My favourite mascaras

Madonna's eyes photographed by Herb Rits

Sadly, God did not bless me with thick, luscious lashes (something I’ve always envied in Madonna – see above).

I have poker straight, average lashes. Nothing to write home about.

For years I religiously curled them and used waterproof mascara (pro tip: waterproof mascara holds the curl far better than regular mascara).

I used Max Factor Aqua Lash (which they seem to have discontinued) when I lived in England but it’s not available in Canada so I had to find an alternative. I couldn’t have my mum mailing it to me for the rest of my life.

I don’t remember which brands I tried but I ended up loving Maybelline Great Lash (waterproof). I’d hated the regular Great Lash mascara. It merely emphasized the poker straight nature of my lashes.

And then came my great ‘I’m relinquishing makeup’ phase so mascara wasn’t much on my mind. I was always a ‘I can’t leave the house without a fully made-up face’ person but about five years ago I started wearing less and less makeup until I was virtually naked. I started working out and bike riding and hated the feeling of makeup when I was sweating. And I sweat A LOT).

So all my mascara woes went away.

Until, that is, I began wearing more makeup again.

I had a full-on mascara crisis.

My morning routine had become considerably shorter with this ‘less makeup’ thing so, when I started putting more of it on my face again, it was taking more time to get ready. Changes had to be made.

I chose to cut out the eyelash curler. Which meant I needed a curling mascara. I was done with waterproof mascara: too harsh on my lashes and tiresome to remove.

I’ll admit I was skeptical. Attempts to use curling mascara in the past had ended in disaster.

But years had passed and formulas had improved.

I finally settled on Lancôme ‘Définicils Pro’ shown in the list below. At over $30 a pop, it’s not cheap and I still wasn’t wearing mascara every day (I usually don’t wear it on my workout days).

I probably went through four or five tubes of it. I liked it A LOT. But, because I didn’t use it often, it dried up fairly quickly. That and the cost forced me to begin ‘Operation Mascara.’

I needed a cheaper holy grail mascara.

I turned – as I often do – to Paula’s Choice (aka the Cosmetics Cop) for advice.

Her website is invaluable. I consult her Beautypedia regularly. I’ve been known to lose whole weekends researching makeup and skincare products on the site.

And that brings us to today.

After a couple of misses, I tried NYC’s Sky Rise mascara (below) and decided I liked it.

Then I remembered I had a Hudson’s Bay store card and bought the Clinique High Impact Curling mascara (below).


My aunt had given me a sample size of Estee Lauder’s Sumptuous Extreme Lash Multiplying Volume mascara (below). It was gathering dust in the bottom of a box. So I gave it a whirl.

That, my friend, is when I found my holy grail mascara. The wand is kinda big (and I have small eyes) so I have to be careful not to poke myself in the eye when I use it. But it’s totally my favourite.

All the mascaras below wash off with (face) soap and water.


NYC New York Color Sky Rise Lengthening Mascara (approx. CA $8)


Clinique High Impact Curling (CA $20)


Estee Lauder’s Sumptuous Extreme Lash Multiplying Volume Mascara (CA $29)



Lancôme ‘Définicils’ High Definition Mascara (CA $32)

The one shown above is the one I like but Lancôme don’t appear to list it on their website anymore so the link will take you to the version they sell.

What’s your favourite mascara?

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