Mascara Chronicles: I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

Top to bottom: Deluxe samples of Buxom Full and Fabulous Mascara, Too Faced Better than Sex Mascara, Dior Diorshow Mascara, and Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara.

Like many beauty addicts enthusiasts who have come before me, I trudge bravely on in a never-ending quest for the PERFECT black mascara that makes my lashes look awesome. A month or so ago I was working a combo of Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara (for volume and separation) combined with Clinique Lash Power Mascara (for length and lasting power) that was pretty great…but I can't help but there more out there?

Today, I thought I'd give you a quick run-down of some of the other mascaras I've tried recently that have not passed the Eyeshadow Addict fabulousness test. At least they get me closer to The One, right?

1) Buxom Full and Fabulous Mascara

This mascara was completely underwhelming. The wand was kind of cool—there were little balls at the end of each bristle that, in theory, helped with separating my lashes. But there was really nothing full or fabulous about my lashes with this mascara. They were…acceptable. That's all.

2) Too Faced Better than Sex Mascara

I wanted to love this mascara. It made my lashes look pretty awesome—black, thick and long. Almost better than….never mind. But it flaked. A lot. There's nothing sexy about swiping little black flecks off your face all day. Never mind the number that said swiping can do on the rest of your makeup. So disappointing.

3) Diorshow Mascara by Dior

This mascara, with the biggest, most club-like brush I've ever seen, was so, so blah. It didn't live up to the volume hype at all. Did I get an old, dried-out sample, maybe?

4) Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara

This mascara was probably the best of this bunch. There are nice, tightly-packed bristles that deposit a decent amount of volume and an okay amount of length onto my lashes. It also holds up all day. But isn't there a longwearing mascara out there that will give me VA VOOM lashes? 

I guess I'll keep looking! And maybe go back to the Smokey Eye/Lash Power combo. It held promise. Potential. Hope.

What are your favourite mascaras for big, bold lashes? I want it all: Volume, length, separation, and great wear time. I prefer not to wear waterproof formulas. Help me out, fellow beauty lovers!

Disclosure: One of these was provided for my consideration. The others were either purchased by Eyeshadow Addict or earned with Beaty Insider Points. This post contains affiliate links. 

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My Favourite Things, vol. 3

My Favourite Things, volume 3 (clockwise from top): Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in Elixir, MAC Studio Finish Concealer (NW20), MAC Extended Play Gigablack Lash Mascara, Sonia Kashuk Flat-Top Multipurpose Brush, and Arbonne Makeup Primer.

In honour of the new school year, I've decided to treat you to the third instalment of the "My Favourite Things" series. Perhaps, if you're starting a new chapter like I am (I started grad school this week—crazy!), you'll be inspired to add a few of these tried-and-true products to your stash. 


1) Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in Elixir

Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in Elixir.

Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in Elixir was an unexpected favourite for me. I don't usually go for anything with even a hint of orange in it. But a sales associate put this on while I was waiting for a complimentary makeover (whoop!), and I fell in love. Unfortunately, the $27 price tag made me hesitate, so I hunted for dupes—but to no avail. Within weeks, I decided I had to have Elixir—and I don't regret it. It's a beautiful, subdued, but vibrant coral-pink that I think is perfect for fall. It's opaque and streak-free in two coats. Lasting time is about average for me—up to a few days without chipping (I'm hard on manicures). 


2) MAC Studio Finish Concealer

MAC Studio Finish Concealer in NW20.

This product ($22) is a classic—and for good reason. I've been using it for 15 years—that's right, 15 years. Back when acne was a serious problem for me, it was the only product that covered everything and kept it covered all day long. Today, acne is much less of a problem—but there's nothing that covers as well, as long, or as beautifully as this. I use NW20 under my eyes. Some might think it's a bit much—but not if you apply it properly. I smooth a small amount on with my fingers and buff it in with a fluffy concealer brush. On blemishes, I use NC15. It's amazing.


3) MAC Extended Play Gigablack Lash Mascara

MAC Extended Play Gigablack Lash Mascara.

If you have a problem with mascaras smudging or flaking, but you don't want to deal with waterproof mascara, MAC Extended Play Gigablack Lash is your solution! It stays put all day long, the tiny brush grabs every single lash, it's nice and black, it lengthens like nobody's business, and it's easy to remove—it comes off with warm water. It's also only $19.

