10 Mascaras Tried and Tested

June 6, 2016


I’ve been playing with quite a few mascaras over the past several months – some from early January. As I’ve worked my way through a few tubes I’ve made notes on thoughts for these and kept them to photograph next to each other so you can see the brush sizes and shapes. I have really straight relatively wimpy lashes that are often barely visible unless I have mascara on. I rarely ever wear anything on the bottom lashes because most brushes are too big to catch the tiny lashes. That combined with the fact that most mascaras smudge on me is another factor for why I don’t wear anything on the lower lashes.


I have tested a few lash growth serums but am still undecided – I suspect that they require months of use to see results. I received a sample tube of Rapidlash earlier this year and as of today I’ve hit the 71 day mark of use. I have started to see some results but they are still on the subtle side. If you have ones you’ve tried that worked let me know.


Onto the mascaras I’ve tested out. Some are repeats of classic staples. I usually like waterproof versions because they are the ones that really don’t smudge on me. However there are quite a few that leave the lashes looking and feeling a bit crunchy or that turn slightly greyish when they dry so I’m really picky with formulas. The image below is interactive so you can click on the icons below to shop the mascaras:

Shown above from bottom to the top:
  • Clinique High Impact Mascara ($16.50) is one of the mascaras I’ve used for the longest, I discovered it years ago and it’s a great basic mascara to add definition and volume, it’s not the most volumizing formula but the black is a true black color and doesn’t smudge, flake or clump.
  • By Terry Terrybly Growth Booster Mascara ($48) is one I received as a gift with purchase at a counter a year ago, it’s a formula that is very expensive but gives a really nice lush look to the lashes, it is supposed to have a growth formula inside it, I haven’t noticed any visible growth from this one but it’s not one I use daily, I like this because it doesn’t flake, irritate or clump, it holds the curl and adds nice volume you can layer.
  • Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara ($29.50) I love Dior mascaras but often times they just don’t hold the curl for me, I gave this a try in hopes of finding one that does and was thrilled to find that it did for me. There were a lot of mixed reviews online – people either love it or hate it. I found it held the curl and did not smudge. I would have liked a bit more noticeable drama for me, you can layer it but on me it was easy to over-layer where you get that slightly cakey look. The fact that it held the curl and didn’t smudge moved this into my thumbs up list.
  • Burberry Bold Lash ($29) is one I used a few years ago, loved it and repurchased once. I gave it another buy and have no regrets. This is best on me with one good coat. I apply at the base of the lashes and wiggle the tube to apply – it coats lashes evenly without clumping and it does not smudge on me.
  • Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara ($23) is one I tried in the Birchbox Beauty in Bloom Box (review here and it’s still available). It far exceeded my expectations and I proceeded to search for it in stores. I could not find it anywhere near me so I ordered online. It’s my new favorite formula although it is a bit hard to remove in the evening. I like this for the most drama and definition. It holds the curl and doesn’t smudge and looks like a true black.
  • Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara ($26) is one I had high hopes for because I really love the O!Mega Lash Mascara (that one has been my most repurchased formula over the past year). The Velvet Noir has an ultra deep color. It has a unique curved brush that dips in the middle of the wand to match the curve of the eye and get the corners. Application is really easy and it looks incredible. Unfortunately for me it does not hold the curl. Smudging is minimal but still happens a tiny bit on me with this one.
  • Marc Jacobs Feather Noir Mascara ($24) is an ultra skinny mascara – one of the tiniest wands I’ve ever seen! It’s made mascara application on lower lashes possible for me. I have super sensitive eyes so it does tickle a little when I apply this but it has such a fine wand it will catch tiny lashes without touching the skin. It did not smudge on me when I used on lower lashes. I think this is a winner if you’re one who is looking for a lower lash mascara.
  • Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Lashes Mascara ($32) I love all things Charlotte Tilbury so when this launched I had high hopes. The regular mascara from her line is ok in my experience. This one is like a face lift for the lashes. I rarely notice the smell of mascara but this one smells like it has a tiny bit of perfume and it smells amazingly fresh and pretty. I have mixed feelings on this one. I’ve put this to the test over the last month. It gives that faux mascara look by adding incredible volume and definition – it’s really impressive. It holds the curl, doesn’t flake and is non irritating. However half the time it smudges. The other half of the time it does not. Even when I have an extra powdered under-eye sometimes it still smudges. If this came in a waterproof formula I think it would be 100% flawless for me. Right now it’s 50/50 on the smudge factor.
  • Chanel Le Volume Mascara ($32) is a classic. I like the regular black version but try to buy the plum shades when they launch because they are often limited-edition. There are two formulas the regular Le Volume and Le Volume Waterproof. I like both but for me waterproof is the way to go especially in humid warmer months. It adds volume and doesn’t smudge.
  • MustaeV Maxi Lash Volume Mascara ($18) is one of the deepest black mascaras I’ve tried. It has a super skinny wand so it’s easy to grab all the lashes – even the ones around the edges. I was really impressed how well it stayed put – no smudging for me on all testing occasions. It’s not the most volumizing for me because I have such wimpy lashes but it’s a good everyday kind of mascara that never clumps on me and I love the true black color.
Another view of the mascaras, different angle:



