I think Maybelline's Define-A-Lash Mascara is the best drugstore mascara available today. In fact, it beats out most high-end mascaras by a long shot because of performance and price.
The Define-A-Lash Mascara is available in four formulations. The one I use all the time is the Volume Washable Mascara, shown here. Also available are Washable Lengthening Mascara and Waterproof Lengthing Mascara, both of which come in a lime green tube (love the Washable Lengthening one too). The fourth is a Volume Waterproof Mascara, just in case you need super-strength holding power (I don't - the other volume mascara lasts forever and is easy to remove).
All three are available in Very Black, Soft Black, and Brownish Black. I have all three colors and use them all for different effects.
The best qualities of these mascaras are that: 1) they do define lashes, leaving no clumps at all, 2) they add length without fibers, 3) they last all day without flaking, smudging, or loss on the lashes, and 4) the flexibility of the wand makes it easy to coat lashes (more on the wand below). They look as good at the end of the day as they did after application.
I started with the lime green tubes and moved to the dark red tubes on a lark. I was amazed at the compliments I got from department store artists, all wanting to know whose mascara I was wearing. Tee hee! If you want some oomph, I would recommend the volume product in the dark red tube. If you want your eyelashes to look great, but with no mascara appearance, start with the "lengthening" mascara (they all lengthen, so the distinction is a bit misleading). I know a savvy guy who wears this mascara!
As you might imagine, this mascara is perfect for recession budgets at about $7.95 (drugstore.com) or slightly over $8.00 at drugstores. There are so many BOGO offers, you should stock up when you can get two for the price of one.
I have only one very minor complaint, and it hasn't stopped me from living in this mascara. Sometimes, you will get a wand that is too flexible. It's nearly impossible to get it back in the tube. When that happens, I return it to CVS and get an instant replacement. So, there's really no risk at all. Try this wonderful mascara!
Photo courtesy of Maybelline.