Category Archives: Mascara Reviews

Val Garland Masara Lashes

In My Makeup Kit: MAC Haute and Naughty Mascara


I’m ALWAYS testing out new mascaras, constantly searching for that new favourite that outperforms all the rest. After a few duds (namely Make Up For Ever’s Smoky Lash – not a fan, and Lancôme’s Grandiôse, which quickly became Lancôme Crunchy Lash, although I did love it to start off with) I have finally hit the jackpot with MAC’s Haute and Naughty mascara.

This one has been around for awhile, and I’d heard around the makeup traps that it was great. I just hadn’t got around to trying it (so many mascaras, so little time!) but now that I have, I’m hooked.

Why is it so amazing? It has not one but two fabulous brushes, so you have a brush for the upper AND lower lashes. It also dispenses just the right amount of product so you get full lashes very rapidly without a complete overload of mascara. When you’re in a hurry and don’t have time for blotches or fiddling around combing out the lashes, this is the one to reach for.

The large main brush gives you fluttery, full volumised lashes in a couple of strokes, but the piece de resistance is the small brush, hidden in the cap. This allows you to coat all the lower lashes from root to tip with the utmost precision. Years ago I used to have a Maybelline one called Lash Discovery for the lower lashes but I’ve not seen that anywhere for ages, so I’m pretty happy to have MAC Haute and Naughty as a replacement. So if you like lashes that can go from basic to bombshell in two seconds, this is the mascara for you!

Val Garland Masara Lashes

Angelica Huston

In My Makeup Kit: Clinique High Impact Extreme Volume Mascara OR No More Trash Lash

Let’s talk about lashes shall we? Or more specifically, how to get gorgeous lashes. I haven’t tried an amazing new mascara for awhile. I’ve tested out a few, but they’ve all been
Gloop city
Nothing to write home about
And I’m certainly not going to waste valuable blog time on those.

What I can tell you is the only one I have tried of late that I actually like, is Clinique’s new High Impact Extreme Volume mascara (or HIEV for short). It does not disappoint. Clinique are justly famed for their mascaras, and this new one is no exception.

It has a lovely big brush to allow you to coat the lashes quickly and easily. It’s got quite a thin formula which I like as you can do multiple coats and build it, and it doesn’t get crunchy. Thus you can go from au naturel in the day to va va voom in the evening with the same product. It won’t give what I call Trash Lash, where your lashes all start to stick together in unattractive, cheap and nasty looking clumps.

Sometimes when shooting beauty or editorial I do love a big, beautiful clumpy Trash Lash, as modeled by the inimitable Anjelica Huston here. However for real life, this is a lash that looks like you had too many drinks the night before and just couldn’t get it together at the bathroom mirror the next day. Sometimes this is so, in which case I hope you had fun, but sometimes it’s your mascara making life harder than it is. Clinique’s HIEV quite simply won’t let this happen. Unless you want to channel Angelica in all her 70’s Trash Lash fabulousness.

In My Makeup Kit: Sublime de Chanel Mascara

I haven’t posted about mascara for ages, and I’ll tell you why – I can’t wear it anymore. There, I said it. From being a mascara wearer all my life (or from where life really begins, when makeup-wearing does, at say, fourteen), I have gone to a nude-eyed egg face. I comfort myself with pictures of Tilda Swinton’s bare-eyed alien beauty and tell myself it’s something along those lines, but I don’t know if it is. To compensate, I wear lots of gorgeous blush and have whole-heartedly embraced a red lip when I go out. As Gwyneth Paltrow famously said, “Every woman needs a kick-ass red lipstick”.

Why no more mazzy in the House of Mole? My eyes have rebelled, and they hurt when I wear it. No more contacts, no more eye makeup for me. Which was sad for awhile but now I find it strangely liberating. And of course I still get to layer it on at work, so that does compensate. As a consequence I’ve not been inspired to blog about mascara or much eye makeup lately, but I was cleaning my kit yesterday and thought it was high time I told you about my latest staple mascara – Sublime de Chanel.

This is the one I reach for when you just want perfect lashes. Not major false fringes or uber natural, but perfectly lifted, curled, and darkened. Classy lashes. Left Bank lashes. The types of lashes one might take to the Spanish Steps in Rome, or the Guggenheim in New York. Every girl needs a mascara for those days don’t they? This one delivers as it has dense, inky pigment which doesn’t flake or smear – no crumbling under hot lights or one too many cocktails! So it’s perfect for real life, it just does what you want it to do. And even though I can’t test it on myself anymore, I’ve used it often enough on jobs to keep on pulling it out, time after time. J’Adore.



