Is it possible for a girl to have both length and volume? I’m talking mascara, folks.
I wasn’t so sure. I’ve tried my fair share of mascaras: the super dry, the super gloopy, the pricey tubes and the drug store varieties. Certainly somewhere out there a perfect mascara had to exist that actually fulfilled its magazine ad photoshopped promises, right? I took to Facebook and asked my friends to tell me what they loved, to give it to me straight, to tell me what I clearly did not know:
Best mascara? Like, big fat luscious thick black lashes. ‘Cause I still ain’t found the one.
59 very passionate comments later and a Sephora gift card burning a hole in my pocket, I was like, yo’, we are going to figure this out – here we go, Operation Experimascara! And just like that, I set off to find The One.
Before you take any advice or recommendations from me, here’s my little disclaimer — My makeup expertise level is this: I’m a Burt’s Bees chapstick and tinted moisturizer kind of girl. And when I throw that out there all nonchalant, that means it takes me an hour to casually throw that shit on, only to look like I’m wearing nothing, yet if I was actually wearing ‘nothing’ GOD HELP US ALL. But I will never, ever* leave the house without mascara because swear-to-god, I look like death without it.
*So OK, there was this one time I did leave the house – by mistake – without mascara (HOW DO YOU FORGET MASCARA?), got to work and thought, something isn’t right! and had to go home sick because I physically looked unwell.
In my experimascariment (huh?) I tested 10 mascaras: 3 drug store varieties and 7 that I could obtain from Sephora (hello, gift card!) – all of which were recommended by my Facebook friends.
Here are my results:
A favorite: Clinique Lash Doubling Mascara ($16) – This was pretty great for length, even in just one coat. However it did sting my eyes (told you I was no Mac Counter Girl) and was on the more gloopy side.
Benefit’s Bad Gal Lash ($19) had a big ass brush – like, WHOA NELLY what do I do with all of this – sort of brush. Great length and volume but very messy. If you’ve got a handful of q-tips, a few minutes for clean-up and some courage, it’s not too bad – just messy.
Smashbox Full Exposure ($19.50) was named for the brush, I think. Because you’re like, hey now, cover that big thing up, this feels a little inappropriate. It’s a big brush and I feel like you need a few days of learning how to maneuver it before you’re good at it. It’s definitely a messier, wetter application but you do get good length at first coat. Take a minute or 10 between coats though or you’re asking for trouble.
That famous pink tube – Great Lash. I mean, it’s hard to hate on a classic but if you’re going to go drug store, L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly is just better. Great Lash gives you length, not volume and is messy.
Maybelline Colossal Volum’ Express is another drug store find. It has a softer brush than Great Lash and gives you decent volume (minus the ‘e’ I guess) but not much length. Again, L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly is just better.
Benefit’s They’re Real ($23) was a huge disappointment, mostly because it’s was the most recommended mascara on Facebook by friends. I had high hopes for this stuff. I tried it for three days, thinking it must be me, I must just not get it. And I know people say there’s a ‘learning curve’ to the brush and whatnot but you know what, after 3 days and not loving it at all, you know what I say? AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT. It was a much drier formula with a pokey-ass brush and while it did give me length, there was no real volume.
Man, there is nothing like a bad mascara day, amirite? Buxom’s Sculpted Lash ($19) was the mascara I could not wait to remove – absolutely did not like.
The brush itself looks really promising when you pull it out – you’re like, now this bad boy is going to do amazing things. HATED IT. Now I don’t know if I got a crap tube of it or what, but the formula was so dry, it flaked onto my cheeks as I was applying it. There was neither length nor volume to be found. Whenever I caught a glance of myself in the mirror, it looked like I had put on eyeliner and forgotten mascara. RUINED MY DAY, GUYS.
Too Faced Lashgasm ($21) was great for the first coat and Lump City on the second. Maybe if I had waited longer between coats? I don’t know. But I didn’t give it another shot. At this point, my poor lashes had been through hell and I was not about giving second chances. (Side-eyeing you, Buxom.)
So did I find The One? Does this dramedy have a happy ending? I did and it does.
There was a very clear winner for me: Tarte - $23.
If you want both length and volume and that HOLY SHIT THOSE LASHES LOOK AMAZING! factor, you want Tarte. The end. First coat is pretty great on its own. Second coat is like, DAMN GINA. You will look at your eyes every time you hit the commode throughout the day and bat those beauties. #selfie
However, maybe you’re side-eyeing me like I’M NOT PAYING NO $23 FOR MASCARA. OK, I hear you.
L’Oreal’s Voluminous Butterfly Mascara was actually a very close second. Whether or not I was using that brush correctly, I’ll never know. But you get length and volume that’s unlike any other drug store variety I’ve tried. And it’s $7-ish.
So what did we learn here? Probably not much. But I do hope my little experiment helps you find The One that’s right for you.