5 Drugstore Mascaras, 5 Days

Published in: Drugstore Beauty Finds, MAC Makeup

Today blogger Caroline K. takes us through five days of testing with five popular drugstore mascaras.

So, have you heard the one about us being in a recession? We’re all saving money where we can.


There are even things like the Lipstick Index. Apparently, when times are bad, cosmetics sales go up.

Who knew?

In my case, I am being more conservative with my makeup purchases, which is why I’m looking closely at drugstore mascara.

With my favorite, Givenchy Phenomen’Eyes, costing $28 a pop, it was time to return to my college days. I wanted to find the greatest drugstore mascara ever sold, so from Monday-Friday I played with five mascaras over five days.

Naked lashes


First, I present you with my no makeuped eye, which is maybe the scariest thing I have ever posted on the Internet. I’m going with that first so you have nowhere to go but up with your opinion of my eyeball.

For the following photos, I wasn’t wearing any makeup other than each mascara. I stuck to the included mascara wands — no additional brushes, combs or eyelash curlers. Oh, and these are all double coats.

Now on to the fun!

Monday: L’Oreal Bare Naturale, $10


Monday was L’Oreal’s new mineral mascara, Bare Naturale ($10). I clearly hadn’t figured out the lighting thing yet … but that’s neither here nor there.

I like this mascara. It’s not heavy or goopy and lasts all day long but is still easy to remove in the evening.

The look isn’t anything dramatic, but it does add definition. Great Saturday afternoon mascara, not that I wear special makeup when I want to look like I’m not wearing any. Oh, no, not me. 🙂

Tuesday: Maybelline Lash Stiletto, $8


Tuesday, I tried the new Maybelline Lash Stiletto ($8).

Maybelline really went all out with their packaging, and this bad boy actually looks like a stiletto heel.

I really like this mascara. It gives a lot of length, but I feel like it’s missing that added volume bump I need.

The mascara itself is super glossy and would take some getting used to, but my biggest complaint is the brush. It’s a little too wiry and pokey for my taste. Sure, I think it makes my eyelashes look terrific, but my lash line got a little banged up in the process.

Wednesday: Cover Girl Lash Exact, $8


Wednesday, I moved on to Cover Girl’s Lash Exact ($8) in the purple tube.

I’m not going to lie; those new pokey plastic Cover Girl brushes really freak me out. They look like some sort of medieval torture device but in fun new colors, so I was totally surprised by how much I liked the way they made my lashes look.

They were stunningly long. I could have used a comb to separate them a little more, but I was in heaven.

Unfortunately, as the day wore on, Lash Exact let me down. By noon it was getting a little flakey, and by dinner it seemed to have disappeared.

Thursday: Maybelline Sky High Curves, $7


But Thursday was another day, and I decided to try my old standby. Before I moved to the Givenchy mascara last year, I was a Maybelline Sky High Curves ($7) girl.

Would it welcome me back into its old embrace? Would I still love it after working with perfection all these months?

I have to say, I did.

This mascara actually does curl my lashes, which I have to say weirds me out, but it gives terrific length and volume.

The brush is easy to use, but it seems like Maybelline may have changed the formula while I was away from the product because it tended to get a little clumpy with my eyelashes leaning toward the spidery side of the spectrum.

A little brushwork took care of the problem, though, and I looked good for the day! Oh, and the waterproof formula lasted through a marathon crying session during Grey’s Anatomy, so good work, Maybelline!

Friday: Cover Girl Lash Blast Luxe, $9


Finally, it was Friday, and I was ready for the weekend. I tried Cover Girl’s new Lash Blast Luxe ($9), which I had saved for Friday because of its OMG shimmer! Nothing says “weekend mascara” like shimmer, and I was excited to see what it could do.

And then, nothing.


Not only does it lack shimmer, but it doesn’t have much else either. I think it may darken my eyelashes a little, but that’s certainly not anything to write home about.

This was a big disappointment for me, and after Drew Barrymore’s eyelashes looked so great in the commercial…

So it seems like I’m sticking with my old standby, Sky High Curves. 🙂 I think in general Maybelline knows what they’re doing in the lash department. With money so tight these days, if I can still look fabulous on a budget, I’m all for it.

CVS, here I come!

This post was written by blogger Caroline K. She wasn’t always a makeup girl, but a marketing internship at Seventeen magazine changed all that. The editorial girls took pity on her poor soul and taught her about brushes, eyeliner and lip gloss; she’s never looked back.


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So far, 25 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Indian Girl says:

    Very nice post ! Bare Naturale was my favorite !

    Indian Girl´s last blog post..Flower By Kenzo Spring Fragrance : Review

  2. Oooh Maybelline Sky High does look messy. I prefer the one from Loreal though.

    HaNNa_HuLLaBaLoo´s last blog post..Case closed: Brenda wins

  3. rachel says:

    Me too. I like Bare Naturale a lot on you 🙂

  4. Sheila says:

    I’m glad to see someone do a review on Maybelline Lash Stiletto, which has become my favorite. It doesn’t have fibers so it doesn’t flake onto my contacts.

  5. Christina says:

    Thank you for including a “before” picture… I always wonder how dark and long someone’s lashes are before the mascara, and you answered the question!

    Important to those of us with baby blonde lashes… 😉

    Christina´s last blog post..The Bachelor Will Choose!

