Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Dior DiorShow Extase Mascara

Dior DiorShow Extase Mascara ($28.00) is the latest variation on the famous Dior DiorShow Mascara. It seems like it’s exclusively available at Sephora for the time being, and Sephora describes the new mascara as:

DiorShow Extase provides built-in treatment benefits and high-impact lashes in a single stroke! The spherical-shaped Black Pearl Pigments create a 3D volume effect and the exclusive Metamorphosis Powders expand in size by up to 50% after application. Also, SR38 Patented Ceramid brings additional care, reconstructing damaged lashes and promoting stronger and fuller lashes. The Extase mascara features a “Tiered Brush” that is inspired by the “tiered” couture dresses created by the House of Dior. The brush is designed for performance and contains an Exclusive Duo of Fibers: The Black Elastomer Fibers brush out and define the lashes for panoramic fringe and the Gold Nylon Fibers hold and deposit formula, generously coating each lash for outstanding volume.

Whenever I review a mascara, I look to see what exactly the mascara is claiming to do, because I find that like some anti-aging products, mascara is a product type that is often more marketing than results.   Extase is designed to volumize and thicken lashes while defining them.

Extase delivers length best – it’s exceptionally good at providing you with instantly longer lashes, even with just one light coat of the mascara. That’s really the part that I noticed first. It adds some volume, but I wouldn’t label this a volumizing mascara. My lashes really looked longer, but not so feathery (as my lashes tend to look with a more volumizing mascara). As far as thickening goes, it thickens well for a such a multi-tasking mascara. I think what stands out about this mascara is the lengthening aspect of it; everything else is decent, but it’s hard to separate the volume, thickness, etc. from the dramatic increase in length. The color of the mascara is definitely a deep black; I’d say Chanel Exceptionnel and MAC Plushlash are slightly richer, but they’re all in the same ballpark. I don’t have any issues with the pigmentation–it’s black enough for me.

It does a good job of defining lashes, but to a point, because the mascara will clump up on you if you’re not careful. The brush often has excess mascara on it, so removing excess certainly helps, and you can get a good two or three coats of mascara with very minimal clumping. I always recommend using a mascara comb regardless of the mascara you’re using, just because it helps separate and define lashes. I wouldn’t say this is perfectly clump-free, but I’d say it’s a relatively clump-free mascara. If you like to get multiple coats on, just follow my aforementioned tips for a better application.

I’ve been wearing Extase for over a week now, so you can see it used in a variety of looks here in addition to the comparison photos included in the review.  The original DiorShow gave me good length, some thickening and volumizing, and looked good overall, but it flaked and smudged on me within an hour, so it was a no-go. I am so pleased to report that Extase doesn’t flake, budge, or smudge at all, even with twelve hours of wear. It also holds a curl like nobody’s business!

The brush has a sort of “swirled” look to it, and even though they mentioned black and gold fibers, it all looked black to me, so it was difficult to assess that particular aspect of it. The brush didn’t seem too large, though it felt a little long. It takes an application or two to find the right method for application, but it didn’t require much thought or effort to get good results.

OVERALL, I did enjoy the way Dior DiorShow Extase made my lashes look. It’s particularly lovely for lengthening lashes, even the stubbier ones I have on the outer lash line, and does a decent job everywhere else to make it one of the better multi-tasking mascaras I’ve tried. I’d say it’s very comparable to Chanel Exceptionnel but clumps less (but doesn’t thicken as well).  Extase is also priced higher than Dior’s other mascaras at $28, so it’s not the most affordable mascara you’ll come across.  Just for reference, DiorShow is $24 and DiorShow Iconic is $27.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you like DiorShow and want more length, you may enjoy Extase.

Availability: Sephora

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Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Bobbi Brown Extreme Party Mascara ($22.00 for 0.21 oz.) is the newest mascara formula to debut from Bobbi Brown. It is touted as Bobbi Brown’s “boldest mascara ever.” This mascara is designed to give you “unbelievable volume… endless build… exceptionable separation … with zero dragging, clumping, or flaking.”

Overall, I really liked this mascara, though it’s not my all-time favorite mascara or my personal holy grail. I love dramatic lashes, and I pretty much want a mascara that makes me look like I’m wearing false eyelashes 24/7–so that’s my taste. This mascara is not supposed to do that (despite the name, which perhaps would suggest otherwise), because it’s more of a volumizing and separating mascara that’s supposed to cling to lashes and not clump or flake on you later.

