Saturday, October 5, 2013

Bat Your Big Girl Lashes - My Current Mascara Rotation

Hi, everyone!  Let's keep on moving with my makeup collection posts today.  Now that I have shared my warm and cool eyeshadow palettes and eyeliners with you, it's time for the one makeup item that so many of you, like me, are on a never-ending hunt for...mascara.  A disclaimer - I feel that mascara is sort of like a haircare product.  We all have different lashes just like we do hair types/textures, and we are all looking for various effects (lengthening, defining, thickening, waterproof, etc.).  While there are some super-popular mascaras that receive consistently high ratings from makeup artists and customers across the board, I also think that there are many "unsung heroes" in the mascara world.  One has to do some serious (and sometimes expensive) experimenting to find them, so hopefully this post will do the some of the work for you for a few of my favorite ones.

First off, if you want lush, clump-free lashes that open up your eyes, here are two items that you can't go without:

A metal lash comb is a must for getting out any clumps, and a good eyelash curler will keep your lashes from just "sticking out"  and weighing down the overall look of your eye (which is what a lot of mascaras will do if you just apply them to uncurled lashes).  This combo eyebrow brush/eyelash comb is a recent find from Sonia Kashuk, which can be found at Target.  The eyelash curler is from Shiseido, and it is a recent replacement for my beloved and super-famous Shu Uemura eyelash curler (which is no longer sold in stores in the U.S., but CAN be purchased on their website still).  Its shape conforms to any type of eye to grip every lash and curl it gently.  Both of these eyelash curlers (the Shu and the Shiseido) beat the PANTS off of any other eyelash curler I've ever tried, high-end or low-end.

Now that we've got the right tools, let's get started with mascaras!  For all of these pictures, I blotted off the top of the wand with each "dip" into the mascara tube and applied one coat on the bottom lashes and two coats on the top.  I used NO mascara base/primer on my lashes or liner on the upper waterline (which are two techniques that will give you some serious mamacita lashes with just about ANY mascara, but I will teach you those tricks in a future post!) and combed through the lashes a little bit with my lash comb after each second coat.  The only thing on my lids is MAC's Paint Pot in Painterly.  Also, I buy all of my mascaras in the blackest black possible (why would you want any other color lashes?  Life is short and lashes should be darrrrk and sultry, big girls).  Lastly, these are all non-waterproof formulas.  Unless I have a funeral or a super-sweaty night of salsa dancing, I don't worry about running or smudging.  Fortunately, years of mascara experimentation have eliminated the smudgers.  (L'Oreal Voluminous, I'm talking to you...)

First up, Rimmel's Lash Accelerator mascara:

While I had read and seen raves about this fairly new product from Rimmel, it didn't do too much for me in the way of volume. However, it definitely does elongate lashes and has a nice, small, traditional (versus plastic-bristle) brush that gives me soft, long lashes.  For me this is a good one for either layering under a thickening mascara or for using on bottom lashes.

Next, we have NYX Doll Eyes Long Lash Mascara:

I.LOVE.THIS.MASCARA.  While it doesn't do much in the thickening department, it is a fiber mascara that gives me loooong, soft, fluttery lashes.  One some days, that's all I want.  NYX cosmetics can be found at Ulta and are also popping up in some Target stores now.

Now, let's get dramatic with two of my favorite do-it-all (thickening AND lengthening)mascaras.

Cover Girl Clump Crusher:

An Instagram post from a recent re-purchase day of this fabulous drugstore mascara.  Paired with a primer and tightlining, it is awesome!

Do-It-All Mascara #2 is Buxom's Amplified Lash Mascara:

Buxom's Amplified Lash has a neat little wand that expands for a more thickening effect (the bristles are wider apart and shorter when it's expanded, so this deposits more of the mascara onto your lashes):

Then, it can be twisted down/shortened for a lengthening effect (the bristles are now a bit longer and more "comb-like" at this length):

Next, the ever-popular Benefit They're Real mascara, which I have been using on and off since I received it in my Sephora Favorites Superstars Kit this summer:

This is only one coat of Benefit's They're Real mascara.  On my lashes, a second coat = clumpiness = lots of work with my lash comb.  "Ain't nobody got time" for all that effort!
While this most definitely IS a very lengthening, thickening, super-black, and dramatic mascara, it is A BEAST TO REMOVE.  Also, I usually can only get away with one coat (though sometimes I do take the time to really work that one coat into my lashes by wiggling the brush and using its midieval torture device NOT poke yourself in the eye with this, girls!  Been there, done it, and it was traumatizing.), as a second coat of this mascara = clump city (and again, I could take the time with my comb to get all of the clumps out...but my lashes and I have places to go and people to charm). 

