Friday, March 12, 2010

Rant by Joeybunny - The Mystery of Mascaras

(Image from

If there’s any one makeup item that is harder to review than others, it would have to be mascara. Granted, all makeup experiences are inherently personal and personalized - what works for me won’t necessarily work for Elvira, and what works for Elvira might not work for you, etc. Skin texture and skin color/lip color undertones do something to how eyeshadows, blushes, lip colors, foundations, and concealers appear and work on an individual person. But we all have eyelashes, right? And eyelashes are all made out of hair, right? Ok, so some people have fairer eyelashes than others, but one would really think that mascara would be the one product that people can generally agree on. It makes sense, no?: Everyone has the same starting base (eyelashes) so mascaras *should* theoretically respond the same on everyone. So why is it that when you ask the MakeupAlley Makeup Board girls to list their favorite mascara, you get a ton of different responses and hardly anyone ever ‘seconds’ a given product?

I have no flipping idea.

Honestly, why is a holy grail mascara so hard to find, and why can people never agree on a given mascara? I don’t know ladies, you tell me what you think. Personally, I think that we all have different lash “looks” we aspire to achieve when we do our makeup. For example, I love having really thick, long, and exaggerated lashes. Think falsies, but without the glue. Now, I know that’s not the look everyone else goes for, but it’s what I like. Some mascaras are better at giving this effect than others, just as some mascaras are more ‘quiet’ and give a natural effect.

In the 10+ years that I’ve been wearing makeup, I’ve experimented with quite a few different mascaras. I’ll try to list the ones I can remember:

Maybelline Great Lash

Maybelline Thick and Soft

L’Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black

L’Oreal Telescopic

Rimmel Sexy Curves

Rimmel Glam Lash

Chanel Exceptionnel


YSL Faux Cils

Clinique Naturally Glossy

Bourjois Pump Up The Volume

L’Oreal Lash Serum (I forget what it’s actually called)

Armani Eyes to Kill

Maybelline XXL (there are different versions and I’ve tried them all)

Cover Girl Lash Blast

That’s all I can think of, but there’s definitely a lot more I could add to this list. There are some I would never repurchase (my hatred of CG Lash Blast might be legendary to some of the old-time MUAers, and Maybelline Great Lash and Thick and Soft are crap). There are some that I have returned to over and over again (L’Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black, Rimmel Sexy Curves). There are some that I would bathe in if it weren’t for the exorbitant price tag, like Chanel Exceptionnel (Rimmel Glam Lash in the original black and pink packaging is an excellent dupe) and Armani Eyes to Kill. Right now I’m currently using the L’Oreal Lash Serum mascara, and it’s just ok. My darling and beloved ladyboss actually brought me back two tubes of the new Maybelline The Falsies Volum’ Express mascara from London last week. It’s supposed to be the latest UK drugstore mascara craze, and I am so excited to be able to try it since it’s not available here. I’ll definitely report back with pictures and a review once I start to use it.

So what do you think? Am I stupid for expecting us all to agree on a mascara? What mascaras have you tried lately, and what do you think of them? I’m curious to see what you all think!


  1. I agree with you. IF there's any makeup product out there that should be universal you would think it would be mascara. But then again you have ladies with watery eyes that need waterproof formulas and not all of our favorite mascaras offer a waterproof variation. I have tried many from drugstore (L'Oreal) or high end (Diorshow). And I have felt that each one in between is just MEH for me. Therefore, I just curl and stick to my MAC Plushlash and accept the fact that I am not blessed with Salma Hayek's perfectly lush and deep dark lashes. I have banned pricey variations for the fact that I just believe it will not do a damn thing for me but I keep hearing about the HG mascara (for some) Armani Eyes to Kill and for a whopping $30 that mascara better give me the illusion of falsies and bring me a sandwich. Okay maybe not the sandwich but it better deliever the illusion of false lashes. I know that may be a LOT to ask for but for $30 I think I'm allowed to ask.

    I know - I should just stop hating and just learn how to apply false lashes if I REALLY want big lashes!

  2. I wonder about this too, and I honestly think that a lot of it has to do with eye size. My eyes are deep-set and hooded, so big brushes are hard for me to use. Also, I think it depends on how long and thick your lashes already are.

  3. I think it comes down to how a person applies mascara, plus their lash type. That's why some work wonderfully for some people, and not so well for others.

    I feel like I suck at applying mascara, so the ones that work best on me are:
    Benefit's BadGal Lash Mascara
    Covergirl LashBlast Luxe
    L'Oreal Collagen Mascara

  4. I agree with Phyrra, its all about the way you apply the mascara. I also agree about the cover girl mascaras not matter how you apply, layer, and mix it comes out horrible. Great post!

  5. It varies so much because like you said, eyelashes are just hair, and everyone's hair is different! Thick, thin, long, straight, curly, and even the way the lashes grow out differ from person to person. Personally, I have a lot of lashes and they're normal length and thickness so I can layer the mascara on and go from normal to falsies depending on application. But, they're straight, so I like to curl them and only certain mascaras will coat them and keep the curl. Like hair, if you style it and get it wet, it goes back to its natural state, mascara does the same, if it's too "wet" my lashes will straighten back out. And I sleep on my left side, so my left lashes grow squished/sideways =D

  6. Cindy (Prime Beauty)March 12, 2010 at 1:13 PM

    Ah my little Joeybunny, you are right, women will NEVER agree on mascara. I personally can find wht I think is the absolute perfect mascara and then will try whatever new one is on the market--high or low end. We all do have diferently shaped eyes and different lashes. Some are short, some are straight, some are light, etc. I personally do NOT understand anyone who would want a "natural" lash look. Make mine the longest, thickest, blackest, hit-my-eyebrows, please!

