Mascara review round-up

As promised, here’s your roundup of all of the mascaras I reviewed. Take a look at all of my “after” photos and see if you’ve got a favorite product in the bunch.

To jog your memory, here’s what my eyelashes look like when they’re as naked as centerfold:


And then here are all of the “after” photos next to one another:




I’m going to go ahead and declare a tie between Fresh and Urban Decay, since it didn’t take a ton of time to get my peepers to look defined and full of dramz. I guess. You want to know what I really think, though?

The only mascara I reviewed that was under $20 was the L’Oreal Telescopic. And honestly, unless you’re comparing these photos side-by-side, you can’t tell that it’s any worse than the others. So here’s the question: is it worth it to shell out the big bucks for a mascara that’s only marginally better than your average drug-store loot? When it comes down to it, I think the only thing you should look for in your mascara is a good formula that won’t dry out as soon as you open the tube, and a brush that distributes the product evenly and separates your lashes. Hell, as far as I’m concerned, you could use CoverGirl LashBlast in the giant orange tube that looks like a sex toy. It’s got all of the right components – firm bristles and a nice wet product. The best mascara for you really comes down to your personal preference: do you like a small brush (like Cargo or L’Oreal) that gives you a lot of control but will require more application time, or do you like a large brush (like Urban Decay or Benefit Bad Gal) that will be quicker but more sloppy? Do you want a mascara that looks natural on its first coat (L’Oreal or Maybelline Great Lash) or one that immediately looks like false lashes (Lancome Fatale)?

By the way, a word on Bad Gal: a lot of people swear by it and I like it just fine (especially the blue version). The brush is HUGE so it’s not great for precision, but the formula is fine and you can have almost fake-looking lashes in under a minute. Is it better than Maybelline’s Great Lash? Not once you’ve got it on. Will it save you a couple of minutes in the morning if you like to wear a lot of makeup? Sure. The only decision you need to make is how much you’re willing to pay for those extra minutes.

I know what I’ve just written is sort of anti-climactic, but I did this series to prove a point: whatever mascara I’m currently using is my favorite. I have yet to discover one that I remain loyal to after the first use. In my opinion, there are a lot of other products that I could spend more money on. Cheap eyeshadow, for example, simply isn’t as good as the more expensive stuff. Same with foundation. But mascara is, I believe, the one cosmetic that you can completely skimp on and never miss the high-end brands. Oh, and for the record? DiorShow sucks. Some people will try to convince you otherwise, but don’t be swayed. I didn’t even bother reviewing it because I didn’t want to risk one of you buying it and then hunting me down for revenge.

If you want the nice stuff, do what I do: get it as part of a set. That way you’re saving money and you get some other totally sweet products. This is also how I’ve gotten most of the nice makeup brushes I own. Here are a couple of sets that I recommend if you’re interested in trying some “nice” mascara:

Cargo blu-ray High Definition Makeup Essentials ($49 – this one has the blush/highlighter that I wear nearly every day)

Fresh Magic Wands Mini-Mascara Duo (only 10 bucks, people, so you can see if you like the shizz without marrying it)

Urban Decay Trifecta ($22 – includes their eyeshadow primer that I can’t live without)

Lancome Best Lashes Mascara Set (includes 5 mascaras and makeup remover for $25. It doesn’t have Fatale, but it has Definicils, which a lot of people love. It’s a solid mascara, in my opinion.)

YSL Touche Eclat Set ($68 – includes Touche Eclat, which at a whopping $40 on its own has changed my life. This is a great value if you want to try YSL mascara, eyeliner, and makeup remover as well. FYI, people who have tried the mascara won’t shut the hell up about how great it is; I have yet to jump on the bandwagon, though.)

Bare Escentuals Buxom Betty Collection ($35 – includes their Buxom Mascara, which is great for people who are sensitive to non-mineral makeup. Bare Escentuals – the makers of bareMinerals, which I use as my foundation and zit coverup – has some of the best gift sets I’ve ever come across. Most of them include NICE brushes, and they’re very reasonably priced. Check out their gift set page to see what I mean.)

Sephora Lash Stash (This is the holy grail of mascara sets. A couple of the products I reviewed this week are included in it, like Urban Decay and DuWop. You get 10 mascaras for $35, so you can really see what you like. The only obvious brands they’re missing are Benefit, Dior, and YSL, but as I said before, Dior is not worth your time.)

Clinique Lash Power Set ($18.50 – if you’re in the market for a solid new mascara, you should try this set. Clinique’s mascara is the only kind that people seem to stick with. It’s not trendy and doesn’t feature some new-fangled brush that vibrates and paints your nails while you put your mascara on. A number of my readers love this stuff, judging by the emails and comments I’ve received, and if you buy this set you get a sample of Clinique’s faaaaabulous eye cream as well as a double-ended highlighter stick.)

Anyway. There you have it. As much as I’m willing to write on mascara in one week.

