Whenever I see someone with super long, thick, dark eyelashes I always assume that they have lash extensions. Even though extensions are more popular than ever because they're a foolproof way to get the lashes of your dreams without trying tons of grown 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 getting extensions. And that's why I've always settled on enhancing my lashes the old school way: with mascara.
It turns out that the best lengthening mascara that rivals any set of extensions is only $18. NYX's Worth the Hype Mascara ($8; asos.com.au) adds length and volume to lashes that's equivalent to the results you'd get from the pricey service. The formula is buildable so you can customize how dramatic of a finish you get depends 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.
After a lot of trial and error, I have a favorite mascara that I love but it's USD $30. I was doubtful that any other tube would live up to the one I'm currently using, but I also like saving money so I couldn't pass up giving NYX's mascara a shot because of its under $20 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. Its breakout moment came when 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.
This article previously appeared on InStyle US.