Best Bang for Your Buck Series: Mascaras

Welcome to the ‘Best Bang for Your Buck‘ series!  Each week for the next few months, I’m going to tackle certain types of beauty products, and list the offerings from popular department store brands and their sizes vs. costs.  At a glance, you’ll be able to see which items are most cost effective in that category, and get a better idea if your money is being well spent, or if you’re being, well – a little ripped off!  Also, if you’re hedging on picking up a certain product because of the cost, this will give you an idea of the true value of the product and if it’s worth your hard earned cash.

Many of the sizes and dollar values of products are taken from online websites; please let me know if anything is listed incorrectly and I’ll be sure to fix it!  Also, for products which we don’t have here in Atlantic Canada, or for items that are more difficult to find overall, I’ll note in green where they’re located for your reference – though I tried to mostly include products relatively accessible as a whole. 

Week Five: Mascaras

Mascara has to be one of those products, like concealer and eye cream, that seems to be an eternal challenge for most women to find their holy grail product.  Even if you find one you really like, often it fails to meet every single criteria, and out we go looking for another that might fit the bill.  It’s one of the toughest-rated products out there, as shown through the small list of mascaras on Makeup Alley that rate higher than 4.0.  I’m certain that we’re all destined to continue to seek one that fits all our needs, so to make it a bit easier for you, here’s a list of 25 of some of the most popularly purchased mascaras on the market today.

*Indicates mascaras that rate a 4.0 or above on Makeup Alley with over 100 reviews.

Best Value
Urban Decay ($36.92/oz)

Worst Value
Guerlain ($227.27/oz)
*Though, to be fair, once you buy it once you can then just buy the refills, which are $28 and ring in at $127.27/oz

Most Product
Urban Decay (0.65oz)

Least Product
*TIE* Bobbi Brown & Yves Saint Laurent (0.2oz)

Best Picks ($30 and under and consumer favorites)
MAC Studio Fix Lash ($18, 4.1 rating)
Bare Escentuals Flawless Definition ($23, 4.1 rating)
Laura Mercier Full-Blown Volume ($30, 4.4 rating)
Bobbi Brown No Smudge ($27, 4.0 rating)
Estee Lauder Sumptuous ($23.50, 4.0 rating)

Worthy Splurges ($30+ and consumer favorites)
Hourglass Superficial Lash ($31, 4.0 rating)
Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill ($36, 4.2 rating)
Yves Saint Laurent Volume Effet Faux Cils ($36, 4.0 rating)

I can speak for several of these, as I’ve been trying out all of the higher rated mascaras methodically, looking for my personal HG.  Of the top rated, so far I’ve tried the Giorgio Armani, Bare Escentuals, and just recently bought the Laura Mercier (review forthcoming).  Though I really liked the GA one, something in it irritated my eyes terribly.  I’ve also checked out Benefit’s option, which I also liked quite a bit, as well as MUFE’s (meh), Clinique’s (a repeat product and personal fave), Buxom, and dabbled with Lancome’s Definicils a few times in High School (which I liked but which always dried out WAY too fast).  Wow, I’ve really gotten around eh?  And yet I never remain faithful ;)  I’m holding out for that one awesome mascara that blows my mind.  I’m fairly certain I’ll never find it, but in the meantime the search will continue because what other option do I have?

My next mascara purchase is going to be Estee Lauder’s Sumptuous, which has a huge dense brush that I typically favor.  Fingers crossed!

Which mascaras above have you tried?  What mascara in general is your #1, if you’ve found one?  Do you have any on your lemming list that you want to try?

*Don’t forget to enter my giveaway!

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  1. #1 by Liz (@Reductionista) on March 24, 2012 - 5:20 pm

    If I were paying Guerlain price for a mascara, I’d rather just get lash extensions done instead for the amount of $$$. @_@

    I’ve shelled out for the pricier ones before and liked them but they’re not perfect: Hourglass, YSL, Dior. My daily favourite are Clinique Lash Power and L’Oreal Beauty Tubes. Still looking for one with the WOW! POW! effect but everything smudges. :(

    • #2 by Latoya on March 26, 2012 - 7:00 pm

      Boo, that sucks Liz! I don’t have any issues with smudging somehow, but I still am frustrated with mascaras as a whole – just not doing it for me lately! I don’t remember having this much trouble finding a decent one in the past….but I think it was less on my radar then.

