Style and Styling

Mascara Madness

Drugstore Brands Review

Happy day, reader dear!

It is spring in the northern hemisphere, and with the season come graduations and soon after, summer weddings! I don’t know about you, but I cry a lot. I mean A LOT. I’m a happy crier. I get overwhelmed by joy and gratitude, beauty and the sheer goodness of life that I leak everywhere. It’s not a bad thing mind you, unless there will be photographs. And who wants to look like a raccoon for posterity?

NOTE: This is NOT a sponsored post. I bought all the mascaras reviewed here myself, and have been compensated in no way by any manufacturer or retailer. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Last fall, I took it upon myself to test some drugstore mascaras for our son’s upcoming wedding. I thought it a good time to reshare the results since I’m pretty sure there are some other grateful (and possibly leaky) women out there who can use some help finding a mascara that doesn’t leave one looking like a prizefighter or football player! Here’s how the hunt went…

First, I Instagrammed a request for mascara recommendations, and discarded some of the pricier suggestions. Since I replace my mascara every three months, I haven’t used up a tube of mascara in years. Nor can I see paying $50 a tube for fab lashes for one day. This is photo-op mascara I need here, not the kind of look I want everyday, so I was looking for drugstore pricing.

Full disclosure requires letting you know I have issues. (I’m sure you figured that out already!) I need my mascara to be waterproof, and I prefer brown-black to deep black. Full-on black looks harsh on my lighter and softer 56 year old (read: less firm and radiant) complexion. Many companies make their waterproof formulas only in black. I figured that for the wedding, I was likely to end up with black, and since close-ups are reserved for the bride and groom, I wouldn’t get obsessive about the color. (I’ll take a pat on the back, here. This was hard.) But finding another waterproof mascara I like would be awesome!

I tried six different mascaras, and below share some thoughts about each one. The very first one I tried looked amazing, but turned out not to be waterproof in even the smallest way. Not its fault! I clearly did not read the label, so I won’t prejudice you by telling you the brand. Someday, If I can figure out how to take a good (and not freaky/scary) closeup of my eyes wearing each, I’ll do that! My iPhone camera skills are not there yet…

Maybelline Lash Sensational Curvitude:

I was pleasantly surprised to find this one in black/brown! Even more surprised by the curved brush. Usually curved brushes don’t work for me. Call it poor curve alignment? But this curved brush fits my lash line like a personal customization! It did a great job grabbing the little sparse lashes at the outer corner of my eyes, and giving them a boost. The formula is thicker and a little clumpy compared to the next two, but a quick swipe with a toothbrush to declump sorted out all those issues. I found it applied most evenly when I cleaned the brush off with a paper towel and then reloaded it with mascara. Clearly, that would be a waste of product to do every day, but for a special occasion it’s just fine!     $8.99 (Ulta)

CoverGirl Full Lash Bloom:

I wasn’t hoping for much when I opened the tube. This one has an unusual brush. I guess, unusual isn’t quite the word; there are lots of brushes like this one now, with the very short rubber bristles. In spite of my brush prejudice, this was a pleasant surprise. I loved the nice thin formula! It coated lashes evenly and without clumping. I didn’t feel it had enough bang for special occasion photos, but I loved this look for everyday. It wasn’t a real volume builder, but did a beautiful job darkening from base to tip. A great choice for natural looking lashes.     $6.99 (Target)

Essence Get Big Lashes Volume Boost:

I’ve had great luck with Essence waterproof eye liner pencils. (I used to buy them by the dozen when I was helping out with high school drama makeup. It’s cheap, and really stays on!) At less than $5.00, this one was the least expensive. It had a great fluffy straight brush that held and distributed the mascara well. The formula applied very nicely, not clumpy or thick. Unfortunately for me, the brush was too fluffy for my lash/lid configuration. I keep running the brush into my brow bone, leaving smudges that needed to be removed. This formula was very long wearing, and proved tear and dab proof. It was not rub resistant; that evening, I found myself with a bad case of panda eyes!     $3.99 (Ulta)

Maybelline Volum’ Express The Falsies:

I bought two more to try at the last minute. I had already decided on the Lash Sensational, but thought “A couple more can’t hurt!” I’m glad I did, because these next two turned out to be amazing! This Maybelline Volum’ Express The Falsies Waterproof Mascara (Yes, that name is way. too. long.) had a gently curved brush that did a beautiful job coating lashes at both the inner and outer corners. I have a “bald spot” on my left eye where my lashes separate, and this mascara really accentuated this, but once I brushed through the lashes, the lashes on either side of the patch unclumped (Is that a word?) and looked great. Another huge plus: this one was available in Brownish Black! Woo hoo!     $6.99 (Ulta)

L’Oreal Voluminous Extra-Volume Collagen:

Since my everyday mascara is a L’Oreal Voluminous, I figured that this L’Oreal Voluminous Extra-Volume Collagen Mascara: Waterprooof would work. I wouldn’t choose this as an everyday mascara, as I could only find it in black, but for staying power, this was magnificent!  I ended up wearing this on Friday night to the rehearsal dinner, and layered it over the Maybelline Volum’ Express The Falsies for the Wedding on Saturday. It lasted the entire day, even through the tears. No panda eyes, or smudging. Even the bottom lashes stayed put, which qualifies as a miracle in my book.   $6.99 (Target)

And here’s how it worked out! I love this shot the photographer grabbed right before we were to take our seats. The leaking had already begun…

He looks so serious here, but it’s really his proud, trying not to cry face. I am richly blessed!

So, that’s it! What’s your favorite mascara? What are you looking for a mascara to do for you? Have any of these above worked for you? Let me know in the comments below! I love to hear from you… Hope this helps!

Stylishly yours,


    • closetplayadmin

      Thank you so much for the visit, Gail! I’ve seen a few inexpensive brands in cobalt this season… Now to try and remember where and by whom. I’ll let you know if I do! And if there’s an EU/UK equivalent.

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