When it comes to mascara, I'm more or less a believer in the classic trifecta Lancome-Lauder-Clinique. I've had mascaras from Chanel, Guerlain, Kanebo Sensai, Cle de Peau, Dior, YSL--- you name it, I've bought one at some point. But i always go back to my tried-and-true, and if I had to live with only one mascara brand for the rest of my life it would be Lancome (either Grandiose or Hypnose Drama. even Defincilis if I have no other choice). But I also test and occasionally buy other mascaras. Because they're there. Because I use them a lot. Because it's fun. And sometimes I get an unexpected surprise. Here are three mascaras I use a lot and enjoy, despite having zero expectations:
MAC Zoom Lash ($17. at the counters and maccosmetics.com)
This has actually been a regular companion for years. I received a free one with one of those endless MAC collections and the mascara was the only thing I actually kept. And have repurchased regularly since. It's a combination of a smooth, non-clumping formula and thin and very precise brush that works with my eye shape and help me give my lashes an even coat that creates the polished look I tend to favor.
Urban Decay Big Fatty ($20, at Ulta, Sephora, and the brand's website)
A conversation with a friend-
Me: You're going to laugh at me when I tell you how much I love this mascara.
Her: (staring at my new tube of Big Fatty) I'm going to make so much fun of you. For years.
Well, yes. You don't hear much praise for Urban Decay mascaras, and if memory serves me right there's a reason for that. But Big Fatty, despite it's annoying name, is a master volumizer. The big brush doesn't get out of control and the results are a lot more elegant than I've ever expected. I bought a full size after demolishing several GWP minis.
L'Oreal Miss Manga Voluminous ($7.99 at Ulta and most drugstores)
I just finished a full size tube that I used until the very last drop. While I'm not sure that I'll repurchase in the very near future, it's because I'm going through the content of my mascara drawer and using up items at a rapid succession with the goal to only have a handful of full size tubes and a bunch of samples. It's a pain to go do a freshness check every few weeks and my germaphobe ways have caused to me to get rid of some new/unused items in the past. But back to Miss Magna Voluminous, which I bought after mistaking a friend's lashes for the best and classiest falsies I've ever seen. No, it was this L'Oreal mascara, and it creates this effect through a tenacious and very thick brush that captures every last lash in one or two strokes. My lashes never looked quite like my friend's (genetics do count) but I'm highly impressed.
Photo: Barbara Stanwyck, 1929