Ask Belle: Beauty Product Quickies

Sep 8, 2014

Hi Belle!

I’m lucky to be going on vacation next month to Hawaii, and started looking for a sunscreen I could use around my eyes without it potentially running/stinging. Have you tried any you like or have any particular formulations you didn’t like?  Love the blog, thanks for all you do! 


I have tried and can recommend the Shiseido sunscreen for the eye area, it has 34 SPF.  I used Supergoop Advanced Anti-Aging Eye Cream (SPF 37) on a recent trip and liked that too.  And if you need something under-$25, Garnier’s eye-lifting anti-wrinkle cream has SPF 15.

Dear Belle,

Can you recommend a good detangler? I’m growing out my hair and the longer it gets the more it snarls.  Thanks!


Aren’t tangles the worst?  To combat them, I use Not Your Mother’s Lock Luster spray.  It’s $6, has argan oil to condition and keeps my hair tangle free.  Which, when you use a round brush, is very important.

Hi Belle,

I saw your Tweet about how you’re searching for a new mascara.  Any contenders?  

Good luck in law school! Gina

Thus far, my quest to replace my beloved Max Factor 2000 Calorie mascara with something sold stateside has been mostly a bust.

I tried to the new Lancome Grandiose mascara, which the woman at Sephora swore would give me gorgeous lashes.  It was fine, but I don’t pay $32 for fine.  Also, by the end of the day it was all on my lower lids.

On a reader suggestion, I tried the L’Oreal Telescopic Mascara.  If length is your issue, give it a whirl.  It definitely made my lashes longer, but the problem for me is volume, not length.

I also bought the Tom Ford mascara–because I love his liquid eyeliner like a mother loves a child–but immediately realized that a $44 mascara habit is not sustainable and returned it unopened.

Next on my list is the L’Oreal Voluminous Manga Mascara.  I hated buying something that embraces making women look like living cartoon characters, but for bombshell lashes, I’m willing to overlook it.  I’ll keep you posted.  If you have a mascara recommendation, please leave it in the comments.

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  1. Susannah says:

    I always go back to L’Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black and Tarte Lights Camera Lashes. I layer Anastasia Lash Genius on top for waterproofing.

  2. Katie says:

    I have tried lots of high end mascaras, and while I loved some of them, I keep coming back to the CoverGirl LashBlast Fusion (the purple one). I have both the regular formulation and the waterproof. I, too, have long lashes, but they aren’t very voluminous or thick. Give it a try!

  3. Casper says:

    Maybelline full and soft mascara

  4. mags says:

    I really like the clinique lash doubler- they give it to you in the sample gift sets all the time and with careful application, it’s almost perfect. I also like the “full and soft” line- I think it’s maybelline- in a black tube with silver cap– it makes my lashes look naturally volumninous, but it doesnt have much staying power.

    • Emily says:

      +1, although I think I generally go for “lengthening” more than “thickening” – not sure exactly where this one falls other than in my “yep” category

      I lost mine for a few days and used a mascara I used to use – I had no idea it was so terrible! Made me find that Clinique…

  5. Robin says:

    I can recommend the SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50 for the face. It has exclusively titanium and zinc oxide and importantly, is very lightweight and does not aggravated acne in my acne prone skin. I had to unfortunately replace by beloved Josie Maran Argan sunscreen when they changed the formulation and this works well.

  6. Rocky says:

    I LOVE Benefit’s they’re real! Mascara – it doesn’t clump, never runs, and adds so much length!

  7. LeslieJeannene says:

    I second the Maybelline Full & Soft I have used it for years – the waterproof one….though I have recently been using Bobbi Brown Everything Mascara and I love it, I’m not sure I can justify $25 mascara.

  8. R says:

    I really like the Makeup Forever Smoky lashes I think it’s called? I’ve tried other mascaras but I keep coming back to this one!

  9. JB says:

    I swear by my waterproof Maybelline Full N Soft!

  10. Andrea G says:

    My mascara splurge is always Laura Mercier Full Blown Volume Supreme mascara. It doesn’t budge yet doesn’t make my lashes feel stiff or brittle. It is $25 so I don’t buy it regularly, but every time I come back to it after using drug store for a while I think “damn this really is superior.” Plus LM is cruelty-free :).

  11. SNP says:

    L’oreal Voluminous False Fiber lashes…kicked my Lancome and Dior mascaras to the curb.

  12. Bunny says:

    CoverGirl LashBlast Clump Crusher!

    • Sarah says:

      Covergirl Lash Blast and Clump Crusher, and Maybelline the Colossal work fantastically for me and prove that there is zero need to spend more on other mascaras that give the same effect. I can’t reason spending that money on something I need to be replacing every few months!