Last, we have what *used to be* my daily go-to drugstore mascara, Cover Girl's Lash Perfection:

While I love, love, love the tapered, plastic brush on this mascara (one of my favorite things to do with a mascara wand is to flip it around and hold it vertically, using its tip to lengthen and define), it has been almost totally edged out of the race for one of my trusty favorites by these other great mascaras, especially by the NYX Doll Eyes and the Buxom and CG Clump Crusher.  I WILL say, though, that this is a perfect mascara to apply after applying false lashes in order to "blend" them in with my natural lashes.  When I use a mascara on top of falsies, I have found that I most definitely cannot use one that is thickening or that has fibers in it.

So that you can see a comparison of their wand sizes, here are all of the "contestants" together:
From left to right - Rimmel Lash Accelerator, NYX Doll Eyes Long Lash, Cover Girl Lash Exact, Cover Girl Clump Crusher, Buxom Amplified Lash, Benefit's They're Real.

And, for the grand mascara finale, here they all are live and in action for you to compare:
While they all have great qualities that I love and find useful depending on the look I'm trying to achieve, my favorite of all of these is the Buxom Amplified Lash Mascara.  It's super-black, not too "wet" or "dry" like some mascaras, lengthens and volumizes, and holds a curl all day long.  At first I thought that the expanding/shrinking brush trick was just a hokey gimmick, but I'll be darned if it doesn't actually work!  Second place would go to Cover Girl Clump Crusher, with which you REALLY can apply multiple coats before it starts to get even the least bit clumpy (and, it's almost the same as the Buxom, but it doesn't always hold a curl).  Third place goes to the NYX Doll Eyes Long Lash, which is a good one for a more natural look and long, soft, truly doll-like lashes.   

What are your favorite mascaras?  Have you found any unsung mascara heroes recently? 


  1. Terrific post! That eye chart was the best! Funny how different products work differently on different people. CoverGirl Clump Crusher (green tube) is my everyday mascara that gives me a very natural look. I cannot get it to do more than one, maybe two, coats before it dries and is "uncoatable". I never get the kind of volume with it that you were rocking. I like Benefit They're Real and haven't had much problem removing it with Rimmel remover or Maybelline sheets. My favorite is super-affordable essence I Love Crazy Extreme Volume mascara. I get the biggest, fattest lashes from that one. I have a brush from Calvin Klein that's like the Buxom brush. I thought it was a gimmick but I'll give it another try based on your review. But what I detest about the CK mascara is that it creates little tubes around my lashes that absolutely creep me out when I remove it. Ugh.

    1. Thank you!! I was just looking at the Essence mascaras in Walgreens the other day. I usually avoid really large brushes, but I will have to give the I Love Crazy Volume a try. (am in LOVE with the Essence black gel liner!) I did pick up their lash enhancing powder, though ( the name escapes me at the moment...the little container of white fibers that you brush on between coats). Have tried it once so far...not mind-blowing, but definitely a unique concept!

    2. Just curious, Elizabeth, what state are you in? essence is/was being test marketed in some stores in certain areas in the US. I am hoping it's a success for them so that Walgreens takes them in everywhere. In MA where I live, essence has a small display in Ulta that's often picked over. I agree that the lash enhancing powder is a unique concept. I wear contact lenses so I avoid stuff like that, but I do love the pink case mascara!

  2. I live in Georgia (in the Atlanta area). I actually have only seen Essence at one Walgreen's that is near the school where I teach, but it is much less picked over than the Essence displays at the Ultas that I usually go to. It is a small display that is sort of "wedged" in between two other lines at this Walgreens, so I wonder if customers have even noticed that it is there? I hope it stays that way so that no one will stick their fingers in my awesome Essence gel liner, lol...

  3. Oh Dear.. You have beautiful eye lashes! Love how naturally long they are *thumbs up*

  4. The essence display in the 2 Walgreens in Houston where I did the research was not in the makeup section but after the nail polish & beauty tools section where you would never find it if you didn't know it was there. That's a shame because it won't help them succeed in the test. And I agree about Ulta: they never seem to restock the essence display, for some reason. I love the gel liner too. I have a greenish black shade that's awesome!