Benefit's New Mascara Is Out Of This World

Moonstone highlighters, anti-gravity serums, copper pillow cases that astronauts swear by and also might help with your acne... In the beauty world, we tend to take products inspired by space travel with a comet-sized grain of salt. Are they pretty and smell nice? Sure. Would NASA endorse them? Not in 1,000 light years.

That's why when Benefit told us that its new volumizing mascara was formulated with aeroparticles similar to the ones that create a weightless buffer against extreme temperatures in space, we’re not going to lie: Our internal bullshit meter started buzzing. Could these aeroparticles really make the formula lighter, allowing you to plop more mascara onto your lashes without feeling heavy or gloopy, as Yohann Bichon, head of the mascara laboratory at LVMH, claimed (in more scientific terms)? Or was it just another cool backstory for one of the hundreds of perfectly nice, but not-really-all-that-special mascaras that hit retailer shelves every year?

We asked two independent cosmetic chemists who are unaffiliated with Benefit or this product, and they set us straight: This is one space-inspired makeup launch that actually has lift-off. “It appears they replaced traditional volumizing powders with these aeroparticles, which seem less dense, perhaps even hollow, which may allow for more volume without the weight,” says cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson, of BeautyStat. Bichon, who developed the formula, confirmed that was indeed the case.

Adds cosmetic chemist Ni'Kita Wilson, “This is definitely innovative for a mascara. I don’t know of any who are using similar technology for increasing the volume of lashes.” The only brand that comes close, she says, is Living Proof, which uses “ETA” polymers, developed by MIT scientists, in its hair products to create voluminous styles without the bulk.

So we know the formula is impressive — but how does this baby run? We gave Benefit Bad Gal Bang ($24, out today) to five Refinery29 staffers with different eye shapes and lash types to find out, and the results were — at the risk of hitting our own limit on the space puns — pretty out of this world.

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AFTER

“I did my mascara twice as fast because it caught my lashes so well and I didn’t have to spend as much time wiggling the wand. I was able to easily build up two layers and it held a curl all day. My sister was shocked at how well the brush and formula worked for my lower lashes especially.” — Meghal Janardan, Video Producer
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AFTER

"I'm not usually a plastic mascara wand girl, but this tube might be changing my tune. I was shocked at how much volume the formula gave me; it instantly made my lashes look at least five times more voluminous. I had to be careful not to add too many coats, because it builds quickly with just a few swipes. Overall, my lashes looked insanely long and full, and I really love the formula and wand." — Michaela Rollings, Associate Partnerships Manager
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"I have to admit, I was pretty skeptical about this one; the wand is thinner than that of most volumizing mascaras I've tried. But I stand corrected: Benefit has a true winner here. Slowly wiggling the brush from root to tip twice is all that I needed to give me an ultra-glam look. It's almost like I'm wearing a set of falsies, but without the fuss and irritation of messy glue." — Brianna Arps, Lifestyle & Entertainment Editor
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"My lashes are stick-straight and point down, so in my own experience, no mascaras hold a curl on me unless they’re waterproof. This mascara volumizes really nicely; I hope they release a waterproof version in the future, and in the meantime, I’ll be layering it over my go-to." — Mi-Anne Chan, Beauty Writer
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“I have naturally pale eyelashes — think transparent. This mascara can do in two coats what other mascaras can’t accomplish in five. People even asked me if I was wearing fakes. I wore it out the other night and intentionally left my makeup on, and the mascara still looked great the next day. I can’t wait to buy one for my sister, too!” — Rebecca Smith, Managing Editor
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Travel and accommodations were provided by Benefit for the purpose of writing this story.
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