The High-End Mascara Disappointments

5.18.2015




It all started with the last year's mascara sale from Nordstrom. The sale itself is fantastic since you get three high-end mascaras for the price of two. I believe it is an annual thing, so you might want to look for this year's sale if you typically shop higher-end mascaras.
The thing is, all three I picked up turned out to be pretty much duds for me. I had high hopes for them since all the reviews I checked out were great and a few of them were even recommended by fellow bloggers. Maybe my expectations were too great? I still don't know what went wrong.


It took about one year for me to use them up. I admit it was a frustrating experience not to mention that I mentally tortured myself thinking about at least two couture lipsticks I could have bought instead of the three useless mascaras, but I still made sure to discard them in 3 months after opening. It is a matter of principle, you know.


Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill Waterproof Mascara was the biggest loser of all, and my rage was well documented here and backed by Lily's review here. I do not recommend this mascara at all unless you have cash to burn and feel strongly attracted to brushed metal tubes. (Oh, I also made sure to recycle the tube because aluminum.)



Dior Diorshow Iconic Waterproof Mascara seems to do some of what it promises - naturally defined long lashes, but the "curling" claim is totally false. The formula is too wet and it uncurls my curled lashes almost instantaneously. I had never experienced any waterproof mascara that uncurled my lashes. My initial reaction was like, "what kind of fuckery is this??!". The whole purpose of me using waterproof mascaras is to keep the curls intact. Also, the wand is lacking flexibility, which makes this mascara nothing more than a shiny silver (color coated plastic) tube. 



I actually liked Lancôme Hypnôse Star Waterproof Mascara. It is a solid B+ if you ask me. The smaller triangular shaped brush worked very well for me building volume and length quickly. Unfortunately, I happen to know a much more affordable alternative, L'Oreal Voluminous Manga Waterproof Mascara. The brush shape and the formula (which quickly dries up to produce mascara crumbs later on) are all too similar. They both are nice volume-building mascaras, but you know that I'd go for the Manga (and I did).

Lancôme Hypnôse Star Waterproof Mascara brush

L'Oreal Voluminous Manga Waterproof Mascara brush



I ended up crawling back to my all time favorite L'Oreal Original Voluminous Waterproof mascara, and also recently had a chance to experience a non-waterproof mascara that holds curls. You loose some and you win some, I guess.


Have you had any similar experience like mine?
If I like a volumizing waterproof mascara, which high-end one would you recommend for me?




38 comments

  1. The last high end mascara I bought was actually Diorshow Iconic Waterproof Mascara and the fact that it couldn't hold a curl was disappointing to say the least. I kind of decided that I was done with high end mascaras after that. I don't really use many drugstore cosmetics but I'm all about drugstore mascaras ;)

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    1. Oh, you had the same experience! I was really shocked because this particular wp mascara performed worse than some regular mascaras. I always toss a mascara after a certain period of time, so I better stick with drugstore mascaras. Better for my soul. ;)

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  2. Ahh I'm so sorry to hear none of these really worked for you! I've tried GA Eyes to Kill and liked it back at the time, but I have no idea how it'd compare with what I have discovered along the way. In general I have great experience with Dior mascaras, but I've never tried this one so now I know I probably am not missing out.

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    1. It was a good learning experience, though. GA ETK mascara is really a mediocre mascara in my opinion but it suddenly becomes a terrible one because of the ridiculous price, you know? It is interesting how drugstore mascaras come in so many different styles and actually perform better on me, too. ;o

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  3. Ha ha! Remember when the Lancome mascara with the "swan neck" was all the rage and people were sh-tting bricks over it?! I'd had a Lancome fail right before that came out (Hypnose Star, actually) and never tried the swan neck. I have been so let down again and again by high end mascaras! I think the expectation is higher because you spent so much more on them than you would've at the drugstore. Hypnose Star wasn't terrible, but I think my expectations were pretty high when it costs as much as it did, the tube looks like a piece of art, and it's backed by none other than Betty Boop, whose lash game is always strong! I'm a huge Miss Manga lover. I always go back to that one. I do wish they'd get rid of the bendy straw applicator. I remember Lily's rage over the Armani ETK mascara to this day!

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    1. LOL. I think we all are angry with GA ETK's price more than anything! ;p
      I remember that Betty Boop tube. It seems there is a connection between Lancome Hypnose Star & Manga. You know that panda looking weird characters on the Manga package? ;D I hear the bendy wand of Manga is either hit or miss. I first thought it felt weird to use but got used to it later on. I just wish the formula didn't dry up so quickly.

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  4. Hahaha I too hate Armani ETK-I don't get the love for it at all it's so overpriced and just MEH. I don't mind the regular Hypnose Star but waterproof I can't do-my eyes hurt too much for removal lol! I've kind of learned my lesson with high end mascaras-I'll take them for PR samples but i NEVER buy them again...Drugstore ones RULE.

