Does Illamasqua Volume Mascara Love My Lashes?

Published in: Makeup, Product Reviews

illamasqua reviews volume mascara harness

I’m so jealous of all the lucky New Yorkers who get to celebrate Illamasqua’s official in-store Sephora launch at the new Times Square flagship store today.


Wouldn’t it be cool if we could all go together? We could meet in front of the Blushers and lipsticks and throw elbows at anybody who got in our way, LOL!

Check out some of these other posts for more on the Illamasqua line…

illamasqua reviews volume mascara wand

It’d be a full-on Illamasqua swatch-o-rama. 🙂

But I’d probably shy away from the company’s Volume Mascara in Harness ($23) (a matte black). Truth be told, it hasn’t made me want to shoop as much as the other things I’ve tried from the line.

For now it’s the only Illamasqua mascara available on, and Illamasqua describes it as a smudge-free, dramatic mascara to lengthen and thicken lashes.

illamasqua swatches volume mascara

Thicker, longer lashes

First, what I see as the good stuff: Volume Mascara does a pretty good job of thickening and lengthening my lashes. The color is a deep, true black with a matte finish, and even a single coat creates an immediate difference that’s both noticeable and above average.

Does it inspire OMG!-filled texts to my BFF at three in the morning? Maybe not, but it’s still a pretty color and markedly above average.


Its Achilles’ heel… This stuff is flakier than a bowl of Special K. At two coats it leaves hella black bits of dried mascara everywhere; the flakes fall along my lower lash line and under my eyes throughout the day — a significant amount of flaking that makes it a little annoying and 100% not cute.

And I’m also not crazy about how crispy and heavy it makes my lashes feel or how the formula doesn’t hold a curl from my lash curler.

illamasqua mascara review no mascara

illamasqua mascara review one layer

illamasqua mascara review two layers

Illamasqua Volume Mascara in Harness

Price: $23
Use: A true black mascara that thickens and lengthens well but also flakes like crazy
Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: C+

I’ve really liked so many of Illamasqua’s color products so far that Harness wouldn’t stop me from being among the first people in the door this morning at Sephora in New York.


Made it to Friday

Hi, ladies! Despite the foggy gloom outside my window this AM, I’m in a good mood because it’s Friday.

I’m going to power my way through a few hours of work and then reward myself with a nice, long walk. But first, a quick snack — how about some Rice Crispies, a yogurt (Yoplait lemon, yum) and cold, red grapes?

Have a great morning, girls. TGIF!

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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

  1. Row says:

    hey Karen

    I love Illamasqua but I thought the mascara was decidely average, especially for the price. It definately didn’t hold curl either but I imagine it may work on women who already have long lashes.
    .-= Row’s last blog post… 26 =-.

  2. SALONI says:

    Return it and try another tube…I have had that happen where the same mascara works differently due to ify tubes and the tubes being old, etc…maybe it was sitting around too long. I got the scandal lipstick..any suggestions for a lipliner pairing Karen? Thanks.

  3. Tiffany says:

    Thanks for the review, Karen! I think I’ll be stocking up on my new fave mascara, max factor 2000 calorie, while it’s still being sold here in the states.

    Ugh, it’s raining here – and it’s been raining all week. Oh well, at least the weekend is here!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tiffany,

      2000 Calorie is good stuff. It was one of my go-to mascaras in college. 🙂

      The weather here has been wack! It doesn’t even feel like summer.

      What are you doing this weekend? Any exciting plans?

  4. YadiQ says:

    i am going to visit sephora times square today

    i missed the launch yesterday cause i have had a majorly horrible bout of hayfever today i have no voice – but i guess i dont have to talk to swatch lol

    happy friday !

    • Karen says:

      Hi Yadi,

      I wish I could be there with you! Grab yourself a pan of Rude blush. 🙂

      BTW, I am LOVING the UD Ammo Palette.

      Take care of yourself and get better soon. Allergies are the worst.

  5. Tiffany says:

    I *wish* I were spending the weekend at the new Sephora in NYC, lol. But I do have a pretty packed weekend – we are having dinner with some friends tonight, then tomorrow a family party for my cousin who is moving away. Sunday is brunch with some of the fam and then dinner at Morton’s (YUM) for restaurant week! whew!

