Monday, January 7, 2013

Review: Mascara Comparison

Right to Left: CoverGirl Professional Super Thick Lash, Majolica Majorca Lash Expander Frame Plus, Buxom Amplified Lash, Maybelline Volum' Express One by One, Maybelline Great Lash Lots of Lashes, Sephora Outrageous Volume

I'm not sure how I came to own so many tubes of mascara at one time. In fairness, two of these were samples.

Mascara is an interesting subject for review because how a mascara works tends to vary widely due to the fact that everyone's lashes are different. I'm going to describe my lashes in the chance that mine are similar to yours, but my post is going to focus more on the objective features of these lovely mascaras. I've found that people have an idea of the kind of formula and brush they prefer. So in a mascara review, it's much more useful talking about those than about how the mascara works on my eyes in particular!

But first things first: My lashes are black, medium length, medium thickness. As you might know by now, I have oily skin and on me, mascara is not spared from it's tendency to smudge! For mascaras, I prefer volumizing (too much length scares me a little), and I can't stand clumpiness. But first let me define clumpiness.

I must admit that I don't always know what reviewers mean by "clumpy". On this blog, clumping lashes mean that the lashes are sticking together as opposed to being separated. I'm very particular that my lashes should be mostly separated. I usually wear just one coat from fear of "spidery lashes".

These are the mascara's I will be reviewing:

CoverGirl Professional Super Thick Lash:

Effect - This mascara was suppose to be volumizing. While it did thicken my lashes a little bit, the wand did a bad job of reaching the base of the lashes. By the second coat, my lashes look slightly "scraggly" because the volume didn't taper from root to tip. I actually got quite a bit of length from the second coat - in addition to quite a bit of clumping (by which I mean, lack of separation). In general, the second coat just didn't look very smooth.

Results from just doing one coat: somewhat lackluster. This mascara darkens your lashes a bit and that's about it. My lashes still looked separated with one coat, but the few lashes that stuck together plus the lack of volume made my lashes look more sparse than necessary.

Brush - Clumsy and unable to coat evenly nor separate well.

Formula - Strong mascara smell which obviously dissipates when dried. The formula was pretty sticky, which translates to "dry".

Verdict - Utterly ordinary. Smudges a little bit. 5/10

Majolica Majorca Lash Expander Frame Plus:

Effect - This is a fiber mascara - you can see the little fibers in the formula when you pull the wand out. It produces a very smooth finish/look and does a good job lifting the lashes. Essentially, I liked the shape of my lashes after using this mascara. With one coat, you get relatively good separation which makes it look like you have more lashes. Lashes look darker with one coat of this than two coats of the CG Professional. With two coats, you need a lash comb if you don't want noticeable clusters of lashes.

Formula - Medium wet formula. Doesn't flake.

Brush - The reason I'm not fawning over this mascara is because of the wand. It doesn't separate very well. I think if it had one of the plastic wands that "grabs" your lashes and covers them thoroughly, this would be the perfect mascara. The curved and flat side don't differ much in terms of application or separation. It just that ergonomically speaking, the curved side is easier for upper lashes and the flat side is easier for bottom.

Verdict - Pretty good but overpriced. Very waterproof. 7/10

Maybelline Volum' Express One by One:

Effect - This mascara makes my lashes seem particularly fanned out. It lifts lashes only a little bit and isn't the most volumizing, but made my lashes look quite thick. On the second coat, this mascara gave my lashes the peculiar shape of a curve. My lashes look lifted in the middle but drooped a little at the tips. This mascara is pretty annoying for the lower lashes - gives it very little volume, only length, clumping, and stickiness (sometimes catching my upper lashes when I blink).

Brush - This brush is very easy to use! It is an amazing separator - lashes are still quite separate after two coats. It does a pretty good job at getting individual lashes. Bad at catching the baby lashes near the corners. Bad at getting close to the root of the bottom lashes.

Formula - Thin and medium dry. The first coat can only build up so much before it stops adding any volume/length. Needs coaxing to get the second coat to apply as you try to get the second coat to bind.

