The Internet’s Favorite $5 Mascara Just Got Even Better

Out of all the mascaras available for purchase on the internet (which there are many), none has achieved the kind of viral fame on the level of Essence's Lash Princess mascara. It boasts over 150,000 reviews on Amazon (NBD), has nabbed an adorable collab with Disney, and did we mention it's $5? Earlier this week, the affordable beauty brand unveiled the latest addition to the Lash Princess lineup: A curling and volumizing formula that's already selling out. Ahead, three Refinery29 editors tested the tube to see if it is better than the original. Peep the see-it-to-believe-it selfies, testimonials, and price tag to check the hype for yourself.
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Chichi Offor, Associate Affiliate Writer

Photo: Courtesy of Chichi Offor
Chichi's left eye: No mascara; right eye: Essence's Lash Princess Curl
My lashes are...
My lashes are a little on the thin side, so they’re not super noticeable in their natural state. 
What do you typically look for in a mascara?
I look for a mascara that adds volume and length in appearance. I’m not extremely loyal to any mascara brands, but I do enjoy Essence's Lash Princess Volume Mascara
Share your first impressions of Essence’s Lash Princess Curl & Volume— how did it look, feel, hold up throughout the day?
I love how it goes on really smooth and not clumpy. It’s buildable, so you can definitely have a more natural or full makeup look if you’d like. I’m not sure if it curls drastically more than other ones I’ve tried, but I definitely notice a little curl action, which I’m all down for. 
Would you recommend it to a friend?
I’d recommend it to a friend for sure. I think the price point and the solid product combination are hard to beat. 
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Emily Ruane, Fashion Market Writer

Photo: Courtesy of Emily Ruane
Emily's left eye: No mascara; right eye: Essence's Lash Princess Curl
My lashes are...
My lashes are just kind of meh — dark, but short and straight, with sparse/light bottom lashes. Mascara does make a big difference for me, and I love trying out new ones.
What do you typically look for in a mascara?
Ease of application is a big one — if you’re a regular reader of this site, you may know that I don’t wear too much makeup and need something that’s really user-friendly for my middle-school level application skills. Anything that can add the volume and length that I lack in a few coats gets a permanent home in my makeup bag. I’ve been known to use Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes and Damn Girl! from Too Faced.
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Share your first impressions of Essence’s Lash Princess Curl & Volume — how did it look, feel, hold up throughout the day?
One thing that's irksome about my lashes is their lack of upward movement, and I really enjoyed the immediate lift that I got from this formula. I only did two coats and the thickness, extension, and indeed, curling properties were very evident even without a super-heavy hand. (I was really skeptical about the curling aspect — like, how can a mascara do that? — but this one does.) I also really liked the effect it had on my sadly nonexistent bottom lashes. They are so light that they often look spidery and kinda weird when I put mascara on them, but the curved brush made it easy to give them a natural-looking coating. The stuff stayed put through my admittedly not-so-active day, although when I took a midafternoon nap, I woke up a little... smudgy.
Would you recommend it to a friend?
Because of my aforementioned lack of expertise in the maquillage department, I’m not sure anyone is looking to me for recommendations. I am, however, really excited to tell my makeup-expert sister and sister-in-law that I was one of the first to try the newest iteration of the internet-famous $5 mascara.
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Karina Hoshikawa, Beauty & Wellness Market Writer

Photo: Courtesy of Karina Hoshikawa
Karina's right eye: No mascara; left eye: Essence's Lash Princess Curl
My lashes are...
I'll admit — I lucked out in the lash and brow department. My lashes are naturally long, full, and dark, so I actually go sans mascara most days. That said, I love playing them up and enhancing them (especially the lower bbs) with a lil' mascara action.
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What do you typically look for in a mascara?
My mascara vibe pretty minimal. I love lengthening and defining formulas that create a fluttery, doe-eyed effect. (Glossier's Lash Slick and Benefit Roller Lash are two all-time faves.) I don't need much volumizing or thickening, since that actually tends to weigh down my eyes. One pet peeve of mine is that if I do wear mascara, it has to be jet-black; not sort of black or charcoal, but inky, oil-slick black, or else it has a greyish effect on my eyes since my features are already dark.
Share your first impressions of Essence’s Lash Princess Curl & Volume — how did it look, feel, hold up throughout the day?
This stuff is good. A few coats made me feel like Jasmine from Aladdin, who is my forever beauty icon. Unlike the original Lash Princess wand (which is more like a tapered cone), the Curl wand has a curvy shape to really lift the lashes. My natural lashes are already pretty curled, but you can really tell the difference on my left eye, which has about two coats on. It was a deep, inky black and didn't feel dry or flaky once I applied. Even on a summer day, the stuff didn't smudge or give me raccoon eyes.
Would you recommend it to a friend?
100%. The price is right, and it's as good (or better) than some of the most expensive tubes of mascara in my bag.
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Photo: Courtesy of Essence Cosmetics
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