  7. I'm with you, I want huge, thick sweeping lashes that touch my glasses. I haven't found that mascara yet and will not give up my search!

  8. Mascara and concealer are my biggest makeup woes. Is it so much to ask for a mascara that won't flake and that will make my lashes look longer? Apparently it is. I just ordered a sampler of Fresh mascara, I hope it works!
    I loved the post, it seems so universal for women to be frustrated over mascara. They keep trying to make innovative brushes and formulas but I guess we just haven't hit on the mascara secret yet...

  9. I love Rimmel London Glam Eyes! Have you tried the volume version? It's great! Today I bought Maybelline Colossal and I LOVED it! The brush is so soft and thick and the formula is pretty nice. Clinique High Impact is another favourite of mine =)

  10. I too like the hugest, longest lashes I can get. I think I actually need to take a break from mascara for a while though. Sometimes it stops working well on me so I need to not wear any for a couple days. Max Factor 2000 Calorie Lash Extreme is my HG, but it's gone is the US now >:[ I also like the L'Oreal Collagen stuff, Rimmel Sexy Curves, and Lancome Hypnose (which is too expensive). I want to try that Falsies mascara so bad!

  11. I think it's to do with chemistry much like any other MU product. I mean sure, hair is hair, but there's different hair types, hence the reason for different shampoos/conditioners.

    Like some mascara smudges on one girl why it doesn't for others.

    I personally cannot stand the long, thick, spidery eyelashes look. I think tehy look scraggy, horrible, ugly, and stupid. They obviously look fake. Not in a 'fake lashes' fake, but 'clumped way too much 'fake it's a mystery why nothing has flaked off yet.

    I personally prefer mascara that doesn't clump, doesn't make my lashes look spidery. I love mascara that can divide and lengthen because I have very sparse eyelashes because I suffer from Trichotillomania (I pull and eat my eyelashes)

  12. Ha, I actually love CG Lash Blast :)

    I know I personally have horrible eyelashes, theyre thin and stick straight, and will not stay curled unless I use a heated eyelash curler (which I'm too paranoid about to use everyday).

    I like my lashes to look thick and defined but not all clumped and gross and spidery, though sometimes I like the natural look too. Problem is, I've found mascaras that do this, but they dont do anything for holding a curl :( so my lashes end up looking defined and awesome, but stick straight.

  13. I just wanted to thank you all for the responses this post received! Here I was thinking I was stupidly rambling about a boring subject! I love you all for tackling a question I really felt needed a more intelligent answer than the one I was able to postulate.

    Lexi - GA Eyes To Kill is phenomenal, I must say. Elvira didn’t like it much, I know, but it gives me a close to falsies effect. The closest to falsies I’ve gotten is Exceptionnel de Chanel (for a drugstore alternative, Rimmel Glam Lash is *really* close, like I said). The price kills me because I stick to the ‘3 month’ rule when it comes to mascaras. I must say, though, I do usually finish my mascaras in a month! Also, falsies are easy to apply once you get the hang of them! PRACTICE!!

    Aimee - I totally didn’t think of eye size, or eyelash length/density!

    Phyrra and PrincezzJasmin - I think application is important too. I’m a huge advocate of starting from the roots, rolling the brush up, then going back a second time in a zig-zag motion.

    Claudia M. - Oh no, squishy lashes! =)

    Cindy - I don’t get the natural lash look, either!

    Janet - If my lashes aren’t touching my brows, I’m not happy! I really recommend Rimmel Glam Lash for that look!

    Kat - A universally agreed upon mascara might be a sign of the end times, haha! Good luck with the Fresh mascara!

    Marce - I haven’t tried the Glam Eyes Volume version! I guess I need to now, though.

    Heather - I’ll let you know how the Falsies mascara is! I liked a lot of the Max Factor mascaras and I’m sad they’re no longer available in the US.

    GeekyEejit - The idea of eyelash chemistry really didn’t occur to me! I find that Clinique mascaras are especially good at lengthening and separating - have you tried any?

    SilhouetteScreams - CG Lash Blast is the Orange Devil! It made me *lose* lashes!! Also, heated curlers aren’t scary! Give them a try =)

  14. I think when it comes to the hair that is our lashes it's equally different as the hair on our heads, brows or our skin colours. Some have fuller lashes, some have curly, some have straight, some point upwards, others point straight downwards. Some are easy to shape and others less. Some are short and some are long, some are dry as a stick, others can't hold any mascara due to oiliness. Some seem to fall off for anything, others don't even break when sleeping in your hardcore party makeup.

    That's why, I think, that mascaras work so differently on different people.
    Just as your pores defines what makeup or skincare that work for you, or the undertones in your skin color define what foundation you wear.

  15. I have tried many many mascaras over the past 15 years and my absolute favorite is MAC's mascara X. Dior show was not bad either. I did not like YSL or clinique or any of the drug store brands. I am interested in trying the ARmani Eyes to Kill though.

  16. try blink its $15 its amazing you can build up your lashes as long as you a want and they become like tubes around your lashes and than you can cry as much as you want and they wont go anywhere to take it off you have to wash your face or shower in warm water and slightly pinch your lashes (dont pull) and after about a min then they will slide off your lashes and it looks like all of your lashes fell out but its just the tubes


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