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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Ellie Davis

Best coloured mascaras of 2024 for an eye-catching look

In the M.A.C Global Trend Presentation report for autumn/winter 2024, the label’s Creative Director of Makeup Artistry Terry Barber referenced a return to more playful makeup as a key takeaway for the season.

In a 180º from the ‘clean girl’ natural beauty look that has ruled for the last few years both on and off the runway, Barber is encouraging us to experiment with cosmetics.

Forget no-makeup makeup; the easiest way to introduce colour is through our eye makeup - specifically mascara. Claire Mulleady, National Make-Up Artist at Givenchy agrees, “Coloured mascaras are a great way to brighten the eye, make it pop or just have fun with colours”.

Just one swipe of pigmented perfection through the lashes will create an unmissable, transformational look, reminiscent of Eighties aesthetics. In this decade, the makeup was dominated by bright eyeshadow and mascara in pops of pink, purple and blue. More was certainly more as this was paired with equally vibrant lipstick and no shortage of blush. It’s the furthest thing from minimalistic makeup.

This was an idea that continued into the 1990s. Nineties babies will be all too familiar with the pull of blue beautified eyes. The name of the game was grunge glam, and that meant perfectly imperfect looks where the clumpy, smudged mascara played a crucial role in achieving the look.

In this cyclical trend cycle, it is perhaps unsurprising that colourful mascaras have seen a resurgence, driven by Gen-Z’s nostalgia for a decade before they were even born. Blue mascara in particular has over 155.3M views on TikTok with an innumerable quantity of tutorials proving just how wearable electric, indigo, aquamarine or cerulean hues can be – perhaps not for everyday but for full-glam moments.


The makeup look at Puma was all about matching colorful liner and lashes, natural glowing skin, and black lipstick. Led by @Raisa Flowers for @maccosmetics @puma 💚💙🧡 #macemployee #colorfuleye #coloredliner #coloredmascara #blacklipstick #mactrend #maccosmetics

♬ Diva - Beyoncé

The takeaway is that you don’t need to go full whack with the formula. Apply only to top or bottom lashes if you’re dipping into the trend. “To make a coloured mascara wearable and for every day”, says Mulleady, “opt for the deeper colours like navy, burgundy, or deep forest green. The more subtle shade will still give you the colour effect without taking over. Another way to ease into coloured mascara and keep it wearable is to apply black mascara to the roots of your lashes”.

Brown mascara is ubiquitous too and suits those looking for more subtle enhancement to their lashes. On the other end of the colour spectrum, brands like Pat McGrath, 3INA and KIKO have a rainbow array of green, red and even yellow where the creative possibilities are endless.

The legendary makeup artist and founder of her eponymous label Pat McGrath is known for her iconic looks during fashion weeks that can only be described as veritable works of art. She is a bellwether of trends and is responsible for leading the revival of the colourful mascara movement, using high-pigmented formulas backstage at Anna Sui and Prada last year. If her runway looks are anything to go by, the lesson is to not fear colour.

But if you are looking for guidance on which shade to suit your eye colour, there are general rules you can follow. Mulleady breaks it down. “Colour theory helps us understand which shade is best for us. Colours that are opposites on the colour make the eye pop the most”. She says:

  • For brown eyes: blue or purple mascara is beautiful and helps to bring out amber tones in the eye.
  • Blue eyes: can do the opposite and go for a warm brown mascara but equally blue mascara works really well with blue eyes.
  • Green eyes: really pop with burgundy or purple mascara and help to intensify the eye colour.

She also recommends: “Pair your coloured mascara with either a nude eyeshadow or pick a similar liner shade to keep it chic and simple”.

Shop the best coloured mascaras below

Pat McGrath DARK STAR Colour Blitz Mascara

For a mascara that has earned its stripes backstage at fashion week, look to makeup’s Mother Pat McGrath. The iconic makeup artist is known and loved for her high-powered formulations that, once applied, will lock in place. The Dark Star Color Blitz is on hand to help you recreate some of her most celebrated creations in hues of red, aqua blue and jade green. The formula provides the drama with what the brand refers to as ‘antigravity lift’. Bonus points for the holographic iridescent packaging that taps into McGrath’s futuristic fantasy aesthetic.

Buy now £12.00, Pat McGrath

Maybelline Sky High Mascara

The legendary Sky High Colour Mascara has become a stalwart in makeup bags across the nation. In fact, it is so popular that it is often dubbed the UK’s number one of the product type. The statement-making combination of lengthening and volumising is nothing short of transformational but while you could add both brown and black to your collection, the creativity ended there – until now.

Maybelline has added three shades to the collection dubbed Blue Mist, Pink Air and Burgundy Haze. Embrace 90s nostalgic with a vibrant blue, add an unmissable pop of pigment with pink or go for something out of the box with the burgundy.