  13. Claire says:

    I never leave the house without mascara and so far, Estee Lauder’s Sumptuous Extreme is my favorite for balancing cost & performance… I got their Lash Primer Plus as a gift with purchase and it’s amazing, but not worth adding $24 to my mascara habit.

  14. AM says:

    My everyday mascara is Smashbox Full Exposure. It has a great balance of volume and length.

  15. RCR says:

    Bare Minerals Lash Domination has been, hands down, my favorite mascara since I started using it over a year ago. I tend to bounce around between different ones, but not since trying it. It’s volumizing, lengthening, kohl black (which I need for my extremely blonde eyelashes), and lasts all day without flaking or giving me raccoon eyes. All that for only $18!

  16. MK says:

    Clinique’s superdefense age defense eye sunscreen. I have sensitive skin and sensitive, dry eyes, and I have had zero problems with it. It also has brighteners in it, which wake up the eye area a bit.

  17. swampette says:

    I have also been on the great mascara hunt. I used to swear by Benefit’s Bad Gal Plum – I thought it was a good basic mascara that emphasized my green eyes without actually looking like I was wearing purple mascara. Then, of course, they discontinued it. Let’s see, what have I tried since?

    YSL Faux Cils – looked like one massive clump
    Lancome Definicils – meh. length is not my issue either, and this doesn’t help with volume.
    Dolce and Gabbana The Mascara – another massive clump
    Dior Diorshow – This was clumpy and smelly (like, heavily scented) and I think I only ended up using it for a couple weeks. Ugh, I might try it again just to see if I gave up too soon.
    Buxom Lash – This is pretty decent. Not as volumizing as I would like, but not clumpy either. And it did add some volume.
    Tarte Lights Camera Lashes – This is what I’m using now. It’s underwhelming. Pretty clumpy, and flaky. Not so bad that I’ll throw it away before it’s empty, but I definitely won’t come back to it again.

  18. Lisa says:

    One of my favorite volumizing mascaras is Essence I love Extreme volume mascara. It’s also pretty cheap, so trying it won’t set you back. One of my favorite youtube beauty gurus blogged about it a while back.

  19. Rachel says:

    My favorite mascara is Nyx’s Doll Eyes volumizing. Doesn’t flake, holds a curl well, and builds volume without looking too clumpy or fake.

  20. Lindsey says:

    Bad Gal Lash by Benefit. Great volume, does not take a bottle of makeup remover to take off, one coat is appropriate for work and two coats takes you to drinks. It has been my workhorse for years.

  21. SM says:

    I got talked into the Givenchy mascara with the wand that has three balls on it. It was pricey but I LOVE it! It is buildable without clumps.

  22. M.L. says:

    Benefit Bad Gal is great – but I always had to use a good makeup remover to get it off. If you prefer to skip that step, I’ve been happy with Photo Op Eye Brightening Mascara from Smashbox.

  23. Mel says:

    I love Maybelline Colossal Volume Express. It doesn’t clump or flake and makes my lashes full and long.

  24. Ashley says:

    The Armani one is supposed to be amazing – I’ve been dying to try it!

  25. Susanna says:

    I really love BareMinerals Lash Domination mascara. Doesn’t smudge or flake. The key for full and long looking lashes is really the wiggle and twist method that they instruct you to use!

  26. Anon says:

    I tried the Givenchy with 3 balls, but preferred the one that has only one (Phenomen’Eyes) – and that is the one I keep going back to. I was recommended Lancome Precious Cells by a make-up artist, but I don’t like it as much.

  27. k-t says:

    Coppertone Sport lotion is the only sunscreen I have found that is sweatproof for long, hot days in the sun (or snow). It doesn’t seem to make me breakout, either. Coppertone Waterbabies (original, not the “Pure” version) is a close second. Everything else rubs or sweats off, or emits fumes that irritate my eyes under goggles or sunglasses. Warning: don’t get it on white clothing, as it will stain. So put it on, let it dry, then get dressed.

  28. Katelyn says:

    I was using Korres Volcanic mascara, which I thought was good. That is, until I tried Benefit’s They’re Real! Mascara. It comes with application instructions for a fuller, longer effect. Love it!

  29. A.J. says:

    I use Tarte’s Gifted Amazonian clay mascara ($20) as it is pretty much the only thing that doesn’t irritate my eyes any more. I can’t say much about the volume it provides…I guess it’s adequate? Honestly the mascara bar is pretty low for me now…as long as it doesn’t break me out in a rash around my eyes, I consider it worthy.

  30. K.Q. says:

    I fourth (?) Maybelline full and soft mascara too!

