The Mascara Championships: Part One

Well, you know what? I did not realize what I was getting myself into when I wrote that post asking you what mascara you used. I thought a few people might reply with some recommendations and then I'd look up those recommendations on my phone in Target and buy one or two on a whim and then take a couple of super close-up pictures of my eyelashes to show you how they looked, but I did not think I'd be staring at the business end of 300 comments on mascara. Nor into the hopeful faces of so many disillusioned people whose hands were thrown up in despair as they shouted "YES. I TOO HAVE BEEN DISAPPOINTED BY THIS WAND OF BLACK MAGIC. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE: DO NOT LET ME BE DISAPPOINTED AGAIN."

So I put on my white lab coat and got to work with my Important Mascara Research, which—if you must know—involved drinking a beer and writing lots of things on tiny sheets of free hotel notepaper while sitting in a Denver airport sports bar during the Superbowl. Doing Important Mascara Research, by the way, is pretty much the opposite of watching the Superbowl when it comes to things you can do in a Denver airport sports bar. If watching the Superbowl is, say, a big greasy cheeseburger, doing Important Mascara Research is an organic vegan yogurt parfait with blueberries grown on your grandmother's farm. Blueberries she nurtured with a little Bach on the gramophone at sunrise.

So yes, I spent a few hours in a Denver airport sports bar, jotting down every single mascara you guys had recommended in the comments and tallying them up to arrive at the most popular. The waitress at that sports bar, by the way, was very concerned that I was working—well, "working," but she didn't know that—during the Superbowl. "That looks very important," she said several times as she criscrossed past our table, pint glasses in hand. Oh, it was important, lady. It was. Unless you happen not to care about a little thing called—oh, I don't know—SPIDERY EYELASHES. Yeah, that's what I thought. 

Welcome to my laboratory. It's called the Boulder Beer Tap House. The knives are made of plastic in case you accidentally take one onto the plane.

So since this has the potential to be a monster post, I thought I'd break it up into two parts. In this one, I'm going to show you all the data I collected from the aforementioned 300 comments on mascara, and in the second one—which I shall aim to have up by Friday—I'll show you the results of the mascaras I tested. If that sounds like a plan, blink twice. Wait, don't: whatever mascara you're using right now will get all smudgy. 

First of all, let's look at the three most popular mascaras—by which I mean the three that were recommended, by you, again and again and again. 


Kind of interesting, huh? Benefit's They're Real! nabbed the first spot with 19 votes—Sean would like me to point out that he coded these graphs so that you can mouse over them and see the tallies; boy, I sincerely hope that he is going to put Important Mascara Research on his Linked In profile too—while L'Oreal's Voluminous came in a close second with 18. Shimmying into third place with a cool 17 votes is Cover Girl's LashBlast Volume Blasting Mascara (the original one, in the orange tube), which I can only assume was featured in an episode of America's Next Top Model at some point, because I cannot read its name without doing so in the voice of Tyra Banks. 

So those were the three mascaras recommended most frequently in the comments, and those are the three I've been trying all week and will be reporting back on this Friday. But because I am nothing if not completely and totally dedicated to the complex scientific practice of Important Mascara Research, I thought you might be interested in seeing the runners up too.  These eleven mascaras below all received six or more votes—a number I chose fairly arbitrarily but which seems fairly significant nevertheless—and so I thought they deserved an honorable mention. (You can mouse over these guys to see the exact tallies too.)


Overall, I was pretty surprised at the range and breadth of suggestions—there were a whopping 107 mascaras recommended altogether!—and by how close the final three were in votes. And while a few of you did suggest rare Tongan brands made from crushed rose petals that would have take sixteen weeks to get here by carrier pigeon—okay, I'm exaggerating a little bit—the majority of the recommendations seemed like things anyone in the US, Canada, Europe, or Australia could get in a drugstore, department store, or Sephora. (I mean, I think. It's been a while since I've bought mascara internationally, glamorous though that sounds.) Just for kicks, I thought you might be interested in seeing the top five most popular brands. 


So that's that! Are you surprised by the results? Pleased by them? Looking forward to seven thousand close-ups of my spindly eyelashes when I reveal the test results of the top three on Friday? I know eye am. EYE. GET IT? See what I did there? Oh alright then, that was terrible. Trust me, it's the lash pun I'll ever make.

Dana @ Bungalow'56
Feb 14, 2012

I for one can't wait to go out and buy me some thick sexy lashes. We're counting on you.

