I learned some things testing 13 different mascara formulas:
- The same techniques with different mascaras produced similar looks | So I can get full, stand-out lashes with virtually any formula; it's more about wand, application, budget and preference.
- Drugstore vs. Boutique | only noticeable difference between lower priced and higher priced mascaras was wearability...how long my lashes held the shape they started the day with. The pricier ones typically held their look all day while the low-end formulas either lost their fullness or dropped the curl by midday.
- Preference plays a HUGE part. I prefer smooth, clump free formulas, real bristles vs. rubber wands, easy and clean removal, with a last all day hold.
Let's start off with my top five. The 3 favorites that have taken up permanent residence in my makeup bag/kit + two alternates.
***I used an eyelash curler on the left (your left since the pictures are flipped around). Wanted to see how the "un-curled" lashes compared by the end of the day.
I LOVE the original Blinc for natural everyday lashes that wear all.day.long. I was super excited to try their new volumizing formula and it did not fail. This is my number one pick. Blinc was the first tubes mascara. I love it for contact wearers and sensitive eyes because there is zero flaking or smudging. Perfect for wedding day waterworks!
- smooth looking lashes
- zero smudging
- all day wear
- easiest and cleanest removal
- the formula sets faster than "normal"
- 1-2 day learning curve
Laura Geller | Glam Lash | $24
I am in LOVE with the brush on this mascara. It gave me the most control over where my mascara went. I'm still partial to the formula above but if I didn't know Blinc existed, this would be my go-to. If I could get Blinc to marry their formula with this brush I would be committed for life.
- super full looking lashes
- best wand ever
- all day wear
- least clumping out of all the volumizing formulas I tried
- required eye makeup remover to get it all off
- clumpier than I like
This is my drugstore pick. The one and only. I have loved it since my sister first introduced it to me in high school. It doesn't give me a lot of volume but separates nicely. I get the one with the curved brush to help hold the curl with my very straight lashes. This would make for a great first mascara to a teen too!
- super smooth
- easy to remove
- no smudging under my eyes
- no clumping
- falls about halfway through the day
- doesn't give a whole lot of extra fullness or length
The wand is really long and flexible so you can actually sort of bend it when you pull it out of the tube making it easier to apply at angles. The brush is also pretty slim which I discovered I really like. Long bristles equals messier application for me. It's a vegan formula and uses ingredients like bamboo and vitamin B5.
- smooth lashes
- buildable volumize
- natural ingredients
- has a strong saline smell
- slightly odd shaped brush so has a 2-3 time learning curve to not get it everywhere
Great formula for a mid-priced mascara. If Blinc or Laura Gellar didn't exist, this would be my go to for all day wear.
- buildable volume | can be everyday or more dramatic
- smooth lashes
- seemed to dry out faster than other formulas
- brush is a little big for my lashes
Younique | 3D Fiber Lash | $30
This mascara 100% works and does all it claims to do. I'll probably catch major flak for not loving it but remember, it's all about preferences. If you love the look of false lashes or extensions but don't want to invest in either, this is the mascara for you. Even though it's not my thing, I would absolutely teach someone how to use it. Also makes it onto my list of recommended mascaras for brides.
- lives up to it's claims
- great for brides
- doesn't run or smudge
- holds all day
- buildable volume
- lasts more than a month
- super wet formula so it's easy to get it all over your skin
- major learning curve | plan about a week to feel like you get it
- not great for contact wearers because of the fibers
- really clumpy
- takes a lot of effort remove
I tried a waterproof formula because a lot of women love them. I have to say, I am still not sold. Because I have Blinc as an option, I guess I just don't have a need for waterproof. This formula is definitely black-black and worked just fine but because it was so difficult to remove, I don't recommend it.
- deep black color
- no worry about it running
- didn't come off with cleanser or eye makeup remover
- took about 4 days to wear off
- still fell by the end of the day so it held the "morning after" mascara look for 4 days
I was pleasantly surprised by this mascara. It's the first thing from Almay I've ever used and it performed really well. The only real cons were that it wasn't smudgeproof and didn't rinse cleanly.
- smooth lashes
- volumizing with only 2 coats
- smudged under my eyes
- doesn't rinse clean
Benefit BADgal Lash | $19
Benefit mascaras have a cult following for sure. The Bad Gal formula has a really fat brush with real bristles that taper on the end. It lived up to the volumizing claims and I can see why women love it but it's not for me. It was difficult to keep it off my skin since the brush was so big and my eyes are pretty small (I think). Plus it was really difficult to remove it all. I washed it off but still have a lot of black under my eyes and the next morning even after using eye makeup remover.
- lots of volume
- mid-price point
- all day wear
- really hard to remove it all
- brush is best for large eyes
I was mostly intrigued by this one for it's 2-sided wand. One side has short, densely-packed rubber bristles to load lashes (volumizing) then the other side has firmer, longer bristles to separate and lengthen. It's also a mascara with less "junk". I wouldn't call it a natural product but the company focuses on eco-friendly packaging and natural and mineral ingredients.
I definitely would recommend this mascara to someone who is looking for a more natural product without sacrificing glamour. It held up to it's claims. I did one eye at a time with side 1 then side 2.
- volume and glamour without a lot of chemical
- lots of control for application with the dual brush
- required eye makeup remover
If my first recommendation, Blinc, intrigues you but the $26 price tag is too much, start here. The concept is similar. L'Oreal includes a double ended tube with a primer on one end and the mascara on the other. It didn't go on as smoothly as the Blinc formula and fell halfway through the day but it definitely removes cleaner than traditional mascaras.
- great natural mascara with tube technology
- 2-in-1 product with primer on the other end
- formula dries pretty quickly so work fast
- 2-3 day learning curve
- fell halfway through the day
Benefit | They're Real | $23
I can see why women love Benefit mascaras. If you do have smaller eyes or tiny lashes, this is the Benefit choice for you. The rubber wand has shorter bristles to load product onto lashes and a ball shape of bristles on the end for the inside/outside corners of lashes or for shorter lashes. It was still pretty messy to apply and didn't rinse cleanly.
- offers nice control over how much product to apply where with the rounded tip.
- pretty messy to apply
- required eye makeup remover and still woke up with black smudges
Super natural looking black mascara. I never got a bolder look with it. It also felt "wet" all day. Smudge pretty easy.
- very natural look
- lashes didn't feel brittle
- no clumps
- smudged throughout the day