8 Colored mascaras that instantly transform your look

Nov 4, 2015 at 8:00 a.m. ET
Image: Kittimages/Getty Images

Long written off as an ‘80s beauty relic, colored mascara is back and bolder than ever. Recent seasons have seen vibrantly hued lashes go from runway to real world — with brilliant results.

"Today, it’s more of an accent to the overall eye look as opposed to dominating it," says Lijha Stewart, MAKE UP FOR EVER's Director of Education and Artistry. "It’s much more playful and a great way to subtly change up your look."

Here are a few easy (and wearable) ways to get in on the trend, along with some of our top product picks.

Get matchy matchy. Stewart is fond of pairing colored mascara with eyeliner of the same hue — think cobalt on royal blue or similar shades of burgundy. The overall effect is striking and makes vivid lashes pop.

Creative colorblocking. "Try opposite colors to open the eyes," Stewart advises. Experiment with different combinations like gold liner with blue mascara, peach shadow with teal lashes or rosy shadow with purple fringe. Color combos can be as crazy as you dare.

Make it even bolder. "For even more impact, apply a faux lash and coat it in colored mascara," says Stewart. This is more of a statement look and best saved for special events and big nights out.

Channel your inner mod. Not ready for a full-on colored lash? Stewart advocates this low-risk technique: Dot the bottom lash line with a bit of bright mascara. "It's a fun throwback to a '60s retro look."

Although creativity is encouraged, steer clear of one common misstep. "Colored mascara looks best on a contrasting background so avoid doing a smoky eye," says Stewart. Instead, opt for light or bright shadows that let lashes take center stage.

Try:

1. Dior Diorshow Mascara

Dior Diorshow Mascara
Image: Dior

The huge brush has already racked up plenty of backstage cred for its lash-boosting abilities, but the Pro Purple hue adds an electrifying — and flattering — jolt of color. (Dior, $28)

2. Clinique Chubby Lash Fattening Mascara

Clinique Chubby Lash Fattening Mascara
Image: Sephora

In addition to the volumizing benefits, we love the range of rich shades: standouts include Two Ton Teal, a flattering deep blue-green and Bodacious Black Honey, which coats fringe in a dark burgundy hue. (Sephora, $17)

3. MAKE UP FOR EVER Smoky lash

MAKEUP FOREVER Smoky lash
Image: Sephora

These mascaras build volume while adding a smoldering, super-wearable hint of deep color. We’re feeling the forest green shade, #4. (Sephora, $23)

4. Chanel Cils Scintillants in Jazzy Blue

Chanel Cils Scintillants in Jazzy Blue
Image: Chanel

Think of this limited edition sheer turquoise as a sparkling topcoat for your fringe. Although it can be worn alone, it looks particularly stunning over a coat of regular mascara or just on the ends of lashes. (Chanel, $32)

5. BUTTER London ElectraLash Colour Amplifying Mascara

BUTTER London ElectraLash Colour Amplifying Mascara
Image: BUTTER London

The U.K. brand takes colored mascara into edgier territory with a shot of shimmer. The glittering, 24K-esque Starlight adds instant party-ready appeal. (BUTTER London, $15)

6. Nonie Creme Colour Prevails Lash Ombre

Nonie Creme Colour Prevails Lash Ombre
Image: Walgreens

Speaking of BUTTER London, the brand's founding creative director Nonie Creme launched her new, not-for-the-color-shy makeup line with this stroke of genius: a full brush with vivid color on one side and a fine-tuning brush with basic black on the other. (Walgreens, $13)

7. NYX Color Mascara

NYX Color Mascara
Image: NYX Cosmetics

This easy-on-the-wallet colored mascara comes in eight shades, including a few unexpected options like coral, vibrant lime, rosy pink and pastel mint green. (Nyxcosmetics, $7)

8. YSL Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils Baby Doll

YSL Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils Baby Doll
Image: YSL

The brush alone creates ridiculously plush, separated fringe. Add a subtle boost of color to the mix and you’ve got a lethal combo. (Yslbeautyus.com, $32)

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