Makeup and Beauty Product Reviews and Swatches

L’oreal Double Extend Mascara ($9.49) is the one of the first 2-in-1 drugstore mascara where you get a lash primer on one end and a mascara on the other. While I really liked the idea that Western companies were finally trying to catch up with Asian brands on the idea of mascara primers (Shiseido launched their first mascara base with fiber, dramatical eyes, back when I was in high school), the product itself could be better. The fibers made my lashes too heavy and droopy while the mascara itself did not do much. And if I really piled it on, it gave me a spidery look. Guess I would have to keep looking.

L’oreal Voluminous Mascara ReviewL’oreal Voluminous Mascara ($6.89) is one of my holy grails and I always come back to it! I have it in Blackest Black and it thickens and darkens my eyelashes like there is no tomorrow. One strange thing I noticed though, is that the formula normally starts out a little dry then becomes moist after a couple of uses. It can also become clumpy after a while but I *love* the dramatic effect it gives to my lashes.


Here are a couple of mascara reviews as requested. As you can see, most of them are from drugstore brands. The reason why I *love* drugstore mascaras is that mascaras need to be replaced once every two to three months. So why spend $20+ on a high end mascara when you can spend only $6-7 on a drugstore one?

Bourjois Volume Clubbing Mascara ($17)
Oh my god this is hands down the most sweat-proof, tear-proof and friction-proof mascara ever! It never smudges or flakes and stays intact until I take it off with an oil-based remover. The formula contains vinyl and feels really moist but I really like the way it wraps itself around my lashes and the dramatic effect I get from it. I swear my Asian lashes are darkened like 100 times when I wear this. It also comes with a dual maxi-reservoir brush and delivers decent volume with zero clumping. No wonder they advertise this as the mascara for clubbers!

Chanel Cils A Cils Mascara ($24)
This contains film-forming gels, beeswax, silk fibers and pro-Vitamin B5 to deliver buildable volume and length. I really like it and it does do a decent job lengthening and thickening my lashes without clumping too much. My only complaint is the price. $24 is simply too much for a mascara, you can definitely find something similar out there that costs less.

CoverGirl LashExact Mascara ($7)
I really like this. The plastic bristles picked up every single little lash that I did not know existed. Plus unlike traditional brushes, this one does not make my lashes clumpy and I do not have to comb them. It does not flake on me nor smear onto my undereye area either. I will definitely stock up on this during my next trip to the drugstore.

CoverGirl LashBlast Mascara ($7.99)
After seeing the Drew Barrymore ad, I literally ran out there and picked this up! It comes in a HUGE bright orange tube that is very cute and it claims to differ from other mascaras by having 50% more bristles so lashes look “their biggest, without clumping!” I personally find the brush a little hard to work with. It is true that it has a lot of bristles so you can keep building up the volume but the bulkiness also makes application so much more difficult. I cannot reach my smaller lashes without smearing mascara onto my eye! So despite the fact that it does not flake and it does add fullness to my lashes, I will not be repurchasing this.

L’oreal Bare Naturale Mascara ($9.95)
This is my first mineral mascara. It is paraben and fiber-free and contains an unique luminous ingredient complex to help protect and condition lashes while providing a natural luminosity. I definitely like that it does not contain harmful ingredients and it does wear pretty well. The formula, however, can be better. It has the tendency to clump if you apply more than 2 coats and it did not deliver as much volume or length as I wanted. Try Voluminous instead.

Lancome Definicils Mascara ($22)
Even though this won the Allure’s Readers’ Choice Award and Beauty Award, it was a disappointment. Unlike the “lavishly long, perfectly defined lashes” it promised, it only lengthened my lashes a little and barely did anything to make them look fuller. It is definitely not worth the $22, skip this and get L’oreal instead.

Max Factor Lash Perfection Mascara ($6.89)
This has totally blown all the other mascaras away! Initially, it feels a little wet on my lashes but with just a couple of coats, it darkened and thickened them like 10 times! Plus the revolutionary new iFX brush worked wonderfully and there was absolutely zero clumping. No wonder this is voted as one of the In Style Best Beauty Awards!

Max Factor Volume Couture Mascara ($7.99)
Selected as the Official Mascara of Milan Fashion Week, this mascara has an iFx brush just like the Lash Perfection. It does not lengthen a lot but it does deliver volume (not as much as the Lash Perfection) without any clumping. It also stays on pretty well and I barely get any smudges until I take it off at the end of the day. Overall, it is a good mascara that does its job but I definitely prefer the Lash Perfection over this.

Maybelline Great Lash Mascara ($4.49)
This has been raved by makeup artists all over the world and is always listed as one of the best mascaras. I have it in Very Black and it does darken my lashes a lot without clumping but there is nothing “great” about it. There is no significant lengthening nor thickening at all. If you are looking for something more dramatic, skip this one.

Maybelline Volum’ Express Turbo Mascara ($5.89)
I use this in Very Black and I really like it. It thickens and darkens my lashes significantly and dries pretty fast too. It does clump a little but one swipe with a lash comb and I am good. My lashes also stay curled up all day. The only thing I do not like is the packaging. It is rather bulky and it takes up almost twice as much space as other mascaras.

Maybelline Lash Discovery Mascara ($5.99)
I have this in Very Black. The only thing I like about this mascara is its mini brush – it is perfect for reaching your lower lashes. But other than that, it does not do much. I do not see any difference in the length nor volume of my lashes. I only recommend it if you want a natural look or definition for your lower lashes.

Click here to see a picture of me with and without the mascara.

Rimmel Lash Maxxx Mascara ($7.99)
I have this in Extreme Black. It comes with a breakthrough applicator that claims to make your lashes 3 times as thick without clumping. I do like the brush a lot. The comb-style design helps to define AND separate lashes at the same time meaning I can apply as many coats as I want without clumping. It also works great on my tiny lower lashes. As for the thickening factor? Well let’s just say this baby lengthens more than it thickens. All in all, this mascara does a pretty good job and barely smears at all. Plus who can resist the hot pink + black packaging – that is just way too sexy! Me likey!

I absolutely *love* MAC Fluidlines! I have Sweet Sage, Blue Peep, Blacktrack and Delphic and I am planning on getting more!

Fluidlines are basically gel liners and they are a dream to apply. All you have to do is dip the brush into the product, pull your skin taut and they glide right on. They apply a little moist but dry fast and stay put all day. Plus since they come in bright, funky colors, you can also use them as an eyeshadow base. I did that with Sweet Sage and it did not crease a bit. Highly recommended!

MAC Fluidline is available at Nordstrom and MAC stores and counters.

Stila Smudgepot was my first gel liner and used to be my holy grail until I tried MAC Fluidline.

Compared to the Fluidline, the Smudgepot comes in your everyday conservative colors like black, brown, dark plum etc. and is more suitable for those who are color-shy.

The texture is also different. While it does apply smoothly, the Smudgepot feels drier and firmer. Mine dried up in less than a year even though there was still a lot of product left. I will not repurchase this.

Stila Smudgepot is available at Sephora and for $18.