May the best mascara win
It has been exactly one year [and one month] since my article titled Battle Of The Mascaras: Best & Worst, July 2019 went live. Many of you guys loved it and found it extremely helpful, which is why I have decided to turn my "mascara massacres" posts into a mini, yearly tradition. It took me precisely a year to test 10 mascaras (either new to me or new in general).
Curious? 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 that it won't be right for you or someone else (unless it is absolutely wack)
My Lashes: long, semi-lifted, yet not very voluminous. My eyes are sensitive. I do use a lash separator with most of my mascaras
Ideal Mascara: defines each individual lash, adds volume and sophisticated drama, without looking clumpy/spidery or feeling heavy/dry
I mean... someone had to say it
Too Faced Damn Girl! 24 Hour Mascara (25 USD; Made in Canada) - daaaamn, this is bad. The only good thing about this mascara is that it doesn't have a sex-related name to it, which is something the brand has been shoving down our throats (okay, maybe I am getting a little bit graphic here) for the last four years. Don't get me wrong, I am not a prude (more like a sailor of my family). But even I am sick of brands trying to overcompensate for the lack of quality by giving their mascaras these obscene names and descriptions.
I also don't understand why Too Faced decided it was a good idea to go with a wand that is larger than average person's eyes? This brush is so chubby and fat, it is actually a tiny bit smaller than my thumb. I do not know how far you have to tilt your head back in order to avoid smudging it all over your eyes.
Turn Offs: this entire concept is a turn off. You are basically paying for clumps, flakes, 24-hour smudges and false advertisement. The only comforting thought is that now I can finally toss it into the trash.
Tarte Big Ego Mascara (23 USD; Made in Italy) - not sure what is going on with Tarte at the moment, but I can't remember the last time they launched something worth talking about. Although I have enjoyed some of their mascaras in the past, this one is a total snooze. It literally does nothing. It flakes, feels drying and doesn't really do much in terms of volume. Plus if you decide to wear it, you will have a higher chance of seeing racoon in your mirror's reflection than one roaming around the backyard.
Turn Offs: although this neon pink hurts my eyes, it doesn't hurt me to say that this mascara is plain awful and I would not recommend it to anyone. Not even your nemesis.
The Could Be Good But...
...they just didn't work
Sephora Outrageous Oversized Lashes Mascara (N/A; Made in Italy) - conveniently discontinued in 2020, this was one of the disappointing products from the Sephora Brand itself. Although most of their products have friendly, drugstore price tags and okay formulas - this mascara is really not worth your time or money. It is not nearly as bad as the other two we just chatted about, but it is also not the one to write home about.
Turn Offs: I feel like it only made my lashes darker and that's it. No "outrageous" volume, not even under a microscope. Even if you see it at your local Sephora for like 1 dollar, keep on walking.
Lóreal Paris Voluminous Butterfly Sculpt Mascara (10 USD; Made in USA) - was a random purchase, mainly because I was intrigued by this mascara's intricately designed wand. The only positive thing about this product was that, unlike most mascaras, these tiny little plastic bristles managed to get real close to the roots of my lashes, coating them all the way from bottom to top. Aside from that, application was time consuming (too many clumps!) and the final result didn't wow me all that much. As a matter of fact Urban Decay just launched a high-end doppelgänger version of this same mascara called Lash Freak (FYI the brand belongs to Lóreal) and from what I have noticed most people had similar complaints.
Turn Offs: non-offensive gimmick, but still not really worth your money.
The Almost Winners
beautifully formulated mascaras, that might work better for others
Gucci Mascara L'Obscur (35 USD; Made in Italy) - potentially the most beautiful mascara packaging I have ever seen, however, this formula does not do much for my lashes. It glides on with ease, coats and separates every single lash but... it doesn't nearly add as much volume as I would love it to. It might work best for people, who have been blessed in the lash department. It wears beautifully for hours, without flaking or smudging. I find that it also gives me a nice mini lift. Alas, it is not the best mascara I've ever tried.
