Here’s a conversation starter for you to use: at your next party, ask people to name their favorite Benefit mascara. Most people are loyal to a specific formula. Personally, I long endorsed Bad Gal Bang for its skinny brush that gave my lashes a very subtle enhancement, like my lashes but a little bit longer and darker. Alix Earle? She's a Roller Lash girl — you know, that coral-orange cap. That formula gives lashes a little bit more of a dramatic curl. If you're not one or the other, maybe you're a fan of They're Real!, which is the brand's OG. Now, there's a new Benefit mascara, Fan Fest, offering something that we haven't seen from the other Benefit mascaras: a curved fiber brush that almost acts as a round brush for your lashes.
We gave a few of our Refinery29 editors a sample of this new coiled-black tube (points for texture!) and they shared their thoughts. We all have different eyelashes and different preferences on how we want ours to look — this is not a one-size-fits-all product category, just ask Benefit's R&D team. Read through four honest reviews, below.
"Despite the incredible hype around Roller Lash, They’re Real!, and Bad Gal Bang, I haven’t always got on with Benefit mascaras. I have very specific criteria: They must capture my lashes in one fell swoop (even the tiny ones) and come off easily in the shower — without leaving behind any sooty smudges throughout the day. I’ve enjoyed using They’re Real! Magnet Mascara in the past, but countless new mascaras have launched left, right and center since then, so I admit that I forgot about it. Fan Fest, on the other hand, isn’t quite so easy to overlook. I was given the product in February and used it until I couldn’t scrape any more out of the tube. I was dubious about the curved brush at first. It boasts bristles, rather than plastic teeth, but it sort of bounces your lashes upwards, curling them in the process. I want my mascara to make my lashes look as though they’re Ardell Wispies: fluffy, fluttery, and super long. This did exactly that in just a few swipes. After a couple of months of use, the product became dry (a given for all mascaras when used consistently) and this resulted in a few, tiny clumps but it’s nothing a clean spoolie brush can’t fix. Just remember to close the lid tightly after each use. At $28, this mascara is on the pricey side, so if you’re looking for a more affordable alternative, try Maybelline The Falsies Surreal Extensions Washable Mascara or essence's Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara." -Jacqueline Kilikita, Refinery29 Deputy Beauty Director
"I'm not a mascara person. I'd rather tint my naturally light and sun-bleached lashes instead of applying mascara to darker the color. Sadly I haven't had the time — or money, frankly — for a lash lift and tint this summer so I've been wearing mascara regularly, specifically this new one by Benefit. Maggie Ford Danielson, Benefit's Director of Brand Outreach, sold me on the formula when she likened it to Bad Gal Bang — but with some upgrades. Now, I quite like the Bad Gal Bang mascara — I find that it lengthens and separates my lashes without any extra weight or clumpiness — my only qualm is that it goes on a little wet so it's prone to smudging. Fan Fest has that great lift and separation plus the addition of rice wax in the formula helps give the mascara some stick so it doesn't slip and slide off my lashes. Trust, this will stay all day. Ultimately though, I think that this is for the person who wants their lashes to lash, with fullness and oomph. I apply this sparingly, like a single brush through my lashes. If you're also more of a natural-lash person, I'd recommend the Eyeko Fiber Mascara in Brown, my go-to for everyday." -Megan Decker, Refinery29 Beauty Editor
"If there’s one makeup product that makes me look and feel more awake, it’s voluminous mascara. As a freckly gal, I keep my summer makeup minimal, so it’s up to my lashes to do the heavy lifting to complete my everyday look. Benefit’s newest mascara, Fan Fest, has been my go-to since I tried it for the first time a few weeks ago – I currently have several new mascaras at home I want to test, but I’ve found myself reaching for the textured black tube day after day. My favorite feature is the brush: it’s slightly curved and a bit tapered at the end, making it easy to swipe on either all at once or with more precision.
Also, for those wondering how this mascara might hold up after tears, you’re in luck, because I had a brief (and silly) cry one evening — I was pleasantly surprised to find that my face was nearly mess-free after a quick wipe. No one likes a streaky mascara face (unless it’s glamorous with a chilly martini in hand!). My only gripe with Fan Fest is that $28 is higher than I’d like to pay, but if you’re looking for a splurge, or if you take your mascara as seriously as I do, it’s definitely worth it." -Annie Black, Refinery29 Social Editor
"My reaction after trying Benefit's Fan Fest mascara? Holy lashes. As I've mentioned in other reviews, I hit the lash jackpot and have been genetically blessed with naturally long, lush eyelashes. I honestly skip mascara most days, but when I want to give my lashes a boost, I like a lightweight, non-volumizing formula that won't weigh my eyes down. (I'm a fan of tubing formulas for their buildable length and easy removal.) I know my way around Benefit's family of mascaras, and count Roller Lash and They're Real! among my faves. However, neither holds a candle to Fan Fest. I feel like it was literally created for me (Writer's note: It wasn't!), since the combination of lengthening and defining is all I've ever wanted in a mascara. At $28, she's expensive — but listen, she makes your lashes look expensive, too. (I even told Megan that I felt like a Disney princess with this mascara on.) Honestly, Benefit knocked it out of the park with this one." – Karina Hoshikawa, Refinery29 Senior Writer
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