Extreme Party seems like it delivers on everything it’s supposed to. My lashes had a lovely, feathery volume to them–they looked lush and lightweight and never felt heavy. I got a smidgen of length, but not too much, and this mascara didn’t clump even after I tried to make it clump with a fourth coat (just for kicks!). It also separated beautifully (which is sort of a duh, if it doesn’t clump).

This mascara reminded me of Maybelline’s Full ‘n Soft mascara, which is a formula I like for softer, but still noticeable, lashes. Extreme Party is a little richer and a touch more dramatic in its overall look, but if you like Full ‘n Soft, I think you’d like Extreme Party, too.

Bottom Line: The name is a bit misleading–I wouldn’t describe the effect on my lashes as an “extreme party,” but I do like what it does and feel like it meets the marketed claims (which is very important to me). It’s a very nice mascara for separating lashes and giving you a more voluminous look.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: For feathery, natural-with-a-kick lashes, Extreme Party may appeal to you!

Availability: Bobbi Brown, Nordstrom

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Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Rimmel Sexy Curves Mascara
Rimmel Sexy Curves Mascara

Rimmel Sexy Curves Mascara (Waterproof) ($7.50) is designed to give you full, curled lashes.  It purports to give you “70% curlier” lashes, and lashes look “lusciously curled, plumped and defined.”  Rimmel also advertises that you’ll see 7 times your natural volume and the curl will hold for a full twelve hours.  I gotta say, Rimmel is making a lot of very big claims about this mascara!

Unfortunately, my experience didn’t really live up to Rimmel’s claims of fuller, well-curled lashes–at least not to the degree that they advertised.  I’d say that my lashes are, perhaps, have a slight lift to them, but it’s not much–it’s just more pronounced by the lengthening of the mascara and slight volume it adds.  It just neither gives me fuller nor more curled lashes really.  I’d still feel like I needed to use an eyelash curler to really get the curl I’m looking for, and the mascara performs pretty average in all other aspects.

Out of personal taste, I tend to like incredibly rich black shades–the darker the better–so Rimmel’s level of blackness in pigmentation just doesn’t do it for me.  My lashes do look better when I use it, they just don’t stand out like they do with other mascaras that I have loved.  To be honest, I can be a harsh critic when it comes to mascara, because I always judge a mascara on how well it performs relative to the claims the brand makes about what it should do.  It’s great if it still turns out to be awesome in some other way, but usually if they fall flat on their claims, then it’s just so-so and nothing stellar.  This is definitely the case with Rimmel’s Sexy Curves mascara.

I will say that one thing I did really like about this mascara is the brush separated lashes really well and kept them from clumping despite layering on three coats of mascara.  The brush is relatively easy to use, and the packaging is definitely eye-catching in that bright, metallic teal tube.  (It does, however, hold finger prints, so big boo from me.)

Bottom Line: I’d say to skip this mascara.  It performs fairly average at the end of the day, because it really doesn’t do much but add a smidgen of length (and maybe a little volume).  It just looks like I’m wearing mascara, but it doesn’t look like I’m wearing a very good one!

Anyone like this mascara? I could have sworn some readers said this was their favorite!

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

  • Product: 15/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  I’d pass on this mascara–it just doesn’t live up to the lofty claims Rimmel makes about it at all.  I normally expect mascara claims to be rather outlandish, but I feel like this one doesn’t even get close.

Availability: Walgreens

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Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Givenchy Phenomen’Eyes Effet Extension ($28.00) is an extension (harhar!) of Givenchy’s Phenomen’Eyes Mascara. This is a lengthening mascara, whereas the original Phenomen’Eyes is more of an all-purpose mascara, though it is designed to curl and separate lashes. Both mascaras describe the final result as “lashes with a panoramic effect.” I tried out Phenomen’Eyes Effet Extension in Extension Blue, which certainly looks like a medium navy blue on the wand and in the tube.

On my lashes, the color itself is minimal–if you have lighter or blonder lashes, I imagine the blue will be more pronounced. To get more color pay off, I do recommend trying it with a fleshy-colored lash primer (most lash primers are white–my favorite is Lancome’s Oscillation Primer). Aside from the color, I was incredibly impressed by the superior length I achieved with a few coats of this mascara. My lashes looked longer, just a smidgen thicker (but I wouldn’t call this mascara thickening), and it kept my lashes pretty separated.