Now a question for you people: what kind of mascara should I try next? I’m in the market for a new tube, and as usual, I don’t give a rip about sticking with my current brand. All I care about is being able to make myself look like a trollop (meaning TONS of mascara without turning into a tarantula). I’ll do a review of whatever you guys tell me to buy!


14 Comments to “Mascara review round-up”

  1. I just got a free sample at Sephora of Benefit’s Bad Gal mascara…which I used after the wand broke on my FREE tube of Fatale (thank you million dollar make-up settlement-please tell me you cashed in on that, Wiggs!)….which I started using after I happened to run out of my favorite stand-by mascara…MAC’s Pro Lash.

    Anyway…I’m really loving the Bad Gal. I have short, stumpy lashes and this is the formula for me! It lengthens and defines and thats it. It does what it supposed to do! How did I never know that this was all I needed? Seriously! I must have been lured by free mascara!

    p.s. Bad Gal also comes in deep colors…like blue black and purpley-black! Fun!
    p.p.s. LOVE your mom’s books! Who is your favorite Lakeshore man? I’ve got dibs on Noah!

    • WHAT. Wait, wait, wait – lemme get this straight: my FUTURE HUSBAND works at
      a class-action law firm and didn’t know about a settlement with a MAKEUP
      COMPANY? I don’t know who to blame…but somebody’s going to feel my wrath.

  2. Great roundup.
    I agree on the DiorShow, sadly after dropping too much money on it.
    Rimmel mascara is quite cheap for experimenting and I’ve had good experiences with the Lycra Lash Extender (good lash experiences; it didn’t take me out to dinner or anything).

  3. There are so many different mascaras out there, made by various makeup brands. I was looking on a makeup review site, and came across some mascaras you may want to try out next. The site is and they have lots of reviews of various makeup products, mascara included. This may be helpful when looking for new makeup products.

  4. DiorShow! DiorShow! DiorShow! I’ve been wearing it for a few years now and have 1) successfully turned about 10 people to it, 2) love how it sort of smells like jasmine and 3) am complemented on how lovely my lashes are all the time.

    Urban Decay big fatty is totally my fav from your round-up photos. Excellent reviews!

    • Gah, you like DiorShow? Apparently other people do too. I was so
      disappointed in my tube of it. But I’m not the best judge because my
      eyelashes are naturally long and curled, so I’m not as picky as I’m sure
      other people are.

  5. I’ve been pretty happy with my cheapy bargain store purchase of ALMAY® one coat triple effect® mascara – it coats quick and lengthen’s pretty well…I’ve used it quite a bit and the stuff is still gooey, not clumpy or runny . The other brand I just recently tried is Lash Stiletto™ Ultimate Length Washable Mascara from Maybelline…I just liked the name of it..Lash Stilletto…it does do a pretty good job of lengthening but I have to use a couple coats to thicken it up. Can’t beat the “stilleto” for making it sound sexy though!

  6. I do agreee Dior Show sucks!! COst me 36 bucks too! BAH! Right now I am wearing Maybelline’s new one called Stiletto! and I really like it makes my lashes really long and evenly coated. I think I might just try that Urban Decay for kicks. Thanks for the mascara run down! and the great links too.

  7. I do agreee Dior Show sucks!! COst me 36 bucks too! BAH! Right now I am wearing Maybelline’s new one called Stiletto! and I really like it makes my lashes really long and evenly coated. I think I might just try that Urban Decay for kicks. Thanks for the mascara run down! and the great links too.
    BTW I love your blog!

  8. Makeup Forever makes one called smoky lash or something along those lines that is really good.

    I use diorshow blackout. i have long curly lashes too, but what ive come to realize is that the mascara has to dry out just a little. then its amazing. i hate it the first week or two that i have it though.

  9. I am of limited use here because I too am on the search for the perfect mascara – it’s the white elephant of beauty products I tell you!

    However, I suggest giving the Lash Stiletto a whirl. I just bought it and it’s good and has the qualities you look for in a solid tube (***that’s what she said***). When I got mine home thought I was gutted to find that I’d bought the ‘soft black’ instead of the ‘black’. Soft black is BS I tell you. BS! Who wants grey lashes – je suis pissed. But, anyway, Lash Stiletto.

    Lash Stiletto or Maybelline’s Colossal Volum’ Express® Mascara – because I want you to take that bullet for me. Nice fat brush but is it any good?
    Also, they’re replacing a letter with an apostrophe and I’m not sure I can support that.

    • Yeah, what’s with the random apostrophe? I seriously would like to be in on
      the board meeting at Maybelline where someone said, “HEY! Let’s replace the
      ‘e’ in Volume with an apostrophe!” and then somebody else agreed. Pur’
      idocy, if you ask m’.

  10. i’ve tried the maybelline colossal volum’ express blah blah too many words in the name mascara lol. tried and tossed it. HORRIBLE. it made my eyelashes look shorter and thinner. how is that possible?!

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