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I Tried 5 Mascaras from Popular Brands to Find the Best One

Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 by Tarte, $23

This was the first mascara I tested; I was excited to try it because I’ve always been a big fan of Tarte products. This particular mascara is a bestseller on Tarte’s website and also has 4.7/5 stars according to online customer reviews. While I liked this mascara and would use it again, I think the formula is a little too dry. When I initially applied it, the product didn’t apply very easily and was quite clumpy. Adding eye drops to the tube helped loosen up the macara, which allowed me to apply it more smoothly. Even then, however, I had to spend a while brushing out the clumps in my eyelashes. The thickness of the mascara also made my eyelashes to stick together more than I would have liked. Once it was on, however, it stayed on really well and lasted for hours without shedding or wearing off. 

Appearance: 7/10

Feel: 6/10

Durability: 10/10

Value: 6/10

Overall Score: 7.25/10

Perversion by Urban Decay, $24

Perversion, by Urban Decay, is the mascara that I use on a regular basis. I love this product because it applies so seamlessly. The formula has a soft, creamy consistency and I’ve found through personal experience that it never dries out. This mascara is also made with honey extract and marine collagen to help moisturize your lashes. It makes your lashes appear noticeably longer, thicker, and darker with just one coat, and naturally separates lashes with absolutely no clumping. After being worn for a full day, however, it does start to wear away slightly and create minor darkness under the eyes. You need to reapply if you applied it in the morning and want it to last all night. Despite this, I would still highly recommend this product. 

Appearance: 10/10

Feel: 10/10

Durability: 7/10

Value: 9/10

Overall Score: 9/10

Roller Lash by Benefit, $25

Benefit Cosmetics is best known for their brow products (I personally use their Gimme Brow gel), but I wanted to try this mascara and see if it stands up to the quality of their other products. The first thing I noticed was the unusual shape of the wand. There are long bristles on one side of the tip and short ones on the other, which allow you to control the lengthening and volumizing effect of the product. The bristles are also angled to make application easier, as well as to help lift and curl your lashes. I usually have to be quite careful when applying mascara in order to avoid smudging it on my eyelids, but the shape of this wand essentially eliminated that problem. The actual formula of the mascara is comparable to Perversion: it’s smooth, non-dry, and goes on seamlessly. I would say that the lengthening and darkening effects of this product are more subtle than some of the other mascaras because the wand picks up less product due to its shape. Still, it’s quite easy to apply more and achieve the look you desire. 

Appearance: 9/10

Feel: 10/10

Durability: 9/10

Value: 9/10

Overall Score: 9.25/10

Audacious Mascara by Nars, $26

Nars is popular and well-known for many of their skin care products, such as their tinted moisturizer and foundation, so I decided to give this mascara a chance. Sadly, it didn’t live up to my expectations. It was extremely dry (much more so than Tarte) and lacked pigment. The wand only picked up a small amount of product no matter how many times I dipped it back into the tube or how many eye drops I added. I had to apply three to four coats on each eye to get the same effect I usually get from two coats of my regular mascara. On top of that, the mascara started shedding within five minutes and left small black flecks underneath my eyes that I had to keep wiping away. As the most expensive mascara in this list, it’s definitely not worth the price. Despite the drawbacks, however, it had a very similar appearance to my regular mascara once it was fully applied. Still, I wouldn’t use it again because of the extra effort involved. 

Appearance: 3/10

Feel: 4/10

Durability: 3/10

Value: 2/10

Overall Score: 3/10

Better than Sex by Too-Faced, $25

I wanted to try out the Better than Sex mascara because I’ve read a fair bit about it online, and it seems to be very popular. The mascara is definitely decent. It’s a good product that volumizes eyelashes well and isn’t clumpy. My lashes stayed separated during application and the formula is quite smooth. However, this mascara didn’t give as much of a darkening and lengthening effect as some of the other products.

Appearance: 8/10

Feel: 9/10

Durability: 9/10

Value: 8/10

Overall Score: 8.5/10

After much deliberation, Roller Lash is the winner! I’m looking forward to using the rest of my tube and would most likely buy it again. It’s quite similar to the mascara I currently use. 

But am I switching my main mascara after doing this review? No, because I think Urban Decay’s Perversion looks the best (it does the best job of lengthening and separating lashes), and it has the greatest color payoff of all the mascaras I tried. For me, that’s more important than how long it lasts, because I can always reapply. 


Isa Skibeli

U Penn '22

Isa is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania from New York City.
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