Some products show up everywhere — subway ads, Instagram, celeb endorsements. With this series, we're testing such products to conclude one thing: Does it live up to the hype?

What’s everyone talking about?

Essence Lash Princess Mascara is the buzzy, cheap beauty product that has taken over TikTok “For You” Pages. TikTokers are captivated by the dramatic before and after videos of users who look like they're rocking false eyelashes but promise they're just wearing this mascara.

What’s the buzz about?

After 22 years in the business, essence is having a renaissance thanks to its array of affordable makeup, including the now legendary Lash Princess Mascara that is going viral on social media. Lash Princess is only $5, so it’s popular among budget-conscious shoppers like students and recent grads. Given its low price, you can afford to gift one tube to your loved one and treat yourself to a nice beauty gift.

Where’s all the hype coming from?

  • Amazon's number-one best-selling mascara earned a 4.4-star average rating from more than 316,100 Amazon reviews.
  • TikTok is obsessed with the lash-enhancing powers of this mascara. Mini makeup tutorials, hauls, and reviews received over 39.3 million views.
  • Years of coverage on sites such as Women's Health and StyleCaster.

So does it live up to the hype?

hype meter

Key Specs

Essence Cosmetics Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara

Best Seller
Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara

Essence Cosmetics Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara

$5 at Amazon$7 at Walmart$5 at Ulta Beauty
  • Rating: 4.4-star average rating from more than 316,100 Amazon reviews
  • Colors available: Black
  • Waterproof? No, but the brand also sells a waterproof Lash Princess Mascara that I wore to a friend's wedding and it held up nicely through the tears.
  • Where to buy: Amazon, Ulta, and Target
  • What reviewers are saying: “If you want a good quality mascara, but don’t want to pay more than $10, then this is for you! It is easy to apply, the wand applicator is easy to use, and I find that it doesn’t really clump like some of my other ones do,” says one 5-star Amazon review.
  • What I think: This budget-friendly mascara stands out in my well-edited cosmetics bag. A single coat deposits jet black color while thickening and lengthening my lashes, similar to the pricier options sold at Sephora, Nordstrom, and Ulta.

How’d we come to this conclusion?

There are several reasons why I enjoy using this ophthalmologically tested mascara, including:

  • The brush head: Lash Princess Mascara features a tapered brush head with shorter fibers at the tip. This design is great for coating the lashes near the inner corners of the eyes, and on the bottom lash line. (I’m a strictly mascara-on-the-top lashes girly, but you and your giftee can do y’all!)
  • The formula: If you’re used to wetter mascaras like me, you’ll initially be taken aback by Lash Princess mascara’s drier formula. It’s not overwhelmingly dry during the first 4-6 weeks of use, but after a couple of months, I noticed it dries up quicker than expected. That may be an issue for some people who replace their mascaras every 3-6 months, depending on the brand. But I prefer replacing my mascaras every 1-2 months out of cleanliness. (The brand advises replacing Lash Princess Mascara every 3-6 months).
  • The price: Lash Princess is only $5! You truly can't beat this low price, especially for how well it performs. Even if I go through six $5 essence mascaras in the year, that's the same price I'd pay for one tube of $30 Lancôme Lash Idôle Lash Lifting & Volumizing Mascara.
  • The wearability: Speaking of performance, this mascara doesn't flake and rarely clumps, even when I skip using a lash comb. (More on that in a bit.) I experienced very minimal smudging, which is saying a lot because it's something so common with other mascaras, I’ve come to expect it with pretty much every mascara I test. Lash Princess Mascara is definitely a product that lasted during nights out with friends, and I felt confident I didn’t look like a raccoon when talking to my colleagues in the office.
  • Who it should be gifted to: Everyone who wants longer, more voluminous lashes on a budget will enjoy Lash Princess mascara. I would just caution anyone with short eyelashes to have realistic expectations. Our before and after shots won’t look as dramatic as our friends with naturally long lashes, and that’s OK! We will still experience a noticeable and beautiful difference where we can feel comfy not rocking falsies and worrying about overwhelming spider lashes.
lash princess tube and wand
Nicole Saunders

How We Use It

  1. Curl your eyelashes: TBH, I'm not a huge eyelash curler kinda girl. Since my natural eyelashes are lifted (and I pinched myself with eyelash curlers one too many times in college), I only use one on special occasions. That said, if you want to lift and curl your lashes, now is the time to use an eyelash lash curler. Start at the root of your lashes, work your way up to the middle of the lashes, and then curl the tips.
  2. Apply mascara primer: It's a totally optional step, but the essence Lash Princess Mascara Primer is cheap, effective, and, unsurprisingly, it pairs perfectly with the essence mascara. This mascara primer contains açai oil and mango butter to help condition the eyelashes.
  3. Apply Lash Princess Mascara: For clump-free lashes, slowly wiggle the mascara wand back and forth at the base of the upper lashes to deposit product and create a tight-lined effect for the illusion of thicker eyelashes. Afterward, slowly pull the wand toward the eyelash tips, ensuring the lashes are fully coated. The key here is to move slowly to prevent annoying clumps.
  4. Use a lash comb between mascara layers: I'll be the first to admit that lash combs look intimidating, but they're so much more than just a scary-looking weird beauty product — they help remove any potential mascara clumps. Currently, I'm into the newest release from Tweezerman. My best advice is to use a lash comb after each layer of mascara because your eyelashes are malleable and way easier to comb. Mascara becomes tacky once exposed to air, meaning it's more difficult to comb through.
  5. You can apply an optional second coat of mascara and comb through your lashes again for a more dramatic effect — and voilà, longer, fluttery lashes minus the fake fringe.
lash princess mascara applied to one of nicoles eyes while the other remains without mascara
Lash Princess Mascara applied to one of Nicole’s eyes.
Nicole Saunders

What’s the bottom line?

You honestly can't go wrong with this mascara, especially for the price point! It performs very similarly to mid-tier and higher-end mascaras for a fraction of the cost. Though the essence Lash Princess Mascara is probably not something I’d use daily because I’ve been gravitating toward the “your lashes, but better” effect clear mascara provides. But, when I'm in the mood for my lashes to pop, yes, I'd absolutely continue using essence Lash Princess Mascara. It gives incredible volume, holds a curl nicely, and makes my lashes look longer and panther black.

All in all, essence Lash Princess mascara is a TikTok beauty product that actually lives up to the hype. Given the cheap price tag, you can totally stock up on a few backup mascaras for yourself and gift some to your lucky besties.

Shop essence Lash Princess Mascara

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Headshot of Nicole Saunders
Nicole Saunders
Beauty Editor

Nicole Saunders is the Beauty Editor at, where she oversees coverage on all things beauty. When she's not creating shopping guides, interviewing experts, and testing beauty treatments, you can probably find her walking around Lower Manhattan or overanalyzing the latest episode of "Succession." You can send all lipstick and calamari recommendations to her inbox and DM her memes on Instagram.