2017 has so far been a banner year for volumising mascara, with great new formulas launching at every price point. Rachel Marie Walsh counts down her top ten.
How often does your new mascara produce lashes as thick as the campaign model’s? In April, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority banned TV ads for Rimmel’s Scandaleyes Reloaded Mascara, ruling them misleading.
The voiceover promised “extreme lashes…extreme wear” without mentioning Cara Delevingne’s individual lash inserts or how some lashes were re-drawn in post-production. I was pleased but surprised by the intervention. I assume that, analogous to manifestos and politicians, we expect makeup ads to overpromise and products to underperform.
Both, between professional preening and ambiguous language, “sell hope,’ as Revlon founder Charles Revson once said. We learn that early. I noticed a digital-enhancement confession small-printed parallel to Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Maybelline-d lashes in Seventeen many moons ago and thought ‘yes, duh’.
You don’t often sue politicians for betraying an election promise or return volumising mascara, though, you simply take your business elsewhere next time.
The latter is everyday wear, making eyes appear open and interested while negating the need for falsies, so I do test them all. These 2017 formulas are ranked purely by volumising impact, though a couple have other nice features.
10. Revlon Mega Multiplier Mascara, €14.99
Mega Multiplier coats evenly and dries in tubes around each lash, setting smooth and clump-free. The formula adds a good amount of length and curl to lashes. It wears well with no flaking or smudging, though real volume is only attained with several applications. Sensitive types should be aware of the perfumed formula.
9. MAC Bold&Bad Mascara, €25.50
MAC’s mascara range is crowded and products often overlap. Big&Bold’s packaging is unique: a tube duo with distinct bristles and formulas for upper and lower lashes. A fat brush and bulking ingredients emboldens the upper set while a more dainty mix defines the lower. The initial look is elegant but it takes a couple of coats to see real volume.
8. Givenchy Noir Interdit Lash Extension Effect Mascara, €34
Givenchy’s latest has a 90° bend-able brush that lets you reach and coat awkward lashes without tugging.
Give this a miss if you do you makeup in transit, it is a bit fiddly, but the colour deposit is black lacquer and a single coat provides decent volume.
7. L’Oréal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara, €12.99
I don’t know that L’Oréal fans really needed another volumising mascara, the range is high performing and packed, but I do like the pink-gold packaging.
Do not be put off by the 200+ wavy bristles, they separate lashes beautifully and deposit even, clump-free colour. Again, however, you need to apply quite a bit to get to ‘Volume Lash Paradise.’
6. Lancôme Monsieur Big Mascara, €27.50
Monsieur Big is the cheapest of Lancôme’s mascaras and has a somewhat ‘grunge’ look that makes a single coat look like three, so this is a relative bargain.
It has a chunky brush similar to that of Maybelline’s ‘Colossal’ family and clearly defines lashes.
This one is not great at keeping them curled, though, and freshly-curled lashes looked straighter after application.
5. La Roche-Posay Respectissime Volume Mascara, €19.45 at lookfantastic.com
La Roche-Posay’s first attempt at eye makeup is a pleasant surprise. The brand claims Respectissime creates 15 times more voluminous lashes, but the formula contains nothing likely to bother sensitive eyes and does give lashes a nice boost.
My favourite element is the brush, which evenly coats the lash with a substantial amount of product in one stroke in order to limit eye irritation.
4. Christian Breton Endless Lash Volumising Mascara, €22 at beautyexpert.com
Christian Breton, whose mother pioneered DNA-related dermatology research in France, specialises in anti-ageing skincare but his makeup range is quite well-developed. I like his latest, particularly as the brand makes none of the growth claims for it that it does for his two more expensive lash formulas.
Mascaras and serums that claim to encourage lash growth are conditioning at best.
Breton’s Endless Lash has a great fine-lash grabbing brush and a formula that provide long-wearing length as well as substantial volume.
3. YSL Vinyl Couture Mascara, €32.50, on counters September 15
Now we’re at faux lash-effect level! Vinyl Couture is a striking mix of super-volumising mascara and bold colours.
Fuchsia, buttercup yellow and royal blue are brightest, though you really cannot miss the gold and silver top-coat versions either. I like that YSL’s given both promises equal weight here, I’ve tried many brightly-pigmented mascaras that are physical-effect failures and vice-versa. There is a carbon shade, ‘Clash,’ if you are Ford-ian about colour.
2. Estée Lauder Multi Effects, €31, on counters August 27
Fans of Estée Lauder’s moisturisers may know that, beyond adding skin-perfecting makeup ingredients, the brand typically chucks an extensive list of plants oils into each jar. Oils are dense.
This formula does indeed contain argan, jojoba and coconut oils but apparently far higher concentrations of protein fibers and colour pigments, as it holds a thick, glossy curl for hours.
The brush is double-sided, with nylon fiber bristles to build volume and moulded silicone teeth to separate. This mascara comes in limited-edition purple, green and blue shades as well as classic black.
1. Dior Diorshow Pump ’N’ Volume Mascara, €35
Diorshow steals the whole show with Pump ’N’ Volume, this year’s best new mascara.
The look is dramatic and glamorous and very much worth the money if you aren’t also forking out for disposable lashes.
If you squeeze the tube to “warm and soften the formula and fully load the brush,” the bristles grow thoroughly saturated and lashes look even thicker. Given Bella Hadid’s super-natural, inauthentic look in the campaign, I can safely declare this mascara better than advertised.
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