Two Women, One Cult Favorite Mascara

Certain beauty products — think NARS blush in Orgasm or Clinique's Black Honey lipstick — are so good, they're practically famous and have devoted, loyal followings. While we love many of these, we've been wondering why others have been quietly flying under the radar. With that in mind, meet our series, Cult Classics, in which we'll introduce you to the products you should really, truly know about (and try, like, right now). They're not brand-new, but trust us: They've got staying power.

I work on the social media team here at Refinery29, and occasionally I have the privilege of writing product reviews, which is how I met Mi-Anne. While she and I may both love beauty products, we have very different approaches to them. Mi-Anne is an expert — someone who interviews vloggers, navigates the makeup aisles with ease, and really commits to the art of contouring. I, on the other hand, am more of a novice. I stick to a handful of favorite products that I buy over and over, and would rather sleep in than do literally anything else.

So when we realized we both love Too Faced’s Better Than Sex mascara — and that the brand is releasing a waterproof version — we saw the opportunity for an experiment. Two women, two opinions, one highly coveted new release.

A Bit Of Background:
Julie: “First things first, let’s talk about lashes. Mine happen to be long, dark, and numerous to the point where I feel a little bit like I won the genetic lottery. (I clearly think there’s something to that “If you’ve got it, flaunt it” mentality, though I can feel myself cringing at my own words as I type this.) So it might seem like I wouldn't need mascara, but I actually feel it does a lot for me because my lashes are so thick — you know, more surface area for the product to cling to. So I'm a bit obsessed and committed to finding as many favorites as I can. During the daytime, I want something that defines, lifts, and separates, whereas for nighttime, I’m looking for that plus drama and volume."

Mi-Anne: “Unlike Julie’s long, luscious lashes, mine are short, straight, and somewhat sparse — and that’s just my top set. My bottom lashes are almost nonexistent. You could probably sit next to me, look real close, and count each individual hair if you wanted to — it likely wouldn’t take very long. I’m not complaining, though. This is what I’ve got, and I work with it. Due to my short, straight lashes, I tend to go for volumizing formulas (preferably waterproof to hold my curl).”
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The Product:
Julie: “I had a mixed reaction. The shape of the brush is interesting — it sort of has an eyebrow-like curve to it — but the bristles don’t seem quite as numerous as those on the original Better Than Sex spoolie. And while the formula is definitely thick and dark, it looked just clumpy enough that my excitement morphed into apprehension."

"The first time I applied, I was in a hurry and stupidly didn’t wipe off the brush. Individual lashes stuck together and I hated the effect. I ended up having to wash my entire face and start from scratch. (It comes off reasonably well with coconut oil, but I still find remnants a day or two later if I don't scrub hardcore.) Honestly, if it weren’t for this experiment, I probably wouldn’t have ever used it again. But on attempt number two, I scraped the excess product on the inside of the tube and made sure to wiggle the brush as I combed. Success! Kind of. The results weren’t quite at my standards of definition, but it was absolutely dramatic."

Mi-Anne:
“After curling my lashes with Kevyn Aucoin’s Eyelash Curler, I whipped out the wand for the first time and noticed that there was a lot of product on the brush. You definitely need to wipe off the tip of the brush on the top of the mascara tube to avoid getting product all over your face during application. The brush head is also really jumbo-sized (like the original mascara), so you have to be careful not to get it under your eyes or on your eyelid. When I swept on my first layer, I noticed my lashes looked instantly bulkier (in a good way). The chubby, product-packed brush applied a lot of mascara to my lashes, and after two coats my lashes were in clumpy town. I know clumpy lashes aren’t for everyone, but I personally really like the look.”
Results & Final Thoughts:
Julie: “I wore this mascara a few more times over the next few weeks. Once in the rain (because hello? Waterproof), and another time on an especially cold winter day, since I’m frequently tearing up while walking through the wind tunnel that is NYC. The stuff stayed put both times. However, I still found it too difficult to work with, even after waiting in hopes that it would dry up a little. It’s too goopy, attempting to layer it looks silly instead of sexy, and the bristles aren’t strong or numerous enough to offer the definition I need. Occasionally, I can get it to cooperate while applying it on the second eye, since much of the (very persistent) excess formula has come off on the first eye, but then my face just looks uneven. I really wanted to like this stuff, but I think I’ll be sticking with the Better Than Sex original."

Mi-Anne: “If you’re looking for a natural-looking mascara, this is definitely not it. I have extremely small lashes, so a few clumps are welcome to give me the volume boost I need. Plus, it is truly waterproof and holds my curl all day and won’t come off until I come at it with my cleansing oil (Lather’s Chia Seed & Passionfruit Cleansing Oil). Seriously, I walked through a rainstorm with this on my lashes, and it didn’t budge.

“At first, I did find the product a little hard to work with, what with the enormous brush and the goopy formula. But as I’ve gotten to work with it more, I actually really love it. It’s an easy option for me to pull out on days when I want my lashes to be extra voluminous in just one coat. Plus, it’s waterproof, and I love me a good waterproof mascara.”

Has anyone else had the opportunity to try the new release? Drop us a line in the comments with your thoughts, questions, compliments, or concerns.
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