So which one is my favorite? Right now it’s a three-way tie between the Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara, the By Terry Terrybly Mascara and Chanel Le Volume. The Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Lashes is almost perfect – it smudges on me half the time I wear it.


If you’re looking for a new mascara I hope you found this roundup helpful! As always – I’d love to hear about your recommendations! At this time I don’t use a base/primer or a top coat for the lashes. I know several of you have recommended the Clarins Double Fix as a way to prevent smudging. I still have yet to try it but just ordered it so will let you know how it works. I’ve played with a few false lashes on occasion but find them too time consuming to apply on a daily basis – I know it just takes practice to get used to but it’s something I just haven’t gotten into yet.


If you have any tips, tricks or advice on lash growth serums I’m all ears!
Press samples featured include the Charlotte Tilbury, MustaeV, RapidLash. Gifted item includes the By Terry Mascara.


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  • Lori Jenkins June 6, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    I swear by Lancome cils booster – I buy a new one every 4 months and it makes a huge difference with all mascaras. I love Guerlain maxi lash – it doesn't smudge on me, gives much needed volume and comes in a rich brown shade. I also like Lancome Hypnose and Diorshow – again in brown. I love brown and it's really hard to find, for black mascaras I like Clinique high impact as well and Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye. Revitalash did nothing for me and Latisse gave me crazy long (no thickness) but the side affects never went away so I gave up!

    • Traci Drury June 12, 2016 at 1:03 am

      I was recently given a tube of Latisse to try so I'm curious what kind of side effects you have had.

  • Erin H June 6, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    I have been using Latisse for about three months and I have seen great results with no negative side effects.

    I also struggle with smudging mascara and used to wear only waterproof mascaras, but even those smudged on me. The only mascaras that do not smudge on me are the ones that tube around the lashes. Kevin Aucoin makes two different kinds and the brand Blinc (sold at Sephora) is another winner.

  • It's All About The Base June 6, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    Thank you for this great review on mascera! I will check some of those out. I quit using rapidly sh a few months back. It worked well at first, but didn't seem to work anymore. I tried the Rodial lash serum, still not working. Just bought Revitalash from Nordstom, will give it a try. There are a lot of good reviews about it.

  • SJ Sellers June 6, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    I hesitate to comment with my favorites because they are CRINGE-WORTHY expensive!!

    The Serge Lutens comb mascara is amazing (and it should be for $65 a tube). It is extremely black and very lengthening. It can also provide volume with a 2nd or 3rd coat. It does not budge. At all – even using make up remover!! I seriously love this stuff.

    For more dramatic volume I love Tom Ford. So much drama and glamor. This smudges a wee bit on me but I tolerate it for the DRAMA. I haven't tried their waterproof.

    I also adore Sisley's So Intense Mascara. Somehow my eyelashes feel healthier when I use this one. The brown is a favorite for low key days and the blue is fun too. Very subtle. This also smudges a bit on me, but usually only within the first half hour of wearing. It must take a while to dry down. I want to try their So Curl as well.

    Whatever you do – don't try my recommendations lest you fall in love too LOL!

  • Galit June 6, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    Hi Sabrina! About 6 months ago my lashes started falling out – I found that when I stopped using a certain high-end brand of creams my lashes and eyebrows seemed happier. So I quickly dropped the brand, and luckily I was able to return everything. I did extensive digging on the Internet to re-condition my lashes, and discovered organic castor oil. On Amazon I bought an antimicrobial tube with mascara brush, some organic castor oil, and have been using it nightly for a few months. I brush it through at night, starting at the base of the roots and wiggling the saturated brush through my lashes as though I'm applying mascara. It helped tremendously to re-grow my eyelashes and condition what was left. I also use on my brows. I'm happy to report that my lashes grew back and they look thicker and more nourished. Same for my existing lashes and brows. For mascara, lately I've been using Peter Thomas Roth Lashes To Die For mascara, which I really like. No flaking or smudging, and like a treatment for my lashes. I also like RMS mascara. I used Bare Escentuals Flawless Definition mascara for a long time and loved it. I do curl my lashes first, and these hold the curl for me, but my lashes have a little natural curl to them.

