The Search For The Perfect Mascara

Every now and again, I like to venture out of my comfort zone and experiment with the unknown. The unknown, in this case is my makeup bag staple, the mascara. Over the years, I have tried and tested untold different brands (both high-street and high-end) and formulas. It took me a while to understand my lashes and to know what works and what doesn’t mainly that non-waterproof mascara, on me, does not hold the much sought after curl. It’s in the genes. Being of my ethnic background, my lashes are poker straight. They will curl with the help of eyelash curlers but as soon as it goes anywhere near a non-waterproof formulated mascara, they waste no time in flopping back down to their natural state. I am also blessed with short, fine and sparse lashes (lucky me!), so finding a mascara that is lengthening, volumising (but not clumping) and curling isn’t as easy as you would think considering the sheer volume out there and brands constantly releasing yet another product offering claiming to do X, Y and Z.

However, after much trial and error, I found it. For the past few years, I have been loyal to the Maybelline Colossal Volum’ Express Waterproof (of course) Mascara. My previous love affair had been with one of its own, the Maybelline New York Great Lash Waterproof Mascara but now looking back, I don’t know how I was ever content. The Colossal’s wand, at the time, was the fattest I’d ever seen. Compared with the Great Lash, it was obese. It’s a combination of the wand and it’s bristles along with its waterproof formulation that gave for the most long and volumising lashes, with a gravity-defying curl. I’ve been known to buy this in bulk when it’s 3 for 2 at Superdrug/Boots. A girl can never have enough mascara right?

So the first contender is Max Factor’s False Lash Effect Waterproof Mascara. With Lisa Eldridge being a fan of Max Factor mascaras, how wrong could she be? First off, the wand is very different to what I’m used to seeing. There’s not much difference in the width of the wand at the top, to the width of bristles at the end and that’s down to the wand being thick and the bristles being extremely short. It’s also completely plastic including the bristles which again is something I’m not used to. I’m already sceptical and controversially begin judging the book by it’s cover.

So what do I think of it after using it? One things for sure, it’s waterproof all right. So much so, I struggled removing it with my trusted Garnier Simple Essentials 2 in 1 Makeup Remover. It’s one tough cookie! As for the the “false lash effect”, not so much! I’m not saying I wasn’t impressed but I didn’t think it resembled false lashes. If anything, I thought it gave a rather natural look. Yes it lengthened. Slightly. It separated and defined. A lot. Did it add volume? Not really. Certainly not to the levels I’d expect from a mascara, especially one that claimed to give a false lash effect. Would I use it again? Yes. Is it better than the Maybelline Colossal Volum’ Express Waterproof Mascara? No. But it’s a good mascara.

The next mascara I picked up was a Maybelline offering, The Falsies Volum’ Express. If they could produce a mascara I love so much twice, surely they could do it again. Tanya Burr swears by it and I swear by Tanya Burr. The exterior packaging is pretty much identical to the Colossal Volum’ Express but a pinky-purple shade as opposed to a bright, bold yellow. The wand however, is different. At an initial, sideway glance, the bristle part of the wand looks slimmer and slightly curved with long bristles. If you turn the brush sideways, you can see the reason why the brush appears to be slimmer is because the bristles are extremely short on top and bottom (or sideways whichever way you look at it) that they are practically non-existant. The wand itself is also very bendy and less rigid than the Colossal Volum’ Express and the Max Factor False Lash Effect.

So what are my thoughts after giving it a few gos? I like it. I thought the bendy, curved wand would annoy me but it’s ok. It certainly adds length and gives plenty of volume without clumping and of course, being waterproof, the formula doesn’t fail to keep the curl all day long. It also defines without separating the lashes too much, definately not ideal when you have sparse lashes to start with. I’m impressed! I thought I had tried this in the past but didn’t like it. Clearly must have gotten it confused with another.

The final mascara I picked up was Loreal’s Volume Million Lashes Excess, again in the waterproof version. This is another bendy wand design with the biggest bristle head of the lot, slim but long. At first I thought the bristles were of the same length, quite short compared to its competitors. After a much closer inspection, there we two lengths identified. Short and even shorter. I wasn’t too sure at how they would perform on my lashes as they have become quite accustomed to full, fat bristle-heads. To my surprise, I quite liked the results.  They gave my lashes a soft and fluttery effect, not at all spider-leg like which you can sometimes get especially when you layer the mascara like I like to (when it comes to lashes, less is not more). It gives volume and length and a superb curl, which are essentially the three things I look for in a mascara.

So there you have it. I have surprised even myself. Macaras have obviously progressed over the years that I have stayed loyal to my Colossal Volum’ Express. I think all three tested are good mascaras in their own right. The Max Factor False Lash Effect gives serious definition, the Maybelline The Falsies Volum’ Express gives plenty of volume, and the Loreal Volume Million Lashes Effect gives a soft, voluminous flutter to the lashes. My favourite of the lot? It’s a toss up between The Falsies and the Volume Million Lashes . Better than the Colossal? That’s a tough call. They’ve each had a couple of outings but the fact that I cant give a straight answer just goes to show you that they are THAT good. Maybe I should be more opened minded about trying new products in the future instead of quickly dismissing them with an “it won’t work on me” attitude. Having said that, my credit card does not need to get battered more often than it already does.

What’s the best mascara you have tried? Not that I need more encouragement. I have plenty to see me through the next few months but it’s always good to know what products out there are doing their job well.

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