The Great Mascara Test: Which One REALLY Works? (PHOTOS)

mascaraI'm by no definition a makeup junkie, but one product I could never live without is mascara. Obsessed. In my eyes (ha), the bigger and darker the lashes, the better. But there are so many to choose from! All of them claim to work -- the drugstore brands, the fancies -- but which ones really do?

I have an answer.

Because I have a really annoying job that sometimes requires me to do things like painstakingly peruse the aisles of Sephora (and CVS) in the quest for the perfect lash, I've concluded which mascaras (out of the 5 popular brands we tested) actually do what they claim.

And which one you need to get your hands on before New Year's Eve.

My methodology in choosing the five brands started with a little bit of research. And a dude at Sephora.

More from The Stir: The Best 8 Mascaras Under $20

Over the past year, there have been a few mascaras I've heard people talk about that made my ears perk up. One being Trish McEvoy's "tube" mascara. The whole concept behind tube mascara is, well, it "tubes" your lashes as opposed to "painting" them. It lengthens and thickens and literally will not come off unless you apply gentle pressure and warm water. But when I started Googling "tube mascara", something else kept coming up: Blinc.

After a few rave -- no, rave -- reviews on Blinc, I knew it had to be in the test. So I went to Sephora to purchase it -- and while I was there, I talked to a male employee (who had lashes for days), told him what I was doing, and he directed me to a favorite mascara of his: Tarte Gifted Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara. But as he handed me the product, he quickly glanced over his shoulder and whispered out of the side of his mouth: "But my favorite mascara is CoverGirl LashBlast. The one in the purple tube."

And that made three.

The other two I chose were Maybelline Great Lash, because good god, it has been around for about 100 years; and L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes, because a woman who trimmed my bangs had crazy Tammy Faye-esque lashes, and she said that's what she used. So, yeah: Five mascaras.

I enlisted my friend to test out the mascaras, since I'm more of a behind-the-scenes gal. We tried one mascara every day for a week, took photos, and then Briele reported back as to how the makeup fared as the day went on. (Spoiler alert 1: Great Lash and hot yoga do not mix.)

Anyway, enough babbling. On to the photos.

tarte collage

Okay, here's the Amazonian Clay. It's, in a word, pretty great. Okay, that was two words, but that's the god's honest truth. Is it the greatest mascara I've ever laid eyes on? No. But it definitely thickens and lengthens much better than others -- I mean, look at it. And it's worth noting that there are no parabens or synthetic dyes in this product, and at $19, it really is a pretty good deal. If you're looking for a bold mascara with natural(ish) ingredients, Tarte's Amazonian Clay is definitely worth your money. Think Minnie Mouse type lashes. Also, worth mentioning: It's supposed to improve your lashes over time, repairing, rebuilding, and strengthening. We didn't have time to test that.

blinc

Next was Blinc. (Our runner-up.) This really is a good mascara. A tad pricey at $26, but it does. Not. Come. Off. You have to apply this mascara quickly, as it "dries" after two minutes -- and then that's it; doesn't move. Briele endured an entire hot yoga class with nary a streak on her face. Also, it definitely gives you a bold lash, if that's what you're going for. And it lengthens. (You should know, though: When taking off Blinc, it looks like your eyelashes are coming out -- they're not.)

lashblast

CoverGirl LashBlast Fusion. The winner in our eyes. Pun intended. Sephora dude was right -- this mascara is no joke, and it literally will not clump no matter how hard you try (we tried). Briele's eyes popped after LashBlast -- more so than with the others. And at $8.49, it's really a no-brainer.

voluminous

Sadly, L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes (gold tube) was last on our lash list. It really didn't do much -- we were going for wow factor here. This didn't deliver. But if you skew towards a more natural look, this one might be for you.

greatlash

And then there was Maybelline Great Lash, the product that's been around for eons and always seems to win awards in magazines. It was ... okay. Nothing special to report here. However, Briele did go to a hot yoga class wearing this, and the result, in her words, was: "Not pretty. I looked like a raccoon." In all fairness, Briele didn't go to hot yoga classes in the other (non-tube) mascaras. The same thing could have happened.

So, yeah, CoverGirl LashBlast Fusion is the winner here. (And it -- as well as Great Lash and Voluminous -- comes in brown, if you're into that sort of thing.) But if you're looking for a mascara that's going to stay on all day and night, then Blinc is more your speed. (Seriously, it doesn't move.) If you just want a bold, look-at-me eye for the night, and you don't feel like driving to a Sephora (or shelling out too much cash), LashBlast is the way to go.

Trust us, we're experts.

What's your favorite mascara?

 

Images via Nicole Fabian-Weber

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Pinkmani Pinkmani

Lash Stiletto works wonders

junecat junecat

I like Tarte's mascaras, but will definitely try Lash Blast now.  You should try Rapidlash, though - it thickens and lenghtens your lashes (takes a few weeks to start working).  I swear by the stuff and have my friends and family using it as well.  Drugstore.com has it for the best price I've seen. 

cmjaz cmjaz

My daughter and I use lashblast. Works great. I have to hide mine when she comes over. I won't share mascara so she knows if she 'accidently' uses it, i'll just give it to her. Brat.

linzemae linzemae

Benefits "they're real" is pretty amazing. I also like lash stilleto and telescopic for drug store brands. For some reason I hate lash blast.

Angie... AngieHayes

I like Pixie, but it comes off really easy at first, very wet... but I do like it and I have blonde lashes.

Babujai Babujai

I actually really like the Great Lash "Lots of Lashes". 

nonmember avatar NCC

L'Oreal Telescopic wins with me. It's more dramatic, not a natural look, but it's amazing. I'd give it a 10/10! I also like the falsies.

Virid... ViridianSoul

I've been using something by Almay (forgot which one), and it was alright but does tend to clump a little. I've been in the market for a new mascara as it's that time of the year, and after reading all this, I'm definitely going to pick up the CoverGirl brand and give it a try!

DieMy... DieMyDarling

Loreal double extend tube mascara ftw! $10...can't be beat. Never ever ever smudges.

Blues... Blueshark77

I've been a LashBlast fan for years now. I always used the waterproof one, but recently started using the 24 hour one. Lashes are always thick and long and if I curl them first the curl lasts all day.

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