  31. Amanda says:

    I’ve been on the great mascara hunt for what seems like forever, it ended two months ago when I finally tried what my aesthetician sister had been recommending for years — CoverGirl Lashblast mascara (the orange tube). Lots of volume and length, VERY little clumping.

  32. IMC says:

    I wear Armani Eyes to Kill Mascara and although it’s expensive, I will keep rebuying it. It is one of the few mascaras that doesn’t give me racoon eyes within just a few hours, while still washing off easily. I’ve found that drugstore brands cause tons of brakage, while the Armani mascara has made my lashes softer, longer, and more full.

  33. KB says:

    I also love the Maybelline Full and Soft mascara!

  34. Claire says:

    I love my blinc mascara! Its waterproof and it does not smudge. It gives my lashes just enough volume and length. I used to like Dior but I always ended up poking my eyes out while applying and it smudged.

  35. Yael says:

    I’ve been loving the Blinc Amplified mascara. It isn’t super volumizing, but it never flakes and only comes off with warm water (but not my tears at a recent wedding). It is expensive, but I love it.

    I hated the L’Oreal ones that I tried – they were very scented.

    • Robin says:

      +1 on Blinc!

    • B says:

      YES! Blinc Amplified all the way.

      I don’t need much in the way of length either, but do like some volume. I used to use orange tube CoverGirl and it gave me awesome volume but combined with my long lashes and lash curler, it would leave unsightly mascara marks on my upper lids below my eyelashes.

      Curl lashes and use the primer first. Yes, buying a separate tube of primer makes the overall cost more expensive, but I just use one quick coat, and the tube lasts a long time.

      Then use the Blinc mascara. Apply as much as you need; it never, ever, ever clumps. The lack of clumping by itself really opens up the eye and gives the illusion of volume, and the primer volumizes the individual lashes.

  36. Katy says:

    Dior Show mascara is the best!

  37. L says:

    My trick is I use the MAC prep and prime for lashes first. Let it dry and use a clean wand to fluff them so they’re not overly gunky. Then add any mascara. It’s amazing.

  38. KM says:

    Belle, there is a video ad on the right sidebar that automatically blares music upon opening your page – can you have it removed or at least silenced? Very annoying.

  39. Katie says:

    As someone who also loved MaxFactor’s 2000 calorie mascara (which I can sometimes still find at either Family Dollar or Dollar General in my tiny hometown in rural Virginia, so it might be worth it to check out your local dollar store), I’ve been very happy with the classic Maybelline Great Lash (in the pink tube) in blackest black with the big brush. I even like it better than Benefit’s They’re Real and some random Chanel mascara that I bought on a whim.

  40. Amy says:

    I LOVE Prescriptives False Eyelashes Plush Mascara. I want something that lengthens and thickens and this mascara does the trick without clumping. Who would have thought? I got a free tube of it one time and now it’s the only mascara I buy!

    Also… not pertinent to this post… but congrats on the Dean’s List!!!

  41. Alaina says:

    I love Benefit They’re Real! mascara. It’s not waterproof, but it doesn’t get goopy or clumpy and makes my lashes look fuller and longer.

  42. Sarah says:

    To the sunscreen question. I’ve always has problems with sunscreen on my face making my eyes painfully water (even specific face ones). I now have Dermalogica as my skin care products. They make a sunscreen booster for you to mix with moisturizer. It’s in a separate little bottle. I use it on my face for exercise outdoors and it never hurts my eyes even if I get super sweaty. It was a real problem until this. I don’t really put it on my eye area though as sunglasses cover that. It really solved that problem for me.

  43. Katherine says:

    Japanese mascaras work well. I like the heroine waterproof one

  44. Nicole says:

    I highly recommend Eyeko’s Black Magic mascara.
    At $24 I think it’s reasonable, particularly because I don’t think it dries out quickly like a lot of other mascaras. You can get it through Sephora or Birchbox so it can add towards points if you acquire those on either site.
    I think it both lengthens and thickens, and it lasts all day. I have always dealt with smudging and could not find a drug store mascara that didn’t smudge every. I find it comes off best with eye makeup remover or Bioderma (which I also highly recommend).

    • Caroline says:

      I second Eyeko. I received a full-size tube in by Birbhbox months ago and it still works well. It hasn’t dried out in the tube and is still not flaking onto my face. Downside is that it takes more than 5 minutes to dry once I apply. If I forget that I put it on and accidentally rub my eye, I than have to remove and start all over.

  45. Susie says:


    From time to time I will try a new mascara . But day in day out I always have a tube of Clinique high impact mascara, the original one, not the one with the HUGE brush. Along with MAC Extended Play Lash. Love the blog…..

