[Requested] 6 Mascaras I Like and Tips for Choosing a Mascara That Suits You
Before we begin, let’s just say first that there are TONS of great mascaras on the market, and whether something is good or bad really depends on your lashes and preferences. So these are not the “best” mascaras. They are just the ones that meet my needs.
If you have a favorite that you swear by, I’d love to hear about it and why!
Choosing your mascara:
First thing to do is to evaluate your natural lashes and what exact aspect you want a mascara to improve most.
Length - literally how long they are
Shaft/Thickness of each lash - how thick each strand is and how obvious or dramatic they look
Fullness of lashes - how many strands you have and how feathery and full your lash line looks
Curl - how straight or curled your lashes are
For example, I have quite long lashes with a medium-fine shaft, which means they are easy to curl. (Thick lash strands tend to be more stubborn and take more effort to curl and set.) But my lashes are not very full so I usually need a bit of volume to make it look like I have more strands. They’re also naturally black so I don’t usually need to worry about mascaras not drying very black, but you might need to look out for “blackest black” shades if you have fair lashes as some regular black mascaras will dry to an ashy charcoal shade.
Below are the mascaras I’ll use on different occasions.
Maybelline Great Lash in Blackest Black
Wet mascaras are not usually very thickening or lengthening on first application. They do coat your lashes quite evenly, but if you want to achieve significant length and thickness, you will need to wiggle and coat them for quite awhile.
Pros: Very buildable. I can go from clean and natural looking to moderately long and thick.
Cons: Takes a while to dry, so it can easily smear onto your lids if you happen to rub your lashes or blink too hard before it dries completely. Also not stiff or thick enough a formula to handle very stubborn, straight lashes.
In a rush for work:
Clinique High Impact Mascara
This is thicker than Maybelline Great Lash, but gives good length, separation and thickness quite quickly, so if you’re late for work or school and want to beef up your lashes fast, this one does it very well.
Pros: All-rounder that gives length and fullness without much clumping. Lashes feel quite soft and flexible. Slightly buildable but I wouldn’t advise doing too many coats with it as that might cause clumps.
Cons: Non-waterproof, so if you have oily lids or stubborn lashes that straighten during the day, this won’t be able to hang on to the curl.
Need a little Drama:
Shu Uemura Tokyo Lash Mascara
Formula: Medium, tubing
This is a smudge-resistant tubing mascara that coats your lashes quite thickly and builds up length very well. It’s designed to go on in one coat so you don’t need to spend minutes coating and coating your lashes.
Pros: Very dark, glossy black effect and thickens lash strands quite well.
Cons: This is not a buildable mascara. If you try to do a second coat, expect clumping. But if that sort of spiky dramatic effect is what you want, go for it! Also, it’s smudge-resistant but it’s NOT waterproof, so don’t jump in the pool with this on.
VDL Water Bomb
Formula: Moderately-wet, waterproof
This mascara actually feels a little like Tokyo Lash Mascara, and they both give that same “thickening” effect to lash strands, so it’s great for a little drama. But this is a waterproof formula, so if you’re more concerned about smudging this would be a good one to try.
Pros: Nice combination of thickness and length with long-wear, and the slightly wet formula allows you some time to build and separate your lashes.
Cons: Like many mascaras with rubber wands (e.g. Cover Girl Lash Blast), it has a tendency to coat lashes quite thickly and not as evenly as regular brush bristles. (If you look close you will tend to see a mix of thinly-coated and thickly-coated lashes instead of a an even coating on all lash strands.) If that’s something you dislike, you might want to try something with a regular brush wand.
Lancôme Hypnôse Waterproof
Formula: Medium-dry, waterproof
This is a classic, so there really isn’t all that much to say about it! This is slightly drier than the non-waterproof version, so you might not be able to build it up quite as much, but it does do a fab job of finding all the tiny lashes and coating each strand without clumping them together as much as other mascaras, so you look like you have tons and tons of lashes.
Pros: Best at creating a fuller-looking, wispy, fluttery lash line. Plus, it stays on and doesn’t flake.
Cons: Dries quickly on the lashes so you need to work fast, and you can’t build it up too much or you create little clumps.
Dolly but Strong:
Heroine Make Long & Curl Mascara
Formula: Medium, waterproof with fiber effect
This Japanese brand is known for its range of tear-, water- and smudge-proof eye products. While I still wouldn’t jump into the pool with ANY mascara on, this is probably one of the most budge-proof mascaras around.
Pros: Builds up a lot of length quickly, and also does a decent job of “lifting” the lashes and holding them up,
Cons: This manages to lift, but it doesn’t exactly curl very well, so you get upward pointing but relatively straight lashes, unless you curl them extremely well before-hand.
Honorary Mentions: Old Favorites
These are some great mascaras that I happen not to have at the moment still love a lot and wouldn’t mind buying again.
1. Dior Show (original) - full, fluttery, but natural looking effect. It gives me a similar finish to Hypôse so I don’t need to own both of these at the same time.
2. L’oreal Voluminous - A cheaper version of Hypnôse, and maybe not quite as voluminizing but pretty darned good still. I love the Carbon Black non waterproof formula and I do purchase a whole bunch of backups whenever I travel to the US, since they stopped carrying this in Asia years ago.
3. Lancôme Hypnôse Doll Eyes - I did a post on this a couple of months ago. This is a GREAT formula for holding a curl and adding a little more drama and length than the original Hypôse, which is more “fluttery” and wispy. If you want something like Hypnôse but with more length instead of “natural” fullness, try Doll Eyes instead of the regular Hypnôse.
4. Revlon Grow Luscious (original) - This rather dry formula mascara has a big fat wand like Dior Show. If L’oreal Voluminous reminds me of Hypnôse, Grow Luscious and its huge plush brush reminds me of Dior Show. The formula is a little too dry to give the same amount of drama but it you do get to build it up a bit for extra fullness, although it’s not particularly lengthening.