2015 Mascara Smackdown

Mascara Smackdown: what’s new and what works

Mascara is the first beauty product I was allowed to use as a teenager, so I have a lot of experience with mascara and developed a discerning taste. Admittedly, I am gifted in the lashes department but that doesn’t mean I can’t benefit from a boost to make me look awake. Years ago I wrote an article about my favorite mascara, Fairy Drops Scandal Queen, a Japanese product that is no longer sold in the US. So I started the quest for my new favorite mascara and let me tell you, it’s been tough sorting out what works and what doesn’t. If length is not a problem for me, volume is and my oily eyelids don’t help the process. I usually end up looking like a raccoon by lunchtime and I even get polka dots of mascara next to my eyebrows. In one word, with the wrong mascara I look like a mess. Orphaned of my old favorite mascara, I resumed my quest for the perfect product with just the right amount of curl volume and length and smudgeproof. It wasn’t easy, lots of clumps and smudges were involved in the process, but I emerged from my mascara quest with a selection of the best products on the market.

New Mascaras for 2015

When Nars resolved to discontinue all their mascaras and start with a clean slate, I thought it was a great idea. I have never thought Nars mascaras were that great and I was waiting to try the new Audacious mascara with bated breath. What a disappointment! The New Nars Audacious Mascara is so basic that there is absolutely nothing audacious about it. Starting with the fact that the formula stinks to high heavens, I also found the wand underwhelming… and it melted into polka dots all over my face. I returned it. End of Story.

Next we have Clinique’s new offering, the Chubby Lash Fattening Mascara. There must be some marketing executive at Clinique who thinks that you can never have enough of a good thing. Chubby lipsticks/eyeshadows/blushes/contour/highlight. This obsession with Chubby everything ends here. As much as I like a tongue-in-cheek product name, this obsession with chubby everything ends here. The “fattening” Mascara is one of the worst from Clinique, it’s clumps extravaganza. As a user of High Impact, I thought this would be a really great addition to their line, but I was sadly disappointed. Returned to the sender, thank you very much.

MAC Upward Lash is the latest from the brand and promises volume curl and length in seconds. The wand is fairly small so I thought it would allow for precise application, but the formula is super liquid so even the lightest most conservative application makes your lashes look clumped together. What’s disappointing is that I have nothing against wet mascaras, I actually like them most of the times but this is really a hot mess: the lashes are glued together and after a few hours it starts to flake like nobody’s business. I returned it after 1 use.

Benefit Roller Lash Curling and Lifting is supposed to be the curling version of They’re Real. While the latter is a decent mascara but nothing to write home about Roller Lash is just plain average. The wand is great but the formula is really basic and I didn’t find it particularly curling. Even after curling my lashes with my trusted Shu Uemura curler, I didn’t find this mascara held the curl like others (listed below). I returned it because I am not willing to spend $24 on something that is equal to a drugstore brand.

Best Mascaras for 2015

I think everybody and their mothers have tried Diorshow at one point or another. It’s been around for so long and it’s a solid product. My main complaint for years has been that the bottle would dry out very fast (say 2 weeks) and I would have to repurchase too often. Given the price tag, it wasn’t worth it for me. Many others must have had the same complaint because the powers that be at Dior have changed the bottle. The new bottle had an Air Lock system that allows you to wipe off more mascara when you remove it from the bottle but it also doesn’t let the air in.  I really enjoyed the fact that I can layer multiple coast and after about 1 month the formula is still as fresh as it was on day one.

This is my basic bitch moment of the day. Lancome, YSL and Armani make some of the best mascaras on the market. After many years, I still swear by Hypnose Custom Volume Mascara, Mascara Volume Effect Faux Cils and Eyes to Kill Excess. But all these companies are owned by L’Oreal and I feel a little bad buying a mascara that is approximately $30 when there are drugstore dupes that work equally well.

That takes us to my current favorite mascaras, one for everyday and the other for special occasions. My Current Favorite Everyday Mascara is Trish McEvoy High Volume Mascara, a tubing japanese style mascara. For those who aren’t familiar with the terminology, it’s very simple: instead of painting the lashes, it coats them in a film that is removed with water. This mascara is completely smudgeproof but it doesn’t damage lashes the way waterproof mascara does. My Current Special Occasion Mascara is Younique Moonstruck 3D Fiberlashes+. If you are looking for the Fake Lashes Effect without glue and sharp objects poking your eyes, this mascara can easily achieve it. It takes a bit to learn how to use this 2 step system but the effect is really impressive. I call it a system because there are 2 products in the box: a transplanting gel, a black primer for the lashes that allows the fibers to stick to them and then seals them in, and the rayon fibers. I mentioned that there is a learning curve with the product but that doesn’t mean that it is difficult to apply. Quite the contrary actually, but you do need a light hand with the fibers because initially it’s easy to overdo it. It was a really positive surprise because the mascara system gives you volume and holds the curl very well, stays until you remove it with no smudges. I recently attended a wedding and used Younique Moonstruck 3d Fiberlashes+ and was really happy with the result. Most importantly it stayed but when I cried and danced and didn’t budge all evening long, in spite of much abuse! Let’s talk about a topic some readers will want to hear: Removal.  I thought it would be really messy because of the fibers, but using regular eye makeup remover, the mascara came off very easily. Why is this not my favorite everyday mascara, then? Because I am in a rush most mornings and I don’t always have the time for a 2 step process. If I did, I would probably use Younique everyday.

Younique Moonstruck Mascara Review

What is your favorite mascara?

  • Marianna Montuori

    I’ve had several favourite mascaras through the years, but the only ones that got me compliments were Benefit’s They’re Real (though I read you didn’t appreciate it that much) and a NYC “Curly-what’s-its-name” that I bought from a drugstore.
    P.S. You are more than gifted in the lash department: you are blessed!