Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mascara Quicknotes IV: Drugstore Edition

This is a post that I've had months in the making. I picked out three makeup brands that are available at my local Target and scoured my drawer for a mascara from each brand. In the absence of a Rimmel mascara, I purchased one of their latest formulas. Here's my take:

1) Maybelline Lash Stiletto Ultimate Length Mascara in Very Black - made me think of Lancome Definicils. It has, perhaps, a slighly runnier/thinner formula that gave me good length but not volume, which is expected, as it is a lengthening mascara. It is easy enough to use and isn't prone to clumps. I had a tube from way back and it hadn't dried out so this is one you can stock up on if on sale since they seem to have a long shelf life. Once you open it though, I advise tossing after 2 months, not only because of a degradation in performance but also for hygiene purposes.

By itself, Maybelline's Lash Stilleto Ultimate Length Mascara produces better-looking results on me than a few others drugstore mascaras that I've tried, even ones from the same brand. It seems to hold the curl better. I think it would benefit from being used in conjunction with a mascara primer or a volumizing mascara. But overall, I think it works quite well and despite not being waterproof, I haven't had raccoon eyes with it ever. After 9 hours of wear, I saw a little bit of flaking but it was never bad enough to bother me.

2) Rimmel London Volume Flash Scandaleyes Mascara 003 Extreme Black - feels like it weighed down my lashes a bit and undid the curl. The brush is a bit harder to use as it is huge. It reminded me of Diorshow, whose brush I find unwieldly.

Left: Rimmel, Right: Diorshow

With multiple, careful coats, I get a little bit of volume built up but not enough to justify labelling this as a volumizer. Used in conjunction with the Maybelline mascara, I can get more volume and length but by itself, it's a fail. I would continue to use my tube only in conjunction with a lengthening mascara because I feel that it falls short of its promises. I would not buy this again.

3) CoverGirl Lash Exact Mascara 905 Black - the patented brush, which by far has been my favorite mascara brush of all that I've tried, does comb the lashes out pretty well. I've gone through a couple of tubes of these and I've saved the brush to use with other mascaras. When I use it with other brands, the brush seems to loosen and even out clumps wherever they may have been created so it's great as a final step kind of formula. Here I've photographed the brush before inserting it into the tube (also a good way to package since the brush doesn't sit in the mascara until you've opened the tube).

The brush reminds me of Chanel Inimitable's brush but the formula isn't the same. By itself, CoverGirl's Lash Exact is a good defining mascara. It builds average length and volume but the biggest selling point for me is that it really doesn't clump. No matter how many layers I put on, it looks great.

After working with the three mascaras here, I've determined that a good way to get the lashes that I want is to actually use all three together. I got the idea from an interview with Carrie Underwood who picked up a number of things from her makeup artists. She uses different brands but I think the principle is the same. Start with the lengthening formula (here, Maybelline Lash Stiletto) and then work in the volumizer (the Rimmel sort of works but I like the Burberry Effortless Mascara so much better as a step 2 mascara) then finish off with a definer. The CoverGirl Lash Exact Mascara works really well to define the lashes and ensures that there are no clumps.

If you want to go one step further and make the whole thing waterproof, you could use a sealer like Clarins Double Fix' or the newer Anastasia Lash Genius Waterproof Topcoat (still looking to test the latter). One other way to go about it is to use a waterproof mascara for your last layer. There is a waterproof version of Lash Exact that I imagine will work reasonably well although I haven't tried it myself. You can also try a water-resistant one which should hold up in humid weather but is easier to remove.

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