A Closeted Goth Girl Trying to Make it in the Professional World

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Big-Ass Mascara Review

 Recently, I have become fed up with drugstore mascara. I had been using Maybelline The Falsies for several years with half-decent results. I have never really been a big mascara junkie, but since I have had to tone down my makeup for work in recent years, I find that mascara actually makes a big difference. When wearing less eyeliner and more neutral makeup, a good mascara actually has a pretty big impact on one's look. So, I set out to find a decent high-end mascara. I decided to start by getting an Eye Studio Sampler from the Shoppers Drug Mart Beauty Boutique (Canada only). It is a good deal because you get 7 generous samples of mascara for the price of a full size high-end mascara (approx. $30) and it comes with a coupon that you redeem for the full-sized product that you liked the best out of all the samples.  You get to try before you buy and the samples are great for throwing in your purse/travel bag or keeping at work.
I have also included a couple of free samples and a couple of full sized products that I got for free using my Shoppers Optimum Points. Hopefully this can be somewhat helpful for people when looking for a mascara; however, everyone's lashes are different so keep in mind that what works for me may or may not work for you. Also, I have not made any comments about whether or not any of these are waterproof as I do not get randomly splashed with large volumes of water on a routine basis so this is not particularly pertinent to me.
FYI: My eyelashes are fairly dark, not really full but not particularly sparse either, and rather short.
THE GOOD: Separates lashes well. Gives decent length and volume while still keeping lashes natural looking. Large brush is shaped to catch all lashes easily.
THE BAD: Needs several coats if more volume is desired (ain't nobody got time for that!)
THE VERDICT: A good mascara for a natural, daytime look. Disappointed that this did not have more impact but I would overall say I like it. Also, I am pretty sure it is exactly the same as Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara (see below). ($26 CAD for full size)
THE GOOD: Separates lashes really well with good volume. Gives lashes a bit of a spiky, edgy look. The brush has tiny spikes which help with separation and there are long spikes on the top of the brush (see photo) to help space out and separate lashes precisely.
THE BAD: Mascara dries out a fair bit and becomes difficult to work with after being used daily for a couple of weeks. Texture should stay consistent for much longer than that for this price. Mascara clumps in the spikes at the top of the brush, making them unusable (See photo). Spikes on side of brush do not apply the mascara well once it loses its original texture. (Note that tubes were stored with cap tightly closed, this has happened to me with both a full size and a sample tube.)
THE UGLY: Once mascara has lost its original texture, it becomes FLAKY AS ALL HELL. BLACK FLAKES ON MY FACE. OH HELL NO.
THE VERDICT: Awesome mascara for the first couple of weeks, edgy volume and lash separation look great! Loss of original consistency after a couple of weeks of being open in unacceptable. Also, flakiness is unacceptable. ($29 CAD for full size)

THE GOOD: I find this mascara to be pretty "meh". It does not clump or flake but doesn't really give great volume to my lashes. It is a very natural looking mascara.
THE BAD: The brush on this mascara is pretty whack. It gets smaller near the end. This is supposed to help get at smaller inner lashes but I find it misses mine completely then I poke myself in the eye when I need to turn in the brush. Mascara would be a lot easier to apply with a different brush.
THE VERDICT: A half-decent mascara that is nothing to write home about with a difficult to use brush. Nothing special. ($27 CAD for full size.)

THE GOOD: Gives pretty decent volume. Easy to use brush.
THE BAD: Doesn't give very good length. Also, it is not very BLACK. It seems rather brown-ish which I do not like. It also gets a bit clumpy here and there and you have to apply several coats.
THE VERDICT: I have heard good things about this one, but I feel it's overrated. Doesn't really do too much for me. ($31 for full size, thankfully I did not pay for this, I got it using reward points.)

THE GOOD: Really nice volume and lash separation. Gives good length as well as a bit of curl. Brush is very easy to use. No clumping or flaking. Very good overall.
THE BAD: I feel kind of old buying it as Elizabeth Arden has a reputation for being a "mature" woman's brand.
THE VERDICT: Probably the best mascara I've ever used. It performs well when it comes to volume, length, curl, and lash separation. Nothing weird about the brush, just simple and straightforward. It makes my lashes look really nice. ($28 CAD for full size)

THE GOOD: Gives pretty good length but leaves lashes a bit spindly.

THE BAD: The brush is tapered which I find difficult to use. Also, the brush fibres make it difficult to build up any volume in the lashes.

THE VERDICT: Skinny lashes, weird brush. Not so great, though not bad if you like wispy, long lashes and weird, tapered brushes. ($31 CAD for full size).

THE GOOD: Sparkly shiny packaging. Gives okay volume and length. The weird brush can be used to curl lashes upward somewhat.
THE BAD: Doesn't separate my lashes that well, clumps a bit. The brush is weird, it is tapered and flat (see photos) which I find difficult to use. I also wish it was a bit blacker.
THE VERDICT: I think this mascara would be quite good without the weird brush. My sister said she really likes it. It has grown on me, I just have issues with the brush. ($33 for full size)


THE GOOD: Great lash separation, pretty good lengthening and volume. Gives that "spiky" lash kind of look. It is also cheaper than a lot of the mascaras listed here.
THE BAD: I like the little spikes on the brush are good for separating lashes, but I don't like how the spikes get smaller near the end. I find any tapering on mascara brushes seems to make it difficult to grab my small inner lashes without poking myself in the eye or getting mascara all up in my face.
THE UGLY: Same problem as Benefit They're Real (see above). After the tube has been in use for a couple of weeks, the texture goes to sh*t and I have flakes all over my face and in my eye. NOT GOOD.
THE VERDICT: Would be a pretty good mascara if the texture lasted longer ($23 CAD for full size).


