Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Chanel Inimitable Intense Mascara
Chanel Inimitable Intense Mascara (One coat!)

Multi-Tasking Mascara… That Actually Works!

Chanel Inimitable Intense Mascara ($30.00) is designed to be a more intense version of the multi-tasking Inimitable (which I have not tried), which lengthens, thickens, curls, and separates without clumping, spiking, or flaking.

This is one of those mascaras where you can really see the difference between the before and after photos; not all mascaras represent themselves well, but this is one that definitely does. My bare lashes look like a big ol’ tangled mess of short, sparse lashes. With a single coat of Inimitable Intense, my lashes look fuller, much, much longer, and a little thicker. This mascara does lengthening best, but it does thicken and add an illusion of more voluminous lashes, too. Often, I find multi-tasking mascaras rarely deliver on all the claims they make, but Chanel does a particularly noteworthy job of meeting their claims.

The mascara is not overly wet, though the black is so intense it can look wet when on, but it’s not dry either, so it doesn’t flake when you apply it nor does it take too long to dry. I’ve been wearing it on and off for the past two weeks or so, and I haven’t had any issues with smudging, flaking, or the like even with all day wear (twelve or more hours). I found it held a curl quite nicely, though I think my lashes are on the “lighter” side so they take to curling better than the average set of lashes (because holding a curl has never been a major issue for me with mascara).

It does a nice job of keeping lashes separated and clump-free with the first two coats, but if you start getting greedy and going for a third or fourth coat, you may get some clumping. I’ve also noticed that on occasion there is too much product on the wand, and then I will have a touch of clumping from the get-go. Inimitable Intense actually adds quite a bit with just one coat that I don’t find myself going for a full second coat.

What does “one coat” of mascara mean to you?

I actually sent out a tweet asking about it on Monday, because I’m curious if we’re on the same page.  So much of the terminology used in makeup can be ambiguous!  Based on the responses I received on Twitter, the majority (like 90%) consider one coat to be using whatever is on the wand on your lashes; if you go back and re-insert the wand into the tube to get more mascara, that’s the second coat.

I would also say that the second coat occurs when you give the first layer/coat of mascara time to dry.  My general mascara routine is to pull the wand out, apply to my right lashes using short strokes from inside to out (I can’t get all my lashes at once!), and then I apply to my left lashes–and I haven’t gone back for more–and I’d say one out of three times I’ll re-insert the wand for another helping of mascara to finish up both sets of lashes (more for touch-ups than a full coat!).

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If your lashes are like mine–aka need all the help they can get–a multi-tasking mascara that actually delivers is definitely worth a try.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

CoverGirl Lash Blast Fusion Mascara
CoverGirl Lash Blast Fusion Mascara

How Does LashBlast Fusion Stack Up?

CoverGirl LashBlast Fusion Mascara ($8.99) is designed to both lengthen and volumize your lashes in just one formula. A year ago, I reviewed LastBlast Length with pretty good results–not my perfect mascara for my eyelashes–but a solid lengthening mascara all the same.

It is a fiber mascara, which makes it very easy to remove. Despite easy removal, I did not encounter any smudging or flaking during the twelve hour test I gave it. Everything stayed put as it should. This is a great mascara if you use about two coats or three really quick coats–if you work slowly on each coat, you’ll end up in Clump City. It didn’t seem prone to clumping so much as it dries quickly. When it’s dried, my lashes didn’t feel heavy or crunchy, and they still looked like they had a natural softness to them.

I think what left me less than impressed with this mascara is that the effect is more on the natural side, which isn’t what LashBlast seems to be about. It gives some length, a little volume (I didn’t notice much myself), and smidgen of thickening–but it doesn’t do any of these with any va-voom. The original LashBlast does all of these better, and LashBlast Length does a better job of lengthening.

When it comes to rating a product, it’s about how good it is–but also how good it is at what it’s supposed to do. While it’s great when a product does more than it should or does something great, I always consider whether it lives up to the marketing claims. Fusion doesn’t fail, but it doesn’t live up to its claims about volume for me, but it does a decent job of adding length.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I don’t think any of the LashBlasts will treat you poorly, but Fusion seems to give me the most natural look of all three. (And yes, I’m totally aware that I don’t actually have a review of the original LashBlast up at this time.) I’d probably stick with the original for a more multi-tasking mascara or opt for lengthening if you need just length.

AVAILABILITY: Drugstore.com

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Monday, July 5th, 2010

MAC Haute & Naughty Mascara
MAC Haute & Naughty Mascara

The Tale of Two Mascaras

MAC Haute & Naughty Lash Mascara ($18.00) is the latest in mascara innovation from MAC, and though the formula itself isn’t the key innovation here, it’s actually a nice formula.

I’m personally a big fan of MAC mascaras — Plushlash is my favorite MAC mascara (and second favorite mascara–Chanel Exceptionnel being the first), with Zoomlash and Opulash coming in second and third, respectively. Haute & Naughty Lash is as two-in-one as they lead you to believe, but I don’t love the fuller, more dramatic part nearly as much as the softer, more defined half.

The daytime end (the smaller opening) really cleans off the brush so that there really isn’t much mascara on it, but it keeps all that actual mascara in the tube–so you’re not wasting it, like you would if you blotted off excess with a tissue or the like. The smaller opening has a fairly large mascara wand with a tapered end, and the effect it gives is longer, fuller lashes with definition and great separation. It doesn’t clump at all, and it gives a nice full-lash look with nice length and blackness. All it doesn’t do it thicken lashes. It also seems to lift lashes a bit, too, and it held a curl well for me.

