17 mascara brands put to the test

17 mascara brands put to the test

© Vitaly Image by: © Vitaly Author: Canadian Living


17 mascara brands put to the test

Apparently, one cosmetic most women can't do without is mascara -- more specifically, their favourite mascara. And finding the perfect mascara is a more complex task than one might think, as we discovered when we tried these formulas. What did we think of them? Read on to find out.

1. Avon SuperFull Mascara, $4.99
Lash description: short and sparse
One coat of mascara is: three strokes of the wand
Verdict: "Goes on smoothly and gives me long and full-looking results. It also wears well, without smears, smudges or flakes. In fact, I prefer it over my usual big-name drugstore brands."
-- Paula Maciel

2. Estee Lauder Eye Care, 7 ml Illusionist Intense Maximum Curling Mascara - 06 Intense Black for Women, $35.41
Lash description: long, thick and straight
One coat of mascara is: about 12 wand strokes from middle to outer to inner
Verdict: "No clumps at all from this one, but what I can't believe is that it actually curled my stick-straight lashes. I just wish I didn't need eye-makeup remover to get it off. And surprisingly, the nonslip rubber handle on the wand is a plus."
-- Donna Paris

3. The Body Shop Super Volume Mascara, $15
(image at left, courtesy of
Lash description: thin, naturally curved
One coat of mascara is: 28 wand strokes
Verdict: "Clumps as it goes on but gives pretty good volume and wears well through the whole day."
-- Annette Waurick

4. Cargo SuperEyes Mascara, $19
Lash description: thick but fine, and curly
One coat of mascara is: 20 wand strokes, with five to eight more as a second coat
Verdict: "Although I think I get more volume from Artistry Definitive Lash Mascara, Cargo SuperEyes glides on so smoothly that my lashes look naturally lush. Also, despite having oily lids, I've experienced no smudging, melting or flaking of any sort, even after a sweaty workout (miraculous!)."
-- Colleen Tully

5. M.A.C Zoom Lash Mascara, $12
Lash description: long but fine
One coat of mascara is: with this mascara, eight to 10 strokes
Verdict: "I usually use a lash-thickening formula with a dense brush, such as L'Oréal Paris Voluminous or Lash Out. M.A.C Zoom Lash made my lashes noticeably longer, but its thinner consistency and less-dense brush don't deliver much volume. I compensated with more wand strokes and smoothed out a bit of clumping with a lash comb."
-- Jennifer Melo

6. Benefit Get Bent Mascara, $25
Lash description: thick lashes, average length
One coat of mascara is: two strokes of the wand (more if going out)
Verdict: The bent wand took a bit of adjusting to, but it was good at getting to all my lashes easily and gave me a great natural, everyday look that needed no touchups.
-- Kate Dowhan

7. Cover Girl Lash Exact, $8.99
(Image at left, courtesy of
Lash description: short, fragile and sparse
One coat of mascara is: 30 or so strokes fairly evenly from outer lashes in and back
Verdict: "I need lots of mascara just to look like I have lashes, so clumping can be a slight issue. With this mascara, however, the tapered, perfectly staggered flexible Lash Exact bristles glide through my lashes and the smooth formula delivers a natural yet defined fringe that doesn't smudge or smear, despite my oil-slick lids."
-- Janine Falcon

8. Giorgio Armani Mascara Maestro, $32
Lash description: sparse, coarse and straight (I always curl them)
One coat of mascara is: 10 quick strokes per eye, from inside to outside
Verdict: "This brush takes getting used to, but it's cool. Shaped like a triangle with three minicombs separated by channels of mascara, it allows me better control over the amount of mascara I apply –- I can make a rolling action with my wrist to put lots on, or I can hold it relatively straight to put on a little."
-- Helen Racanelli

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9. L'Oréal Paris Volume Shocking, $14.95
Lash description: thin and short
One coat of mascara is: approximately 10 strokes
Verdict: "This easily mastered two-stepper begins with a primer, which has a great, densely bristled brush. Step two's brush is a comb, which I didn't think I'd like at first, but it actually separates the lashes nicely and applies the product well. My lashes look very long!"
-- Suzanne Lacorte

