The Great Mascara Review

My scary mascara tray in my train case -- I used to be a one-tube woman!  Holy crap!Ages ago, I blogged about my recent purchase of  Sephora’s The Lash Stash sampler.  I systematically tried every single tube, as well as purchasing  or redeeming every single other sample-size tube I saw from them, including BadGal, Diorshow, and a Fresh mini duo.  And I finally came up with some conclusions!

Sadly, I did not care for most of the mascaras included in their kit.  My favorites from the sampler pack were Urban Decay’s Big Fattie, and Too Faced’s Lash Injection Pinpoint.  However, I also fell for the non-sampler minis of Diorshow, the teal Fresh Firebird, and lastly a Clinique surprise stunner that became my new Holy Grail of mascaras.  My hairdresser even complimented me on how great it looked the other day, and that’s high praise indeed!

My reviews kinda broke down like this: I loved Diorshow for the initial application full of clump-free volume and length, but I didn’t love the eventual flaking and smudgery that inevitably occurred.  I loved Too Faced’s tiny Pinpoint brush, since the bases of my lashes are blonde and hard to reach with a normal brush (unless I don’t mind striping up my lids in the process).  But Too Faced a) kinda stung my sensitive eyes, and b) was a huge pain to remove, even armed with hardcore ouchy makeup remover.  (I totally didn’t realize Too Faced’s formulation was a “tube” mascara, or I would’ve stayed away!)

So I went on a quest to find another mascara with an equally tiny brush, but a kinder formulation.  Enter Clinique Lash Power Mascara.  Similar teensy brush to Too Faced, but a better formulation that didn’t flake or smudge but was easy to get off with just warm water.  It’s not quite a tube formulation (like Blinc KissMe or Imju Fiberwig, or Too Faced for that matter) but still lasts through heat and rain and sweat.  So great!  And apparently they also make it in a brownish shade that my redhead-ish friend Charli decided to try out — I’ll update if I hear or see how that goes.

Anyway, in case any other mascara nerds are insanely curious, I took notes every day I was trying out a different brand, so read on for those…

A couple caveats, though:

1) I have sensitive eyes, so this is the first time I’ve ventured into non-natural mascara formulations in quite some time.

2) I have very long lashes naturally, but they’re blonde at the base and the tips.  So I like a mascara with a brush that allows me to get in deep at the roots without smearing my entire eye up, and I also like a mascara that’s just as thickening/volumizing as it is lengthening, otherwise my lashes look like eye-wielded weapons that will impale people when I blink.

3) I used to apply just one coat of my mascara, but lately I’m into a major 60s lashy look.  I also had to apply more than one coat with all of these samples in order to get the minimum amount of coverage I liked, due to dryness.  And lastly, I wanted to see how they performed being touched up later in the day or having two coats applied from the start.  Good thing, too, because some of them took to that way better than others.


Too Faced Lash Injection Pin Point: This stuff was the big winner for me, though I do have to give a lot of caveats.  A) Pain to remove. B) Kinda stingy. C) Can’t make ANY mistakes in initial application or you will be stuck with them.  D) This includes blinking — if you blink after doing your upper and lower lashes, they tend to stick together!  E) And no curling or second coats.  That said, when it’s done right, it looks great and stays on for THREE DAYS — but too much trouble for my taste.

Urban Decay Big Fattie: A pretty good first runner up to the Too Faced, I think, but this stuff did tend to flake off a bit.  Moderately lengthening and volumizing, but a bit more length than thickness.

CARGO Texas Lash: This stuff was one of the majorly dried-out tubes, so I wasn’t able to get as good an application at first.  It felt only moderately lengthening and volumizing, and it flaked off a bit.  Didn’t take well to being topped off later in the day.  But it did improve with regular use, and I’ll use it in a pinch if I’m in a hurry.

Smashbox Bionic Mascara: More length than thickness, so I just looked spikey-eyed.  Pluss it smudged/flaked a bit and I wasn’t wild about the brush.  On second use it was better than I remembered, but nothing special.

Sephora Atomic Volume Mascara: Ouch/ew!  Another painful brush!  Who cares about the formulation if getting the stuff on your eyes is torture in the first place!?

DuWop Lash Venom: Blah.  I’ve found DuWop’s stuff to be kinda cheap quality (which matches their website, heh) and this was no exception.

Korres Deep Colour Mascara: Kinda stingy on my sensitive eyes, especially for a natural formulation.  Nothing special, either — even the packaging was boring. :)

Tarte Lights Camera Lashes 4-in-1: This stuff had a weirdly-textured brush that really hurt my eyes when I applied it!  Because of that, I wasn’t able to comfortably get good application on the base of my lashes or on my lower lashes — it was a very strange and unpleasant sensation.  I didn’t like the formula either — all length and no volume so I just looked spindly — but the brush was a deal-breaker early on.  Plus it flaked.  Boo.

Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash: Yet another ouchy brush and lengthening-but-not-volumizing formulations!  I was not a fan of this at all, from the initial application right through the rest of the day.  Not lengthening or volumizing enough to make up for the flaking, smudging, and pain in application.

Vincent Longo The Curl: This came with one of those oh-so-modern curved brushes, which drove me crazy.  I don’t find them easier to use and they don’t tend to fit my eye shape.  Needless to say, this stuff didn’t curl my lashes noticeably (I ALWAYS considered “curling” mascaras to be full of marketing hype crap, and now I feel validated!) and it was too lengthening for the comparable lack of volume.


Christian Dior Diorshow: This was nice at first, but dried out quickly.  Initial application is friendly to touchups and looks fab, but like all non-waterproof formulations, it flakes and smudges over time.  I’d love to try the waterproof version if they ever come out with a freebie mini of it!

Benefit BadGal: Better than I expected, but ultimately still a bit flakey/smudgey.  Still, it was less irritating than I expected to my sensitive eyes, and more lengthening and volumizing.  Just not the winner in the long run.

Fresh Firebird: So lovely.  This stuff is truly very fringey like they say, but it does wear off and smudge pretty easily.  Still, takes well to touch-ups and multiple applications, and it manages to lengthen in a fringey way while adding some volume but not tons.  Lovely for certain looks, and I’ll definitely consider repurchasing if they start selling this in a solo mini (instead of bundled with their other mascara mini).

Fresh Supernova:  This stuff was okay, but nothing special and way too smudgy.  Plus the oddly shaped brush annoyed me (those never do good things for my weird lashes).  It wasn’t a bad product, just not for me.

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