No matter which you select, the Flex Tower brush will ensure no lash is left behind to reach ‘sky high’.

Buy now £12.99, Superdrug

Yves Saint Laurent Lash Clash Mascara - 02 Brown

Applying this mascara feels a luxury experience. From the chic black casing with gold logo detailing to the conical-shaped bristles, this is a daily practice that you will relish. The Lash Clash comes in the classic black hue and blue but it’s the brown that has caught our attention for the subtle statement that it makes.

The brush is larger than others on the market, imparting the hue onto the lashes in a buildable way but reaching every single one in just one swipe. The formula is made up of a unique oil-in-water wax that should stay firmly in place for 24 hours without flaking off throughout the day. It’s also kind to the delicate lashes with Iris Florentina from the YSL gardens infused within.

Buy now £29.00, lookfantastic

Diorshow Buildable Professional Formula

The Diorshow buildable mascara is one of those mascaras that you will keep buying time and time again. It contains microfibres within the formula that are designed to replicate the effect of lash extensions for a natural-looking lengthening. The product doesn’t follow the same conventions of a typical twist packaging but instead you pull the lid, which helps lock in the moisture and stops it drying out.

This also coats the bristles with just the right amount of the creamy formula. This mascara is drier than some others but this ensures the product has real staying power as once applied, it takes hold. The brush coats the lashes perfectly, thickening to fill out gaps and separating each lash for a fanned, fluttery look.

It comes in three shades; black, blue and brown.

Buy now £33.00, Dior

Giorgio Armani Mascara Eccentrico

Red is the embodiment of passion and confidence, and it is with this idea in mind that Giorgio Armani is encouraging you to add the shade to your eye look. The ECCENTRICO gives long, fluttery lashes with a transformational effect as it layers up the unmissable hue. It’s buildable and incredibly long-lasting – so much so that you will need to invest in an oil-based eye makeup remover to effectively dissolve the locked-in formula.

Buy now £26.40, Boots

KIKO Milano Smart Colour Mascara

High pigment at a low price point, KIKO’s MO is all about performance products at affordable price tags - and this mascara follows suit. It imparts a thick colour coating on each individual lash fibre, lengthening while imparting the tint. The Smart Colour Mascara comes in four shades that are surprisingly wearable, whether you select the metallic purple, warm brown, navy blue or jungle green.

Buy now £6.99, lookfantastic

By Terry Terrybly Mascara 8ml

With ByTerry’s Mascara Terrybly, you are treating your lashes to a combination of nourishing ingredients. While you’re getting an impactful lengthening, you are also infusing the hairs with glycoproteins, collagen and hyaluronic acid as part of the brand’s Lumicoat Care Technology. This creates a silky texture that leaves the lashes with a thick, fluttering finish. There are six colours that include Purple Success, Terrybleu, Moka Brown and the classic black hue.

Buy now £36.00, Cult Beauty

Shiseido ControlledChaos MascaraInk

There are four shades available of Shiseido’s ControlledChaos MascaraInk to break away from the traditional black hue that is synonymous with this product type. Flex your creativity with the blue, purple or green if you’re looking for something different from the original neutral shade. It’s a buildable formula that provides an XXL effect on your lashes for that falsie look and has real lasting power, remaining smudge and clump-free for up to 24 hours.

Buy now £23.20, Boots

Eyeko Lash Alert Mascara

The Lash Alert from Eyeko has one of the most extensive shade ranges on the market. You can get the product in hues of brown, green, purple, blue and of course, black. Its formula is infused with the nourishing benefits of caffeine and biotin that have a thickening effect, while arginine and castor oil prevent breakage through their strengthening properties. This is one to make your eyes pop.

Buy now £17.00, lookfantastic

3INA The Color Mascara

If it’s vibrant, colourful cosmetics that you are looking for, make 3INA your first port of call. The Spanish label has made pigmented products its bread and butter with easy-to-use formulations to encourage its customers to get creative.

The Color Mascara takes the idea of coating your lashes with playful hues and runs with it. There are nine shades available – one of the most expansive on the market – that range from electric pink to mustard yellow. It has immediate payoff too, just one swipe will see a wash of colour.

Buy now £12.00, 3INA

Sweed Lash Lift Mascara

Sweed is best known for its collection of false lashes that extends to a collaboration with Insta favourite Nikki Makeup. They are defined by their ease of wear and natural-looking appearance - two attributes that have been brought to the mascaras too.

In black or brown, the latter of which creates a natural-looking length, the Lash Lift imparts pigment with a comb-like brush for greater control, and precision and to give a literal lifting effect as you use. The colour is long-lasting too so you can kiss midday panda eyes goodbye.

Buy now £24.00, Cult Beauty

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