Before I start working my way through the small mascara mountain that's lurking in my makeup box, I thought I'd take a few minutes to set down in writing what I'm actually looking for in a mascara. So, here's my criteria for the perfect mascara:

The Dollface Mascara Manifesto

The perfect mascara must be:

  • Lengthening. I know not all mascaras are  even designed to be lengthening, and those that aren't will be judged accordingly when I come to review them (i.e. I won't expect them to lengthen if they're designed to, say, curl, instead), but for me this is the first thing I look for. If it doesn't give me longer lashes, I probably won't be impressed by it, it's as simple as that.
  • Non-flaky, non-clumpy, non-runny. Goes without saying, really, doesn't it?
  • Easy to use. I prefer a long, narrow wand, personally, but if a thick, short one happened to be easy to use, I wouldn't turn my nose up at it.
  • Able to lock-in a curl. This is the most essential point for me. I curl my lashes, and I expect my mascara to hold that curl in place and not drag it out. If it doesn't, I'm not going to love it.
  • Preferably waterproof, although if I don't insist on it, and if I found a non–waterproof mascara that did all of the above, that would be just fine.

I don't ask for much, then. What I tend to find is that most mascaras will meet only one or two of these criteria. With a couple of exceptions:



Lancome L'Extreme Waterproof Mascara. Still undefeated despite going head-to-head with literally dozens of other mascaras! Can ANYTHING beat it?



 Imju Fiberwig. Loses points on the "locking in the curl" bit, but adds so much length I can almost overlook it.

On their own, each of these mascaras is a force to be reckoned with. Together, though, they're the Dream Team: try brushing Fiberwig on over the top of L'Extreme. Your lashes will create a draft when you bat them.

Now, I seriously doubt that these two products can be bettered but over the next couple of weeks I'm going to be trying out a whole lot of mascaras, so this is what they're up against. Tell me, though, what's your criteria for the perfect mascara? And are there any you'd like me to take for a test drive? (I can't promise to get hold of them if so, but I'll try my best!)

  1. To me the most important thing when it comes to mascara is definetely volume. I have very long lashes but unfortunately not so many of them. So I need a mascara that is able to “add” some lashes 🙂
    But according to all the other points I totally agree, especially the locking-in-the-curl-issue. Many many mascara fail when it comes to that..

  2. I’m a little older than you so volume is less important to me than length and separation. I think thick jet black lashes can look very ageing on older women. I tried Lancôme after reading your HG comments and those of Jen – Hypnose in brown. Best mascara I’ve ever used. Haven’t tried L’Extrême yet, but plan to pick one up the next time I’m in Sephora. Love your blog btw, keep up the good work.

  3. My favourite mascara is my Clinique high impact mascara. I find it does a good job of keeping the curl in my eyelashes and it really thickens up the lashes. I think they have a curling mascara too which I’ll have to try out once I use up all my current mascaras.

  4. Oooh, are you going to review the Sephora mascara kit? I’ve been wanting to buy it but I’m afraid of only liking one or two and wasting the others. My mascara criteria are lengthening, defining and non-tacky. There are many mascaras that I want to love, and often what keeps me from falling in love is stickiness (case in point, Givenchy Phenomen’Eyes). I HATE that feeling when I blink and my top and bottom lashes stick together, it’s the worst feeling. I tend to like brushes that have lots of dense, fine bristles – the spiral brushes with spaces between the bristles and the very thin brushes with bristles made of plastic don’t do it for me. Currently I switch between Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes and Maybelline Full N’ Soft, but I’m always wondering if there’s something else out there.
    I agree with you, as far as I’m concerned non-flaking, non-clumping and not runny shouldn’t even be criteria, they should be a given.

  5. My mascara has to give length, volume, curl and separation with no clumping, flaking etc of course! Haven’t found my holy grail mascara yet but find Max Factor to be consistently good.
    Dollface- Is Fiberwig available in the UK? I’m very keen to try it!

  6. My favourite mascaras are definitely from Clinique – no clumping and no glooping.
    I like mascaras that seperate so you don’t end up with little pointy triangles of lashes, but as a ‘four eyes’ I can’t have too much length. It’s a very odd feeling when your eyelashes scrape the inside of your glasses every time you blink!

  7. You should try Loreal Telescopic in the gold tube. I think it meets all of your criteria and happens to be pretty cheap. I don’t have the curl problem so I can’t say for sure if that will be an issue for you. But at around $8 it is worth a try!!

  8. Claire – I know what you mean: I wear contacts, but I have glasses as a back-up, and I HATE that feeling of eyelashes-against-lens!
    Kirsty – I don’t think Fiberwig is available in the UK, unfortunately, although I’ll happily stand corrected on that if someone knows different! Ebay is probably your best bet if you want to try it.
    Thanks for the suggestions, everyone else: looks like I’m definitely going to have to try Clinique – I can’t remember ever using their mascara, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about it now! Will try and pick up some of the other suggestions, too!

  9. Separation and curling. Like Claire, I can’t use mascaras that lengthen a lot, cause I wear glasses and the result of lengthening mascaras tends to get really messy.

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