It’s a beautiful moment when you find a holy-grail product—when, after inevitably trying out at least half a dozen different products in one category, you finally find your perfect match. And once you’ve found it, there’s no longer a need to invest your hopes and dreams (and money) into any other product, even one of the latest launches, because you’ve already found the best one for you. It’s the type of product you automatically add to your Sephora cart without thought, month over month, because why mess with a good thing?
This was my ongoing relationship with Bobbi Brown’s Lash Glamour Extreme Lengthening Mascara. For me, it was the perfect formula, the perfect size and shape brush, and it never failed to provoke compliments from strangers. I loved it so much that I don’t think I tried another mascara for years on end—like I said, I didn’t need to.
Until, I did. At some point (about a year ago maybe?) I went to place my usual mascara order, but was informed it was out of stock. After a few weeks passed and it was still not available, an email to the Bobbi Brown PR team confirmed my worst fear: It had been discontinued. If you’ve ever had a favorite beauty product get discontinued on you, then you know the ensuing struggle. It meant that now, I’d have to invest time and effort and money into the pursuit of finding a new favorite.
I’d been out of the mascara game for so long that I didn’t even know where to start, so I tried all of them. Literally, dozens of them— lengthening, volumizing, buildable, primer-inclusive, waterproof, washable, new launches, old favorites, you name it. Some of them were instantly clumpy and goopy, others gave me racoon eyes by mid-day, and most of them cost upwards of $25 per tube. When it comes to daily mascara, what I want is a naturally-defined look and zero clumping or flakes—just thick, healthy-looking lashes.
After settling for a rotation of so-so mascaras, I came across a rave review of Ilia’s Limitless Lash Mascara online. Reviews aside, I knew as soon as I saw the photo of the brush—one side of which resembled my beloved BB mascara brush—that this could be a real contender for my next favorite. Not only did they seemingly nail the brush shape and size, but, in line with Ilia’s brand ethos, it was also a clean formula—and who isn’t in favor of applying fewer chemicals near their eyeballs? I was so excited that I went to two different Sephora stores in Manhattan and Brooklyn, but it was sold out at both of them. Sold out! At both of them! This only got me more excited, of course, so I ordered it online and anxiously awaited its arrival.
I am happy to report that I was not disappointed. After using it just once, I knew I had found my new holy grail mascara. Do I have a tendency to be a bit dramatic? Sure, but this stuff definitely lives up to the hype.
Here are the details: Ilia’s Limitless Lash Mascara, which is also 99% natural and cruelty-free, features a dual-sided brush—one side for building, and the other for separating lashes for a smooth, clump-free finish. This is my favorite feature, because if there’s one thing I hate, it’s clumpy, stuck-together eyelashes.
The pitch-black formula (called “After Midnight”) is super lightweight, but still provides just the right amount of volume and lift, sans any smudging. While it’s not waterproof, I actually prefer it this way (I find that waterproof mascara takes too much of a toll on my lashes over time). To get into the nitty gritty, the formula itself is made up of a blend of organic bee and carnauba waxes, according to the brand’s website, which simultaneously work to lift and condition lashes. It also contains organic Shea butter (more conditioning) and keratin, which supposedly helps to strengthen and fortify.
While $28 is on the higher end of what I’d ideally like to spend on my bi-monthly tube of mascara, to me—and my lashes—it’s totally worth it.