Buy wisely: mascara


There seem to be new mascaras introduced to the beauty market daily.  Brands usually advertise these breakthroughs using models and celebrities wearing false eyelashes.

I did a quick search on to see how many options one might have in choosing mascara.  Brace yourselves: there are 236 choices from 35 different brands.  Then I learned that there are an additional 180 choices from 47 brands on’s partner site, (what I would have given to think of that domain name first – I’d be writing this from Bali). carries what are considered more prestige brands, so if you shop on, you are either poor or just have bad taste.

The most expensive and terribly named mascara (By Terry “Mascara Terrybly”) is $48.  The least expensive is by the brilliant cheapo brand e.l.f. at $1.49.  You have 414 others choose from.  And that’s just from these two sites.

Clearly there are way too many mascaras, and I want to steer you away from being a ninny and spending $48 (or more, because the most expensive mascara I could find was $70) on a tube of dreams.

I always tell my clients that the best place to purchase mascara is at the drugstore – expensive is not better in this case.  Make-up artists, as a species, are fond of L’Oreal Voluminous for its reliability, and I’ve been using it in my kit for years.  But I just experimented with Maybelline Full ‘N Soft Waterproof ($7) because it’s one of the top rated mascaras on Make-up Alley, and it’s really good.  As the name suggests, no crunchiness, and the brush is easy to work with.  No smudging or flaking whatsoever.

While I tend to think that waterproof mascara is for brides and scuba divers only, and because true waterproof mascaras require an oily remover, which is a pain, I’m still for the waterproof version of Full ‘N Soft because with warm water and soap, this stuff (mostly) comes off.

Lash wisdom: curl them first (I prefer the one made by Kevyn Aucoin – worth $21 because you’ll have it forever) and then apply mascara from root to tip, wiggling at the root to get all of the lashes involved in the fun.  Don’t get sucked into gimmicks, like mascaras with wands that wiggle for you.

Go, spend your hard earned money on a tube of empty promises.  But I’d rather you spend $7.

11 thoughts on “Buy wisely: mascara

  1. Hey Beke, I have been using the :L’Oreal Voluminous as per your recommendation that I read somewhere along the line….I love the mascara once applied but I am always getting clumps and a mess when I start to work with it coming out of the tube, Any hints to help with this?

  2. Hey Beke, I have been using the :L’Oreal Voluminous as per your recommendation that I read somewhere along the line….I love the mascara once applied but I am always getting clumps and a mess when I start to work with it coming out of the tube. Any hints to help with this?

    1. Hi Mary, I know this may sound wasteful but you might try wiping the wand with a tissue before you use it. Until you to try another mascara, but since you love this one give the tissue a try…. good luck!

  3. Thanks Beke! That’s what I have been doing….just thought you might have another trick 😉 I am going to try your most recent recommendation and see which one I like best. Thanks again. So glad you are doing a blog!

  4. I’ve used maybelline full n’ soft for years! It’s my favorite brand by far. I remember I was crushed when they stopped carrying “brownish-black” but you convinced me to go for straight black and I’ve never looked back!

  5. thanks for the mascara recommendation. I have been trying so many different kinds and have not found one that I truly like. Hopefully this will be it. I will let you know.

  6. I am high tailing it to my local cvs for the maybelline waterproof mascara! Not a bride. Or scuba diver. But I’ve found that only waterproof versions of mascara hold the curl in my otherwise rigid poker-straight lashes. Thanks, Béke!!!

  7. Hi Rebecca!
    SO glad you are doing this! congrats! Pretty please could you do your recommendations for drugstore-bought lip gloss? The last two tubes I bought slipped right off after approx. 3 minutes! And maybe your eco-brand fav?
    I miss you. Hope you and c and the felines are great! you look fabulous!

    1. Oh my gosh, it is good to hear your voice, Kristin! Since you, like me, are a tree hugging type, you’ll want to try Jane Iredale’s PureGloss. Not super cheap at $24 but fairly long-lasting and tastes good. Shades that would make you even prettier than you already are: Sangria (sheer bronze), Nectar (sheer bronzy rose) or Raspberry (coolish … uh… raspberry). Miss you and Hutch too….come visit!!

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