Over the past few years, I have been faced daily with trying to answer the following burning (well, at least to me!) question: WHERE THE HELL DID MY EYELASHES GO? As time marches on, it appears that my formerly thick, dark lashes have left with it as well..
It was about two years ago that I noticed my lashes had pretty much thinned out almost to the point of nonexistence. How much would it cost to buy a really good mascara that would perk up those remaining wisps? As it turns out, the question was not so much how much it would cost, but rather where on earth to find a decent mascara in the first place.
Please bear in mind that replacing my old mascara was not a high priority item for me; I do have a life! As a woman in her late fifties who unfortunately should wear SOME makeup every time she goes out in public, it gradually become a nagging problem rather than a crisis. But even small, nagging problems can be difficult to fix.
One of my more recent purchases last year was Borghese’s solid black mascara. Beautifully packaged, it cost over $25 and did nada in terms of making my lashes visible. I know, I know – a significant amount of the product’s price is built around its packaging and marketing. I should have known better. The kind and color of tube, the overall appearance of the product, what goofy emotional heartstrings it’s intended to tug, how ‘upperclass’ it is meant to be by virtue of its fancy name brand – all of those decisions enter into the final product’s retail price. The Borghese mascara was a huge disappointment.
It barely added any lift and life to my lashes. Since I had spent decent money on the product, I refused to give up. In the end, though, I tossed the Borgheseafter a few weeks because it didn’t live up to its promise of ‘long, glamorous lashes’. No long lashes, nothing even close to glamorous. I felt like an idiot for having bought it in the first place. I ended up tossing out the half-used product for which I had spent a fair amount of money.
But the Borghese mascara didn’t provide a volumnizing lift; all it did was darken my lashes, and to even get that effect, it would take several coats to accomplish. Its case was indeed pretty, slim and narrow, with a single wand that was supposed to make that magic happen. Just because something looks good doesn’t mean that it is.
Over the holidays, I purchased a tube of Urban Decay’s “Big Fatty Mascara” at our local Sephora. While the cost of this product was not as high as the Borghese mascara, it was still somewhere in the $12 – $15 range. There wasn’t a sampler available, but I liked the brightly-colored container (a ’60’s red/gold floral print with a bright purple top), and my daughters told me that they had liked the Urban Decay products they’d bought over the years. “Big Fatty Mascara” was more of a “Big Fatty Mistake”. Like the Borghese mascara, it was a single wand, whose only achievement was to darken my lashes, nothing else.
Again, it took several coats (actually even more than the Borghese) even to do this. I now keep the Urban Decay mascara in the little cosmetics pouch in my purse, for emergency use only. It’s not that it’s that bad, it’s just that it’s not as good as I’d hoped. The only thing “fatty” about this product was the lining of Urban Decay’s corporate pockets.
In the past, I’d used several Maybelline products. While I didn’t have much luck with their foundations, their pressed powder, eye liners and eye shadows had been much more than adequate. I received through my newspaper a coupon for $1.50 off the purchase of Maybelline’s ‘newest’ mascara, Intense XXL Volume-Length Microfiber Mascara.
With coupon in hand, I headed over to CVS Pharmacy to buy the new product. The cost for color 551, “very black”, was $7.50, minus the $1.50 coupon. For that price, I was willing to take a chance on the .17 fl. ounce mascara. (Maybelline products can be found mostly at your local drug and grocery stores. They are not sold in major department stores such as Macey’s, Dillard’s, Nordstrom, Neimann Marcus, etc.) I saw an ad in the February 10th sale flier for CVS offering the XXL Volume-Length Microfiber Mascara for $4.99! (Throw in that coupon, and you can’t go wrong!)
I actually really like this product. The tube has two parts to it: one wand had a white base to be used for “step 1, extreme length”. You applied the contents of the white wand first, followed by “step 2, extreme volume”. Step 2 used the second, black part of the tube. This was the actual mascara itself. It works! It works! Not only is it inexpensive, it actually does what it promises on the packaging! You really only need to use the white portion of the tube once, to kind of ‘prep’ your eyelashes. Wait just a second or two, and open up the black part for application of the actual mascara.
Not only do your lashes look dark, they actually do look voluminous – much more so than the Urban Decay “Big Fatty” and the Borghese mascaras. According to Maybelline’s marketing, this product provides “up to 60% longer lashes” and “11X the volume”. While I’m not sure that 60 percent longer lashes is actually true, I would have to say that at least 40% longer length is the case – not bad! Eleven percent more volume seems to be right on target. My lashes looked at least thirty-five to fifty percent longer and thicker when I used this Maybelline brand than they did with the others.
The mascara tube itself measures five inches long and an inch at its widest part, the middle. The colors available are brown, ‘regular’ black, and ‘very black. Although it’s one of the newer offerings from Maybelline, you may have to really look for it on the store’s shelves. I found it located on the second row from the bottom amongst all of Maybelline’s mascara brands. The pricier brands are, as always, located at the top or eye level of each display; take your time to look for this specific brand.
Like everything else in life, this Maybelline mascara isn’t perfect. I’ve found that, as a right-handed person, it’s very easy to apply the white ‘prep’ coat for lengthening to both eyes. However, when I go to apply the black part of the tube, it’s easy to apply on the right eye, but kind of tricky to use it on my left eye (I’ve had to make at least two attempts on my left eye every time I’ve used this). This is most likely due to the actual shape of the tube itself. While slim at each end, the middle of the tube itself is considerably ‘fatter’ because it holds the two different types of lengthening and volume containers that make up the product.
Also, the wands on both ends aren’t nearly as long as those on other mascara products, which doesn’t help when you’re trying to reach across your face or trying not to get mascara on your foundation (which has already been applied!) It’s also a bit trickier when you apply it on your under lashes for the same two reasons. Basically, it’s a choice: if you want a ‘regular’ mascara with a single wand, the brush will be longer. If you choose a dual-action mascara, the brushes will be shorter by necessity.
For myself, it’s a no-brainer. I really like the end results of the lower-priced Maybelline Intense XXL Volume Length Microfiber mascara, especially when it performed with the promised results. If it takes just a bit more time and effort to get exactly what you’re looking for in a mascara, for me, it’s worth the effort. And making the little adjustments get easier every day.
Another big plus: cosmetics, especially those applied and intended for use on the eyes, have a relatively short shelf life. The standard for mascara and eyeliner is six months’ use; after that, you open yourself up to the very real possibilities of incurring eye infections. If you’re going to be smart and replace your mascara every six months, it’s a lot less damage on your wallet if you continue to use a tried and true but reasonably priced brand.
I highly recommend this product. It’s well priced; you’re not paying for fancy packaging or ‘branding’. Plus, it’s in a price range that almost everyone can afford. And best of all, it really lives up to its hype. It makes a remarkable difference on my eyelashes. When I use this new brand of Maybelline mascara, my lashes are back! They’re back!