You may or may not know that I have a seriously major fascination with mascara. I keep looking for the next best thing. I love the whole Bambi-eyed look, but I really, really, REALLY don't want to wear false lashes on a daily basis. So, in order of my favorites to not-so-favorites, here's what I've been wearing lately.
1. Urban Decay Perversion ($22) - This mascara is perfection in a tube. It gives me the volume that I need and lengthens beautifully. There's no smudging or flaking. It removes so easily but stays put all day. The brush is everything I look for in a mascara brush. It's densely packed with traditional bristles and is large, but not too large to miss the corners and the bottom lashes. I looooove this mascara. If I had $22 bucks to spend on a mascara, I'd choose this one.
|*Cue Hallelujah Chorus|
2. Ulta Voluptuous Volume in Black/Brown ($10) - But since I don't have $22 for mascara, I'll go with my second pick. This does pretty much everything that Urban Decay's Perversion does. The only reason that Perversion is #1 and not this one is that I prefer the brush on Perversion ever so slightly more. Really, it's a toss-up. Even though the color is Black/Brown, it's still pretty dramatic. I had no idea that there was even brown in it until I looked up the shopping link for this post. The best part (aside from the fact it's awesome) is that Ulta cosmetics are constantly going on sale. Currently there's a "buy two, get one free" offer. There's no need to ever pay full price for this, but if you do, it's still only $10. Also, Ulta has amazing coupons. Just sayin'.
|Gorgeous (and cheap!)|
3. Benefit They're Real ($23) - This was the first mascara I've ever tried that made me gasp. I literally gasped. It does gorgeous things for my lashes. It lengthens like nobody's business, it thickens, and it separates. Why isn't it #1? (Excellent question, Tabitha! Why thank you, Tabitha!) It's nearly impossible to remove. I tend to just give up after a while and live with it. Benefit now makes a remover, but I haven't had a chance to try that. The bristles on this brush are the hard kind that poke my eyeballs, but it's totally worth it. I love the knobby bit at the end that gets each and every tiny lash in the corners. I really do love this mascara. I don't love the price and I don't love the near-permanence of it.
|Drama in a tube.|
4. CK One Color in 800 (Show - True Black) ($18) - This one is a bit strange. There's two different wand settings. One for length and definition. The other is for volume. The formula is great. No smudges. No flakes. All day wear. When you go to remove it, it flakes like crazy then. It's easy to remove, but it's also easy to forget a flake or two and then people ask why your face is dirty. Kinda embarrassing. Just be aware of that.
|Maybe this should be called CK two? *cue rim shot|
The wand lengthens or shortens by the twist of the knob at the end of the cap. When the wand is fully extended, that is the lengthening setting, which works beautifully. The lashes are very well-defined. When the wand is shortened, the bristles go from a straight row to a twisted pattern. I've found that this setting works best just worked into the base of the lashes. When I try to sweep the brush up the length of my lashes to the tip, it's clump city. It's like I have five really fat lashes. Not cute. So, the way I use this is to first start with the shortened wand at the base of my lashes, and then extend the wand to define and lengthen. To be totally honest, $18 is a lot to spend on this. I'm not completely blown away by it. It's good. It's just not great. But it is a bit fun to play with.
|Left - lengthening, Right - volumizing|
5. Maybelline Great Lash Big in Blackest Black ($5.99) - This little guy has BIG claims. It claims to give a "bigger, bolder lash effect", but seriously, meh. Just meh. I used to use the original Great Lash back in the day. I loved it then. I have no idea why, but I really did. The wand on the original is teeny-tiny. This one is sooo much bigger and it looks a lot like my beloved Ulta Voluptuous Volume. It was a door-buster at Ulta for $1.99, so I thought "Why not?" I'll tell you why not. I'm not into natural looking lashes. At all. Ever. Even when I'm doing a minimal makeup look. I don't get the point. Why go to all the trouble of doing mascara if it's going to look like you've done nothing? (Remember my Bambi eyes comment from earlier?) This mascara is fabulous if you like a natural look. I just happen to not enjoy that look. Others probably do. I dunno.
*edit - November 5, 2014 - Turns out that when you use this a while and let the mascara get a bit older and dried out, it works a lot better. I've been using it a few weeks and for the last few days it's been awesome. It now builds up on itself so well, giving volume and length. Sooo...there's that. If you can live with skimpy lashes for a while, this mascara will eventually pay off. Eventually.
6. Makeup Forever Smoky Extravagant in Black ($24) - This one is the most expensive on my list and also the most disappointing. The good points: no smudges, no flakes. The bad points: it makes my eyes itch, the brush is diabolical. I've never encountered a mascara that triggered an allergic reaction before, but every time I wear this the skin around my eyes itch all day long. The brush is so weird. It's a tear drop shape with a very thick end that makes it really difficult to get to the base of my lashes without making a mess. I've been using mascara on a daily basis for 26 years (!!!) now and this one tiny, sample-sized tube has me totally confused. I've never seen anything like it. And not in a good way. I can't comment on volume or length because this mascara bothered me too much to notice and I'm not willing to try it again to see what it does. I love you guys, but I'm not a martyr for the cause.
I hope some of you found this helpful. What mascara have you fallen in love with and which ones should I stay away from?