Battle Of The Mascaras!
Somehow, it seems that we women are always on the hunt for the perfect mascara. But with so many different options on the market (not to mention the wide range of price points), it can be somewhat overwhelming to find out which one works best.
What we were looking for:
Carmen: I look for mascaras that provide volume and at least a little bit of curl. My lashes are pretty thick naturally, so I’m lucky, but they’re stubborn and require the eyelash curler once before the application and another time afterwards (after the product is dried, of course!). As much as I like the thick voluminous lash look, I can’t stand a product that feels heavy – my ideal mascara would provide the volume and curl, without weighing my lashes down.
Madelyn: I’m a huge fan of bold, dramatic lashes. I once attempted lash extensions, but got an allergic reaction midway through the application, so finding a mascara that will make my lashes look full and luscious is definitely important to me. Though my lashes are naturally very long, they’re not very full or thick…so that’s where my ideal mascara would come in handy.
Rimmel ScandalEyes Show Off, $7.99
The promise: Scandalous volume and lift, for lashes to really show off! Its brand new, hugely innovative wand applicator is the first ever brush to combine lash plumping volume with a unique ball tip to make lashes look longer. Flat brush plumps lashes with show-stopping volume, while the unique ball brush lifts and curls lashes for eyes that truly show-off. Fibre-extension formula gives lashes more volume and makes them look longer. Flake-proof, smudge-proof and clump-free formula lasts morning to night.
The test: The "innovation wand applicator" was actually very intimidating to me. The ball tip is meant to make lashes look longer and fuller, but I feel like it just made for awkward application. It definitely lasted all day without flaking or smudging though.
The verdict: My lashes looked a bit fuller, but not longer. I didn't find that the product provided any curl either.
Rimmel ScandalEyes Show Off (VolumeFlash), $7.99
The promise: Big brush mascara that quickly reveals even shy, unnoticeable lashes in one simple stroke! Reveal your natural assets with the new super sized MaxDensity™ brush - a 50% larger brush with more bristles to capture and coat even the smallest lashes. Comb through clumps for perfect definition with 3X collagen + keratin to capture and plump every lash. Create scandalous eye opening impact!
The test: The full brush made application easy. Product tends to get stuck at the end of the brush, so I had to be careful to make sure I didn't apply too much product to one spot. It definitely lasted all day without flaking or smudging.
The verdict: My lashes definitely felt fuller and more voluminous.
Almay Intense I-Color Volumizing Mascara, $9.95
The promise: Get high-impact, bold lashes that make your eye colour pop more than ever. Contains a breakthrough formula featuring crystal-like pigments that multiply the look of lashes while dramatically intensifying eye colour and remaining extra gentle on sensitive eyes. Smudge-proof, flake-proof with a lash enhancing brush with volume-boosting grooves for 2x the volume.
The test: The product tested was mocha-coloured, which is not my usual preference (as I'm a dark-lashed gal). The product seemed light, with a bit of shimmer (package calls it "eye-brightening crystals"). I didn't notice much "big, bold volume", as was promised. May be a good "everyday" product, as the effects of the product are pretty subtle. No kidding with the sparkles - the glitter makes it harder to remove the product without it ended up all over your face.
The verdict: The big brush does a good job of coating the lashes, but I noticed no dramatic volume boost.
Maybelline VolumExpress The Rocket, $9.49
The promise: Clean and explosive volume in just one stroke. New multi-patented brush that revolutionizes instant volume. First to market supersonic brush with a hard, ridged core that loads 8x volume onto lashes with ease.
The test: Not exactly one stroke, but pretty close to it. It's got one of those brushes without much of a bristle that usually freak me out, but the application was not bad. The product goes on pretty heavily. One stroke packs a lot of product. This becomes evident when you try to remove it at the end of the day.
The verdict: The product packaged volume and length and achieved a "wet look" that might be too heavy for everyday use, but perfect if you're looking for that dramatic effect.
WINNER: It's a tie! Maybelline VolumExpress The Rocket and Rimmel ScandalEyes Show Off (VolumeFlash).
The Body Shop Super Volume Mascara, $14
The promise: Long-lasting, smudge-resistant mascara that adds incredible volume and colour to the lashes. Contains Community Fair Trade marula oil.