  6. charlene says:

    I think the L’oreal was the best for you, it gave your lashes volume, length and separation! Sky high curves….bleh! 🙂 Maybe you could try, L’Oreal’s Voluminous, or even the double extend beauty tubes? Or Rimmel Sexy Curves, or maybelline’s define-a-lash the pink one.

  7. Elle says:

    all the mascara above looks great on those lashes but i’m sure it’ll look different on me. for some reason, my lashes wouldn’t stay up…

  8. Bomi says:

    I liked the bare Naturale because it did look the most natural, but sky high gave a lot of color and vibrance.
    i think it’s a evening mascara for me. i think i’ll try the bare naturale! it looks nice!

  9. NINA says:

    This really helps — I am mascara challenged. I dont own mascara and have never had much success with it when I used to try it. I always end up having mascara on my lids.

    I am not blessed with long lashes – in fact they are short and spiky. I really need to find a good (drugstore brand) mascara and learn to use it. I might invest in a Shu Uemura eyelash curler … MIGHT!

    Thanks for the review!

  10. cassie says:

    I wear contacts, and I’m constantly pawing at my eyes. It seems like I’m always rubbing it off if it’s a drug store find.

    What I’ve been doing to save money is hitting up Sephora for the little versions of the more expensive kinds. I find it runs out right around the time the drug store kind would have dried up and become gummy for me, and they’re usually 8 to 10 dollars a pop.

  11. Krystal says:

    Wow! You have great lashes, even without mascara 🙂 I have itty bitty lashes which require LOTS of curling and priming to look like your double coats. I will definitely give your Sky High Curvers a try!

    BTW @NINA, I really recommend a Shu Uemura curler. I’ve tried a few brands but find theirs to be the easiest to use. Also, they come in three different colors – silver, gold and gunmetal grey (mine).

  12. Solé says:

    Great post! You mentioned you didn’t use an eyelash curler so I can only assume you were naturally blessed with those super curly lashes. Lucky you! My biggest issue with mascara is finding one that keeps my lashes curled after I use an eyelash curler (they seem to get straight again within minutes). Waterproof formulas seem to do that best but I try not to use them on a daily basis because they are a pain to remove and no matter how gentle I am, I always lose a few lashes in the process. Right now I am using MAC Dazzle Lash which seems to be doing the job pretty well (and is pretty affordable at $12), but even with a double coat it’s more of a daytime mascara. Still on the lookout for the perfect evening mascara.

  13. seven says:

    If you’re looking for a great cheap mascara, I use Sephora mascara (I use the brown, but they have black too). It adds volume & length and I haven’t had a clumping problem, AND it’s only $5. There’s shipping involved, but if you have a few other things to purchase too, it doesn’t add that much. Plus you get free samples with every order if you’re part of their (free) Beauty Insider program, which I just discovered.

  14. Glosslizard says:

    Wow, thanks, this is very valuable information! 🙂 Just for the record, I’m also very fond of Max Factor’s Lash Perfection!

  15. Rachael says:

    I am so happy you chose Sky High Curves! I used to use Maybelline Full ‘N Soft but after seeing L’Oreal voluminous in carbon black on sale for super cheap, I decided to try that. I have the same problem as Ellw (post 7) has, with keeping my long eyelashes up and not droopy… Voluminous definitely made them droop, and the curl did not hold from when I curled my lashes! I went on to Lash Blast by Covergirl and the same thing happened with me. My lashes looked really “spidery” looking since my lashes are so long and straight. I finally went to Sky High Curves being my last option since I knew I was going to be on the black list at the drugstore for doing all of these returns, and I LOVE IT! It holds the curl and keeps my lashes looking soft and non-clumpy. Love Love Love! So I am so happy that Caroline did this test and agrees with my purchase!

  16. Marcela says:

    Wow, my first comment on this blog! Great post, it’s good to be able to read about the benefits of drugstore mascaras and actually see them in action at the same time. Considering the prices that exist nowadays, it’s also really useful to be able to check these mascaras out! Good thing we have Maybelline here in Argentina, I might just check out the Sky High Curves mascara…and not pay sky high prices for it! Lol. Thankyou Caroline!

  17. Sakura says:

    You’re eyes are gorgeous!

  18. Sakura says:

    oh I meant your

  19. lyndsey says:

    i would probably use the Maybelline Lash Stiletto, or the Sky high curves ones, didnt like the last one at all

    lyndsey´s last blog post..my orientation,

  20. wendy says:

    I like the L’Oreal Bare Naturale the most!

  21. NINA says:

    @ KRYSTAL — I have been looking at the Shu Uemura eyelash curler for days …and I think I might cave in and buy it this weekend. I will be poppin by Nordies to get my Clinique eye cream (with GWP!) and I will grab an eyelash curler. Wish me luck – I hope I dont pull all my lashes out! Thanks!

  22. LayLa says:

    i’m i the only one who loved you with the
    Cover Girl Lash Exact… hehehe….
    iT makes your eyes looks great, looks
    if you have liner on the outercorners,
    kinda cat-eye, my kind of eye for
    Great Job!!

  23. Meream says:

    Very informative. I loved the Monday look, as most girls here. You are indeed lucky to have naturally curled up lashes. Mine are like sticks.

  24. Row says:

    Caroline – you already have to die for lashes though!!! Long, curled, separated!

  25. Lauren says:

    I used to use a $25 a tube mascara as well. I actually switched to Maybelline Volume Express. (The one in the purple and yellow bottle) My only complaint is it can smudge, but they just came out with a waterproof version. But seriously, it makes my ho hum lashes look amazing. The smell is funky but it goes away as it dries.

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