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Mascara Showdown!

By Monday, December 08, 2014

"Top 10 Mascaras"..."Best Mascaras of 2014"..."Magical Drugstore Beauty Buys." I see these lists all the time. Of course, I read them – but how can you really tell which mascaras are the best? I decided to put them to a side-by-side test and see how they actually stack up, something I've been dying to try and share with you.

I chose 11 popular mascaras, both drugstore (ranging $7-9) and premium ($20+) and applied them only to one eye (left below; right eye is bare). These were a combination of products I had purchased and received in various subscription sample boxes.

Left to right: Cover Girl Bombshell Volume, Maybelline The Falsies Volum Express, Maybelline Great Lash, L'Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Intenza, Ellis Faas, Urban Decay Perversion, Benefit They're Real!, Bobbi Brown Extreme Party, MAC Haute & Naughty, Too Faced Better Than Sex, and Cargo HD Picture Perfect. (Shown in reverse order on eyes below)

Before you scroll down and check out the results, take a guess at which ones you think fared the best (and the worst)! I've included my faves, along with the pros and cons for each, below the images.

Other products used: Tarte Emphaseyes Waterproof Amazonian Clay Brow Mousse, Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette, and Vichy Pureté Thermale 3-in-1 Cleansing Micellar Solution (as remover)

Were you as surprised as I was that the differences between all these mascaras are barely discernible?

I had two favorites, starting with MAC's Haute and Naughty, which was no surprise to me. When I first purchased this I was so impressed that I texted my sisters a picture immediately and told them they needed to check it out. I also (surprisingly!) loved the look of L'Oreal's Luminous Butterfly Intenza, along with the brush/way it applied. When asked to give their opinions from the photos, both my sister A. and husband C. chose L'Oreal as their favorite look, too.

As for the disappointments, Benefit's They're Real! was clearly at the bottom for me; it just didn't do anything in comparison to the others.

My detailed thoughts on each mascara:
  1. Cargo HD Picture Perfect: Lengthening, but not as voluminous as I'd like
  2. Too Faced Better Than Sex: Dramatic, but clumpy and hard to remove
  3. MAC Haute & Naughty: Long, full and controlled application – love!
  4. Bobbi Brown Extreme Party: Nice application, but not as full in appearance
  5. Benefit They're Real!: Separates lashes well, but messy to apply and results aren't impressive
  6. Urban Decay Perversion: Pretty feathery look, but not as full as I'd like
  7. Ellis Faas: Nice application, with long feathery look, but so expensive ($34!)
  8. L'Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Intenza: Long, full and defined – surprisingly, love!
  9. Maybelline Great Lash: Natural feathery look, but not dramatic
  10. Maybelline The Falsies Volum Express: Pretty and feathery, but doesn't live up to the name
  11. Cover Girl Bombshell Volume: Does what it says, but messy both to apply and remove
  12. One coat MAC + one coat L'Oreal: Combined my two favorites
This was a fun test! To be honest, I was shocked that the drugstore brands performed so well in comparison to the more expensive brands...which definitely has me reconsidering why I would pay 3-4 times as much when the results are so similar.

What are your favorites? Have you tried any of these mascaras yourself – and do you agree/disagree with my results?

Bonus! I have an extra, brand new tube of the Cargo HD Picture Perfect mascara I'd love to give away to someone. Leave a comment below if you're interested and I'll pick a winner to send it to!


  1. What a fun post! I am definitely a drug store brand buyer (although I don't think I've tried any of the ones you compared here), and I've liked the look I get with them, but your comments about the pros and cons of the ones you tried now have me thinking about other aspects of the mascaras I have used, particularly ease of removal. I would love to take the Cargo HD off your hands (mascara is really the only makeup I wear with any regularity), if I end up as you winner :)

    1. Katie, my faithful reader -- it's yours!

  2. I bought the L'Oreal mascara after reading your fun review. It's awesome, thanks for the tip! Loved your picture comparisons.

    1. Thanks, Nicole – so glad you found one you liked!


  3. Great thoughts you got there, believe I may possibly try just some of it throughout my daily life.

    Eyelash Mascara

    1. Thanks for reading - definitely let me know if you discover a new favorite!