The test: I was surprised to find a brush that was so slim, as most of the volumizing mascaras I have tried in the past (and during this test) were rather large. It did make the product easy to apply and layer on, depending on how voluminous you want your lashes to appear. The smell of the marula oil was quite noticeable, and I personally didn't like it.
The verdict: My lashes were noticeably thicker and more voluminous, but it didn’t give me the dramatic effect I was looking for. It does receive points for actually being long-lasting, but I did have some smudging by the end of the day.
The rating: 3.5/5
Lise Watier Dramatique Intense 3D Volume Mascara, $24
The promise: This mascara instantly magnifies the eyes with its droplet-shaped brush. For professionally styled eyelashes, the longer bristles amplify longer eyelashes while the shorter bristles reach smaller lashes. With a single stroke, the wavy bristle fibres smooth and coat lashes with maximum volume and audacious length. Creamy formula curls lashes while leaving them more supple, more lustrous and incredibly thick.
The test: At first, I was a little intimidated by the "droplet" brush. I wasn't too sure if I had to flip it for my left eye, as I am right-handed, but it seemed to work well regardless. This is the first mascara I've tried that literally amped up my lashes in ONE stroke.
The verdict: I’m definitely a fan. Though it does take some practice to get the application right, after a few tries, I was able to put it on mess-free. My lashes did look much fuller and thicker, but I’m not sure if I’d want to spend this much money on an “everyday” mascara. I would probably use this for special occasions only.
Lancôme Hypnose Drama, $31
The promise: Instant lash drama in a single coat with this ultra volume-boosting mascara. Full contact brush grasps and loads lashes for a fanned out, full body fringe. Triple coating system delivers a fluid and creamy application to quickly and easily build big, battable lashes that won't clump or flake.
The test: I liked the shape of the brush and it did evenly dispense the product onto my lashes. A couple of coats made my lashes look much fuller and thicker, while still being suitable enough for the daytime. A few more coats amped up the volume for gorgeous dramatic lashes perfect for a night out. I did find though that layering looks best when lashes are still a little bit wet from previous coats.
The verdict: I love the fact that this product provides buildable volume without looking clumpy. It had great staying power and lasted all day without flaking or smudging. While it is very pricey, if you are looking to invest in a mascara, this one is definitely recommended.
The rating: 4.5/5
WINNER: It was very close, but Lancôme Hypnose Drama wins for its ability to create several lash looks with one product.
Gosh Catchy Eyes Mascara, $14
The promise: Achieve delicate separation, extreme definition and perfectly curled lashes with a single stroke. Smooth application and no clumping.
The test: The brush was very simple and curved, without too much product being applied with every stroke. I couldn't get over the scent though - it was definitely reeked of "mascara smell".
The verdict: Lashes fell flat, with no noticeable lengthening or volumizing effect.
The Body Shop Big & Curvy Waterproof Mascara, $18
The promise: Extremely waterproof, smudge-proof and tear-proof mascara with incredible volume and curl. Provides up to 4x more volume and incredible curl. Advanced brush is designed to sculpt lashes, coating them from root to tip and holds lashes in place for a curve that lasts.
The test: Very interesting curved brush (another one without much bristle). On my first attempt, I found the product extremely runny - to the point where it ran right into my eye and burned for a couple of minutes. I seemed to have better luck on my second attempt, with the waterproof product actually staying on my lashes. I had a good time removing this one (it's definitley waterproof!).
The verdict: This is a pretty thick product, which lends to building a pretty thick (voluminous) and dramatic look.
WINNER: Neither product was exceptional, but The Body Shop Big & Curvy wins.
Mineral Fusion Mascara, $14.99
The promise: This gentle, non-irritating flake – and smudge – free formula allows for smooth application to darken and lengthen the lashes, while nourishing and protecting them to promote maximum lash health and fullness. Mascara is 100% Vegetarian. Layer for a more dramatic effect.
The test: As my lashes are already quite dark, I'm not too sure how well this product actually darkens. The formula felt rather heavy, and my eyelashes began to droop with only a few coats of product. It didn't flake, but I did get some smudging at the end of the day, probably because of the heaviness.
The verdict: It did feel pretty nourishing, and did an okay job of lengthening, but it wasn't exactly what I was looking for in a mascara.
The Body Shop Divide and Multiply, $18
The promise: Extend your lashes to glamourous new lengths with an ultra-fibre based, non-clumping mascara. Molded brush technology provides exceptional separation.