Bag It: NARS Larger than Life Volumizing Mascara

NARS Larger than Life Volumizing MascaraWay back in the mists of time I wrote one of my first posts for MM, and it was telling the world how crap I thought NARS’ old mascara was. (There was also something about Huey Lewis and the News in there, but Lord knows what that has to do with mascara, crap or otherwise).

However I am thrilled to report that after extensive testing, NARS new Larger than Life Volumizing mascara is proving itself to be a winner. The brush is a bit bigger than normal but not jumbo oversized like Diorshow mascara or Benefit’s Bad Girl Lash, and the main thing I like about it is that it doesn’t get goopy or overload the lash. Thus you can build a few coats with it still looking lovely and fluffy, and it really is quite volumizing.

One thing I would say is that sucker is staying on once it’s on! Make sure you have a good remover because it has the staying properties of a waterproof mazzie, without the crunchiness – which if you live in a hot climate or like a badass, long last mascara, this is for you.

In the mascara stakes Monsieur NARS, you have well and truly redeemed yourself.


In My Makeup Kit: YSL Faux Cils mascara Noir Radical

Faux Cils mascara Noir Radical  I’m breaking some rules by posting this now, but I just couldn’t wait any longer… Usually I wait at least a month when testing mascara, to make sure that it keeps performing as expected. If it’s a crappy mascara, I check that it’s still flaky/smudgy/giving me tranny lash, and if it’s a good one I like to make sure it’s not a high performer for two weeks and then a dud (which has happened before, you know).

But this guy – well it’s got me so excited I’m only halfway through the testing period and I love it more every day, so I had to tell you all. It’s the new YSL Faux Cils mascara. I’ve used Faux Cils before and liked it as the product is quite slick and allows you to build without clumpiness. But this new dude, well it’s in a league of it’s own! Whatever they’ve been doing at YSL Beaute they just need to continue right on doing it. I love everything about it.

It’s really black, so it falls into the Carbon Black mascara category, but without a hint of blue in it, which can make us fairer types look punched out. It has a lovely big brush but with lots of surface area on it, so you get to every lash. Also, unlike Diorshow (another large brushed mascara), it doesn’t get gelatinous in the tube. Honestly I have bought brand new Diorshow before and the first time out of the wand it looked like I had nuggets (yes, nuggets, it’s the only way to describe it) of road tar on them. I may as well have given my money to a homeless person for all the good it did my lashes – and then at least my karma would be shiny – so I’m no longer a Diorshow shopper.

Best of all? it’s really hard to get clumpy. The result? You get thick AND long lashes, which is super rare in one product. You can go back in and add more at the base without it getting on your lid, it stays all day, no flaking OR smudging, and the smell makes me swoon. It’s like wearing little bursts of French perfume on your lashes. What better way to start your day?

So this is my new weapon in my mascara arsenal. A word of caution though – it is beautifully easy to remove but because it’s a slippy mascara there is a lot of product on those lashes (even if it doesn’t look that way). A nice gentle makeup remover – currently I’m loving Chantecaille’s Camomile Eye Makeup Remover – and LOTS of cotton balls is the way forward. But it’s a small price to pay for dream lashes.

YSL Faux Cils in Noir Radical is available now in the UK, US and Australia.
Visit for further info.

In My Makeup Kit: Le Metier de Beaute Anamorphic Mascara

Colored mascara is generally a pretty tricky proposition. The idea is that by wearing color on your lashes, it will make your Le Métier de Beauté Mascaraeye color pop – which is great in theory except for the fact that most colored mascaras make you look like an escapee from Fame or like you are completely stark raving mad (or fourteen years old – remembering my teens, that might be synonymous, but anyhoo…)

I love the Le Metier mascara because it’s a beautiful mascara that doesn’t smudge or flake, and you can really build it. It’s not a bonkers mega lash mascara (like Lancome Hypnose or Diorshow), but it has a super fine, full brush that Just. Won’t. Clump. No stripper lashes here! The brush is just the right size to get into the base of the lash and wiggle it around to get extra pigmentation (which is where you want it), and it allows you to take it out to the tip of the lash without weighing it down. Even with multiple coats there is no scary Tammy Faye Baker lash going on.

It reminds me quite a bit of Shu Uemura Basic mascara, which is another great, simple, buildable mascara. But the le Metier is COLORED! I have Aubergine (a blackened plum perfect for green or brown eyes) and Midnight, (a deep navy/black which is a winner on blue eyes). What I love about it is the color is so subtle that it enhances your eye color, without shouting to the world – HEY! I’M WEARING COLORED MASCARA! CHECK IT OUT Y’ALL! ON MY LASHES IT’S 1985! So you don’t have to have 80’s flashbacks (thank goodness, God knows there are enough of those around already, peach lace bodysuits and high waisted acid wash denim anyone?) Like the Chanel Exceptionnel range of slightly colored mascara, this is colored mascara for grown ups. J’adore.

