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Product Review – Drugstore Mascara

Posted by Karen on March 6, 2007

I know some people who will only use a certain brand for all of their makeup products, but I like to use a mix of high-end and drugstore makeup. I’m really picky about what products I spend my money on, so while I’m willing to pay more for products like powders, concealers and brushes, I’ll spend less on things like blushes, cleansers and lipliner. Ultimately whatever products are worth my hard-earned cash do the same three things: perform well for the price, complement my coloring and don’t break me out.

One makeup staple that I usually don’t spend a lot of money on is mascara. The shelf life of a tube of mascara after it’s opened is three months, so if you’re good about replacing it every three months, that’s four tubes a year at the minimum. And if you buy your mascara from Sephora or from the makeup counter chances are you’re spending from $20-40 a pop – that’s $80 worth of mascara every year, ya’ll!

Besides its short life span, another reason I don’t spend lots of money on mascara is that even though I’ve tried several high-end mascaras by Dior, MAC, Bourjois, Lancome and Clinique (just to name a few), I’ve still yet to find one that I think is worth paying a lot of money for because drugstore mascaras work just as well. (Sidenote: This weekend I’m going to pick up a tube of Benefit’s Bad Gal lash in blue, so we’ll see if that statement changes.)

The closest I’ve ever come to high-end mascara nirvana is Diorshow, but it’s $23 and I think Max Factor’s 2000 Calorie mascara works just as well (if better) for only $6.00.

In fact, my two current favorite drugstore mascaras are all by Max Factor: 2000 Calorie and Stretch & Separate. Each provides a different look and great performance for the price. Color selection is somewhat limited, so if you like crazy colors then they might not be your cup o’tea.
Product: Max Factor 2000 Calorie Mascara Straight Brush in Rich Black
Use: Volume
Price: about $6.00
Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: A+

This mascara is my everyday, go-to mascara, and it SERIOUSLY. ROCKS. MY. WORLD. It thickens the lashes without clumping, and two coats make a dramatic difference without looking spidery. This performs similar to Diorshow, except that it’s even better than Diorshow because it doesn’t smudge. It comes in four colors: Rich Black, Soft Black, Black Brown and Deep Auburn. ROCKS!

Product: Max Factor Stretch & Separate Mascara in Deep Blue and in Rich Black
Use: Length
Price: about $6.00
Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: Deep Blue – B+, Rich Black – A-

The marketing people weren’t messing around when they named this mascara; it indeed lengthens and separates very well, and does so without clumping or smudging. Whenever I wear this mascara I feel like a 40s film star because it makes my lashes super long. This would get an A but the blue isn’t really that blue. It shows up as black on me. Also, my lashes aren’t super thick, and this formula doesn’t provide enough volume. If you have really thick lashes then you might really love this. Comes in: Rich Black, Deep Blue, Soft Black and Black Brown.


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