The test: This product did a great job of separating my lashes to make them appear fuller, and was actually much more volumizing than I thought it would be. The short, molded bristles on the brush make for easy application without clumping. Unlike other mascaras I’ve used before, It was able to grip onto the shorter lashes, which ultimately made my fringe look much fuller.
The verdict: I was pleasantly surprised with how well this product worked. It has a rather thick formula, which I love, and did everything that it promised to do.
The rating: 4.5/5
WINNER: The Body Shop Divide and Multiply.
Maybelline Great Lash Mascara, $6.99
The promise: The number 1 mascara. Conditions as it thickens without any clumps or globs. Contact lens safe, hypoallergenic lash-doubling formula glides on smooth to build great-looking lashes. The lash building brush makes it easy to get a full lash look.
The test: With a very basic brush, I found the product application to be clean and easy.
The verdict: This product is a cult classic - and I've learned that people either love it, or hate it. I think it would make for a great everyday mascara choice. Clean and easy to apply, my lashes stayed curled. It didn't achieve a dramatic or highly-voluminous look, but that's what makes it a great everyday choice.
Benefit They're Real, $29
The promise: Lengthens, curls, volumizes, lifts and separates. Long-wearing formula that doesn't smudge or dry out.
The test: The brush is longer than usual, with not much of a curve. It helped with even distribution of the product.
The verdict: My lashes stayed curled, with the product providing the subtle volume that I look for in a mascara. A good choice for both "everyday use" and "dramatic night-out".
WINNER: It was a close call, but Benefit They're Real wins the round.
CoverGirl Flamed Out, $9.95
The promise: Flamed Out Mascara fires up the volume for a flamed out lash look with up to 3x the volume. The innovative Volume igniter brush grabs each lash, saturating lashes with even more mascara. The shorter bristles in the centre of the brush increase the likelihood of core contact with the lashes, creating all over coverage, while the ends of the brush soak up the mascara and release it to the lashes for the wide-eyed look. Thick formula sets faster than alternative volumizing formulations, resulting in smudge and smear-resistant application.
The test: I wasn’t a fan of the “igniter” brush at all. The product didn’t distribute evenly, making it very difficult to apply the product to my lashes.
The verdict: It didn’t seem to create much volume, and by the end of the day, everything had flaked off.
Revlon Lash Potion, $9.95
The promise: Drenches lashes with a potion of strengthening proteins for captivating volume and length. Works to nourish lashes so they reach their fullest potential looking lush, long and lustrous. "Illusionist Wand" has wide grooves to instantly coat lashes for maximum volume and triple brushes to comb through for clump-three length in just one swipe. Formula conditions and moisturizes so lashes are less brittle.
The test: This product was a lot like the Mineral Fusion mascara - it felt heavy on my lashes and caused them to droop. Its staying power was the worst of the bunch...I had racoon eyes by the end of the day.
The verdict: This was my least favourite of all the products tested.
Maybelline VolumExpress The Falsies Big Eyes, $9.95
The promise: Gives eyes a more open look by creating 360-degrees of false lash glam. With different brushes for each set of lashes, this dual brush innovation amplifies lashes and creates a full-circle lash effect that makes eyes look two times bigger. The formula never smears, smudges or flakes - even on the bottom.
The test: I normally avoid applying mascara on the bottom lashes, simply because I make a mess and have black smudges underneath my eyes by the end of the day. The bottom lash brush was definitely tiny enough to get to those bottom lashes, but I still had smudging after a full day's wear. The upper lash brush also made for great application and evenly dispensed product creating a full set of fringe.
The verdict: This was definitely one of my favourite mascaras, and at the price point, you really can’t go wrong. Since I did have smudging from using product on my bottom lashes, I would probably stick to only using it on my top lashes, though. My only concern was that the tiny tube didn’t last very long; as I like to layer on this product pretty heavily, I ended up finishing the top tube in a month. But since the top and bottom lash formulas are the same, I just ended up using product from the bottom tube once the top tube was empty. It does really create that “false lash” look...my friend even asked me if I had gotten extensions when I was wearing it!
WINNER: Maybelline VolumExpress The Falsies easily won this round.
Have your say! What is your favourite mascara?
By: Carmen and Madelyn. Product photos courtesy of the manufacturers.