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The 3 Best Mascaras for Stubborn Asian Lashes

YouTube beauty gurus make everything seem so effortless and easy. They zoom through doing their eye makeup in a time-lapsed video and in the blink of an eye, they have beautiful, voluminous lashes. But 99% of the time, it doesn’t pan out that way in real life. Tutorials don’t show the cringing, mouth-open mascara application face or the eyelid smudges that are later erased. It isn’t as glamorous as these makeup tutorials make it seem. That’s especially true for those of us with shorter, straighter lashes. 

Short and straight lashes are very difficult to curl and apply mascara. This is a common struggle most East Asian people encounter when it comes to mascara because of what’s termed as “Asian lashes”: the epitome of short, straight, and stubborn eyelashes. Due to the flatter, less-contoured eye shape of Asians — specifically East Asian people — many traditional eye makeup techniques and tools do not work as well. 

However, we’re in luck because there are a few hidden gems in the k-beauty and j-beauty industries catered for this eye-shape. These products help lift short, straight lashes and hold their curl, so East Asians can also achieve the fanned out, voluminous lash look.

The secret is waterproof formulas. These formulas prevent “racoon eyes” and lower lash line smudging. These mascaras have a drier formula that’s also lighter than most traditional mascaras formulated in the United States. 

This is helpful because East Asian eyelashes are less able to handle the thicker, heavier formulas generally advertised as volumizing mascaras. These formulas tend to weigh down and uncurl lashes. In contrast, drier formulas are usually lighter and create more of a fluttery effect. 

Here are three products that can help curl and fan out those stubborn East Asian lashes.

Heroine Make Long and Curl Super Waterproof Mascara

This mascara is a Japanese beauty product and holy grail for many East Asian beauty influencers as it checks all the criteria mentioned above. This mascara has a thinner formula that’s very waterproof. The wand is made of plastic, so it’s easier to coat the lashes all the way from root to tip. The lasting power of this formula is also fantastic, and it’s a relatively affordable option compared to some luxury brands. You can get a good curl and build up the product to volumize your lashes to your liking.

Clio Kill Lash Superproof Mascara

This particular product is my personal favorite. I discovered it when I was in Korea last winter and haven’t used any other mascara since. As the name suggests, this formula is truly “superproof,” encompassing everything in the Heroine product but even better. 

The Clio mascara even gets better with age. Once opened, the formula dries out over time—but don’t worry, because that actually makes your lashes look even more fluttery and fanned out. The most outstanding feature of this product is its weartime. You probably shouldn’t be wearing mascara for 24 hours, but if needed, this mascara can handle it. This is the only product I can confidently say keeps my lashes looking just as perfect at the end of the day as when I first applied it.

Some people also like to double-up and use both the Heroine and Clio mascaras to achieve long, curled lashes that last all day. Both formulas come in black and brown, so you have options.

Benefit Rollerlash

Lastly, this is a cult favorite for many makeup users, both Asian and non-Asian. This is one of the few American formulas that also works for shorter, straighter Asian lashes. The formula is not too thick, which is essential, and it can achieve the desirable lash look, even for stubborn lashes. If the previous two products are not readily available to you, this Benefit mascara is usually well-stocked in U.S. makeup retailers like Sephora and Ulta Beauty. 

All three of these products are stellar mascaras that will no-doubt help you lengthen, volumize, and curl your short, straight, or stubborn lashes. If you want to maximize the potential of your lashes, the key is to always look for a light, thin, waterproof, or superproof formula. You too can create a fabulous lash look. You just need to find the products that work for you, which can take some trial and error. 

Minjee Cho

U Penn '23

Minjee is a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania studying biology. She is from Malvern, Pennsylvania and loves running, cooking, and makeup. She is also very passionate about journalism and women's empowerment.
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