+ Makeup

Hello, Darkness, My Old Friend

When Max Factor closed their U.S. operation, I was heartbroken.  Their 2000 Calorie Mascara had been my mascara of choice for nearly 15 years.  And once my small stockpile ran out, I was forced to go looking for a suitable replacement.  

Over the course of two years, I tried and was disappointed by dozens of brands.  DiorShow was a flop.  BadGal Lash was just bad.  And Benefit “They’re Real” was full of broken promises.  

Smudgy.  Clumpy.  Sticky.  Crusty.  Nasty and drying.  Every mascara I tried only strengthened my longing for 2000 Calorie.

So imagine the giddy, Bieber-fan girl cheers that filled my apartment last Wednesday when three tubes of 2000 Calorie arrived on my doorstep. 

After my recent experience with Benefit “They’re Real” Mascara, a reader dropped me an e-mail and said: “I see you are also a fan of Max Factor 2000 Calorie.  You know that you can buy it on Amazon, don’t you?  Airmail is pricey.  But worth it.”

I stared at my screen for a moment, and asked myself, “What kind of person orders mascara from Europe?”  

The voice in my head replied, “The kind of person who has wasted hundreds of dollars on disappointing mascaras.”

Good point.

So I trotted over to Amazon, and ordered three tubes.  Two for myself, one for my Mother, who also longed for the good ole’ days.  Cost? $30 for the mascara, $10 for the shipping.

During the two weeks before my package arrived, I wondered whether the mascara would be as good as I remembered.  Had they changed the formula?  Because if things went wrong, I wouldn’t just be disappointed — I’d be heartbroken.  And out $40.

The morning after the package arrived, I applied my makeup as usual and reached for the tube of 2000 Calorie with a mix of excitement and trepidation.  The formula was just as glossy and thick as I remembered.  The color, as black as could be.  The application, as smooth as glass.  

After two good coats, I examined my lashes.  Full.  Dark.  Lightly curled at the ends.  Perfect.  And I thought to myself, “Hello, my old friend, I’ve missed you desperately.”

While CoverGirl LashBlast is as close to a replacement as I have ever found state side, my primary complaint about that mascara is that by the end of the day, my lower lids are covered in worn off mascara.  Something about the formula just does not stay put forcing me to touch up my under-eye makeup several times per day.

The Max Factor can be worn for four hours or fourteen hours and it never smudges a bit.  Not one fleck appears on my lids, even after a long night.  In short, this mascara is exactly as I remember.  Glorious.

Don’t get me wrong, I admit that buying drugstore cosmetics from overseas is a bit over the top.  But I can either buy the product I love and pay through the nose for shipping, or I can continue to waste money on so-called miracle mascaras that go right into the trash.  For me, the choice is simple.  

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  1. Lexi says:

    I loved this mascara too! Thanks for the tip! I wonder though, if it is indeed available in drugstores overseas, if friends there might send it to you? Send them something pumpkiny in exchange!?

    September 25, 2012/Reply
  2. m says:

    I will never use any mascara except for Shu Uemura waterproof black mascara. Every other brand I've ever tried, no matter how inexpensive or costly, has too-quickly gotten gunky in the tube and clumpy on the wand, which grosses me out to no end. I mean, that stuff sits next to my eyeballs all day.

    I don't know how people deal with non-waterproof. It's harder to get off (though cleansing oil takes it off in a snap) but it means no run-off during the day. I've been in meetings with colleagues where I've completely lost track of the conversation because I'm distracted by (and silently judging) someone's raccoon eyes.

    September 25, 2012/Reply
  3. The New Diplomat's Wife says:

    let me know if you want me to pick up any for you in person when traveling, it's not a problem.

    September 25, 2012/Reply
  4. SC says:

    Belle, do you know how long mascara stays good in the tube before it's opened? I know you're only supposed to keep opened mascara for two months. But how long unsealed? And do you store it in the fridge? Just wondering b/c you could always buy a year's worth and save on shipping that way too.

    September 25, 2012/Reply
  5. IM says:

    I have also been searching for the holy grail of mascaras and I, too, have tried them all. I recently picked up Trish McEvoy's High Volume Mascara and while it doesn't give me the incredible lashes I get when I use DiorShow, it does not budge. I think it might be a similar formulation to the Blinc mascara (although I have never tried that one)because it kind of disintegrates with soap and water. No eye makeup remover necessary. I have started using it as my “go-to” daytime mascara because I can wear it for 18 hours and no raccoon eyes.


    September 25, 2012/Reply
  6. Anon says:

    Belle, which one in particular did you buy? the one with the curved brush in your picture? The link goes to an amazon search.


    September 25, 2012/Reply
  7. Ms. B says:

    Hallelujah!!!!! Thank you Jesus! and thanks Belle for coming to your Mother's rescue before she hits the road for the next four months. Thank you times three!

    September 25, 2012/Reply
  8. anon says:

    I am quite happy with my Lancome. Long, thick, separate lashes, no raccoon eyes at the end of the day. I have even left it on through a sweaty workout and it barely, barely budged. And no, it is not a nightmare to remove, either. Worth every penny.

    September 25, 2012/Reply
  9. NH says:

    My shipping was only 3.99?

    September 25, 2012/Reply
  10. a. says:

    Belle – mentioned this on twitter (and i swear i'm not some salon shill!) but have you thought about semi-perm eyelash extensions? I got them a few months ago and they are magic. They don't do weird funky things to your eyes like latisse but you always have gorgeous, curled eyelashes. I literally do nothing but brush them out with the little clean mascara wand and poof large lashes. as someone who was constantly on the lookout for the worlds best mascara, I now never wear any and get tons of compliments on my eyes (your choice if you cop to them being falsies or not…) just another alternative to consider.

    September 25, 2012/Reply
  11. Cher says:

    Oh man. This is my favorite mascara of all time as well. For a while you could buy it from drugstore.com, but no more. I've been trying forever to find a replacement, but so far everything is a fail. I may have to look to ebay or have a friend buy me a huge stash when he returns home from London. I hope he knows how to buy mascara. =/

    September 25, 2012/Reply
  12. EBC says:

    AMEN to all the praise for 2000 calorie mascara. Thank you for the tip!

    September 25, 2012/Reply
  13. Jess says:

    Not that you'll be trying this any time soon since your beloved MF is here, but CG Lash blast now comes in a 24 hr formula (black tube) and it doesn't budge throughout the day!

    September 25, 2012/Reply
  14. Aimee L says:

    I have never tried this mascara, but I feel like I'm on a similar quest for a great, black, smudgeproof mascara. I've actually tried the L'Oreal Voluminous mascara and it is soft and super dark black and glossy and clump-free, which I love. So far, so good!

    September 26, 2012/Reply
  15. Kristy says:

    this is my favourite mascare too, and luckily it's readily available here in Australia. Unfortunately though prices for makeup are hugely more expensive and a single tube costs $20, so you've actually gotten a better deal than I could get despite the shipping costs!

    September 26, 2012/Reply
  16. Amanda says:

    I thought I was the only person obesssed with this mascara! I confess to having stockpiled it when I heard MF was leaving the US. I still have 8 or so tubes left. It's been, what? Two years? And they're still fine. (Still sealed in the package, obviously.)

    I have found a Lancome mascara that is nearly as good (which one is escaping me, though), but it's still not qutie the same.

    September 27, 2012/Reply