In My Makeup Kit: Bobbi Brown Extreme Party mascara

Kicking off the New Year in lash-tastic style, this is my latest favourite mascara. I have to be honest and say mascara is the one product I am reeeeally disloyal to. I’m talking a total mascara ho – I generally have one that I’m using when I want to be sure that I don’t look like a stripper left in the rain (black raccoon eyes at work, not so much), and a whole slew of wannabes waiting in the wings that I’m testing. I like to test them for at least a month as some of those dudes outperform at the beginning and then turn dry and gunky, others may not dazzle the first time out of the tube but on the 2nd and 3rd try (once the formula has settled a bit), they can be fab. So, bottom line is, you never know, and the there’s always a mascara somewhere out in the world you haven’t tried.

So, explanation over and the newest addition to my mascara family (after an exorbitant TWO MONTH testing period), is Bobbi Brown’s Extreme Party mascara. I wasn’t expecting much to be honest because although Bobbi is known for lots of great makeup products, generally mascara isn’t one of them – but I was really pleasantly surprised. It reminds me a bit of DiorShow without the silly jumbo brush thing going on. I know lots of people love the oversized Dior brush, but if your eyes tend more to the baked bean size (ahem) than grapefruit, I find it’s a little unwieldy. The BB Extreme Party brush gets in and kind of feathers the lashes as the brush grips at the root, and doesn’t deposit too much product at the end, so your lashes look longer, thicker, blacker and …well, just really nice actually. And it’s pretty buildable – more coats looks nice and it doesn’t flake throughout the day.

So even if in the sad month of January you don’t have any Extreme Parties to go to (I know for me it’s more like Extreme Tracksuit at the moment), still this mascara will do your new year lashes a power of good.

Bin It – Maybelline Lash Discovery Waterproof (but keep the brush)

Maybelline Lash Discovery WaterproofIn my ongoing quest to discover the ultimate waterproof mascara I did a raid on Walmart yesterday. It was a smash and grab affair of L’Oreal, Maybelline and Revlon, (and it has to be confessed, two li-los for the pool WITH cup dispensers, God Bless America!). But yesterday’s poolside experiment was less than successful.

Maybelline Lash Discovery has one of the ace-est brushes ever – it’s a shrunken wand that allows you to get to every single little lash, including the bottom lashes that can be fiddly with a regular brush (and if you can do that with the outsized monster brush of Diorshow mascara, more power to you because you’re more woman than I am!)

And for the bottom lashes it’s great to have waterproof mascara as this is where you tend to get smudging, from oils and eye blinking. However, if this is the mascara you’re wearing underwater you are in big trouble as it smudges. Not massively, but enough to look like an under-eye shadow that on me looks like a giant puffy eye bag, not dissimilar to a Krispy Kreme donut (something else I have been enjoying whilst in America. Mmm, donuts). However, not something I want on my face. So for me I’m going to keep the brush, but for the mascara it’s Bin It!

Best. Waterproof. Mascara. Ever. (at least for this week)

Cover Girl Waterproof MascaraCover Girl Volume Exact in Black

The fact that I’ve been kicking back and tanning, swimming in the pool and sipping frozen margaritas, you could be forgiven for thinking I’m on holidays. But I assure you that it’s a cover (a deep cover) for my real purpose, which is bringing you the best of American beauty – including finding the world’s best waterproof mascara.

I’ve been relentlessly testing, through sunscreen applications, evening cook-outs and trips to Austin’s Barton Springs in 45 degree heat, and this is the one that’s held up – Cover Girl’s Maximum Volume Waterproof Mascara.

It’s got a pliable rubber brush that gets to the base of every lash, and so far even with multiple coats it doesn’t create the dreaded Stick Lash.

And let’s be clear – this is no lightweight testing process. We’re talking underwater breastroke, twice-daily dips and margarita fuelled poolside frolics, and always, always I have smudge proof, splash-proof, sweet and fluffy lashes. Meaning I don’t have to look like an egg (my natural state without mascara), even though I’m poolside.

I’ll be continuing my stringent testing methods all this week and next, and there are a quite a few more things on my list, so I’ll keep you posted on what other little makeup gems I find. Sadly for my UK readers they will probably be mainly US products, since I plan to take full advantage of what’s on offer in the nirvana of the American drugstore. But if you do find something you really like, you can always buy it on as they now ship overseas. Which is dangerous. Not as dangerous as my mascara testing, but someone’s gotta do it!