Saturday, January 22, 2011

Battle of the Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Mascaras: Excess vs. Regular


I've gushed over and over again raving that Armani's Eyes to Kill Mascara is my holy-grail-life-changing type of product. I have medium length lashes that are super straight which makes them look shorter than they really are. After discovering the magic of eyelash curlers I still found it challenging to find the right mascara for my eye shape and lash type: one that thickens, lengthens, defines and does not smudge, flake or irritate my eyes, and most importantly, one that also holds the curl.

Armani's Eyes to Kill was the answer to my seemingly never ending quest for the perfect mascara. There are a number of other mascaras I like, but none had the wow-factor like Armani's. It's also interesting to note that I've been a long-time Armani fan, but I hated every single previous mascara release from the brand. So I was skeptic when I first tried Eyes to Kill, especially at a jaw-dropping $30 per tube, but I'm glad I did. I actually tried a mini sample first before buying a full-sized tube. The heavy weight sleek black tube makes it feel worth it when it's in your hands.

Left = Excess, Right = Regular

Armani has since released 2 other variations, a waterproof version and Megan Fox's Eyes to Kill Excess. I never tried the waterproof version - my experience with waterproof versions is that they tend to be too harsh on my lashes, the formula is just too thick and dries to a consistency that makes my lashes feel brittle. Not to mention they are a huge pain to remove from the eyes in the evenings. The new Eyes to Kill Excess has a killer slogan, "exceptionally volumizing mascara, drop dead seduction in a single stroke." As soon as I opened the e-mail about this, I had to try it out.


So how do they compare? You can read more detailed product information about the Eyes to Kill Excess formula on Armani's website (linked here for your convenience). I will start by saying that I prefer the regular formula, read on to find out why. Here is what I noticed about each:

Eyes to Kill Regular: According to Armani, "Dress the eye with powerful, plush, voluminous lashes. Fine, fluid Microfil technology creates intensely captivating lash texture. Micro-waxes combined with a fineness agent allow for smooth and easy application, revealing weightless volume and length."

I'm featuring my #5 Blue Grey Night in the photos, but mainly rely on my #1 Steel Black (currently missing in action). The formula dries to a stiffer finish which holds the curl and lasts all day (unless you start crying or are splashed with water). There's also something about the texture of the mascara + the big bristles that grabs onto your lashes coating them evenly and fully. This results in thick lush lashes for me. The #1 Steel Black doesn't look like a true black when wet, but applies darker than what you see resulting in a true black finish. Finding a true black is hard for me - many brands have black mascaras that dry down to a greyish finish making my lashes look ashy. Even though my lashes are black, I've often had better success with dark brown mascaras. I love the way the sleek heavy tube feels - it's simple, straight and nice to look at.


Eyes to Kill Excess: Seems to be the exact same in bristle shape/size to me. The difference is in the formula which, according to Armani contains "The fusion of a Wax™ Complex and the new texturizing agents creates a fluid and creamy texture that glides onto the lashes and allows for an easy, homogeneous application." Also, the Excess formula is supposed to be a darker black color than anything they've made before.

My personal observations is that the Excess is a great mascara. I definitely notice that it's a deeper more dramatic true black. I also notice a difference in formula in the sense that it's more creamy and less stiff. There is no smudging or flaking. It holds the curl and lasts all day. I personally found that I had to pump the brush a bit inside the tube to get more product on the brush for a better application. On me it clumped a bit the first few applications. I had to experiment with my application technique to get a smooth finish and thick even look. It definitely has a softer feel on my lashes. The packaging is still heavyweight and sleek, it just has a glossy finish on the tube.

Regular vs. Excess: Because I have such wimpy lashes, I need all the help I can get. The Regular formula has a stiffer, thicker, more volumizing dramatic finish, but I can definitely feel like I am wearing mascara. If you have sensitive eyes and found the Regular formula too much for your lashes, but still want a similar finish with a weightless more natural feel, try out the Excess formula. Unfortunately the Excess only comes in 1 shade, black.
My review might seem odd since the Excess formula has been marketed as a darker more dramatic version of the Regular Eyes to Kill. I like them both.

Summary comparison of the features for the Black shades (sorry for the confusion, I can't find my regular Steel Black right now):
  • Color: Both are true blacks, Excess is a deeper darker black
  • Volumizing: Regular is more volumizing
  • Defining: Excess is more defining
  • Lasting Power: Same, all day, but not waterproof or cry-proof
  • Texture: Regular is thicker
  • How it Feels on the Lashes: Regular is stiffer more dramatic, Excess is softer and more gentle
  • Smell: Same scent, not noticeable once on the eyes
  • Overall Effect: Regular has more of a wow-factor, Excess has a darker blacker finish
  • Brush Size & Shape: Same, although in the photo, the blue seems fuller (it just has more product on the bristles from more frequent use, the excess has only been used 4 times so far) - this can show you the difference in formulas though, the regular just seems to adhere to bristles and lashes better


Both retail for $30. I usually buy mine from Neimans or Bloomingdales. At this time I don't know if the Excess is limited edition or not. I can only say that I hope they keep the regular formula. I don't regret buying the Excess and have no intention of returning it. Sometimes it's nice to have variety.

If you have tried either, what are your thoughts? Experiences? Rants or raves?

