The last time I fiddled with mascara and enjoyed it, it was with Korres Abyssinia Oil Volumizing Mascara. That was almost exactly a year to-date and since then, I've had the pleasure of getting to know 6 drugstore mascaras. Yes, 6. That might seem unimpressive to some, but I've never been picky with mascara, so to try more than 1 and moving onto others is new for me. Mascara is also just not one of those products I can't stand paying more than $7 for. Luckily, that left me with a number of very popular drugstore options. They were:
- CoverGirl LashBlast Volume (chubby orange tube) - Let's just say, not impressed. It didn't really give me volume, and my lashes felt dry, spidery, and brittle. Not sure why this is a popular favorite. Also, the brush was just too big and oddly shaped. It looks like an inflated barrel. I think I actually poked myself in the eye once.
- CoverGirl LashFusion (chubby purple tube) - Ditto. I didn't see much of a difference between the two, other than the color of the tube. Slightly better than the LashBlast, although I can't be sure why. The brush was slightly different and the effect a little nicer, but still uninspiring.
- Maybelline Colossal Volume Express (chubby yellow tube) - Loved this one. The brush is large, but it's a traditional bristle brush and not a plastic one, which made all the difference. It just did what a mascara should do - coat the lushes well, little clumping, volumizing (my preference over length), and stayed put. A little drama, but not over the top, although you could go there if you wanted. I would have repurchased and continued to use, but read on...
- Maybelline Volume Express One-By-One (chubby hot pink tube) - This one comes closest to the Korres mascara I like so much. Like the Korres, this gives a defined fullness to lashes. True to its name, the wand seems to catch every little lash and pull it apart from the others. As is the trend these days, the brush is large, and plastic rather than bristle. But unlike the CoverGirl LashBlast, the brush is well-designed - it tapers a bit at the end, the "barrel" is smaller, and the little combs longer. I also like the formula of the mascara itself - it is more fluid and inky than the others, but just dry enough to set quickly. I haven't experienced any clumping with this, and I rarely need to follow up with a tissue or lash comb. Plus, it stays all day and holds the shape of my lashes.
- Maybelline TheFalsies (also a chubby purple tube!) - Ah, TheFalsies. People seem to have ridiculously high expectations of this mascara. My expectations of mascara are minimal and I don't really buy into all the crazy claims. In my experience, this is a very good mascara for a dramatic fringe, and a good combination of the Colossal and One-By-One mascaras. The brush is completely new, so hats off to Maybelline for that. It's sort of a flat, spoon shape. For some pictures, check out this review on NouveauCheap. Basically, imagine the head of a cotton swab/Q-tip. Now flatten and elongate it a bit, and add bristles. There you have it. I think the new shape is interesting and I do find application a little easier compared to other brushes because it sort of cups your lashes. The downside is the formula, which is on the thick side and prone to clumping. But this mascara is meant to amplify the lashes even more so than the Colossal or LashBlast, so you win some, you lose some. A good lash comb might be necessary for some after a coat or two. Like the One-By-One, it stays put all day and maintains the shape of my lashes. Perhaps a little bit on the stiff side, but that's expected for this mascara, and the feeling is nowhere as rough and dry as LashBlast.
- Rimmel Sexy Curves (slim, teal, metallic tube - nice change) - This little-known mascara of the unique tube color worked rather well for me. The formula and consistency are just right - similar to the One-By-One but thinner, and also clump-free. The plastic brush is the skinniest of the bunch, which I prefer for getting all the little lashes. It also has an interesting shape - tapers in the middle but has is full on each end. Different, for sure, and it glides onto the lashes. This mascara definitely gives more length than volume. Although I prefer volume, I still liked the overall look because it wasn't too dramatic but still kind of - doll-like without being porn-star or Japanese anime. Its ability to produce sexy "curves" was not an issue for me (my lashes are curvy to begin with). I definitely would have repurchased this had I not continued to experiment.
The winner in this year's unofficial Mascara Madness? Maybelline Volume Express One-By-One! Not only was I happy with the volume and definition, it's a breeze to use. No wiping excess mascara or lash comb necessary. It's hard to pick a few top choices. Overall, I'm comfortable with either One-By-One or TheFalsies, followed by the Colossal and then Rimmel's Sexy Curves. If I had to pick a combo of one day mascara and more dramatic, I'd go for Sexy Curves/Colossal and One-By-One/TheFalsies (my current combo).