The evening end (the larger opening) allows for more mascara on the brush, even though the brush itself is essentially the same. It thickens quite a bit, but it also has more of a tendency to clump if you get too much on the brush (much like most mascaras). It lengthens, but I think because it tends to clump, it looks like there is less volume and length.

The way this mascara works is when you open using the smaller end (the first opening – the pink ring), the entire brush pulls through the opening of the larger mascara. There are actually two handles, not so much wands (the brush itself is the same) — when you open with the small tube, the skinnnier handle pulls through the larger, hollow handle of the dramatic opening. It’s kind of hard to describe, but I took a photo for you.

I don’t recommend playing around too much with it to see how the technology works (once should be sufficient!), because it does show how much mascara is removed from the brush itself as you pull it through the smaller opening–but you get it all over the larger wand when it’s outside of the tube, so you end up having to wipe it off with a paper towel rather than keeping it in the tube for later use–aka wasteful!

I dig the separation technology they’re using here, because it’s not so much in the formula as it is in the packaging itself, which is nice, since they did up the price by $6 just for it. You’ll need to comb through your lashes, and you may even need to blot the brush, if you’re going to use the more dramatic end of it, because it has a tendency to clump a bit on lashes.

Both mascaras held up well during all-day wear–no smudging, budging, or flaking. My lashes also felt soft, never crunchy, which was really nice. I also felt like I could put on a quick layer of additional mascara in the evening without much fuss, just in case you want to refresh your mascara without removing all of your eye makeup.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you like longer and defined lashes, Haute & Naughty Lash does this amazingly well. It also gives you the option for thicker lashes, too, which is kind of convenient to have in one mascara.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

MAC Haute & Naughty Lash with Gordon Espinet

AHHH! I love MAC’s videos. They’re so creative and pretty and yeah. Short and sweet. Still gotta get my hands on Haute & Naughty and see if it’s worth $18. I love me some MAC mascara, so here’s hoping!

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

MAC Barelash Pro Longlash

MAC Nude: Barelash Pro Longlash Mascara

MAC Barelash Pro Longlash Mascara ($13.00) is a nude-beige shade in the Pro Longlash formula. I definitely got length without spikiness, but the formula is on the drier side, so it has a tendency to clump if you don’t work quickly. On my lashes, it seemed to give me beige tips, but the root and most of the lash length was only a muted gray or else still a black-brown.

I have Pro Longlash in the black shade, so I’m definitely going to make sure to do an official review of that soon, but the formula can be difficult to work with such a short drying time.  It lengthens well, and it doesn’t clump unless you work slowly.  I also experienced no smudging, budging, or flaking while wearing this over eight hours.   The brush is also small enough that it’s very easy to get to all the lashes from root to tip, including lower lashes.

Official description: Goes the distance. Makes lashes luxuriously long and silky: no spikes! Luxury and longitude in a pro-proven formula. Accelerates lashes into length, smooth and fast. Smooth silky finish. Wears long (all day!) Go the distance: bat-a-lash!

I tried to layer mascara on top of it, and it seemed to amp up colored mascara a bit, but it doesn’t work so well, since it dries quite quickly. I’ve had better results with a mascara primer, because they stay wetter longer and don’t require as many coats to mute your natural lash shade.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: Barelash gives decent length and stays on without smudging or flaking off during the day, but the shade itself is a bit odd to work with (particularly since it’s hard to work with colored mascara on top of the dry formula), so I don’t think most customers would have a good use for it.

Availability: MAC PRO

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Thursday, April 29th, 2010

MAC Opulash Mascara

MAC Opulash Mascara ($14.00) is the latest mascara from MAC, and it’s exclusively at Nordstrom until May 27th (when it will launch at all MAC locations).  It’s designed to give you “the most extreme volumization ever seen” along with curl without “clumping or Spider-Woman Syndrome” and “superlative separation.”  It’s only available in one shade–Bad, Bad Black.

The wand is incredibly large–probably the largest MAC wand to-date–and reminded me quite a bit of DiorShow, actually.  It’s large, kind of fluffy (but not actually fluffy), and it has a very tapered edge.  I do like the tapered edge, because it does make it easier to reach the lashes on the inner corner of the lid as well as coat the bottom lashes.  Even though the brush is on the larger side, I didn’t find it unwieldy–there wasn’t much of a learning curve.  If you prefer smaller mascara wands, though, this will definitely be a mascara to check out in person first.

The formula itself is very lengthening while doing an excellent job at separating lashes and not clumping–except if you wait too long between coats.  This is a drier mascara; there is no wet, glossy look, and it does dry down quickly, so you need to work fast in order to get the maximum effect with this mascara.  I found it gave me some volume, but it wasn’t over-the-top.  I didn’t encounter any smudging or flaking while test-driving this mascara for the past week either.

I liked the soft, feathery look Opulash gave my lashes along with some very nice length!  I’m actually surprised I didn’t see length pushed in the marketing write-up for Opulash, because I look at the before/after photos, and I see longer, slightly blacker lashes, but not necessarily a ton of volume.  I found two or three quick coats was all you needed to get the feathery lash effect going.  More than that resulted in a bit of clumping, but if you don’t load up your lashes with the product, it’s a nice, full and feathery lash that’s clump-free.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  If you love length and volume, Opulash might work well for your lashes.  If you have naturally lengthy lashes (lucky you!), you may want to pass on this one, because it may be super length… like obnoxious length (who knew there was such a thing!).

Availability: Nordstrom

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