For your reference, my other mascara loves include DiorShow, Dolce & Gabbana, NARS Volumizing, Estee Lauder Projectionist, Clinique High Impact Mascara, MAC Plush Lash, Kiehl's Marvelous Mineral Mascara, Shu Uemura Basic.

Mascaras I've tried and did not like include MAC Zoom Lash, all of Chanel/Bobbi Brown, Laura Mercier Thickening, Lancome Definicils, YSL Faux Cils, Trish McEvoy High Volume, Le Metier Waterproof, Clinique Naturally Glossy, Clinique Lash Doubling, Benefit BADGal (note - this is based on my own personal experience). In general I do not like waterproof formula mascaras.

There are a number of mascaras I've tried that I'm indifferent to - ones that weren't great but weren't bad. Too many to mention, although I definitely haven't tried all types or brands.

16 comments:

  1. hey! I've been following your blog for a couple of months now. I don't consider my lashes long either and it's also straight! must be an Asian thing, lol. anyway, I find that waterproof mascara works best! it has more wax so it helps my lashes stay curled. the heavier or more volume a mascara says it will give your lashes, the heavier it will make them so it won't stay curled for long. love the pictures you take - they look so professional.

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  2. The Eyes to Kill #1 Excess wand looks very interesting; are the bristles of different lengths?

    The dilemma with mascara is getting to be ridiculous. I have long, full, very straight and very pale (blonde) eyelashes. I used to curl them but about 4 years ago I started pressing them up with my index finger before mascara application (recently saw Bobbi Brown do the same thing on a demo). My major problem is too much product gooping up the lashes!

    Cheap (i.e. drugstore) mascaras have been a waste for me. They dry and flake and do not condition the lashes. I'm using Chanel Inimitable which I love (provides lift/curl and good definition without goopiness). But this new Armani one (Excess) looks worth a try. Can we ever commit to one mascara?

    I also have Bobbi Brown's mascara in a tube which is nice for a less dramatic look. The brush is key, though. I've never seen your lashes but it's hard to imagine them as wimpy. Maybe just in need of the right factors all at the same time?

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  3. You mentioned this mascara to me a long time ago and I have yet to purchase a tube. Now I have to decide which formula to try.

    How is this without the use of an eyelash curler?

    Remember that Trish McEvoy mascara delux sample you gave me? I still want to purchase that mascara too!

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  4. Chanel Inimitable has been the only Chanel I liked, and Diorshow was my go to mascara for years (even though it took me a while to get used to the big brush).

    I think I will have to try Armani Excess. I'm pretty lucky in the lashes department but I have sensitive eyes and wear contacts so I don't try new brands often. I also do the Bobbi Brown press up thing for curling, never really having gotten the hang of a curler.

    Maybe I will be able to get a sample to test. Either way I think I will give it a try. Thanks for another great review!

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  5. A mascara that I've recently fallen in love with is Estee Lauder Bold Sumptuous Lifting Mascara - not the new extreme one - but the regular version.
    I got a GWP size at the Nordstrom Santa Monica opening - and looked down my nose at it. I never buy Estee Lauder anything. I normally buy Armani Eyes to Kill or YSL Faux Cils or Singulier.

    But the EL sumptuous mascara - gives me great color, volume, holds a curl and doesn't fade on me by the end of the day.

    I really love it. I don't know if you've ever tried it - if you can get your hands on a GWP size to try - it's pretty awesome and only $21 - as compared to $30.

    Drugstore mascaras do nothing for me.

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  6. Love mascara;s and all things lashes and my new favorite eyelash curler is the HOt Lashes makeup artist KIT,
    Best I have ever used, my straight lashes stay curly till the next day.
    I read reviews on Amazon...amazing curler..A makeup artist secret. A rolls royce of curlers...The BEST~!

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  7. I love mascara reviews. I still haven't found the ultimate mascara. I feel like I have tried everything from drugstore to high end. I have heard good things about MUFE Smokey Lash -- that is on my list. Maybe I'll try one of these also!

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  8. I have the eyes to kill excess, but haven't tried it yet. I love the regular version and agree with everything you say! I have also used the waterproof version, and I have to say I don't like it so much. It is extremely hard to get off. The next morning I find black chunks around my eye area. It's just too much.

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  9. Interesting! I had no idea georgio armani had mascaras!

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  10. I love the look of eyes to kill excess, it looks super black. Im currently using buxom lash which I love so I may try this next =D

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  11. Thanks for a very helpful post. I was actually considering purchasing Armani mascara this week and had no idea of the difference. Now I know just which one to ask for and will avoid having to make a return (always awkward)if I had purchased the wrong one. Love your blog!

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  12. Good post and even better comments. I am very afraid to try new mascara brands as they all irritate me but of course I love the look but usually only wear on a night on the town

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  13. I'm personally not a fan of ETK excess. it clumps my lashes together and my lashes look like spikes, not lashes.


    GA MA doesn't like the effect on most people either.

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  14. Update - got Excess and love it! Applies beautifully and stays on. Comes off easily too. Lashes look long, no clumping, and keep their curl. Also, no flaking off into my contacts. I have a new favorite. Thank you for the great review!

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  15. I agree that the original formula is more dramatic and volumizing!

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  16. TRY the estee lauder extreme sumptous bold! I've never tried a mascara that great and i've tried them all it seems!

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