10. L'Oréal Paris Telescopic Mascara, $10.95
Lash description: average thickness and length
One coat of mascara is: one or two passes of the wand along the upper lashline
Verdict: "The 3D comb wand is somewhat difficult to use. The mascara sits in channels between a trio of minicombs [like the Giorgio Armani brush] and can go on quite thickly, but the wand design allowed me to use the tiny comb teeth to separate clumpy areas. The final result is nicely dramatic, and I'd use Telescopic for evenings out –- but only when I have time to use the brush properly."
-- Jessica Pollack

11. Napoleon Perdis Long Black Mascara, $28
Lash description: long and full
One coat of mascara is: 15 to 20 short, quick strokes per eye
Verdict: "This mascara features a bent-wand applicator, which seemed strange at first but eventually had me wondering why all mascara wands aren't bent. Its ergonomics allow for easy application, even to the lashes at the corner of the eyes. The formula itself wears well and washes off easily at the end of the day."
-- Natalie Bahadur

12. Almay Triple Effect One Coat Nourishing Mascara, $7.95
Lash description: fairly thick, average length and straight
One coat of mascara is: back and forth for six or eight strokes from inner to outer lashes
Verdict: "This one promised fuller, longer and curvier lashes, and although the end result is fuller and a bit longer, I still need to use a lash curler. As well, the brush is too dense to comb through my lashes to clear the slight clumping that occurred during application."
-- Kat Tancock

13. Anna Sui Eye Care, 8 ml Super Mascara Dx Long Lash - # 001 for Women, $37.99
Lash description: short
One coat of mascara is: at least seven wand strokes
Verdict: "The brush has too many jagged bristles for me to apply the mascara evenly. Once I figured out how to make the brush work for me, though, it made my lashes look longer, yet lightweight. However, I noticed it flaking off at the end of the day."
-- Sarah Snowdon

14. Christian Dior Eye Care, 6 ml Diorshow Unlimited Mascara - # 090 Black for Women, $41.85
Lash description: thick, slightly longer than average
One coat of mascara is: 25 wand strokes with a second coat of three strokes to separate
Verdict: "A more watery formula than my usual brand, it made my lashes look longer and more defined without adding volume and without clumping."
-- Olga Goncalves-Costa

15. Clarins Eye Care, 7 ml Wonder Volume Mascara - #01 Wonder Black for Women, $31.55
Lash description: very pale and sparse
One coat of mascara is: at least a dozen wand strokes
Verdict: "I have very sensitive eyes and several allergies, so a no-flake hypoallergenic formula is key. Wonder Volume is opthalmologist and allergy tested, and doesn't flake into my eyes. It also goes on easily despite the number of wand strokes I need to get the definition I want."
-- Pauline Anderson

16. Revlon Luxurious Lengths Mascara (Waterproof), $10.95
Lash description: average thickness and short
One coat of mascara is: two strokes of the wand
Verdict: "I have allergies, so I like mascara that goes on smoothly and dries quickly before my eyes can water. This one is exactly what I want: a thin, drier consistency that doesn't smudge. My lashes look natural, yet longer and more defined. The brush, however, could be a little less dense to separate my lashes better."
-- Karen Kirk

17. Yves Rocher Luminelle Lash Separation Mascara, $10.50
Lash description: long and obstinate
One coat of mascara is: one or two wand strokes -– more if I'm going for drama
Verdict: "This is a gentle formula that wears well if applied sparingly at the outset, and washes off easily. I prefer a curved brush, but this one was good at separating my lashes. Nice for everyday; I'd use something else to glam up."
-- Sarah Silva

Overall, the majority of our testers were pleased with their results. But you may get different results even if they have similar lashes and use the same type of mascara. Given the time and expense it can take to find the perfect brush and formula for fabulous lashes, it's no wonder so many women count their trusty mascara among their most valued possessions.

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17 mascara brands put to the test