of your eyes.
Before I tried NYX, my favorite mascara was $30. I was doubtful that any other tube would live up to my go-to formula, but I also like saving money. I gave NYX's mascara a shot because of its under-$10 price tag.
I applied two coats to my upper lashes and was surprised at how defined, full, and (most importantly) long they looked. On the day I wore this mascara, New York was a rainy, slushy, wind tunnel. I looked in my bathroom mirror after commuting home and saw that my mascara wasn't clumpy or smudgy. And the formula isn't even waterproof.
Yeah, I'd say that NYX's mascara is worth the hype.