I put 6 mascaras to the test to see how they perform in a head-to-head competition. There are hundreds of mascaras, and each brand has so many different formulas that it was hard to choose just six for this round of testing (so there may be more in the future)! I selected products that I’d heard great things about so I was hoping to find a new “holy grail” mascara from this bunch.
In order to level the playing field, I applied 2 coats of each mascara on naked lashes. I tried to use the same under eye concealer each time and the same eyeliner (because those can cause smudging or do some smudging of their own). I curled the lashes on one eye (the right eye in the pictures) for 4 of the formulas (but forgot for 2 of them… whoops!)
I like a mascara with a dry formula and a small wand because I tend to slop the wetter ones all over and poke myself in the eye with the larger wands. I’m looking to see if each one does what it claims it’ll do, as well as how well it lengthens, volumizes, curls, or holds a curl, how easily it applies. and how difficult it is to remove. Then I check back in every 3-4 hours to see how it wears throughout the day. The photos show the mascara right after each was applied and then 12 hours later.
Here are the results in order from worst to best:
Jordana Best Lash Extreme Mascara ~ $2.99 at drugstores
Application: Long thin wand with closely packed brush-like bristles. Dry formula applies very easily. Two coats gives longer lashes, but not much volume. I wouldn’t call them my best lashes… it makes the tips bend like Dr. Seuss drew them and there are lots of small clumps.
Pros: Price, dry formula
Cons: Weird curls at ends of lashes, very short wear before flaking & smudging.
Milani Total Cover Mascara ~ $4.99
The Claims: Smear proof, smudge free, built to last. 3 zone wand for defining, volumizing, and curling. Gives 360-degree instant impact.
Application: 3-zone brush – Very pretty before you use it, but stick it in the mascara and you can’t see the zones! A fat brush with a combo of rubber and fiber bristles. End of brush is bald and gets loaded with mascara which can easily get where it’s not wanted. Medium wet formula, lengthens lashes well, but transferred to eyelid, below eye, and lower lashes before setting, clumpy & full of fibers that stick to lashes. Lashes look spiky and uneven with some stuck together and some not.
Wear: Started flaking in just 2 hrs., transferred to water line before it dried, smudged below eyes at 6h. Didn’t flake much more after the 2 hour flake-fest. The curled side (right) held the curl all day.
Pros: Lengthening, held the curl
Cons: Clumpy, smudged & flaked
Application: Long thin wand with uneven brush-like bristles. Medium dry formula applies easily. Two coats gives longer, volumized lashes. The mascara didn’t provide any curl as it claimed, but the lashes on the uncurled side looked nice and separated. On the curled side the lashes stuck together making spikes. No clumps or fibers.
Pros: Cool packaging, the most volume, no flaking
Cons: Removal, price
Mac False Lashes ~ $22.00
Application: Long thin conical wand with brush-like bristles. Medium wet formula applies very easily. Two coats gives longer lashes with good separation, but little volume. I wouldn’t say they look like lash extensions. Lashes look natural but better. Caused a little curl and held the curled side well. No clumping.
Pros: Natural looking lashes with more length
Cons: Flaked and smudged a little, price
CoverGirl Clump Crusher ~ $7.99
The Claims: This is a “Fiber-Stretch”, no-clump mascara that gives you buildable volume & length. Curved brush features precision bristle spacing to reduce clumping for long separated lashes.
Application: Small curved brush, with dry formula, provides minimal length/volume in the 1st coat, but there are no clumps, and no transfer. Lashes are separated, second coat applies easily because it’s not sticky or crunchy. It takes more passes to equal one coat, so it’s more work to apply, but lashes look natural with good length and the curved brush provides curl to the lashes. This is one I didn’t curl the lashes on one eye.
Wear: Didn’t flake, smudge, or transfer for 10 hours, something smudged a between 10 & 12 hours (but I think it was the eyeliner I used that day that was different from the other days). Removes easily with water and face wash.
Pros: Easy application, long wear with no flaking or smudging all day, no clumps.
Cons: Not much volume, more work to apply.
L’Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga Mascara ~ $7.99
The Claims: Oversized, over-the-top lash volume. Cone shaped 360 degree flexor brush builds up to 15X overload volume.
Application: Long conical flexible wand with uneven brush like bristles. Medium-dry formula applies easily. Two coats gives good length, curl, and volume, but not “over-the-top” volume. The flexible wand takes a little getting used to… it needs to be “bounced” on more than raked through the lashes. No clumps or fibers.
Wear: Held the curl for 12 hours, but curled lashes stuck together at ends forming spikes. Very few flakes, and no noticeable smudging or transfer. Lashes looked long and thicker for 10-12 hours. Easy to remove with soap and water.
Pros: Long pointed lashes with no changes for 12 hours, easy to remove,
Best Curl: Tie: CG Clump Crusher (for curling lashes without a curler) & L’Oreal Miss Manga for holding curl after using curler.
Best Length: Milani Total Cover(but all really close)
Best Volume: Tarte Lights, Camera Lashes
Least Flaking/Smudging: Miss Manga
Best Overall Wear: CG Clump Crusher for looking natural all day
Easiest Removal: Tie: L’Oreal Miss Manga and CG Clump Crusher
Winner: Tie Miss Manga & Clump Crusher
Losers: Milani & Jordana
Middle of the road: Tarte & Mac