THE GOOD: Overall, a pretty nice daytime mascara. Gives decent volume, lash separation and length are just ok. The brush is straight forward and easy to use.

THE BAD: Clumps up a bit upon application.

THE VERDICT: Wasn't bad, wasn't that good either. Meh. For the price, I would expect to be wowed. ($30 CAD for full size).


THE GOOD: Gives good length, separation, and volume. I like the shape of the brush, I find it easy to use.

THE BAD: Needs a few coats to build it up which I really don't care for when I'm up at 5:30 am getting ready for work.

THE VERDICT: A really good mascara for daytime wear but doesn't have as much impact as I would like. I am pretty sure it is the exact same mascara as Benefit Badgal Lash down to the brush (see above). ($22 CAD for full size)


THE GOOD: Gives ok volume and length. I find that it does curl my lashes a fair bit when most other mascaras do not.
THE BAD: Clumps a little bit. I am also slightly confused by the name of the product.
THE VERDICT: This mascara is just okay, nothing special. However, it does curl my lashes a bit which is a good thing as I am terrified of eyelash curlers. ($24 CAD for full size).

THE GOOD:  Separates lashes really well, I really like the brush on this one.  Gives pretty decent length and volume as well. Gives lashes that "spiky" and shiny kind of look. Also, it's quite inexpensive relative to other brands.

THE BAD: It's one of those mascaras that is difficult to remove at the end of the day (though at least it stays on!)

THE VERDICT: I have been liking this mascara a lot. Overall, it works quite well for me ($19 CAD for full size)

After giving a pretty good trial to each of these mascaras, I would have to say the one that overall worked the best for me was Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Lash Extending Treatment Mascara. I get volume, length and separation and I just feel like my lashes look really good when I put this on. There is nothing weird about the brush, either. I would highly recommend trying this out if you are having trouble finding a good mascara. I am glad I tried it out in the sampler because I would NEVER have tried anything from Elizabeth Arden (it is stereotyped as an "old lady" brand and they do not sell anything all that interesting in the way of colour cosmetics).

Other recommended mascaras: Benefit BADgal Lash, Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara, and Clinique High Impact Mascara (my second favourite, I will definitely purchase a full size of this one as well).
Mascaras that are decent but just didn't work that well for me: Clarins Instant Definition Mascara, Diorshow Catwalk Black Mascara, Lancôme Hypnose Star, Lancôme Hypnose Doll Lashes, Shiseido Perfect Mascara Full Definition, Bourjois Volume Glamour Max Holidays.
Mascaras that I would NOT recommend: Benefit They're Real, Lise Watier 24 Hrs Glam.
 One thing that I realized about mascara is that sometimes the brush can make or break the mascara, there are definitely a few in here that I think would work better for me with a different brush. That being said, I have no fine motor skills to begin with so makeup is hard enough for me to do already; brush shape may or may not be a huge issue for you.
What's your favourite mascara? Did any of the ones that didn't work for me work for you? Do you have a preference for certain types of brushes for your mascara?

DISCLAIMER: I am not affiliated with any of the brands mentioned here. All mascaras were either purchased by me, obtained through points programs, or given as free samples. None were provided for review. All products were tested by me. All my opinions are honest and my own.


  1. I love They're Real, it doesn't flake on me but the tube dries out really fast. I can't justify spending the money on it when I get like 3 weeks of use before it turns to dust.

  2. First of all, love this whole thing. Cracked me up starting with the part about not routinely getting doused with water. I think that if we knew each other irl, we would be friends.

    So weird about the They're Real and the Lise Watier mascaras, but I wonder if it has to do with the whole molded silicone brush thing. Like does that kind of brush do something funky to push more air in the tube when it's open so that it dries out the contents more. Or something. With the BadGal, I haaaated that one. All 3 tubes so far. It did to me what They're Real did to you. I actually like the Smashbox one, though. It's pretty much the one I use every day now. I also think I like the Clinique one you tried. Elizabeth Arden, though... Who would have thought!?

  3. I went through tons of mascara from a variety of price ranges, but all of them smudge on me (waterproof or not - I think my problem is that I need an emollient eye cream, and that is pretty much doom for lashes touching my undereye area). Finally - Clinique Lash Power. Not as dramatic as I'd like, but this tubing stuff is fabulous.

  4. I am using the only drugstore mascara that I have ever loved right now, Prestige My Biggest Lashes... I used to use Clinique High Impact but I felt like it wasn't high enough impact for me... but I'm starting to feel that way about the Prestige mascara, too. I may be on the prowl again pretty soon, I'll have to get the Elizabeth Arden mascara a shot!

  5. I am always hunting for THE mascara. I love the L'Oreal collagen one but it's a clumpy mess after like 3 weeks. I have tried so many. It's the ultimate problem for me: finding the mascara I can stick with for my normal, semi-short-and-sparse lashes. My next installment of mascaras is Nyx's doll eyes (I can't remember the title). I am going to use this post as inspiration for me to post my mascara woes too. This cracked me up- all we want are lash extensions forever via a product :)

  6. I like the Clinique High Impact, but think that the Lancome, Dior and Benefit mascaras I've tried have all been, for me at least, bullshit. They're Real is SO hard to take off!

    And I totally agree with you on the mascara being more important when you have to wear boring makeup!

  7. I really need a new mascara.. I try to remember next time I am on town xD

  8. I have also tried the Clinique high impact mascara and i so love it. i will check on the elizabeth arden one and see if it will work well with my lashes.