I Finally Found My Mascara To End All Mascaras (And I've Tried Them All)

Along the way I’ve tried both drugstore and high-end formulas, bounced between black and brown, and watched countless YouTube reviews.
Publish date:
May 30, 2014
shoppables, chanel, mascara, eye makeup, lashes, tight lining

I never had a “no-makeup” rule in my house growing up. Come to think of it, I had very few rules growing up. I routinely experimented with makeup from the cosmetics aisle at the Rite Aid on Sunset Blvd. It was my pre-teen hang spot, and I spent hours sitting on the floor laughing with my friends. I can’t believe they never kicked us out for painting our nails with non-trial products or dripping ice cream on the displays.

A standout early Pia beauty moment was captured in my 6th grade school photo. I wore an orange thrifted Fubu t-shirt to offset my metallic green liquid eyeliner from the early years of Urban Decay. This was around the same time that I started to truly embrace the importance of the lash. I was moving on from the crusty pink and green tube of Maybelline that my aunt left in my bathroom a few years prior -- and was starting to deeply analyze what mascara could really do for my lackluster lash line.

Along the way I’ve tried both drugstore and high-end formulas, bounced between black and brown, and watched countless YouTube reviews. I was confused and frustrated. Every tube that promised tons more volume and length actually delivered meh and flakey. I even tried some of those weird chubby drugstore tubes of mascara. (Why did advertising companies think that women wanted their mascaras to resemble toddler’s teething toys?)

Now, if you look at this before photo you can see that finding effective mascara is a tall order. My lashes are just as sparse and short as they appear. I don’t have those beautiful long lashes that are blonde at the tips and need little bit of tinting to spruce them up. I would get lash extensions if I had the time -- but I work six days a week and can't even fit my way-overdue waxing/haircut/hair dye appointments into my schedule.

Personal lash aesthetic varies wildly, from those of you who prefer subtle brown mascara to others who love to pile on coat after coat of Diorshow for spider lashes that rival Kardashian falsies. I look for a “wet” formula to avoid clumps and flakes, and I prioritize length over volume. I never do waterproof for fear of late-night eye scrubbing sessions, so I need a formula that doesn't cause raccoon eyes regardless. Oh, and I want this all in one tube. I simply plug my fingers in my ears and sing loudly when makeup artists claim that you need a minimum of two mascaras to achieve an ideal look.

So where did I find my mascara to end all other mascaras (for the moment)? CHANEL, obvi. Specifically the tube is called Inimitable Intense Mascara Multi-Dimensionnel Sophistiqué ($30). Designer cosmetics and under-picked vintage stores are the only places that I can afford products from coveted design houses. Knowing that I can walk out of the house with at least a little bit of Chanel on my lash line -- or maybe Guerlain on my lips or Dior sprayed behind my ears and on my wrists -- makes me feel glam even when I’m in a tank and shredded jeans.

On to the review! The brush is plastic with short and decently full bristles. I don’t swear by either plastic or spoolie brushes as I’ve had success with both, but this one seems to work well for busting clumps and creating an even, buildable application. The formula is decently “wet” and super, super black, making it good for use with heavier eye makeup looks. I’ve found dull mascara can easily fade into oblivion even against a mild brown smoky eye.

With one simple coat, this mascara lengthens greatly, yet the bristles separate lashes so that volume and thickness are maintained. I have a natural lash curl, so I can’t speak to its curling power. (Isn't that what those scary clampy things are for? I have never used one.) I can say that Chanel doesn't weigh down or diminish curl at the very least.

The wear on this mascara is great. It comes in a waterproof version, as well for those of you that need it, but I found the non-waterproof lasts for ages. There is very, very minimal flaking by the end of a 10-hour work day, but much less than any other mascara I've tried, and there are zero smudges. Removal is easy, and I've found it comes off with any method including cleansing water, balm, or your regular face wash.

For a little extra oomph, I tightline my upper water line with Laura Mercier Tightline Cake Eye Liner ($23). It creates the illusion of a fuller lash line with minimal product. I could write a whole article on tightlining, but when you get over the initial hesitation of sticking a brush into your eyeball, it’s really quite fool proof.

What mascara do you use? What luxury cosmetics do you swear by?