Turn Offs: good one, but not for me. I still recommend it to those of you, who have thick lashes and want your mascara to look "natural", while adding a bit of lift, length and definition. It is best removed with a bi-phase or oil-based eye makeup remover.
Chanel Le Volume De Chanel Waterproof (32 USD; Made in France) - I actually bought this waterproof version by mistake. Last year I have ranked Le Volume Revolution De Chanel as my number one"does it all" mascara (it still is an absolute favorite of mine), but this original/waterproof version might be best for those of you, who [again] have really good lashes and just want definition but nothing over the top crazy. It will lengthen, coat each individual lash nicely and also wear all day long. As far as waterproof formulas go, this one never felt drying and was relatively easy to remove.
Turn Offs: more volume, s'il vous plaît!
YSL Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils The Curler (29 USD; Made in France) - wonderful option for beauties with naturally stunning lashes. This mascara might be the endgame for you: it is lenghtening, lifting, long-lasting and actually conditioning (thanks to Coconut, Walnut Leaf and Bamboo Oils). Although I'd still consider repurchasing it (by the way the price is justified here), it did not give me as much wow-factor as other mascaras I am about to mention next.
Turn Offs: it lengthens more than it volumizes, yet still a lovely mascara that I do recommend.
this is what you came for
MAC Cosmetics Extended Play Gigablack Lash (21 USD; Made in Canada) - this little guy has been in my life for many moons now. If you are looking for a smudge-proof mascara, this one is for you. Frankly, it does nothing for the top lashes, yet it is magnificent as far as lower lashes go. I do not even bother to look for alternatives, this one is the best! It has a very slim, yet long brush with natural, short bristles. It sculpts baby lashes in the most flattering, beautiful way possible and lasts all day long (no smudges, flakes or anything like that). Since I use creamy/hydrating concealers, most mascaras tend to transfer under my eyes; this one will never fail you. I can see why both makeup artists and beauty addicts around the World love it so much.
Turn On: a cult-favorite for all of the right reasons; highly recommend!
YSL Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils (29 USD; Made in France) - a true hall of fame bestseller: say hello to volume, length, definition and drama. This must be the most volumizing mascara I have tried to date (and as you can guess I have gone through a lot of them in my blogging years); it honestly is so thick, I have to use a lash separator to remove some of the product residue (but if you want a false lash effect, by all means just keep on layering!). Once this beast is on, it will stay put all day feeling quite comfortable/non-drying on the lashes. It takes a good minute to remove it, which is why an oil-based cleanser is your ally here. The only downside is that this is a perfumed formula and while it did not irritate my eyes, this might not be the case for everyone.
Turn On: does everything it claims to and more. Plus the updated formula now has Moroccan Argan Oil and Pro-Vitamin B5 to condition your lashes. I mean, does it get any cooler than that?
Essence Lashes Of The Day Super Volume Mascara (4.99 USD; Made in Luxembourg) - even if this was a 20 dollar mascara, I would still pay for it (it is that damn good!). Why does no one ever talk about Essence mascaras? They are phenomenal. When I was reviewing Gucci Makeup a couple of weeks back, I have mentioned a mysterious four dollar drugstore mascara that outperformed a lot of expensive ones and well... this is the one! The packaging might do this product a disservice, it is a bit childish. However! This is what The Cave Of Wonders in Aladdin referred to as "the diamond in the rough"; might not look like much, but the formula is superb. Neither too wet nor too dry; coats each individual lash, adds length, volume and definition. You can literally apply it without a mirror (the brush does the job for you) and still get amazing results, which is something I truly appreciate since I (similarly to you guys) do not have time or patience to finesse my lashes for half an hour. I need something reliable, quick and effective.
Turn On: with this mascara, I feel like my lashes still look very natural (yet ten times better) and I can't wait to try more from the brand! The only thing - since it is not waterproof, it might sometimes transfer a tiny bit. Other than that, it is the best drugstore mascara discovery of 2020 thus far!
What do you guys think about these mascaras? Let's chat some more in the comments!
PR samples and purchased products; full disclaimer here