May the best mascara win
I dedicate this post to girls (and boys), who struggle in the lash department. To be very precise - if you find that you have got the length, yet not the volume - this one is for you. All of my bushy Bambi-lash beauties, I'll chat to you in my next article. Over the course of past few months, I have tested eight bestselling mascaras (both high-end and drugstore). Some turned out to be okay, some were amazing and some borderline horrible. Curious to know more? Then please keep on scrolling.
Disclaimer: mascara is that one makeup item that I am very blunt and vocal about; there are no grey areas for me - I either love or hate it. We all have different lashes to begin with, so please be open-minded and understand that even if I do not like something, it doesn't mean it won't be right for you or someone else (unless it is absolutely whack).
My Lashes: long, semi-lifted, yet not very voluminous. My eyes are sensitive. I do use a lash separator with all of my mascaras.
Ideal Mascara: defines each individual lash, adds volume and sophisticated drama, without looking clumpy/spidery or feeling heavy/dry.
Let's start off on a sour note and talk about mascaras that did not work for me for one reason or another.
Glossier Lash Slick (16 USD; Made in France) despite its uber cute, millennial pink packaging - it turned out to be, hands down, the worst mascara I have tried this year. I love the brand and use many of their makeup/skincare products on a daily basis (read more about my favorites here). Having said that, I also know (from my long history of reviewing Glossier) that their formulas can be very hit-or-miss and sadly Lash Slick is from the latter camp.
Turn offs: spiky wand that hurts the eye; formula feels dry and is difficult to remove. While it adds length, it does nada in terms of volume. Alcohol is the third ingredient here too, which probably explains why I despise this [sad excuse for a] mascara so much.
Clinique High Impact Mascara (19.50 USD; Made in Canada) is loved by many, myself excluded. It claims to pump up the volume and lengthen lashes all at the same time. Well...from my experience it was a total snooze. While I like the classic pine-tree shaped wand and creamy texture, formula itself does not add any volume. It glues everything together and I find that perfecting the look of my lashes with this one takes a lot of time. Too much work for what it is.
Turn offs: clumpy; hard to apply; makes lashes look worse than they naturally do. Hard pass.
The Wanted To Love But...
Highly rated mascaras that sadly did not work for me.
Hourglass Caution Extreme Lash Mascara (29 USD; Made in Italy) was a big let down. Despite its gorgeous high-end packaging, weight (and hm...price) - formula ended up being way too dry for my gusto. My eyes can get easily itchy when I wear mascaras that are Sahara-esque in feel and this is exactly what happened with Caution. Whenever I wore it, I could not wait to get it off and that already speaks for itself. I guess if you have thicker lashes naturally, then you might work with it. As for me, I have to layer it real hard, which ultimately leads to excessive flaking. While the brand claims that it is a weightless formula, I can assure you it is not.
Turn offs: needs to be layered; crumbles and is a monster to remove. Love the brand, but this guy is too much ado about nothing.
Laura Mercier Caviar Volume Panoramic Mascara (25 USD; Made in Italy) is a newer release and despite its wonderful claims (most of which are true), I find that it just does not give me enough volume to become an everyday staple. It has a beautiful creamy texture, unique spiral wand and soft bristles, however, it is not as dramatic as I wanted it to be. It feels nice on the lashes though, but is probably best suited for people with naturally good lashes; those of you, who only want a soft definition and nothing over the top for a day-to-day wear.
Turn offs: wish it was more volumizing; may crumble.
The Almost Winners
Mascaras that used to be my go-to, yet I found better.
Maybelline Total Temptation (10.49 USD; Made in Canada) will give many high-end mascaras a run for their money. As far as affordable products go, this has to be one of my top favorites. It gives me soft, voluminous lashes, applies evenly and wears nicely throughout the day (no smudges or flakes). I like this rather traditional, pine-shaped wand and find that it does a good job at accessing even remote baby-lashes. While it wears nicely, it can be a touch clumpy. I'd recommend using a lash separator with it.
Turn offs: it is good, but I found a nicer alternative.
Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara (26 USD; Made in Italy) used to be my number one for a very long time, but you guessed it right - I have moved on to a much better rival. Don't get me wrong, if I had no other options to choose from, I'd go with Marc. This is easily one of the best volumizing mascaras out there; it does everything it claims to and more. I find that it gives me volume, definition and a bit of length. It wears beautifully throughout the day and survives extremely hot temperatures (it is not even waterproof). I do not need to pile it on to get a desired effect and it feels weightless, which is another great thing about it. Highly recommend this one.
Turn offs: only turn ons!
Seek and ye shall find.
L'oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise (10.99 USD) is still the best mascara at the drugstore. This baby is not a one trick pony - while it promises volume, it also adds length and amazing colour. If you are challenged in the [sparse] lash department, you are going to love it. Applies easily, wears all day long, survives heat/cold, doesn't smear or flake...what else can I say? It is as good as it is going to get (at least for the time-being). This hourglass-shaped wand is so user-friendly; while it is similar in feel to some other high-end mascaras, personally I find it works just as good as Marc Jacobs does and for 10 dollars? It is a total bargain.
Chanel Le Volume Revolution De Chanel Extreme Volume Mascara (35 USD; Made in Italy) is the QUEEN of volumizing mascaras. Mark my words. Long, royal-esque name aside - it does exactly everything it claims to and more. It turns my sparse lashes into bambi-lashes, lasts all day, feels feather-light, doesn't budge/flake and will stay intact for as long as needed. Now, New York is extra moody this summer, and getting a mixture of rain and this mascara straight into my eyeballs was not a fun experience. However! It will never burn otherwise (at least that was the only occasion for me). I find that I can get really close to the roots of my lashes, without hurting myself; this honeycomb-structured wand has tiny little plastic bristles, yet they make all the difference as far as application goes. Texture is deliciously creamy and gives you enough room to play around and layer the product. Now, the only downside is the price and well... here is another thing - you will look like a racoon after removing it. So make sure to use an oil-based eye makeup remover to completely dissolve it in the most delicate way possible. Bravo, Chanel. At this point I couldn't love you more!
What do you guys think about these mascara picks? Let's chat some more in the comments!
More online: sephora.com, ulta.com, nordstrom.com
Purchased products and PR samples; full disclaimer here