      I will be trying YSL’s one day, because it’s one of *those* that I think everyone should try, but I think I’m stalling b/c if I love it – it’s just soo much money!

  2. #3 by Emi (@projectswatch1) on March 24, 2012 - 6:09 pm

    I’m the opposite of you mascara-wise; I pretty much only buy drugstore ones – the few high end ones I have tried haven’t been worth it for me.

    • #4 by Latoya on March 26, 2012 - 7:01 pm

      Mascara is probably the one area where I don’t stick to only high-end, but for the purposes of these ‘Best Bang’ posts, that’s what I’m featuring. I’ll use whatever makes my lashes awesome, but I just haven’t seemed to stumble upon it yet! :(

  3. #5 by Barb on March 24, 2012 - 7:01 pm

    Doll Lash!!

    • #6 by Latoya on March 26, 2012 - 7:01 pm

      Lancome?? I haven’t tried it yet, I’ll have to give it a go Barb!

  4. #7 by makeupmorsels on March 25, 2012 - 12:05 am

    I’ve found my HG lengthening and volumizing mascaras but none of them are available in the US lol. My lashes are difficult. But for lengthening and keeping a curl, I think Majolica Majorca Lash Expander Frame Plus is the ultimate. And for volumizing, I love dejavu Volume Lash. Sephora sells it as d.j.v. beautenizer Volume Lash, but it’s almost 3x as expensive as it is in Asia, so I just stock up when I’m traveling in Asia hahah. And then I love Max Factor mascaras, especially the nonwaterproof version of 2000 Calorie, but they pulled out of the US awhile back.

    Hold out a little longer Toya, I’m sure your Mr. Right [mascara] is toddling right around the corner :P

    • #8 by Latoya on March 26, 2012 - 7:03 pm

      I’ve heard so much about Majolica Majorca, damn if I can’t try it one day!! I’ve never even considered the d.j.v. mascara but I’ve seen it around…I hate to pay a bunch if its way cheaper elsewhere, but I might have to give in one of these days.

      Max Factor seems to have some of the best ratings for mascara but I never had the opportunity to try them out, unfortunately (it’s also gone from Canada). Bummer!

      Even if I could just find a mascara close to what I’m looking for. I’ll keep on the hunt, you’re right – it’s bound to turn up one day :)

  5. #9 by Eugenia on March 25, 2012 - 8:00 am

    The mascara I’ve been loyal to for several tubes now, is the Armani Eyes to Kill Excess….love it for many reasons: gives volume, length, lasts all day without any clumping, smudging or flaking, and comes off completely & easily at the end of the day with my remover. When you mentioned that the Armani mascara made your eyes burn, I actually noticed a similar effect on myself with their latest, their lash-lengthening version of the ETK; I may need to try it again just to be sure it wasn’t a placebo effect! Another personal favourite is Givenchy’s Phenomen’Eyes, as the ball brush is not only totally innovative, but gets EVERY SINGLE LASH even ones you didn’t know where there! I’m still on the hunt for my dream mascara, however, and I know that there are several new formulations that are about to be released for the fall…I may hold out until that time, but your review has my curiosity piqued to try a few others now! Thanks, my friend!

    • #10 by Latoya on March 26, 2012 - 7:11 pm

      Huh, Phenomen’Eyes is good eh?? I always look at it but never heard any feedback, good to know! I’ll have to give it a look again, thanks for the recommendation Eugenia!

      I haven’t heard of new formulations pending, so that’s exciting and hopefully promising! I’ll be keeping my eyes open for those for sure :D

  6. #11 by sheerglitz on March 25, 2012 - 3:45 pm

    These charts are seriously awesome! I’ve tagged you in my latest post, http://sheerglitzwrites.com/2012/03/25/2966/

    • #12 by Latoya on March 28, 2012 - 10:16 pm

      Aww, thanks!! I’m really happy you like them!!!

      I’m going to go check out that link right now :)

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