Feb 15, 2012

I tried to vote for the Clinique Lash Doubling-it rocks my eye lash world- but I got flagged as a spammer. Imagine that! I wonder how many other comments got dumped...

Feb 15, 2012

PS I just read from "she blogs she blogs" today that Walgreens has a "try it and return it, no questions asked policy" for makeup. She tried 20 lipsticks and it seems like she kept one. Anyhow- it seemed pertinent and possibly helpful in the quest for the best mascara!

Feb 15, 2012

Hmm, is it just my computer? I can't see any links at all..

I know we can count on a thorough investigation :) Sad my MAC mascara didn't get much of a showing, but perhaps the fewer people who know about it, the less it will increase in price! :)

Feb 15, 2012

Brilliant - and so scientific EYE can't wait to see Friday's post!

Feb 15, 2012

I am so pleased by the results because none of them are very expensive, meaning that when you let us know which mascara will give me long, thick, gorgeous eye lashes without smudgy gunk, I'll be able to buy it!

Feb 15, 2012

I'm impressed by your scientific approach! So let's see which mascara is best after all... and maybe I will buy a new mascara after not having used one in months! I usually only use it on special occasions like New Year's Eve, Christmas and birthday parties... maybe it's time to rock those lashes!! Thanks for your thorough research :) haha

Feb 15, 2012

I'm just soooooo.... relieved that 2 of the top 3 are
available here (and are affordable!)

Feb 15, 2012

Is it too late to vote for The Falsies?! ;)

Anna Louisa
Feb 15, 2012

Ha...I love this! Can't wait to see your results...I use Cover Girl LashBlast Fusion now, but could be persuaded to change :)

Feb 15, 2012

This is completely amazing. SO MUCH DATA. Did you know I love data? Did you create spreadsheets to imput each mascara-recommending comment? What total percentage OF the comments was mascara-recommending, versus comments that were simply begging for the results or commiserating with the disappointment? Have we ALL cycled our menstrual cycles yet? Is there a spreadsheet going for that yet?

Nothing But Bonfires
Feb 15, 2012

Becca: Rest assured, no comments got "dumped." I have a fairly overzealous spam filter that flags stuff if it's a little too long or contains too many links, but I go in every day and check it. Every comment that ends up there -- that isn't blatantly trying to sell me Viagra, obviously -- gets made public. Nothing is lost.

Feb 15, 2012

I'm having the same problem as Starla. I can't see links or charts or whatever, and there's a line of text stuck between two other lines of text early on..."Kind of interesting, huh? Benefit's They're Real! nabbed" is the text wandering loose.

Feb 15, 2012

CVS also has that same return policy. I have returned several things with no questions asked. I figure if enough people return something the manufacturer will hear about it.

Debbie W
Feb 15, 2012

This is awesome!

1. Because I voted for L'Oreal Voluminous

2. Because I said I needed to try Benefits They're Real!

3. And your writing makes me laugh!

Can't wait to hear your results.

Feb 15, 2012

Pardon me. Stupid work computer running Internet Explorer.
When I checked back again using Firefox, I could see the charts etc.

Fascinating stuff. You went to a lot of trouble!

Good to see Dior Show was well represented, I voted for that.

Ami, try using something other than IE, which I am sure Sean loathes & curses at!

Feb 15, 2012

I've never even heard of Benefit! Clearly, my eyelashes are lacking in basic knowledge! Googling now.


Johanne Stenstrup
Feb 15, 2012


Lovely post
What sort of software did you use to create the charts?

Feb 15, 2012

What, no one mentioned Blinc, the Best Mascara I've Ever Used Ever (I totally just discovered it last week, or I'd have weighed in):

Feb 15, 2012

I'm surprised that the top three are so affordable! So many people I know swear by expensive mascara, so it's nice to see those up there. Thanks for doing all this amazing research (and the very fancy graph coding by Sean)!

Go Loreal! - that's my fav!

One Third Acre Woods
Feb 15, 2012

I am so very impressed with your variety of charts. Nice work. I was just thinking about this experiment which is kind of wierd since I do not use mascara. I rub my eyes too many times and don't like looking like a raccoon.

Renee from GA
Feb 15, 2012

Having the same display probs as Ami and Starla - using IE 8 there are no charts, and some lines of text run together. I'll try reviewing this Important Mascara Research from home using Chrome. (poet and didn't knowit!)

Feb 15, 2012

Very impressive! I love L'Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black and Maybelline Full 'N Soft. But, the other day at Target, I purchased for $3.99 the most surprisingly pleasing mascara yet, for me anyways. It's this: NYC Showtime Mascara

The brush actually separated my sorry lashes and plumped them up. The end result impressed me (and it's been a looong time since that happened, even with L'Oreal and Maybelline faves!)

