What are your deal-breakers when it comes to mascara?

One of my pet peeves is mascara that applies a little differently every day (or every few days), which is sort of the issue I have with foundations (and why I don’t get excited about until after sustained use). Wetter mascaras that tend to clump up during application are usually more work then they’re worth as my hands shake a fair amount and they often result in mucking up my eye makeup. I’d actually take a mascara that smudged slightly (not constantly) over one that flaked.

— Christine
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I don’t have too many issues with most mascaras. As long as you are black enough and provide enough volume/drama I will use a wet mascara or dry one. Clumps are usually easy enough to remove. I don’t typically have an issue with flaking, smearing etc
I hate, hate, hate, however, mascaras that have strong floral scents that linger. Pat McGrath’s mascara is a huge offender. Expensive mascara with a cheap dime store fragrance…cheapens the product imo and I won’t repurchase.
I also dislike mascaras that are a pain to remove. YSL Babydoll mascara was the worst. Horrible lingering old lady scent and a beyotch to remove. Always pulled out a few lashes. ..urggh!

Price is a big dealbreaker for me. For my eyelashes (I know some people have sensitivities or allergies!), there’s no good reason to spend more than $10 on mascara — too many good drugstore options and regular sales on midrange stuff!

The next is flaking. I wear contacts. Flakes get underneath them and cause misery.

I don’t like super wet mascaras or ones that don’t build… also most of the mascaras I’ve tried flake on me horribly. It would be nice to find one that gives me length and volume and doesn’t flake throughout the day! After I finish off the mascaras I have, I plan on trying the Thrive Causemetics one to see if that works out for me.

I have deep set eyes and the deal breaker with me is generally whether it transfers or not.
Some mascaras that I own do transfer, such as my Essense mascaras but I love them so although I can’t use them alone, they are great for an initial layer if I want really dramatic eyelashes.

The only mascara i’ve found that dosen’t transfer and isn’t so dry that it flakes is the Hourglass Caution mascara. For me, it’s 100% worth the price. However I am still looking for my holy grail as it doesn’t quite give enough volume for my liking.
Any recommendations?

Also, has anyone tried the tom ford mascara? Because influencer Allana Davison raves about it!

I haven’t tried the Tom Ford mascara but a close friend did and said it’s the worst one she’s ever gotten, so bad that it had to go in the trash with a few uses (cosmetics stores in Europe won’t refund or exchange once you’ve opened the product).

If you’re in the US, try Buxom Lash which you can get at Sephora. It’s hands down the best mascara I’ve ever tried. I also have deep set eyes and long but sparse lower lashes. So my biggest problem is mascara that flakes off and or transfers. I recently tried the Hourglass extremes caution mascara after friends raves about it. I wanted to love it but unfortunately on me it dried and flaked. I tried Pat McGrath’s Fetish Eyes – it transferred badly from my lower lashes but otherwise I like the formula so I might just use it on the top. My favourites lengthening and defining mascara (not volumising) is Lancôme Definicils but I think they’ve discontinued it. So I keep going back to Buxom Lash. It lengthens, defines, volumises and curls, doesn’t transfer and doesn’t flake. It’s not too wet or dry and it never clumps. It’s seriously the best formula I’ve ever found but I can only get it when I travel to the US as they no longer export it. It’s also mid price range (as best as I can recall)

I can suggest one that never transferred on my leaky eyes but it’s a tedious black primer/mascara to apply and it won’t work w every mascara.

It Cosmetics Tightline waterproof is buildable & doesn’t weigh lashes down. It’s SUPER defining, separates lashes from root to tip but it’s time very consuming. Some ppl like detail work. I’ve been using the non-waterproof formula since the other became uncomfortable for frequent wear w my sensitive peepers. ?

Wet formulas irritate my eyes so that would be my biggest deal breaker (if I accidentally buy one that is wetter I sometimes leave the cap a little loose to try and get it to dry out a bit). Coming in second would be one that flakes right off. I also will not buy any mascara with a spiky plastic brush – on my lashes the bigger bristley wands work best.

I guess I really like my eyelashes, because almost every mascara I try works fine for me. Once big exception is Marc Jacobs’s Blacquer, which is so wet it actually dripped off my lashes and onto my cheek- but otherwise I like wet formulas. I like dry formulas, like MakeUp Forever’s Smoky Lash. I loved Clinique’s FeatherLash and am sorry it was discontinued. So for deal-breakers… I don’t know! It just has to not irritate my eyes, I guess? Or drip on my cheek! 🙂

Raccoon eyes. I don’t care how much the mascara costs as long as I can avoid the raccoon eyes. I find tubing mascara works best for me.

1.) Flaking off into my eyes or just underneath I little black freckles.
2.) Doesn’t hold a curl.
3.) Too far of a wand, as my lid is puffy and fat even though my eyes are seriously hooded.
4.) Too wet of a formula usually kills the curl and creates a mess.
5.) Too dry may be a flakey mess.
6.) Not black enough. Mine needs to be blackest black or a carbon black in order for me to love it.