    What are your plans this weekend, Karen? Are you still condo-hunting?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tiffany,

      Sounds like you’re going to have a delicious weekend. I love family parties … especially the ones packed with good food! Oh, and what’s Morton’s?

      This weekend my parents are coming over for brunch. Also on my agenda: cheesy movies, a couple good workouts and some veg time. I’ve been feeling run down lately and need to just do nothing.

      On the condo front: we signed paperwork last week. All I can do now is cross my fingers.

  6. Hmm, I still wish my local Sephora carried this brand, but good news is they said they will be getting it around the holiday…yay for presents!

    My whole sleep schedule has been off…I’ve been sleeping late and waking up later…so I am super tired but I am also happy its Friday!
    .-= Kajal Couture’s last blog post… Friends & Family 30% off at Gap, Banana Republic & Old Navy =-.

  7. Tiffany says:

    I know, right? There is a lot of food in my near future 🙂
    OMG, Morton’s ( – there is one in union square) is literally the best restaurant I have ever been to! It’s really pricey, so we usually only go there for special occasions. But, they are participating in restaurant week – so you get 3 courses for $25. They have a molten chocolate cake that is heaven on a plate.
    Sounds like you have a lovely weekend planned! The past few weekends I spent a ton of time vegging and doing nothing 🙂
    Good luck with the condo! I know the process is really stressful but it will be great when it’s all over!

  8. Allilanta says:

    So sad to see it flaked all over the place! It added soooo much volume to your lashes I had to do a double take! LOL, good to know though, thanks for the review!

  9. Glosslizard says:

    Yeah, those New Yorkers have all the fun, I really wanted in on the big Utada event they had! As for the mascara, life’s really too short to settle for mediocre mascara, especially when there are so many fantastic lash options available at so many price points!

    How bout we stage our own party with as many Bay Area MBB readers as can flock to the Powell street store when Illamsqua debuts here? It’d be fun! 😀

  10. shontay says:

    Hi, karen. I find that with most brands I’m interested in, the mascara is the least interesting. It seems to be so hard to get it right. I am curious about the new nars mascara on sephora. I want the lengthening one because I sure have enough volume with my freakish double row of lashes.

    By the way, I didn’t make it to sephora in nyc today because A. rain and B. my lazy butt overslept. I think a local sephora will carry illamasqua, though. That store is too “high end” not to so I will be making a haul in time.

  11. Mia says:

    The mascara did nothing for me as well. Not even nice lashes 😉 By the end of the day is was all over my face. Well, at least we tried 😉

  12. gio says:

    The mascara looks good on you, it’s a shame it flakes so much!
    .-= gio’s last blog post… Product Review: Lacoste Touch Of Pink Fragrance =-.

  13. not my kind of mscara then. if it’s flaky, it’ll end up making me tear the whole day like a muthatrucka. i have sensitive eyes + hard contacts, so eek! pain!

    TGIF karen.

    i spent my morning cleaning out my beauty & skincare stash and streamlining my loot. gonna write an article about what i tossed and why… and maybe a makeup organization post?

    tell tabs hi, from cha cha!
    .-= ines, felix and kitten (the office kitties)’s last blog post… Random Musings – Cleaning Out My Stash =-.

  14. Good review as always.I still am partial to drugstore mascara even though I love Illamasqua!
    .-= Michelle (Lipstick Rules)’s last blog post… RANT: Why do we say "Haul" ???! =-.

  15. penelope says:

    mmm rice krispies

  16. Stephie says:

    So there is a bad apple after all? I wish I was there at Sephora to go swatch crazy w/ all the Illamasqua products. I’m gonna be placing an order for some things tonight 😛 Have you tried the liquid metals Karen? Especially Solstice. It’s the most amazing gold cream I’ve EVER seen. <3 I’m make up lusting for it indeed.

  17. Melessa says:

    lol i just wrote a long post in “Illamasqua Swatch O’Rama” on how i like when you show pictures of the mascara on your lashes. and right afterwards i find this page that clearly shows you still do that lol my timing. though i do have a question in that post im still curious about

  18. Marisol says:

    Too bad about the flakiness. I won’t be trying it out.

    Cold grapes sound so good right now!
    .-= Marisol’s last blog post… Daily Affirmation =-.

  19. Rachel says:

    Yuck.. flaky!

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