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    1. Haha, that's wise. I wouldn't mind getting high-end mascara PR samples, of course. ;D
      L'Oreal, Maybelline, and even Covergirl mascaras really work nicely on me. On the other hand, Revlon makes sucky mascaras in general, though. I don't know why that is. ;)

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  5. Pretty much agree with your conclusions - ETK did nothing for me and Dior mascaras always smudge badly and never does anything it says it does. I also like the Lancome better than most mascaras but where we differ is I've also had not-so-great experiences with a bunch of L'Oreals. Maybe I should try again? They all used to smudge instantly.

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    1. I have been always quite happy with drugstore mascaras, so I naturally thought these higher-ends would be better for sure. I mean they should be for what I'm paying, right? ;-/ I think I will keep experimenting in the drugstore range or start using Japanese drugstore mascaras from now on.
      Some L'Oreal do smudge on me even though I don't normally worry about smudging. For example, even the original Voluminous wp in Carbon Black smudges on me so I just buy "black". The false fiber one comes with dry(?) gel type formula and wears very well. You might like this one. :)

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    2. Is that the red tube with the white primer on one end? I actually used that for a few years until I realized how much I hated the big brush. I'll join you in the Asian drugstore search instead. :)

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    3. I meant the False Fiber lash mascara in the gold tube. I used at least 4 tubes in the past. The brush isn't so big. But at this point, Japanese drugstore options are more tempting. Do let me know if you find a good one from the mall. I'll do the same. ;)

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  6. Thanks for the shout out Lena. The GA ETK mascara SUCKS SO BAD!!!! Worst mascara I've ever tried. I like a few Dior mascaras, especially the Iconic Curl and the Diorshow New Look. I haven't tried this one though. I've tried the Hypnose Star and thought it was quite decent. I hope we'll be getting the L'Oreal Miss Manga here. I'm now intrigued!!

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    1. You're welcome! I wish I had remembered reading your reviews before I jumped on the wagon. But so many were raving about it, I think I would have still bought it. And I think I might like other Dior mascaras with conventional brushes. I don't really got along with teethed plastic brushes anyway.
      Manga is pretty nice for the price. But maybe you'd wanna buy Asian brands since you have an easier access to them? :)

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  7. Yeah, Hypnose didn't really impress me all that much. I liked the brush but it does crumb up very easily when it dries. I've only used mine once or twice - which is a shame because the brush is quite good, I think!

    Clinique used to have a really good one - slender brush on one side and comb on the other but they discontinued that for whatever reason. I'm currently using Dolly Wink's mascara and I'm liking mine so far!

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    1. Maybe I have a soft spot for Lancome mascaras since the very first mascara of mine was the legendary Definicil. Heck, I still like it if I get one as a GWP! ;D
      I might ask your recs on Japanese mascaras later on. You've lived in HK so I think you have tried more than I have, and I trust your recs! :)

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  8. that's a bummer. i hate when that happens. i use loreal original and love it. repurchased many times.

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    1. Yeah, there are more than a few drugstore favorites for me, but nothing's perfect, and I always think there's something better out there. Maybe that's why we all get sucked in everytime a new mascara comes out. ;)

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  9. just too bad they don't work for you, especially they are high end. I would have kicked myself for spending the $ and none of the products work. For lashes, I never splurge on mascara as my lashes are so stubborn and straight. I have tried samples from Sephora: Dior, Benefit, Too Faced, YSL, none of them work for me unfortunately. On a good note, I save myself a lot of money by sticking to drug store ones :)

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    1. It is interesting that so many have had similar experience! We all think higher-end mascaras would be so much better, right? I do think other higher-end makeup is better at least in terms of colors, but it's just that other aspects that draw us to higher-ends aren't there for mascaras, I guess.
      My hair is actually slightly wavy but my lashes are straight and don't hold curls at all. You might have better results with wp mascaras or even with tubing mascaras (those washable waterproof ones). :)

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  10. The Eyes to Kill section actually made me LOL! I didn't like Hypnose Star either, but original hypnose worked well for me!

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    1. Da truth is always funny, my friend! T,.T
      I guess if one mascara becomes popular, they scramble up so-called "improved" version, which only means they screw up the good things.
      Thanks for the rec! Hypnose original goes on my "future high-end mascaras to try" list. :)

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  11. Hahaha! Of these, I've tried the ETK and that one seriously sucked. Total LE SUCK.

    I do love lancome though. :) Hypnose Drama WP is my everyday mascara. Excellent volume, a bit of lengthening and excellent curl holding.

    But WP mascaras that can not hold a curl?! Why those belong is a special place in my life (in the garbage can).

