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I've tried many mascaras, but none beat this $5 option — how to get it for even less

It makes me look like I’m wearing false lashes.
Before and after of the Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara
Courtesy Kayla Boyd
/ Source: TODAY

As much as I love makeup, I don't exactly wake up every morning and put on a full face before starting my day. On days when I'm in a hurry, a little bit of mascara and lip balm can go a long way!

However, a good mascara can be hard to come by. Many of them just aren't as dramatic as I would like them to be. Plus, a lot of the highly recommended makeup brands can be pretty pricey. That's why when I came across a $5 drugstore mascara with rave reviews, I had to try it.

Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara

The Essence Lash Princess mascara is a dark black color with a "false lash effect," and I have to say, it truly looks like I'm wearing fake eyelashes. At only $5 a tube, it's beyond worth the price. And on National Lash Day (Feb. 19) you can get the bestseller for even less. For one day only, you can shop the beauty essential at multiple retailers for 30% off — bringing the price down to just $3.50.

It's not waterproof, but it does last really well throughout the day. It goes on wet and thick, so you may want to take your time applying it, but it's never given me any trouble once it's dry.

According to the brand, the conic fiber brush is what provides the lashes with "dramatic volume and sculpted length." I definitely noticed a difference!

In addition to giving me great length and volume, the product is also 100 percent cruelty-free and gluten-free, so they don't test on animals, and everyone can wear it.

My lashes before using the mascara (left) and after.
My lashes before using the mascara (left) and after. Kayla Boyd / TODAY

Affordable, effective and highly rated — you'd think Essence couldn't make it any better, right? Turns out, you'd be wrong. The brand also offers a two-piece set of its bestselling Lash Princess mascara in both the original and its waterproof formula. (If you're looking to treat yourself, this is the gift that keeps on giving.)

Essence Lash Princess Duo Pack

With over 219,000 verified five-star global ratings on Amazon, I'm not surprised that the original False Lash Effect is one of the retailer's No. bestselling makeup products. It also boasts a near-perfect overall five-star rating, which has been determined by over 313,000 satisfied reviewers.

"This is my second order of this stuff," one verified reviewer wrote. "It's my favorite mascara because it makes your lashes look thicker and longer, and it's really easy to wash off with water or with makeup removal wipes."

Another customer raved about how the lightweight formula helped them achieve "lush lashes" after applying just two coats. "It goes on easily — not heavy. [It] gives great length and fullness to your lashes," they added.

If you're looking for a new mascara, I would definitely recommend giving Essence Lash Princess a try. I have used tons of different mascaras, including luxury and high-end brands, but this one remains at the top of my list. And considering how many Amazon users feel the same as I do, it's certainly worth adding to your Amazon wishlist.