Show me a mascara with a special shaped brush and I'm there, excited to try it and see how it differs from all the other super wands. But it turned out that I like the Kanebo Sensai 38°C Volumizing Mascara despite the brush and not because of it.
The 38°C Volumizing Mascara has a wonderful glossy formula that makes the lashes stand out instantly without gooping them up. It gives a lot of definition and a reasonable increase in volume, though not very dramatic, so one or two coats are great for everyday wear.You can build it up for more impact if desired and the lashes remain separate and clump-free. I find that this Sensai mascara also gives my lashes a significant eye-opening lift and holds a curl nicely. Combined with the color intensity and glossy finish, the final result looks very polished.
Another advantage of the 38C formula is its durability. The longest I've had it on was 16 hours and it stayed firmly in place despite a nap on the couch and a quick eye rubbing. It never flaked or left any black debris around my eyes, yet the mascara is easy to remove with any conventional product.
My issue with the brush is caused by the angle of the curve. Apparently, this arch is not ideal for my specific eye shape and I can't reach with it to the tiny lashes in the inner corners (the outer side of the eye allows for more wiggle room). The brush is thin, so it gets the base of the lashes, but this same flexibility made me try several times to capture the more elusive lashes and I ended up getting the brush in my eye and making a royal mess. While these weren't my finest moments, I discovered another thing about the Kanebo Sensai formula- it's very gentle and non-irritating, so if you have sensitive eyes and/or wear contacts this is definitely worth trying.
Bottom Line: In the end I learned to get the best of the 38°C Volumizing Mascara without stabbing myself in the eye.
Sensai by Kanebo 38°C Volumizing Mascara ($32) is available from Bergdorf Goodman (in store and online) and Neiman Marcus (online only). I received a couple of samples from the company.
Photos by me.