Bonus trick from a MAC artist: I apply a coat of this over other mascaras that don't wear as well, like Clinique High Impact, and it dramatically improves the wear time! Love, love, love.


4) Sonia Kashuk Flat-Top Multipurpose Brush

Sonia Kashuk Flat-Top Multipurpose Brush

This Sonia Kashuk beauty, available at Target for $20 or so, proves that you don't need to buy MAC brushes to get quality! The synthetic bristles are soft, dense, and firm, the design is beautiful, and the curved handle is comfortable to hold. I stipple my foundation on with a Real Techniques stippling brush, do a little blending, and buff everything in with this for an air-brushed, flawless finish. Perfection.


5) Arbonne Makeup Primer

Arbonne Makeup Primer.

This primer might be tough to find—you'll need to purchase it from an Arbonne consultant at a party or online. It's a bit steep at $55 including taxes and shipping, but so worth it. It's like the Smashbox primer, but better. It's silicone-based, but unlike some other silicone primers, it doesn't make my makeup slide around. It leaves my makeup looking fresh all day, PLUS it makes the enormous pores on my nose look smaller. Sold!

Have you tried any of these? What did you think? Let me know in the comments! I'd also love to hear about your favourites—leave me a link, and I promise to visit! 

Disclosure:  These products were purchased by Eyeshadow Addict. 

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MAC Opulash Mascara: Review and Photos

MAC Opulash Mascara in Bad, Bad Black.

I like my lashes big, bold, and black. Based on the reviews I read of this mascara, I thought this would be the ticket. (I was so confident I would love it that I bought it at a store without a return policy. Grrr.) 

Alas, this is another MAC mascara miss for me. It's not bad—it's just okay. 

MAC's website describes Opulash in Bad, Bad Black as "a more saturated, intense black." It's also supposed to deliver extra volume and curl. How does it fare?

The good: 

  • The colour is a nice black (no grey), though I don't notice anything extra-black about it.
  • It delivers an acceptable amount of volume.
  • It does an okay job of holding curl. Some formulas straighten the curl from my Shiseido eyelash curler—so I although it doesn't curl my lashes per se, it keeps my lashes lifted throughout the day. 
  • Wear time is great. It doesn't budge—no flaking, no smudging. I really wish these features were standard with all mascaras, as they really should be, but alas, they're not. 
  • Removal is easy. Like MAC Extended Play, Opulash comes off entirely with warm water. You spend less money on remover, you're easier on your lashes, and you don't have to wipe off raccoon eyes after washing your face! (I'm looking at you, Benefit They're Real!)

The not-so-good:

  • Honestly, while it's not a terrible mascara, it just doesn't live up to its claims. The description seems to promise drama, drama, drama. But I don't see it.
  • It sets quickly, and is prone to looking goopy if you try to build it after it's dry. A volumizing mascara that doesn't layer well? No thanks.
  • It makes my lashes crispy. Not a fan.
  • The baseball-bat-like brush. Honestly, even if I really lked this mascara, the brush might keep me from re-purchasing. It's giant and un-wieldy, and no matter what I do, I seem to end up with mascara smeared on my lids. You should know I'm not new at mascara—after nearly two decades of wearing it, I think I'm pretty good at it! But this mascara makes me feel like a total noob. I've taken to applying my mascara first, cleaning up the mess with a cotton swab, and then doing eyeshadow and liner. Lame. 

Ready for a look? 

MAC Opulash Mascara in Bad, Bad Black.

The brush. If you're a fan of DiorShow, maybe you'll love this—it's half the price! But it's not for me. 

MAC Opulash Mascara in Bad, Bad Black, swatched on my hand. As you can see, it's certainly black—but I don't see anything extra-black about it. 

Bare lashes, pre-mascara. 

Approximately two coats of MAC Opulash Mascara in Bad, Bad Black. Not bad. But, in my opinion, not awesome. 

The verdict? Meh. (Some days I dislike it a little more passionately—remember the mascara rundown in my recent Wish List post?) I'm waiting for it to run out so I can Back 2 Mac it. 

Would I repurchase? Nah. My search for the perfect black mascara shall continue. 

Rating: Three stars out of five.

Available: You can find it at and anywhere else MAC Cosmetics are sold for $19 Canadian. Note that you get 11 grams of product.

What do you think of MAC Opulash? Love? Hate? Intrigued? Let me know in the comments!

Disclosure: This product was purchased by Eyeshadow Addict. 


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