I used to have full and enviable lashes. This mascara surprised the heck out of me! Do give it a try!

Feb 15, 2012

I got a sample size of Bare Escentuals mascara, and absolutely love it! I have always been a CoverGirl lash blast fan, but I think I might be switching!

Feb 15, 2012

Who knew mascara was such a hot topic?

Feb 15, 2012

you are making me wish i wear mascara. but the last time i tried to wear it, i poked my eyeballs with the brush. so i figured it was a sign from above that i should be satisfied with my non-existant eye lashes.

Feb 15, 2012

I'm interested to see which one you like best, because it has been years since I bought mascara, and I wouldn't even know where to start.

Feb 15, 2012

Haha- I'm loving the ANTM call-out. I remember that episode well, when they were all tongue tied. I too, read that in Tyra's voice.

I love Almay One Coat Thickening Mascara...but definitely going to have to try some new kinds after seeing this list!

Feb 15, 2012

Haha- I'm loving the ANTM call-out. I remember that episode well, when they were all tongue tied. I too, read that in Tyra's voice.

I love Almay One Coat Thickening Mascara...but definitely going to have to try some new kinds after seeing this list!

Feb 15, 2012

And here I thought paint color names were fun. Inimitable? Bad Gal? Awesome!

Feb 15, 2012

Two of the top three have those horrible rubbery brush bristles! I hate those brushes with the firey passion of 1,000 suns. Maybe I'm not using them right? My eyelashes end up looking like I took a saturated paintbrush to them, all gloopy and NOT separated.

I actually went out and bought Benefit They're Real when I saw the results coming back in the comments, despite my aversion to that kind of brush...returned it! HATED IT.

Feb 15, 2012

Well Mascara's a tricky subject! I am typically a Maybeline fan but will definitely check out Benefit! Thank you for your scientific breakdown!!

Feb 15, 2012

I didn't vote (I use the green and pink one, SORRY!) but I am verrrry interested in this and I will probably be purchasing whatever wins. Because, even though I use the green and pink one, I am not HAPPY with it. It's just always there, easy to buy, and fulfills my very low expectations.

Feb 15, 2012

I didn't see the original post, but I'd vote for The Falsies as well. I have been on a quest for the perfect mascara since high school since it is really the only makeup I use. When my sister told me I could do a Lastisse commercial while I was wearing The Falsies, I decided my quest was over!

Feb 15, 2012

I can't remember where I saw/heard the following, but it has always made me take heart when I try a mascara that EVERYONE seems to love, only to hate it with the fiery passion of 1000 suns as someone above so eloquently put it.
Apparently, like hair, we all have different thicknesses, lengths, and curl/straightness to our eyelashes. So depending on if you have "wimpy" or "beefy" eyelashes, you will love/hate different mascaras. Some formulas are waxy and heavy, others are liquidy and light, it just depends on your eyelashes which ones will look good/feel good. So maybe the eternal search for THE perfect mascara is futile?? But the post, with all it's colorful graphs and delightful writing, is ah-mazing. Search on, my friend!

Feb 16, 2012

I'm eager for the results as well. I used to be a big fan of Lancome, but their current ones are disappointing and SO not worth the price. And I also used to love L'Oreal's Voluminous, but have been disappointed in it lately. I don't know why companies change successful formulas. Hmm. Maybe it's just my eyelashes. Anyway, can't wait to see the results!

Feb 17, 2012

I am very excited to see what you think! I've been loyal to Clinique mascaras always, but recently bought Maybeline's Illegal Length (I think that's it, something about illegal) and hate it. Thanks to Sean for the lovely graphs and charts!

Mar 07, 2012

Oh, I just found this and am SO excited! I am in search for the perfect mascara and it is ridiculously hard to find. I just bought Dior DiorShow Iconic mascara, and so far it's my best yet. Thank you for your contributions to science and beauty!

Mar 22, 2012

Why do I bother calling up poeple when I can just read this!

Dec 19, 2012

Мужчине следует остерегаться женщины, когда она любит: ибо тогда она готова на любую жертву, и все остальное не имеет никакой ценности в глазах ее.

Dec 20, 2012

Напротив, мужчина глубок, в подземных пещерах бушует бурный поток его: женщина лишь смутно чувствует, но не постигает силу его.

Jan 24, 2013

Побольше бы информации по данной темке, интересно ж однако ознакомиться

Apr 18, 2017


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