I've been playing with quite a few mascaras over the past several months - some from early January. As I've worked my way through a few tubes I've made notes on thoughts for these and kept them to photograph next to each other so you can see the brush sizes and shapes. I have really straight relatively wimpy lashes that are often barely visible unless I have mascara on. I rarely ever wear anything on the bottom lashes because most brushes are too big to catch the tiny lashes. That combined with the fact that most mascaras smudge on me is another factor for why I don't wear anything on the lower lashes.
I have tested a few lash growth serums but am still undecided - I suspect that they require months of use to see results. I received a sample tube of Rapidlash earlier this year and as of today I've hit the 71 day mark of use. I have started to see some results but they are still on the subtle side. If you have ones you've tried that worked let me know.
Onto the mascaras I've tested out. Some are repeats of classic staples. I usually like waterproof versions because they are the ones that really don't smudge on me. However there are quite a few that leave the lashes looking and feeling a bit crunchy or that turn slightly greyish when they dry so I'm really picky with formulas. The image below is interactive so you can click on the icons below to shop the mascaras:
Shown above from bottom to the top:
- Clinique High Impact Mascara ($16.50) is one of the mascaras I've used for the longest, I discovered it years ago and it's a great basic mascara to add definition and volume, it's not the most volumizing formula but the black is a true black color and doesn't smudge, flake or clump.
- By Terry Terrybly Growth Booster Mascara ($48) is one I received as a gift with purchase at a counter a year ago, it's a formula that is very expensive but gives a really nice lush look to the lashes, it is supposed to have a growth formula inside it, I haven't noticed any visible growth from this one but it's not one I use daily, I like this because it doesn't flake, irritate or clump, it holds the curl and adds nice volume you can layer.
- Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara ($29.50) I love Dior mascaras but often times they just don't hold the curl for me, I gave this a try in hopes of finding one that does and was thrilled to find that it did for me. There were a lot of mixed reviews online - people either love it or hate it. I found it held the curl and did not smudge. I would have liked a bit more noticeable drama for me, you can layer it but on me it was easy to over-layer where you get that slightly cakey look. The fact that it held the curl and didn't smudge moved this into my thumbs up list.
- Burberry Bold Lash ($29) is one I used a few years ago, loved it and repurchased once. I gave it another buy and have no regrets. This is best on me with one good coat. I apply at the base of the lashes and wiggle the tube to apply - it coats lashes evenly without clumping and it does not smudge on me.
- Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara ($23) is one I tried in the Birchbox Beauty in Bloom Box (review here and it's still available). It far exceeded my expectations and I proceeded to search for it in stores. I could not find it anywhere near me so I ordered online. It's my new favorite formula although it is a bit hard to remove in the evening. I like this for the most drama and definition. It holds the curl and doesn't smudge and looks like a true black.
- Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara ($26) is one I had high hopes for because I really love the O!Mega Lash Mascara (that one has been my most repurchased formula over the past year). The Velvet Noir has an ultra deep color. It has a unique curved brush that dips in the middle of the wand to match the curve of the eye and get the corners. Application is really easy and it looks incredible. Unfortunately for me it does not hold the curl. Smudging is minimal but still happens a tiny bit on me with this one.
- Marc Jacobs Feather Noir Mascara ($24) is an ultra skinny mascara - one of the tiniest wands I've ever seen! It's made mascara application on lower lashes possible for me. I have super sensitive eyes so it does tickle a little when I apply this but it has such a fine wand it will catch tiny lashes without touching the skin. It did not smudge on me when I used on lower lashes. I think this is a winner if you're one who is looking for a lower lash mascara.
- Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Lashes Mascara ($32) I love all things Charlotte Tilbury so when this launched I had high hopes. The regular mascara from her line is ok in my experience. This one is like a face lift for the lashes. I rarely notice the smell of mascara but this one smells like it has a tiny bit of perfume and it smells amazingly fresh and pretty. I have mixed feelings on this one. I've put this to the test over the last month. It gives that faux mascara look by adding incredible volume and definition - it's really impressive. It holds the curl, doesn't flake and is non irritating. However half the time it smudges. The other half of the time it does not. Even when I have an extra powdered under-eye sometimes it still smudges. If this came in a waterproof formula I think it would be 100% flawless for me. Right now it's 50/50 on the smudge factor.
- Chanel Le Volume Mascara ($32) is a classic. I like the regular black version but try to buy the plum shades when they launch because they are often limited-edition. There are two formulas the regular Le Volume and Le Volume Waterproof. I like both but for me waterproof is the way to go especially in humid warmer months. It adds volume and doesn't smudge.
- MustaeV Maxi Lash Volume Mascara ($18) is one of the deepest black mascaras I've tried. It has a super skinny wand so it's easy to grab all the lashes - even the ones around the edges. I was really impressed how well it stayed put - no smudging for me on all testing occasions. It's not the most volumizing for me because I have such wimpy lashes but it's a good everyday kind of mascara that never clumps on me and I love the true black color.
Another view of the mascaras, different angle:
So which one is my favorite? Right now it's a three-way tie between the Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara, the By Terry Terrybly Mascara and Chanel Le Volume. The Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Lashes is almost perfect - it smudges on me half the time I wear it.
If you're looking for a new mascara I hope you found this roundup helpful! As always - I'd love to hear about your recommendations! At this time I don't use a base/primer or a top coat for the lashes. I know several of you have recommended the Clarins Double Fix as a way to prevent smudging. I still have yet to try it but just ordered it so will let you know how it works. I've played with a few false lashes on occasion but find them too time consuming to apply on a daily basis - I know it just takes practice to get used to but it's something I just haven't gotten into yet.
If you have any tips, tricks or advice on lash growth serums I'm all ears!
Press samples featured include the Charlotte Tilbury, MustaeV, RapidLash. Gifted item includes the By Terry Mascara.