SOS: Volumizing Mascara


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Benefit They’re Real! ($23 for full size, mini $10) vs. CoverGirl LashBlast Volume Mascara ($7)

Writing about mascara is difficult because different women have different needs.  Some women need length, others need volume.  Some women like a bristle brush, others prefer a wand.  But most of us are still searching for our perfect mascara.

Splurge.  My Mother and I took a little trip this weekend to see Bonnie Raitt in concert (ah-may-zing) and stop at the Ulta store.  I had never been in an Ulta, so I spent a lot of time roaming the aisles.  One thing I spotted and just had to try was this Benefit They’re Real! Mascara.

I had heard great things about this mascara.  It’s supposed to give you lashes that are beyond belief by volumizing, separating, lengthening and curling.  But the second I opened the bottle, I knew this mascara would disappoint me.

The hair on my lashes, like the hair on my head, is baby fine.  I need LOTS of bristles to grab all those skinny little follicles, and this brush has just a few plastic bristles scattered across the surface.  So while I loved the formula–super dark, lengthening and volumizing–the brush just didn’t do it for me.

My other complaint is that the mascara was difficult to remove.  Even after hitting it with my face wipes, using olive oil and rinshing with water, I still woke up with black smudges on my pillow cases.  Blast!

Save.  I may stray, but I always come back to the Covergirl LashBlast Volumizing Mascara.  Always.

The formula is good–dark, volumizing, not sticky.  (Though I do wish it didn’t smudge.)  The brush has enough bristles to grab my itty-bitty lashes.  And at $7 a tube, I can replace it every 90 days as recommending without feeling like I’m throwing money into the trash heap.

Verdict.  Benefit’s They’re Real! Mascara is a solid B+ performer.  So if you want to try it, buy the $10 mini version and see if it suits your needs.  If you don’t think it’s for you, or you don’t want to become beholden to a $23 mascara, stick with the Covergirl LashBlast.  I am.



  1. Amy says:

    I've also been a fan of Rimmel ScandalEyes; it's similar to the LashBlast but comes in a waterproof version, which is sometimes necessary for a long day in the DC humidity. I'm also curious to try the “lash grow” mascaras from Rimmel and CoverGirl.

    September 6, 2012/Reply
  2. cginnyc says:

    Does it smudge, as in leave marks underneath your eyes? Or just wear off?

    September 6, 2012/Reply
  3. sarah says:

    Laura Mercier mascara is the best. Expensive and worth it.

    September 6, 2012/Reply
  4. Lauryn says:

    I'm with you on the Covergirl LashBlast mascara. I absolutely love it. However, I was curious if you (or any other readers) used mascara primer. I was thinking about picking up the Diorshow Lash Plumping Serum but I am still on the fence. Any experience or recommendations? Thanks!

    September 6, 2012/Reply
    • Melissa says:

      I use a mascara primer – Lancome’s Cils Booster. LOVE it. In my opinion, worth the $22 or whatever it is. It mostly gives you length; I have short little lashes. I like it under a defining or volumizing mascara.

      July 7, 2013/Reply
  5. Wendy says:

    An FYI – save your receipt at Ulta and take it back if it doesn't work for you — I love their return policy and I am still on the hunt for the perfect mascara.

    September 6, 2012/Reply
  6. AttiredAttorney says:

    Agreed on the lashblast! It's my holy grail mascara.

    September 6, 2012/Reply
  7. Capitol Hill Barbie says:

    That is funny, I am the exact opposite! I really like the Benefit and loathe the Lash Blast. I do wish that the brush on the Benefit mascara was different, I prefer the older bristle brushes to the new plastic ones, but otherwise I like it. My trick to getting it off is washing my face first, then using the Almay makeup remover pads to get the rest.

    September 6, 2012/Reply
  8. b23 says:

    I hated the They're Real mascara. It was IMPOSSIBLE to remove, no matter what I did. I also didn't like the brush – it made my lashes stick together so I only had like four lashes total. I totally agree with you on that one. Now I just need to try the save option! I use Dior Show but wouldn't mind a cheaper option.

    September 6, 2012/Reply
  9. SC says:

    I got a free sample of the They're Real. Hated it. Wouldn't even give it a B+. More like a D.

    I use Dior Show but I too feel like I'm always searching for the perfect mascara.

    September 6, 2012/Reply
  10. McO says:

    LOVE LashBlast. I don't even look at more expensive brands anymore!

    September 6, 2012/Reply
  11. EK says:

    Love Fresh mascara at Sephora – they sell a sample size duo of both formulas in the sample section near the checkout, so it's easy to figure out which you prefer (or layer them, as I have). One thickens, the other lengthens.

    September 6, 2012/Reply
  12. Govvie says:

    You never fail to surprise me, Belle! Bonnie Raitt is a Blues goddess! Glad to read your musical taste is in line with the sartorial.

    September 6, 2012/Reply
  13. LB says:

    Huge fan of Covergirl LashBlast Fusion! I've tried so many others, but I always end up back with CGLBF!

    September 7, 2012/Reply
  14. Jess D says:

    You know, they now make a Lash Blast 24 hour formula – it may help with the smudging issue… I just licked up a tube today to see if I like it better than the Benefit, which I love, but hate spending that much on mascara…

    September 8, 2012/Reply