Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Here, Let Me Show You My Mascaras

There are so many things that can make a mascara go wrong. It can smudge. It can flake. It can itch, or smell, or clump, or loosen curl, or fade, or fill-in-the-blank-here. My lashes are naturally long, dark (slightly lighter at the tips), and plentiful, and they grow straight, so if I don't curl them, they bump against my glasses (even more of a problem when wearing mascara!). I therefore look for mascara that doesn't clump them together (an effect of many volumizing formulas) and does hold a curl.

Terminology clarification: when I say "mascara clumping", I mean that the mascara builds up on the lashes in little balls. When I say "lash clumping", I mean the mascara clumps individual lashes together, making them look like a single mondo lash.

Since mascara needs to be replaced at least every three months, I try to stick to drugstore options, but there are a couple of higher-end ones here. My absolute favorite HG love forever is Armani Eyes to Kill, but it's $30 a tube and in the 2 years since I first purchased it, I haven't been able to bring myself to fork over the cash again. Fortunately, Maybelline Full N Soft is almost as good and 1/5 the price! And several of these that I've tried lately are good, too. (Most of the pictures in this post are stolen from other posts on the blog, so if they look familiar, don't worry, you're not crazy. Or, well, you might be, and at the very least you certainly have an uncannily excellent visual memory, but it's probably not reason to get yourself checked out.) For all mascaras here, I have chosen the blackest option, since anything else just seems pointless.

For reference, bare, curled lashes:
you're gonna be seeing a lot of my right eye in this post.
Maybelline Full N Soft, one coat:

First up, one that I didn't love: Clinique High Impact.
It sounded like it would be right up my alley: lengthening, natural, and endless raves. Unfortunately, I found that it tended to clump my lashes together, making it look like I had fewer, very thick, eyelashes, which was not what I was going for. It's not terrible, and I did use it for the full 3 months, but I won't repurchase. I'm in the minority, though!
Clinique High Impact, one coat
High Impact is available wherever Clinique is sold (Sephora, pretty much any department store, among others) for $16 for 0.28 oz.

Though I love Full N Soft, I decided to pick up a couple of other well-reviewed Maybelline mascaras when there was a sale. I apparently neglected to ever photograph Volum' Express The Falsies, so I will just say I did not like it (clumping of lashes and mascara). Two others were more successful, though:

Maybelline Volum' Express One By One has one of those weird big rubber brushes:
Those who are more adept (and less blind) at mascara application may find it is no problem, but I regularly found myself unable to maneuver the wand and ended up smearing mascara where I didn't want it (to be fair, this happens with most mascaras, because I am a klutz, and helps explain why almost all of my finished eye looks have little spots of mascara on otherwise tidy eyeshadow). It was a little prone to lash clumping, contrary to the name, and I found it loosened the curl, but a lash comb helped the former and re-curling once it was dry the latter.
one coat on curled lashes
one coat after combing through
It gives nice length, and in spite of the name, I didn't find it particularly volumizing, but it was nice enough. Probably wouldn't repurchase, but I'm glad I tried it! (Also, I noticed that it and the one below were both scented, which is just weird––who the hell needs perfumed eyelashes? It didn't irritate my eyes, but those more sensitive to fragrance may find it problematic.) (Also also, they both have truly hideous tubes. If you're a fiend for packaging, RUN AWAY.) $8.49 for 0.30 oz, available from drugstores

Maybelline The Colossal Volum' Express has a more traditional brush, though it's also a bit on the large side.
The formula is a little wet, though it gets better the longer the tube is open (as happens with many formulas). I find it tends to weight down the curl, and is prone to lash clumping, so I find it looks best, like One by One, after combing through and re-curling.
one coat on curled lashes; this was after it had been open for a couple of months, so the curl loosening wasn't as
bad as at first
one coat after combing through and lightly re-curling
It's fine, but it's not fabulous. Those who prefer more volumized/dramatic lashes may find it more to their taste, but I like mine a bit more defined. $5.99 for 0.31 oz, available from drugstores

Tarina Tarantino Fleur de Lash Faceted*
This I won in Liz's giveaway, and y'all gave favorable feedback on it. It has a traditional brush (hooray!), holds a curl really well, and gives nice volume (and some length, but that's not its strength). It's a little bit dramatic for my usual taste, but I still like it a lot––it wears all day without smudging or flaking, can be built up for more drama (not that I ever do!), and the black is very black. Those of you who like furrier fringe should definitely give this a go––at $19 a tube, it's not horrifically expensive, and the quality is definitely there. $19 for 0.47 oz (nobody would ever get even close to using all that up before it went bad! Dear TT: make it half the size and half the price, thanks!), available from Tarina Tarantino, Beauty.com, and Dermstore
*received as part of winning a giveaway

because I'm too lazy to photograph
it myself. via
To help combat lash clumping (and mascara clumping, too, I suppose), I use a lash comb that I picked up from Sephora, the Pro Brow Comb #21. Ideally, I don't have to use it, but it's nice to have on hand for those days when my mascara decides it wants to be difficult. I'm not sure if it's more effective to brush them out before or after they've dried, so I just go with whatever I'm feeling, and as long as I brush upwards, I don't generally need to re-curl afterwards.

I have a tube of L'Oreal Telescopic waiting for me once my two current ones have to be thrown out, so we'll see how that goes. What's your favorite mascara? Have you tried any of these?
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