I Tried Byrdie Editors' Favorite Mascaras—Read My Reviews
I’m always dreaming of impossibly thick, inky black eyelashes and the flirtatious flutter that comes along with them. Think Marilyn Monroe, Twiggy, and Adele. I’ve even gone so far as to tint mine, perm them, and glue on eyelash extensions to get the desired effect over the years. When it comes down to it, though, the most important thing is confidence and a great mascara.
I’ve fallen in love with many, but most have either been discontinued or generally forgettable over time. Recently, I’ve been blissfully swiping and brushing with Too Faced’s Better Than False Lashes Extreme ($35), which includes a duo-fiber spiral brush to capture every last hair and a separate tube with nylon fibers to extend and thicken your lashes. The difference between my natural lashes and those adorned with Too Faced’s formula is astonishing. Sometimes I’ll just do one eye and stare in the mirror in pure disbelief. But with my most recent favorite tube on its last legs, I decided to seek advice from the women in my life who know best—my fellow Byrdie editors. I fancy my own lashes quite long—but the right mascara can make a world of difference.
But, I wondered, would my own win out in the end, or would I fall hard for a different product and leave my beloved behind? Keep reading to find out exactly what went down and which mascara was a step above the rest.
Who: Victoria Hoff, news editor
Her pick: Buxom Lash Mascara ($20)
Her praise: “I have the most watery eyes, so waterproof mascara is non-negotiable. But the issue is that most formulas I try either don’t deliver or, worse, are so hard to remove that they literally take my lashes with them. Buxom is the only product I’ve tried that’s really the best of both worlds, and it never clumps. It looks natural but substantial. It’s all I’ll ever use!”
My review: Though it doesn’t come with my favorite type of brush (this one is more separating than thickening), I really took to the hourglass shape. It allowed for an even coat from the root of my lashes to the very tips—and resulted in a ton of volume. Just like Victoria, I’m plagued by watery eyes, and most mascaras get too smudgy throughout the day, but sure enough, this one stayed put. It was perfect for a day at the office or a Saturday brunch: It looked really, really natural. I like more of a va-va-voom for nighttime as my eyelashes are one of the few features I like to play up.
When I took it off, I noticed my lashes felt especially conditioned and soft. After mumbling, “Well, this never happens,” I looked up the ingredients. Turns out Buxom’s formula is enriched with vitamins and flower extract, making it conditioning on your lashes.
Who: Lindsey Metrus, associate editor
Her pick: Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Lashes Mascara ($32)
Her praise: “Drugstore mascara has been my go-to for as long as I can remember, but when I was acquainted with this new(er) product from Charlotte Tilbury, I never looked back. I like to put on a few coats of mascara and this allows for full, lengthy lashes without looking clumpy.”
My review: I’m a Charlotte Tilbury devotee—her Magic Foundation ($44) makes my knees weak, Brow Lift ($30) is always on my person, and Magic Eye Rescue Cream ($60) makes my dark circles disappear in seconds flat. So, naturally, I had extremely high hopes for her newest mascara. I applied it in the office bathroom as soon as it came across my desk, and, of course, it looked incredible. It’s thickening and volumizing, and the brush has bristles that so easily coat every lash. But, alas, my watery eyes got the best of me yet again, and this formula wouldn’t stay put. It’s like it was breaking up with me in that terrible it’s not you, it’s me way when you know it is, in fact, you. I’ve since had to face my fate and give this luxurious mascara to my roommate.
After a bit of research, I realized Charlotte herself has a hack to improve the smudginess of the formula. The directions read, “Charlotte recommends powdering the eye area before applying mascara, and sticking to application on your top lashes because of its creamy, oil-based formula.” Interesting. I’ll have to steal the sample back from my roommate (sorry, Claire) and give it another go with some powder and a can-do attitude.
Who: Faith Xue, editorial director
Her pick: Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara ($26)
Her praise: “My natural lashes are thin and sparse, so I always gravitate toward volumizing mascara formulas—the bigger the brush, the better. But even then, I’ll usually have to use a lash primer (Dior’s newly formulate Diorshow Lash Primer is a game changer) beforehand to really help my lashes stand out and stay curled all day. Not the case with Marc Jacobs’s Velvet Noir. The brush is smaller than most volumizing mascaras, but don’t let its modest size fool you. One coat fattens your lashes instantly, and you can easily build and layer for a more feathery, fanned-out look with a matte finish. Other mascaras require multiple coats or precision when applying, but this guy makes it all so easy—like that one slinky dress you keep in your closet that instantly makes you look six inches taller and smoking hot.”
My review: For me, this pick was the clear winner. I’m especially fond of those super-thick, curved, feathery brushes that have tons of bristles to thicken and curl in one flick of the wrist. It makes it so much easier to saturate every last hard-to-reach lash in concentrated black pigment. Like Faith, I usually have to apply multiple coats to get my desired doe-eyed look, but this mascara gets it done in just one (two if I’m trying to get a little flirty).
I’m not as much concerned about length, but volume is my kryptonite. I want the thickest lashes possible, and Marc Jacobs has certainly delivered in spades. Thanks to that, the matte finish, and the smudge-proof formula, I didn’t look like a raccoon by nightfall.
Maybelline Volum' Express The Colossal Washable Mascara ($6)
Who: Deven Hopp, beauty director
Her pick: Maybelline Volum’ Express The Colossal Washable Mascara ($6)
Her praise: “Everyone wants voluminous lashes, but not everyone loves volumizing mascaras, including me. The brushes are too big for my small eyes, and the bristles are too full to the point they can’t grab all the little lashes in the corner. But not Colossal Mascara. The brush is the perfect size—big but not so big I end up with mascara all over my eyelids. And it delivers mega volume with the separation, definition, and length other volumizing mascaras simply don’t.”
My review: Upon reading Deven’s words, I knew we had different tastes in mascara. I love a big, full brush. But still, I gave it a shot as I’ve loved a ton of other Maybelline mascaras. (And you can’t beat that price.)
The formula contains collagen, and you can tell with every soft, hydrated swipe. That part is unprecedented. I loved the way my lashes felt all day and how easy it was to wash off—it just glides right off with a single swipe. But what this mascara has in moisture, it lacks in clumps and thickness. Now, I understand most people want to avoid clumps, but I love them. I just think they add a little something extra to my look. Still, I’d happily use this in a pinch.
Who: Amanda Montell, associate features editor
Her pick: Stila Huge Extreme Lash ($20)
Her praise: “I’m not one for details when it comes to lashes—I’m not sensitive to brush size or texture—I’m just looking for whatever will give me the hugest, thickest, longest, most dramatic lashes possible. This new favorite volumizes and lengthens like wild in just a few coats. The end result is a wee spidery, but I’m cool with it. (If you want a more separated look, I’d start with Benefit’s Roller Lash and layer this on top.)
My review: Going off titles alone, this one has me hooked at the jump. The product is über-saturated, perhaps more so than any of the others I tried, and washes your lashes in a deep black fluid for a seriously rich, glamorous color payoff. The wand is dense—the way I like it—but also fairly flexible to allow for a lot of lash coverage.
The genius, in my opinion, comes from the formula itself. It’s blended with soft, malleable waxes that keep your lashes from ever feeling crunchy or dry—allowing its staying power to be pretty revolutionary.
Now, see what happened when our editorial director tested and reviewed every Brydie editor’s favorite foundation.