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Finding the perfect mascara isn’t easy, especially if you’re a no-mascara girlie like me. Some are too thick, some are too clumpy and others come in a strange shade that isn’t quite black yet is definitely too dark for brown. Trial and error is often the only way to make sure a mascara is just right so when I was asked to test out the new Beauty Bay High-Key Volume Mascara, I put it under close scrutiny.
I find it easy to go without mascara on most occasions but if you're trying to achieve a more intense eye look, the result can appear strange without it. Forgoing mascara when applying a colourful cut crease or a statement eyeshadow look actually makes my eyes seem smaller — in these instances, I really need mascara to help widen and brighten them. So I’ve set out to find the perfect mascara for these occasions. It needs to add length and volume and fan out my lashes without flaking onto my face or feeling too heavy.
The benefit of using mascara so sparingly is that I’ve got incredibly high standards when it comes to picking one. When you’re not in love with the standard, mascara-coated lash look, the product really has to pull out all the stops to be worth purchasing. That means it can’t clump, look spidery or smudge at all when applying.
After two weeks of testing, the new Beauty Bay High-Key Volume Mascara, might be the answer, although it has to be applied quite precisely to meet all of the above requirements, whether you're wearing it every day or keeping it for special occasions. Keep reading to see exactly why.
I loved this mascara on the first try, which is quite a bold claim coming from someone who rarely wears it. It perfectly separated my lashes, quickly coating them in a deep black that made them look instantly longer, fuller and more fanned out. It didn’t flake at all throughout the day and was easy to remove with micellar water. Essentially, it did everything it promised. It added a lot more volume (as you'd expect given the product name) and really did give a faux-lash effect, as you can see on my right eye in the image above. I thought I was on to a winner — until I tried it a second time.
This time around, the opposite was true. It was thick and clumpy and although my lashes did look longer, there was no fanned-out, faux-lash effect at all. It looked like I’d coated my eyelashes in multiple thick layers (despite applying just one) and focused only on the root for a heavy buildup of product around the eyelid. This, of course, was not the desired effect and, aesthetics aside, made my eyelid feel rather heavy. To make matters worse, it flaked after around an hour, requiring regular attention to avoid black speckles sitting on my face (and fulfilling everything I hate about most mascaras).
So what changed between these two tries? Well, after many more attempts, it turns out the key to making this mascara look great lies in how loaded with product the wand is.
Unlike the long, thin bristles of Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara, $26 or the comb-like wand of Ilia Limitless Lash Mascara, $21, Beauty Bay's High-Key Volume Mascara wand has short, soft plastic spikes that rake through the lashes to coat them in product. As the spikes are so short, the lashes touch the base of the wand, meaning they will get loaded up with a lot of product. This is great for a quick and easy application but on the flipside it can result in a lot of buildup if the brush is too saturated. The trick, therefore, is to remove excess product from the brush by scraping it against the neck of the mascara tube before applying just one coat (or two if you’re after a more impactful look).
Once I did that, I got the original lashes I fell in love with, full of volume and length without feeling weighed down, making the Beauty Bay High-Key Volume Mascara a really impressive product. At just $16.85 (it's currently on sale), it’s worth every penny in my opinion, whether you wear it every day or every once in a while.