  • Brianna Jean June 6, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    I love my Marc Jacobs mascaras! I have both and have been using them everyday since purchase! Ha the only thing that bugs me is that it's a bit difficult to get off.

  • Lea June 6, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    Cle de Peau remains my go to mascara for volume and no smudging. For lash growth, I love Neulash and have used it for a few years now. It's expensive, but it's made a difference in my lashes.

  • Dani June 6, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    10! Amazing thankyou for sharing. I'm a huge fan of the Dior Overcurl but like you need a couple of layers. I've been in two minds about CTilbury's Legendary Lashes. I really has mixed reviews re smudging and might just stick with my Dior or try the Chanel.
    Fab review 🙂 XX

  • Jenny D. June 6, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    It sounds like overall most of these mascaras were a success! I have a problem with my lashes holding a curl so now I really want to try the dior over curl mascara and the stila mascara sounds great!!

  • Deb June 6, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    Latisse for lash growth. I tried Revitalash, nothing happened. My eye doctor approved Latisse for me so I've been using it for over a year. My lashes exploded. I had to reduce application down to 3 or 4 times a week when my eyelashes reached my eyebrows. Not kidding. I wear prescription sunglasses and when I blink, my eyelashes were rubbing on the lenses.

  • Eileen June 7, 2016 at 2:17 am

    Another Latisse fan here :-). I've used Latisse for over five years and have never had any problems with it. Once you get your lashes where you ant them, you don't have to use it every night. 3-4 times a week will maintain your results. Love Latisse!

    As for mascaras, my everyday favorite is Guerlain Maxi Lash (regular formula). It makes my lashes look lifted and makes the most of the extra length I've got thanks to Latisse. I love that it never flakes, fades, or migrates all the while giving me long, feathery, soft lashes. It is also easy to remove (I use Chanel's biphase).

  • Tatiana June 7, 2016 at 3:41 am

    I am embarrassed to say my favorite mascaras are really expensive. Everything but the most waterproof mascaras smudges on me. Even the Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir smudged. A lot. I like Cle de Peau mascara. It curls, lengthens and volumnizes. It is however, the hardest thing to remove. I also like Tom Ford's lengthening mascara, but it smudges. I like his waterproof one a bit less. I also like Buxom now that there is a waterproof formula. I liked the wand and results of Benefit Rollerlash mascara, but unfortunately it smudged like crazy on me.
    I used to use Revitalash Advanced.
    But Nordstrom will not deliver it to California for some reason. I used to have it sent to my daughter when she was living in TX and she'd send it back to me or I'd pick it up when I went to visit. I saw results while I was using it, but once I stopped my lashes started falling out and went back to the way they were. I'm thinking of asking my doctor for Latisse, but I don't my eyes or lash line to darken, as I'm super pale with light colored eyes.

    • Deb June 7, 2016 at 5:23 pm

      Tatiana, darkening of the skin along the lash line and/or a change in iris color is NOT a given in the use of Latisse. It does happen to some and not others and is a risk only you can decide to take if you want to try it. I had no change in iris color or darkening of the lash line and I am very fair skinned with blue eyes. I've used it for a long time and have had no effects other than lash growth.

    • Anonymous June 7, 2016 at 11:44 pm

      You should try the Cle de Peau re,over with the mascara. I swear by both and it's a breeze to remove and I don't get smudges

    • Susan June 8, 2016 at 12:02 am

      I too am very pale and had the darkening along the lid. It did go away after I quit using. It all goes to show you really don't know how something will affect you until you try it.

  • Bonnie Garner June 7, 2016 at 6:59 am

    Great review, Sabrina! I need to get my hands on these Stila and/or By Terry mascaras! 😀
    I was so disappointed by the Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Lashes. On me, it smudges every single time I wear it! 🙁
    My lashes are quite long so they touch my upper eyelid (it's probably part of the problem). Actually, the Clarins Double Fix helps a lot but still, on me this mascara doesn't hold the curl very well and I was not impressed by the volume it gave to my lashes… I much prefer Le Volume de Chanel waterproof, which is my number 1 so far! 🙂
    I did a full review on the Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Lashes mascara with before and after photos in case you're interested:

  • Belle BluSHH June 7, 2016 at 7:29 am

    I have super straight lashes and would love to try the Diorshow Iconic Overcurl one day. Right now I swear by Benefit's Roller Lash because none of the other mascara's are noticeable when my lashes drop during the day.


