If I had a penny for every time I brought home a drugstore mascara and liked it enough to use more than once, I'd have approximately... three cents. It's not that I'm a product snob, but very few formulas have delivered the lash vibe I'm after — which, thank you for asking, is bold, dramatic, and longer than the Duggar family's Christmas wish lists. To be frank, if it doesn't warrant at least two people asking, "Holy shit, are your lashes real?" then I don't want any part of it.
So I'll admit, with my head hung low in shame, that I originally dismissed the tube of L'Oréal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara that landed on my desk earlier this summer. The bottle was cutesy and pink, yes, like the rosé I looked forward to drinking that night. But I had no idea that one swoop of the stuff — while testing for our Beauty Innovator Awards some three months later — would have me drunk in love.
While my coworkers who've also tried the formula likened it to Too Faced's best-selling Better Than Sex Mascara (minus the accentuated hourglass bend in the middle), I disagree. It does have a similarly curved bristle brush that grabs each lash — even the tiny ones on the inner corners I always forget — but, unlike the former, L'Oréal's doesn't clump after my habitual 4,000 coats of mascara. (Which might be your thing, but it's not mine.)
Instead, the wand combs through my lashes, layer after layer, making them bigger, bolder, and more fluttery than most formulas I've tried. (Don't worry about wasting it; at just $10 a tube, you should be stockpiling this shit anyway.) Suffice to say, it's by far the best drugstore formula I've tried in all my years as a beauty editor — out of what is surely 29,891,673 tubes in total. Just check out how it stacked up against one of my favorites, the YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils Mascara (left).
If only I knew that, for less than the cost of a Chipotle burrito, all it would take to make me look and feel like a million bucks is one tube of mascara. (Which, for anyone still counting here, gives me one more penny to add to my coin jar.)