In Search of the Perfect Mascara, Part I

By Inthelab  

I realize that perfect is really relative; what’s perfect for me may not work at all for you. So let me start by saying I have a new mascara need. My older daughter became engaged late October. An early March 2010 wedding is planned. So I am furiously involved in wedding preparations, as well as stepping up my beauty routine.

Now I am one of those folk with long thick s-t-r-a-i-g-h-t eyelashes. Stick-straight. It’s a family trait. We actually do recognize relatives on my father’s side (scattered across 3 continents due to World War II) by the eyelashes. Add to this my dire aversion, no loathing, for eyelash curlers. So when curling mascaras came out about 10 years ago, I was sold. Le Grand Curl by L’Oreal, waterproof, was it for me.
Fast-forward a few years. I was out in Los Angeles for a nephew’s bar-mitzvah. While wandering through Beverly Center, I realized I hadn’t packed Le Grand Curl. (Good thing I was in Bloomingdale’s when this realization hit.) I hied me over to the Lancome counter (hey, it was promotion time) and checked out Courbe Virtuouse. Not waterproof, but gave me an amazing curl. And came off easily with oil-free eye makeup remover (I use either Lancome Bi-Facils or Neutrogena and recommend them equally). And one more feature: it felt gentle and soothing, absolutely no irritation whatsoever. This is important because my rosacea has spread to my corneas and I can’t tolerate any irritation around my eyes. Even some eyedrops burn. But Courbe Virtuouse has one drawback that makes it unsuitable for March 2010: it is not waterproof. And I am positive I will wind up crying at some point during my daughter’s wedding. And I am also positive that the moment I appear with raccoon eyes and try to scurry off for a quick repair, I will be waylaid by a guest, needed to fix some catering emergency, or captured in photos forever.

Thus I am in search of the perfect mascara: curling and waterproof. Ergo I bought L’Oreal Panoramic Curl Mascara (Waterproof) in Black. At $7.99, it’s one of the less expensive mascaras out there.

The L’Oreal site says this about it:
Unique waterproof formula curls and separates your lashes to the extreme with Panoramic Curl™ Extreme Curl & Separating Waterproof Mascara. Patented Liftcurl Brush plus Flexi-Tech polymers hold lashes for an eight-hour curl and separate lashes 360°, creating the ultimate eye-opening panoramic lash effect.

* Waterproof.
* Ophthalmologist-tested and allergy-tested.
* Removes easily with waterproof eye makeup remover.
* Suitable for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers.
* Flake-proof and fragrance-free.
I liked the brush, the color (the black is soft, not too harsh against my fair skin) and yet gives enough definition to my lashes that I think would work for photos. That’s the good. The bad? The curl was not as pronounced as I would like (not like the curl from Le Grand Curl unless memory deceives and nothing like Courbe Virtuouse). The worse? After several hours of wear, my eyes began to itch. This has never happened to me before in my entire history of mascara-wearing. The future? I’m going to try it again. Maybe my eyes were tired that day, maybe I was exposed to some irritant in the lab.
The verdict? Price for value, I’d still rate it good. There was some curl there, definitely. As a basic mascara it is fine (I did not test its waterproof property though). It did not come off quite as easily as Courbe Virtuouse using Neutrogena remover, but then it has a different formulation. I would say it came off fairly easily. Repurchase? At this point, possibly (I bought 2 tubes in case I loved it). Provenance: purchased.

Update: Gave the mascara another try while wearing full eye makeup regalia for daughter’s engagement party. This time I had no itching whatsoever, impressive lashes, and a little more curl (I think the secret is in how I wield the wand). And it came off like melted butter when I used Bi-Facils eye make-up remover.

Final verdict redux: for the money, this is a good to excellent mascara.

I’ll be test and reviewing more curling waterproof mascaras, so stay tuned.

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