  • Donna Charloff June 7, 2016 at 11:33 am

    I use revitilash; it is amazing. My lashes are so long they are sometimes in the way!

  • Unknown June 7, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    I have used Revitalash for a while now and actually have people coming up to me asking if my eyelashes are real. You have to use it for good 6-8 weeks before seeing a difference. Mascara – at the moment love Stila too and also Laura Geller Glamlash. Tarte eyelash primer helps too

  • Eileen June 7, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    Hi Tatiana,

    Latisse will darken the skin a bit where you regularly apply it. If you discontinue using Latisse, the darkened area completely fades away. I found that once I was down to using Latisse every other night as maintenance mode, the darkening was not significant. Unfortunately, the discoloration some people have experienced in iris color is permanent 🙁

    • Eileen June 7, 2016 at 3:26 pm

      Hi Tatiana,

      Me again 🙂 I forgot to say that incidents of the iris changing color have, so far, only been documented in cases where bimatoprost is being used prescription strength to treat glaucoma and not for eyelash growth as in Latisse.

  • Nikola Cline June 7, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    I too love Stila Huge Extreme, it seems like the best option when smudging is a big concern, although I think Benefit They're Real does a decent job with this as well. I'm using NARS Audacious right now and it's just ok. I'm starting to realize I enjoy a fiber brush much more than silicone.

  • Susan Hooey June 7, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    Thanks for this!! I was thinking of buying the Charlotte Tilbury mascara, but now I think I'll pass. Just got the neuLASH and neuBROW products…hope they work.

  • miabellamay June 7, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    I swear by Lancome's Cils Booster primer, I used to think that lash primers are the annoying extra step that I didn't have time for but once I saw the difference it made, using it just became second nature. Especially because you don't wait for the primer to dry, you need to apply mascara right after the primer so it's really quick. (At least for this one in particular, I don't know about others.) Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir mascara also smudges on me a little but when I use the Lancome primer it stays flawless all day. It not only prevents smudging but it really enhances any mascara that you use with it. I highly recommend it! I can't be without it now.

  • Andrew BeautyandTheBoy June 7, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    Feather noir looks amazing i could totally get behind that!

  • ame June 7, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    I am all about Waterproof as well. I was curious about the new CT as well but not having it in WP turned me off. I was interested in her new Legendary Brows til I saw it had Castor Oil in it, and that ended that for me. I am so over people putting castor oil in stuff. Cheap filler!

    If you haven't tried this–and I might be the only one that loves it– but the Too Faced Better than Sex WP is awesome. But I always wear a coat of Maybelline Lash Discovery WP as a primer. It's my favorite bec it locks in curl, and finds every lash. Similar wand to that Marc Jacobs. I hoard it. I've tried higher end versions but always go back to it. But the Too Faced OVER that is amazing. There's a trick to that stuff I think many people don't pick up on and that's why they hate it. You HAVE to wipe the wand off with a clean paper towel when you start a new tube (same with non wp). They either overfill those, or have an airpocket in there, and between that and the way the wand goes in, it's a mascara volcano. Taking it out and wiping it down before you use it (put it back in and then use it) makes a huge difference because you're starting fresh. I also always use a Tweezerman metal lashcomb. That de-goops everything, bec the BTS always gets a little crazy.

    Anyway… yea.

  • Nina June 7, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    I can only use "tubing" types of mascaras because anything else smudges on me. My favorite is Trish McEvoy Lash Curling mascara which I stock up on twice a year during the Nordstrom Mascara Madness events. It is the only beauty product I have used consistently for over 12 years! (well aside from prescription retinoids)
    As far as lash growth products – I have tried almost all of them! Rapidlash is the very weakest of the bunch and if you haven't seen results after 2 months, you aren't going to. Revitalash and Neulash are both very good and work well. Latisse is of course going to work, but I do find it irritating and only use it 2-3 times a week. Nordstrom has been having Revitalash specials during Anniversary sale, so I would check that out – it's only 5 weeks away! There are also 2 very good and very gentle lash growth products that don't get a lot of mention on blogs. Talika and an even more obscure one by Foltene. You can find these by googling – I happened to pick them up abroad. They are well-priced, gentle, and do work.