Regarding “not black enough”… I was looking at mascaras in the drugstore yesterday and saw a Maybelline mascara that had the following color choices: Classic Black, Glam Black, and Platinum Black. Another one had the choice of Blackest Black and Very Black (but, oddly, no Black). I wish black could just mean black. All of these special names referring to the blackness of black have become silly, IMHO. If it’s not quite black, then call it something meaningful, like Brown-Black, Grey-Black, Almost Black, etc. If it’s a matter of a special finish, then call it Matte Black, Satin Black, or Glossy Black. (I’ve written “black” so many times in this post that the word now seems meaningless and weird. Lol!!!)

“Platinum Black” had me stumped, too. I even looked it up: The brand describes this mascara as “volumizing” and “infused with collagen.” No reference to why it’s called platinum. I’m not convinced coating your lashes with collagen-laced mascara for a few hours really does anything. I think collagen needs to either get into the hair follicles or be taken in pill form. But I could be wrong. You know, I wouldn’t be surprised to someday see the shade “Extremely Very Blacker Than Blackest Black.”

Formulas that are too thick for my small, sparse lashes. Waterproof mascara. Mascara that flakes off, clumps, or runs. Mascara that’s difficult to remove. Wands that are thick in the middle and thinner on the ends. High-end pricing. (I still have not found the perfect mascara, so I welcome any suggestions for mascara that has none of the above deal-breakers.)

My deal-breakers are formulas that are too wet and thus transfer onto my lower eye before drying, and formulas that get flaky when they dry. I’m also not a fan of really gimmicky wands.

Yup, I’ve fallen for the wand gimmicks, even the tickling vibrating wands that didn’t yield any major results, except for making me spend more time on careful application from roots to tips. Maybe that’s a cute gimmick like toothbrushes that beep when we’ve spent enough time brushing?

I am very difficult with mascaras. The only one I really like is Lash Paradise by L’Oreal. But it dries out so quickly. What I like about it is, that it doesn’t transfer and flakes. The bristles are soft so they don’t poke me and it gives great volume and curl. Length is no real concern as my lashes are quite long to begin with. On a hunt for an alternative to the Lash Paradise I already threw away 4 mascaras in a row because they did nothing for my lashes but transfered everywhere and were awful to take off.

That is an incredibly valid point, Christine. My tried and true mascaras are usually not my favourites because I can depend on how they will handle from day to day rather than looking fantastic one and clumpy the next. NARS Climax, PMG are stunning…But only sometimes…

Flaking and non-waterproof formulas are dealbreakers for me.

If I try a wetter mascara, I just wait a week or two and let it dry out a little. Then it’s usually perfect.

I have very sensitive eyes, which become watery easily from wind and changes in temperature. The biggest deal breaker for me is mascara that smudges / flakes easily during the day, transferring to my already dark under eyes.

I otherwise dislike thick formulas that get the volumized spider lash effect, I like wet thin formulas that dry faster. Since I have smaller eyes, big wands (especially if hourglass shaped) are also a deal-breaker, because it makes application hard for me.

Ana Maria, that’s so interesting because I have small eyes, too, but I find that the hourglass shapes works best for me. However, big wands with the opposite of the hourglass shape are impossible for me to use. I’m with you on the wet, thin formula, though. My lashes are so sparse that I don’t want any of them clumping together or I’ll wind up with six fat lashes on each eye! Lol

It might depend on the mascara application technique, but for me the brush needs to have uniform bristles along the length (or to be a pointed tip brush), I always get smudges in my inner corner from the tip of the hourglass wand.

1) I’m allergic, which rules out most of them. Usually, the issue is tiny trace amounts of nickel in the black oxide colorants, or to an acrylate in waterproof formulas, or fragrance.
2) Formula is too wet or too dry; clumps, flakes, or smudges easily.
3) Is “natural looking.” I want more dramatic lashes, so I want lengthening and thickening.
4) Price. I won’t pay more than around $12, and usually I pay less. Much as I love UD and Tarte Mascaras, I only buy them on sales. I don’t see a big enough difference between good drug store and more expensive brands to warrant paying more, especially considering the narrow range of mascaras I can wear with my allergies. I get mascara samples or GWPs whenever possible so I can try higher end ones.
*Brands I can wear so far: Physician’s Formula, Almay, NYX, e.l.f., BH Cosmetics, Medusa’s Makeup, Urban Decay, Clinique, and Tarte. I want to try Essence and Milani.

Smudging/racoon eyes and flaking are total dealbreakers. My eyelids are a bit oily. Benefit Roller Lash is the only non-waterproof mascara that I will ever purchase and it’s great for minimal makeup days. Tubing mascaras aren’t great because they don’t add volume or curl.
At the moment I am loving Lancôme Mr. Big Waterproof. Even though it can be a bit clumpy, it gives a lot of oomph to my lashes and lasts all day! The longevity and thickening quality of my mascara is much more important to me than how easy it is to remove.