Verdict - Nice and natural look. I don't think you'll ever get that dramatic volume from this mascara. Also, it smudges on me. 6/10

Maybelline Great Lash Lots of Lashes:

Effect: Really good separation. Makes my lashes very straight. Pretty nice texture and finish after first coat in that lashes are evenly coated. Flaky and clumping upon second coat - ironically, this results in a very volumized look.

Brush - Really good at getting baby lashes at the corners. Also good at getting near the root of the bottom lashes, which I think is the difference between this and Maybelline One by One. Beware that the tip of this brush doesn't separate perfectly, so your baby lashes are more likely to clump. The brush in general is kind of small. The formula will thicken your lashes just fine, but getting the mascara on your lashes is not the easiest because a large part of your brush is just very little and flimsy.

Formula - Medium dry, medium thin formula. The slight clumping from the first coat will catch your brush and give you problems in the second coat.

Verdict - I'm surprised that I liked this more than expected, mainly due to the way the tapered brush reaches all those small lashes. 6.5/10

Sephora Outrageous Lashes:

I got this as a free sample from some coupon that I found a while ago.

Formula - It used to be more wet but it has since dried out a bit. I like it both ways.

Effect - It doesn't lengthen very much on the first coat. But it looks like I have crazy many lashes. It separates very very well. I like the finish - it's almost feathery; not many clumps and not many flakes. The mascara doesn't increase the volume of each lash that much, but the collective effect is pretty volume-noticeable. The thing about this mascara is that I feel that I'm wearing mascara. It's not weightless. The second coat lifts the lashes particularly well and ups the length. However, it doesn't look as smooth.

Brush - The large brush makes it difficult to reach smaller lashes. The brush is long and has pretty short bristles. This creates a nice separating and practically lash multiplying effect. The nature of this mascara makes it very suitable for lower lashes!

Verdict - Two coats is dramatic enough for me for a night out. It's very pretty with both one and two coats. I'm a bit peeved that I can feel this mascara when I'm wearing it. Also the reaching of baby lashes and the passable volume leaves something to be desired. 7.5/10

Buxom Amplified Lash:
This is almost two reviews in one since you can adjust the brush. You twist the top of the wand so that the brush itself elongates and contracts. The movement is pretty cool to look at. I have used the brush at it's longest and shortest, but it just occurred to me that you could pick somewhere in the middle as well.

Formula - A fairly wet, thin formula that's easy to work with. I love the finish - there are no flakes or unevenness. It looks very smooth, although it doesn't necessarily comb lashes to make them go in the same direction. You have to be quite deliberate if you want that. There is very little clumping. Any clumping together of lashes is not a huge problem because not too much mascara gets trapped between the clumped lashes, which is usually what makes clumping look egregious.

Effect / Brush - When the brush is short, it separates amazingly well. It's not as lengthening. When the brush is long, separation is acceptable (not as good) and is better at lengthening lashes. When short, each lash get covered in more mascara than when the brush is long. This difference is more noticeable on the lower lashes.
Shorter brush

Longer brush

The second coat looks kind of bad. Lashes start to go in all different directions and look unevenly coated. However, it does further lengthen and volumize lashes by a noticeable but not shocking amount. If you want to layer, I recommend applying the first coat with the short brush and applying the second coat with the long brush. Afterwards, use a lash separator. Then lashes will not look too clumpy. By this I mean that the tips of your lashes will not be too far from each other  (which is what makes them look clumpy and sparse) and will be relatively evenly spaced. As a result, lashes don't look that dramatic. If instead you use the long brush for the first coat and short brush for the second, your lashes may look spidery and go in wonky directions. Lashes don't look very fanned out - I suspect this mascara is relatively heavy. You can try to coax your lashes in the direction you want them, but bear in mind that the lashes are a bit difficult to control during the second coating (they are somewhat set in place from the first coat).

Verdict - This mascara does the job. Other than the astounding separation, volume and length are just so-so.  But honestly, this mascara is nice and the packaging is way cool. 7/10

Final Thoughts:
I've mentioned lash combs/separators once or twice here. See my Mascara Thoughts post for what I use. (Yes, that sounds like a lure. No I'm not trying to be scheming or wicked crafty. This post is way too long as it is!)

Was this review helpful? Do you like to read mascara reviews or do the contradictions among differing opinions get you confused like they do for me?