Tried and Tested – Volumising Mascaras

I’m falling in love again with mascara.

For many years I’ve been a one mascara kind a gal. That one being Lancôme’s Hypnose, which I still love, but after playing the field and discovering the wonderful Falsifeye by 17 I realised that mascaras had moved on, and without me! With new ones hitting the market all the time it’s difficult to keep up, but in an attempt to update my knowledge, I’ve road tested some of the new kids on the block. They all have one thing in common – they promise the World, they don’t all deliver.

No7 Lash Adapt £12.50 7ml

I had high hopes for this mascara, especially since Boots rolled it out with a huge marketing campaign and tied its release with the £5 off voucher. The second most expensive mascara on the list, it certainly wasn’t anywhere near the best. This one markets itself as offering buildable volume. The first thing I noticed was that it didn’t coat the lashes generously enough, I had to keep dipping the wand back in for more. It took around 3 for 4 coatings to achieve what I’d call volume, but by this point the lashes were starting to look spidery, feathery and a tad clumpy, see the pic. It did have separating and lengthening qualities, but it didn’t have the WOW factor. I’d say this one is a good everyday mascara, one to two coats gives a natural flutter, more and it looks clumpy. It did last well with no smudging.

Good for: Seperating and fanning the lashes

Bad for: Quick application

Score: 6/10

Revlon Custom Eyes Mascara £9.99 5ml

Whilst it doesn’t market itself as a volumising marcara, it does promise drama. The first point to note is that this mascara has two settings 1. Length and Drama, 2. Length and Definition. You twist the wand handle to change between the two, but in reality I’m struggling to notice what difference it makes. The second point is it had a RUBBER wand, a wobbly rubber wand at that, which I’m not a fan of. Despite this, the mascara was fairly easy to use, you get used to the flexi brush and it was good for getting right down to the root. The mascara separates and fans out the lashes. It added length, layers well, but definitely no drama here.

Good for: Length

Bad for: Fiddly rubber wand

Score: 6.5/10

Revlon Grow Luscious Plumping Mascara £9.99 10ml

What sets this one aside from other mascara is it’s size! The tube is large, the wand is large and the brush is HUGE.  It seems unnecessarily so, it’s certainly longer than the eyes width and I imagined it would end up all over the place. But it was easy to use and not too cumbersome. The formula I liked – no clumping or smudging and lasted all day. It coats the lashes quickly and generously, but not excessively. Again I found it created more length than volume. It was buildable but certainly didn’t have the WOW factor. My main criticism was that some how, it made me look like a had less lashes. I guess the bulkiness of the brush means it doesn’t separate or fan the lashes. It was also difficult to wash off, I needed to use eye make up remover as well as my usual face wash.

Good for: Quick application

Bad for: Washing off

Score: 6.5/10

 Maybelline Volume Express Cat Eyes Mascara £7.99 10ml

Cat eyes by name, cat eyes by nature. This one did live up to the hype. Like a moth to a flame I was drawn to this one by its appearance – bright yellow fat tube with a band of leopard print, you can’t miss it! Now the brush takes some getting used to, it’s very small, curved and quite fiddly. I didn’t feel like I had great control, but it is good for getting down to the root of the lash and inside the inner corners. The formula I like, it immediately and generously coats the lashes and is very buildable. It separated the lashes, fanning them across the upper lid for that wide-eyed/cat eye look. It lengthened and curved the lashes with no smudging and no clumping!

Good for: Separating and curving the lashes

Bad for: Fiddly brush

Score: 7/10

17 FALSIFEYE Mascara £6.49 9ml

Everything about this mascara is BIG –the name, the chunky, bright pink tube, the results and unfortunately the wand. That’s my only criticism the wand is quite fat and cumbersome and I found it difficult to get in to the inner corners of the eye. BUT it’s that same fat wand that makes this mascara quick and easy to use. A quick coating really does add heaps of volume and creates that wide eye look. Add two or three coats to create a dramatic false lash effect. No clumping, no smudging and washes off with my regular face wash. Whats’s more amazing about this mascara is it’s price! It was my favourite mascara, for about a week until Lancôme released Doll Eyes, but remains a firm favourite and is pretty safe in my beauty hall of fame.

Good for: Volume and value for money

Bad for: Clumpy brush

Score: 8/10

Lancôme Hypnôse Doll Eyes £20.50

I’m a life long fan of Lancôme mascaras, for years Hypnose has been my favourite, but I haven’t loved their every offering – Amplicils didn’t do it for me, nor did Virtuose but with Doll Eyes they’ve hit the spot, well mine at least. This mascara has the holy grail WOW-factor. If you’re looking for drama – this one has it! It coats lashes generously, gives instant volume, separates, fans and creates the illusion of having more lashes than you do. One coating is all you need, but if you’re looking for the false lash effect, a couple more coats will do it – but be warned, mine end up poking my eye brows! I especially love the brush; it’s tapered at one end making it easy to get to the small lashes in the inner corners and separate the clusters at the outer edges. The only downside I can find, is that it’s prone to some smudging beneath the lower lash line, but I did road test it in the Greek heat! It’s pretty expensive too but I’m hooked! Doll eyes is now my number one mascara and secret weapon when I need some va va voom!