The biggest downside is this product takes some getting used to. It definitely has a revolutionary wand, which is a sphere-shaped wand with little spikes. I’d say it took me about three to four uses before I started to feel like I was getting the hang of the application. You have to play around and experiment to see what’s the best method to apply it is. I don’t think this separates perfectly, but I also think that the “spikes” on the wand can sometimes clump up with product, so blotting can help. One or two brushes with a lash comb will separate lashes and give you a great finished look, and I find I usually do this step most of the time, since I have a tendency to PILE on the mascara. :)

Bottom Line: For a great lengthening mascara, Givenchy’s Phenomen’Eyes Effet Extension Mascara is killer. It also gives my lashes a natural curl and keeps it in place all day. I don’t find this mascara smudges or flakes on me, either. My only issue is the blue doesn’t really show up that well on me, though it’s more noticeable in person than in photos. I’d probably just get the Extension Black shade instead, but I really found the formula to work! It’s not the easiest mascara to use and it is a bit pricey, which keeps this product from getting a better overall score.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

Recommendation: For longer lashes, Givenchy’s Phenomen’Eyes Effet Extension Mascara delivers!

Availability: Sephora.com

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Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Maybelline Colossal is Minimal

Maybelline Collosal Volum’ Express Mascara ($5.99) boasts that it creates 9x the volume in one coat without clumping. I tried it out in Glam Black, hoping for some volume-tastic lashes with a nice black color. Unfortunately, my experience wasn’t nearly as exciting as “9x the volume.” Not even with multiple coats!

What Colossal did for my lashes was add just a touch of length/thickness and blackness so they stood out jmore, but in terms of volume, there wasn’t much. When I look at my natural lashes compared to the lashes with the mascara on them, the biggest difference is that they’re blacker. On all other points (lengthening, volumizing, thickening, curling), I didn’t notice much, if anything. I was really disappointed in the results of this mascara, particularly since it was supposed to volumize and didn’t even see that. I could be more forgiving if it at least did what it said to do (I mean, 9x is a bit OTT for me, but noticeabe more volume is good enough for me).

The best thing I can say for this mascara is it doesn’t clump and the level of black pigmentation is decent–it definitely darkened my lashes and made them stand out more, but they just looked like natural lashes really. If you’re looking for a more natural mascara, perhaps this might be something to consider. I just wouldn’t have expected “natural” out of Colossal. I’ll also point out this mascara is very budget-friendly!

One of my all-time favorite mascaras is by Maybelline (Full ‘n Soft), so I was really looking forward to trying this one out and hoping for the best. What are your favorite Maybelline mascaras?

  • Product: 4/10
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: Pass on this one and opt for one of Maybelline’s more proven formulas like Full ‘n Soft!

Availability: Drugstore.com

See results and comparisons… Continue reading →

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

L'Oreal Extra Volume Collagen Waterproof Mascara

L’Oreal Extra Volume Collagen Waterproof Mascara

L’Oreal Extra Volume Collagen Waterproof Mascara ($7.95) hit shelves this summer and it had a lot to live up to, because L’Oreal Voluminous is an often recommended go-to mascara for beauty fans. Unfortunately, Collagen just doesn’t bring it home like Voluminous does.

L’Oreal’s latest mascara does add volume, thicken lashes, and it’s fairly black in pigment–but it just doesn’t do it with excellence. It’s okay; not bad, not fabulous. I liked the length it gave, but I found it clumped quickly, because it also dried very fast (by mascara standards). Thickness was so-so as was volume. Lashes definitely looked longer and fuller, but Voluminous does this job better and more effectively.

Not that I appreciate a particularly wet mascara, but this one dries a little faster than you can work, which results in clumping and unevenness in thickening. I found clumping wasn’t too bad if you got the excess off the brush first (my inner corner lashes were done where the brush had far too much product on it, and thus, Clump City). The brush itself has very stubby bristles, which is why it can easily lead to clumps if you don’t work quickly or wipe off the excess off your brush first. This mascara wand just isn’t designed to separate lashes, so you definitely need a lash comb/clean mascara wand to do that post-application.

Even though it was pretty average in a lot of areas, one area that it faired better in was holding up to its waterproof claim and not drying my lashes out. Often waterproof formulations lead to dry, crispy lashes, but my lashes still felt fairly soft and not at all stiff/hard. Like most waterproof mascaras, make sure you have a good oil-based makeup remover on hand to make for an easy removal process.

I’m a big believer in the truth’s in the photos–so see for yourself and let me know what you think!

  • Product: 6/10
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 6/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: If your natural lashes are always fabulous, you can easily use this mascara with just one quick coat and have great looking lashes. For those of us who need a few more coats (and a little more help!), this one can be tricky to work with.

Availability: Drugstore.com

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