  46. JenniferD says:

    I’ve used the drugstore staple Maybelline Great Lash (not waterproof) for years. It’s been around since the dawn of drugstore makeup, so I don’t think it’s going anywhere 🙂 I use the clear formula as a brow tamer and as mascara on the weekends when I’m just going to the grocery store. And I keep a tube of Great Lash waterproof around for the pool or a funeral . . . no, really, you want waterproof 🙁

  47. Meg says:

    I used to use Benefit’s ‘They’re Real!’ but tried Mally on a whim and love it for volume. ‘They’re Real!’ gives clean and well defined lashes for sure but I’ve found myself reaching for Mally when I want a bit more volume. I’d like the packaging to be just a bit neater but really can’t complain otherwise! (note: regardless of the mascara I use, I always put on at least two coats) link:

  48. jlee says:

    I highly recommend the Loreal Miss Manga mascara! I bought it on a whim and it has replaced my love for Benefit’s “They’re Real.” It’s easier to remove and really gives both beautiful volume and length. Give it a go!

  49. Trista says:

    I think only one person so far has also reccomended this, but Tarte’s Lights. Camera. Lashes! is the best mascara for me. It doesn’t irritate my eyes, it stays put, and it looks phenomenal. If you don’t want to commit to a $20 tube, Ulta sells a sample size for $10.

    • Carolyn says:

      I’ll second Tarte’s. No eye irritation and doesn’t smudge. Also, comes off easily with makeup remover. If you’re looking for volume and plump, it does the trick.

  50. aruiz says:

    Dior Iconic Overcurl is an amazing mascara that has been under the radar for sometime – likely bc all the other Dior formulas are *gasp* garbage. With a $28 dollar price tag it is a little steep, but unlike most mascaras this bad boy WILL LAST 6 months!! I am on my third tube and haven’t looked back!

  51. Kristiina says:

    Too bad there is no clear winner in the comments…it would make things easier! I figured I’d add to the pile and mention that I love l’oreal’s voluminous line. I used to use just the voluminous one, but upgraded to voluminous million lashes about two years ago. I’ve tried others, but nothing compares for me.

  52. Liz says:

    Can you take that loud MBFW NY ad off of the right column? It comes on suddenly and so loudly, lets the boss know I’ve gone online. Must avoid.

  53. Joules says:

    I’ve honestly always been happy with my run of the mill covergirl mascara. Easy, cheap, no problems.

    Style by Joules

  54. rar says:

    Absolutely love Too Faced Size Queen mascara. It is messy (I always have to use a q-tip to clean up above and below), but I’ve never found anything better for length and volume. The brush is huge and really grabs on to your lashes, and I’ve never really had problems with it clumping my lashes or flaking off under my eyes.

  55. Cass says:

    Mascara obviously is a hot topic with a lot of us. 🙂

    I use either Benefit’s They’re Real or I just tested out the new Josie Maran’s Argan Black Oil. Both give similar amazing results, without being way too expensive. Black Oil claims it does all the big points (lengthen, curls, volumizing) – I’ve just noticed that it totally plumps up my lashes and holds the curl if I’ve curled my lashes.

  56. Rachel says:

    I too look for volume over length, and i keep coming back to my “Maybelline Volum’ express the falsies”. Purple tube with teal writing. Personal preferance is not waterproof and i never have issues with running or flaking. Coats well and i like the spoon shaped brush!

  57. AM says:

    Bourjois, if it’s sold in the US. It’s drugstore cheap but very good quality, I keep going back to it. I do like Benefit’s They’re Real but agree with some readers, it’s a pain to remove. Also have liked MAC zoomlash mascara for volume (can also be a bit messy to remove)

  58. Andrea says:

    I use just the primer side of L’Oreal Double Extend to make my lashes longer, followed by Covergirl LashBlast. I always come back to LashBlast after trying new mascaras, and adding the primer mascara seems to be a winning combo for length AND volume.

  59. Emily says:

    I have tried several different mascaras, but one I keep coming back to is Benefit’s They’re Real. One thing I always recommend with any mascara though, is a lash primer. I always had issues with mascara rubbing off, but ever since I started using a lash primer, my mascara, no matter what brand, never flakes or melts away.

  60. jules says:

    Urban decay perversion. I got a sample in Ipsy last month and l I loved it enough to replace long time fave, Maybelline great lash.

  61. Sarah says:

    Wow…crazy how many people feel passionately about mascara! Will have to try this lash primer thing…

  62. H.C says:

    Do you have any recommendations on sunscreen for face? I have been using Neutrogena ultra sheer dry-touch for my face and my skin is peellingg?!?!
    Thank you!

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