Smudging, flaking, eye irritating, bad smell will make me throw something out. I don’t want to be in the middle of my day, seeing clients, trying to network etc, and then catch sight of myself with black half moons under my eyes – goal is to put it on and forget about it.
I wish there were more med. brown mascaras. So much better on me than black, and almost impossible to find.

Likely the same as everyone else. I won’t wear a mascara that flakes or melts and gives me raccoon eyes. I have hooded eyes so most mascara’s melt and even the majority of waterproof mascara’s do also. I don’t have issues with brushes as I can make any brush work. I use to love a good, thick, clumpy lash but for about a year now, I have been trying for a more wispy, fanned look. I also like a mascara that both adds volume and length.

I like a mascara that offers volume rather than length (due to me wearing glasses all the time).
Mascaras that clump and flake are no-nos, but of course you don’t know that until you use them. Mascaras that are hard to remove at the end of the day are a nuisance as well.
Currently I am using a Designer Brands mascara with a thin wand and that seems to work very well for me.

No flaking, smudging or extreme clumping. I sometimes find that I can buy a new mascara and not like it. I will put it aside, go back to it later and it works for me. So maybe it dries out a bit and applies better or some kind of witchery happens. I use my Makeup Eraser Cloth to remove my mascara so I don’t have any issues removing any mascara. If I have a mascara that is a little wimpy I will put a coat on, then use a clean brush coated in powder and apply it to my lashes and then put another coat of mascara on top and it gives me lots of volume and length.

I detest waterproof mascara except for funerals. I used to have a problem with flaking or smudging but haven’t noticed that in many years.
Because I don’t wear makeup daily, I buy mini sizes so I don’t waste product at the end of 3 months.
My current favorite is the Clinique tubibg mascara. Stays put, no clumps and easy to remove.
My lashes are very long but light. I use Latisse.

Flaking: not only unsightly but a flake under my contact lenses is painful
Does not hold curl: wet, inky mascaras usually make my long but straight lashes flop
overly clumping: I want volume not clumps!

Where do I begin? I’m 60 & been wearing mascara approximately 45 years but finding a good one gets no easier. My biggest problem is I have Uber straight lashes that I have to use lash curler on. Mascaras that kill the curl are no good, I’ve found that waterproof mascaras are more likely to hold the curl. Right now I am using L’Oréal Voluminous million lashes w/p: I love the brush as it gets every lash and fans them out. It unfortunately smudges a bit. I’m also using Maybelline Rocket Volume Express w/p but find it clumps a bit & sometimes I just don’t feel like fussing with it. I had a longtime holy grail mascara that I wore for many years Cover Girl Marathon. It held a curl, didn’t smudge or flake (important as I used to wear contacts) and was tenacious but easily removed with Cover Girl eye makeup remover and was cheap. Sigh….the quest continues.

Flaking and smudging are my dealbreakers.. formulas seem inconsistent. One I love I try again is meh. And the changing from day to day is annoying.

I have sparse, straight, blonde lashes that don’t hold a curl well with very sensitive eyes yet I LOVE mascaras & primers. It’s a tough relationship! I wanna try them all except drug store since I’m usually disappointed & frustrated. Are most drug store mascaras (in the US) the same? Have they become worse, dry as hell, NOT lengthening or conditioning or did my mascara preferences become fancier after using Armani & certain Lancôme favorites I can’t quit going back to?

Lash Paradise seemed like an overhyped & advertised-to-death UNTIL I got PMG’s FetishEyes. I was surprised that the LP hourglass shaped mascara brush worked better w FetishEyes instead of its awkward flat tip brush. I’m with Christine about certain products performing unreliably… I like to have at least a few different mascaras. Some have good days & bad days. PMG’s had more bad unflattering days for me. { It looked good 2Xs w a lot of work. } Anyone w beautiful curved lashes shouldn’t have a problem unless they also found it hard to work w and didn’t end up w “coquettishly feathered lashes.” That’s the description that sold me! ?
*The only way I’m getting “coquettishly feathered soft to the touch” lashes is out of a box!

I don’t love waterproof. Those formulas are often irritating, dry, crunchy-hard-painful, sometimes flaky and have shorter lifespans. They hold a curl well though. I should just wear lashes again & quit being a glutton for punishment. It takes fewer steps than using the mascaras I love + primers + lash curlers + some tricks.

**Reveal Beauty’s mini lash curler is helpful & reasonably priced.

First, I dont like weird shaped wands. Also when the applicator is too big or too small. I also found some really spikey and it hurt me. Regarding of formula, i like when my lashes are separated and feathery and evenly coated. I don’t want my lashes too thick an unnatural. I dont really have problems with smudging usually.

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