Ok, so I will start this out by telling you, I was not blessed with naturally long, luxurious lashes to frame these peepers. So I’ve literally spent the better part of my adulthood trying to enhance extend volumize lengthen and strengthen what lashes I have. And I’m exhausted! That said, I have finally arrived at a treatment combo that works for me, and have decided to share this wealth of information with you my pretties! So if you’re lash-limited (the politically correct term for our condition ;), don’t be discouraged and read on…
The first step in having breeze-starting lashes once the mascara is on is applying primer first. Primer gives something for mascara to stick to and build on with each coat. The added benefit of lash primer is that it protects and conditions your lashes from drying out which will ultimately help them grow, just as conditioner does for the hair on your head.
My favorite primer in the drug store variety is by L’Oreal, the Double Extend Lash Boosting mascara that has both a primer and mascara in one double-ended product. The primer goes on smoothly in one coat and I found that it did a decent job of adding volume and length to my lashes when I apply the black coat.
If you’re able to spend on the department store level, my absolute favorite of all is by Tarte. It is the step #2 in a 3-step product series they’ve released that is designed to max out your lash potential. I don’t apply mascara without it. The way it beats all drug store brands in my opinion is that it doesn’t clump my lashes together and it doesn’t harden or get stiff. I’ve tried several brands from the drug store to the department store with varying degrees of success and outlined my two faves for you but the bottom line about lash primer is this: you need one.
Let’s talk drug store brands.
I will begin with the time-tested Maybelline Great Lash, a fave among makeup artists and beauty bloggers everywhere. I was a loyalist to this mascara for a number of years but always felt that it just didn’t give me enough volume. So I continued the search.
After years of going back and forth between drugstore and department store brands I can say that the drugstores left me overall unfulfilled for a long time. Until, that is, the debut of Covergirl’s Lash Blast series. This rocked. In both the lengthening and volumizing forumulas these babies deliver mucho bang for your buck and address most any lash-challenged girl’s issues. I love that this brush with it’s plastic-like bristles allows for awesome separation of lashes and the formula just doesn’t clump even after multiple coats. The only real downside? Not black enough. I like my lashes to be the blackest of black.
I’ll note that my sister had a really great experience with L’Oreal Telescopic, which features a tiny circular brush with plastic bristles similar to that of Lash Blast with a formula that doesn’t clump. The formula is a little bit darker than Blast but I found the brush to be so small that it makes application somewhat tedious.
On to the department store brands.
My go-to favorite for about a year was Phenomenize by Givenchy because of its medium sized (less tedious application) circular brush and super dark formula that dried soft (no flaking here!) and doesn’t clump. This separates and lengthens your lashes pretty well too. The only thing missing was volume. I was in love with this until I was convinced by a MAC makeup artist to try False Lashes Mascara in Extreme Black by MAC. I couldn’t believe how much length this formula added to my lashes! The mousse-like formula makes it build upon itself very easily so you add a noticeable amount of length with each coat. And it dries to a soft finish so no flaking. The downside? The brush, which has a large number of bristles in my opinion adds volume but doesn’t separate lashes as well as a plastic brush. But that said, once I had this my Phenomize started collecting dust!
I got a sample of Bare Escentuals Buxom Mascara from Sephora with a purchase and was interested because it had a plastic brush like Lash Blast and Phenomenize but with even tinier bristles and a blacker formula. So I thought maybe this would be better than MAC Exreme Black. I loved how well it separated each of my lashes to give me big volume and even some length. But not quite as much as the Extreme Black did.
And then came MAC Zoom Fast Black Lash Mascara —the blackest mascara I’ve ever worn. Apparently the formula contains a black carbon pigment, which makes it super black and adds noticeable length from the first coat. And in one coat I was an addict.
But then came the second coat. I noticed the brush lumped many of my hairs together (as if I had any to sacrifice!) and the formula clumped without hesitation. After two full coats I was starting to look like Tammy Faye Baker. Yikes!
So many options but not one Holy Grail… So what’s a lash-limted girl to do?
At this point in my journey I’ve decided the best option is getting the best of all worlds from the different mascaras. After primer I apply one or 1.5 coats of MAC Zoom and follow this with a final coat of Buxom to separate whatever the Zoom clumps together. This second step also works pretty well with Lash Blast for those of you who don’t wanna spend big bucks on both. For me this is a fail proof combo that provides length, volume, separation, super black color and no clumping.
Well what about the enhancers, you ask?
Well what about the enhancers, you ask?
Enhancers are supposed to help you actually grow more lashes sort of like the Latisse prescription medication. But without the prescription and for less money. I’ve recently started using one and my sister started around the same time with another. Since results take 4-6 weeks to be noticeable, we will withhold final opinions for now. Until then, stay pretty!!!!