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    1. Now on GA site, it says the wp ETK mascara is online exclusive or something. I guess now everyone has figured out what it is, so they are trying to lure us in flaunting the "exclusive" wand??! Well, no, thanks.
      I should have totally listened to you when you recommended the Lancome Hypnose Drama. I think I was confused a little, too. Too many Hypnose variations. But next time! Thanks for the rec. :)

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  12. Awww! I'm so sorry to hear how these didn't turn out well for you! I knew when I saw that particular dior mascara in store that there was something about the bristles and how soft they felt that I thought they wouldn't apply on so well. That's terrible that it didn't do anything for your lashes! I've tried a mascara from Dior that was ASS, it was the dior show unlimited. The brush is just like maybelline's great lash (which is utter shit) and the formula although seemingly okay, the brush just wouldn't apply ANY mascara onto the lashes! And when it did, the formula was so thin that it looked like there's no mascara! Biggest waste of $50+ ever! It's really so sad sometimes how high end pieces stink so bad!

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    1. I think there has to be a perfect combination of formula and brush to completely satisfy one's need! Now I think I will stick with what's proven to work for my lashes and probably venture out to try more Asian brands if I feel like experimenting.
      I also think it doesn't really take much to manufacture mascaras in reality. So far, the only difference I see from higher-ends is the luxurious packaging if I don't actually conclude they are inferior to drugstore mascaras. ;-/

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  13. I hate to see the disappointment but you saved me some money. I have wanted to try the Dior Waterproof Diorshow forever now and it has pretty good reviews online too!

    And perfect timing with that Miss Manga :-) I am glad you like that one!

    Agata
    http://herandmakeup.com

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    1. Hey Agata ;) I don't know about the Dior wp Diorshow forever since there are quite a few variations since the original Diorshow. But I have a strong feeling that they are not all that superior to drugstore mascaras.
      I've gotten used to the bendy applicator, but I wish the original brush came with a conventional wand. That would be actually perfect. ;)

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  14. So sorry you were disappointed with these.. it is horrible to spend a lot of money and end up being disappointed :/
    I have bought the Lancôme Hypnôse Doll Eyes and the Lancôme Hypnôse Drama mascaras and I did not like them at all. They do nothing for my lashes :/
    I do use Lancôme Définicils every now and then and I love that mascara :)
    My favorite mascara of ALL TIME has to be Maybelline The Colossal Volum´ Express in 100% black :)
    xx

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    1. Oh, I love Lancome Definicils, too! Isn't is such a great classic? My first mascara ever! And I still remember how amazingly different my lashes looked with this Mascara. I still love receiving minis with GWP from Lancome. :)
      Maybelline is also one of my favorite brands for mascara. Might as well just stick with drugstore ones after reading you guys' opinions. ;p

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  15. LOL at "what fuckery is this?" I'm glad I'm not the only one who swears to myself when trying stuff sometimes, hahahaha.

    Dior smudges like nuts on me, but a lot of them do, even the waterproof versions. Since moving here, though, I've noticed that my L'Oreal Butterfly smudges even less! (I still can't sort out whether it's fiber or not). I like some Clinique mascaras, but I usually have good luck with L'Oreal, as well - the gold tube false fibers one gives insane length, and right now I am loving Butterfly.

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    1. Happy to hear you've found drugstore mascaras that are good to your lashes! I loved Butterfly, too. The brush is a bit intimidating and takes some to get used to, but the effect is really awesome! I also like the Voluminous variation (w collagen) that you recommended a while back.
      Speaking of tubing mascaras, CoverGirl Professional washable wp mascara (purple tube) is a good one that I've recently found. Thought about you, actually! (it smells pretty bad, tho)

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  16. Yet another honest thought about the GA Eyes to Kill! I know I won't be spending money on it anytime soon! Thanks to you and Lily! I have tried a sample of the Lancôme Hypnôse Star and I really liked it! I didn't realize it's so close to the L'Oreal Voluminous Manga which I have a tube of. I'll try it tomorrow and see how they compare!

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    1. Not just mascaras, I don't think I will buy any more GA makeup. Not that they are bad or anything (they are actually nice), but nothing has that wow effect on me. But that ETK mascara was definitely terrible. LOL
      The Manga brush is a bit different and there is the bendy applicator which differs greatly from the Lancome, but the overall brush shape and the formula are similar, imho. Let us know how you think about them next to each other. ;)

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  17. A very interesting read. The only one I've tried out of three you mention is the Hypnose which I agree is a decent mascara. Good to know that the L'Oreal Voluminous Manga is a dupe - I'll have to give it a go. :-)


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    1. Not a super close dupe, but comparable, imh. I also notice most L'Oreal mascara formulas are similar to Lancome ones. :)

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  18. That's such a disappointment! My favorite high end is benefit they're real but it's more of a mid-range. The original Diorshow is pretty good though (blue package) But honestly the $5 drugstore mascaras these days are amazing!

    Raincouver Beauty

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    1. I totally agree. I guess other aspects like complex colors and fancy packaging which often sway us to buy higher-ends just don't play the same way when it comes to mascaras. :)

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