Good for: Volume, Drama and speed

Bad for: Smudging

Score: 9/10




Diary of a first time False Eyelash wearer

I said I never would, but I finally succumb to the false eye lash trend. I realise I’m seriously late to the party…  a party I never thought I’d be going to!  The thing is, I always thought I had quite good lashes. They’re long, could be thicker, but with mascara usually look pretty good. BUT now that everyone’s running around with giant Jessica Rabbit esq falsies, suddenly mine are looking a little deficient. The tipping point came a few weeks ago at a wedding when I realised that, other than the vicar, I was the only female without va va voom lashes!

False lashes have improved a lot in recent years, they don’t really look that false anymore, unless you apply them Katie Price style. Friends had warned me off the strip lashes and recommended individual ones; they take a little longer to apply but tend to look more natural.

I was stunned how many eye lash options there was out there – long, short, black, brown, sparkly, CURLY… it was like a sweet shop! I settled on Eyelure’s Individual Lashes. I wasn’t looking for a semi-permanent option, but I figured, if I’m gonna do it, I might as well get a few weeks out of them. This pack has a selection of long, medium and short lashes. You can get all one size but for a first timer I decided to experiment with all 3.

Back home, a few hours before a night out, I started the application process. As well as the eyelashes, the pack contains a veil of glue, some removal lotion and the all important instructions. You’ll also need some tin foil and tweezers. In short, the instructions tell you to;

  1. Place a dollop of glue on the foil
  2. Use tweezers to remove a cluster of lashes
  3. Dip the “bulb” end in the glue
  4. Starting with the left eye, hold the fakie on to the root of your lashes, as close to the lash line (without touching it) and hold for a couple of seconds until attached.
  5. Repeat, from the outside in, until you’ve finished the eye, then move to the next one.

I found it a tricky to start with, but I am a beginner. Applying to the right eye was actually easier for me, being right handed. I actually wish I’d started with that one; I might have been a bit more confident by the time I got to the left. The instructions advise applying 7-14 eye lashes per eye, I went for around 9 per eye – you’ll see from the pics I could have added more, but I didn’t want to overdo it!  I put small ones in the inner eye, one larger to the very outer eye and medium in between. It was fiddly, one of those things that hopefully gets better with practice, but after I struggled through the left, I flew through the right.

A couple of tips, don’t apply too much glue to the foil, it dries quickly, and if you can, use old, less sharp tweezers. They get covered in glue and my Tweezerman’s are so sharp they snagged a few lashes. It took around 30 minutes to apply both eyes, with practice I reckon I could get it down to 15.

The results…

One eye (excuse the lack of make up and eye brow grooming – I’m growing them out, more about that later)

Both Eyes


I have to admit to being quite surprised by the results. They looked more natural than I expected – very feathery and quite long, BUT I wanted volume NOT length. I left them for a few hours before having a shower.  The instructions tell you to wash your face gently with cold water. I half expected to see dozens of spiders legs in the shower afterwards, but they appear to have survived the wash… that was UNTIL I dried my face. I lost a few lashes to the towel. Great, 4 weeks, more like 4 hours!

I re-applied the ones I lost and got ready as normal. I found it quite tricky to apply eye liner, I couldn’t get close enough to the lash line – partly because of the clumps of dried glue and partly because I was frightened that I’d drag them off. Mascara was pretty tricky too. I didn’t apply as much as normal, but found I really didn’t need to.

The results WITH mascara… pretty impactive!

I had spent most of the day faffing around with them, but was finally pleased with the results.

They were surprising comfortable to wear – I wasn’t aware of them at all… that was, of course, until I came home and washed my face. I really didn’t think the lashes could stand up to a post night out scrub, so I gently washed around them.

Day 4

By now I’ve lost a few and not replaced them. You can see some gaps but they look ok. I’m feeling a bit frustrated because I can’t properly clean and cleanse my eyes, but I want to leave them alone and see how long they’ll last.

Day 5

Lost a couple more! The glue is starting to show and a few have slipped down the lash shaft – still hanging on, but looking a bit messy. My frustration has got the better of me. I need them out!!!! I wash my face and use them removal lotion to get rid of the last stragglers. CAUTION, the lotion STINGS!

Finally they’re off – it’s such a relief to be able to clean my eyes properly and touch them without worrying I’ll pull out a few clumps. So, was it worth it? The first night, with mascara, the lashes looked fab! But afterwards they were too difficult to maintain and certainly don’t last as long as advertised. I’m not put off, I think I’d try them again, perhaps for a holiday or weekend away. Other than that, I think I’ll stay au naturale.