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.