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Bobbi Brown No Smudge Mascara

Average Rating 4.0/5
68% would buy again
83 reviews

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Review by gingerrama

rated 4 of 5 top reviewer on 11/27/2010 4:49:00 PM More reviews by gingerrama

Age: 36-43 Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Cool Hair: Red, Other, Fine Eyes: Green


Splendid everyday mascara, but ensure purchase from a source who gets in regular supplies; my first experience was an old tube, clumping unforgiveably soon (10 days!!!) after opening. And drying out, and being drying on the lashes. I've rewritten my old review (2010-11-08) after using a new tube bought from a different source; entirely better experience. Though there's still an issue with drying out too fast: perfect for a good 2-3 weeks, downhill from there, unusable at 6. Hence 1 lippie off; alternatives/faves at end of review.

For however long it lasts: a beautiful mascara. Think Clinique Naturally Glossy--my favourite and benchmark for other mascaras--but more volumising, and not only smudge-proof but waterproof. Cruelty-free, vegetarian (I *think* indeed vegan) ingredients, and--FYI if this is an issue for you, not one of mine but I know some folks look for this sort of thing--using a non-paraben preservative.

As waterproof mascaras go, this is also one of the least drying: lashes feel as soft and fluttery as they do with the best two waterproofs I'd found previously, Maybelline Full & Soft and Beauty Without Cruelty, but with less under-eye smudging, better hold, and more volume. I performed my usual tests*: for I live in fear of mascara smudging and running--I'm a redhead with pale lashes, and when this has happened in the past, it's been quite mortifying :(

The "no smudge" aspect is particularly impressive. I have quite dry skin, especially around the eyes, so tend not to smudge from sebum much. But in colder drier weather, I'm using heavier moisturiser than usual under my eyes, including a top-coat of shea butter, and I've had no smudging issues. Other w/ps have, however, been smudging very slightly under the lower lashes by the end of the day.

Short tube and wand--love or loathe, the short handle's great for the short-sighted "blind" application, taking advantage of our great close-up vision. The formula is quite thin and a little dry, in common with many another waterproof mascara. Brush: my favourite kind--very like those of Clinique Naturally Glossy, Origins Fringe Benefits, BWC--short, densely bristled, not too fat. Great for definition and separation, provides some volume.

Applies fast, excellent hold, feels light on the lashes, no flaking, and it is very tenacious indeed. Remove with oil (using a cotton-wool pad or similar). I've had no drying-out and/or falling-out of lashes. But I've seldom experienced either. Only if using something inappropriately wimpy to remove mascara, rubbing too vigorously, or using an overly-drying formula (not met one of them in years).

Application: (1) Just one coat leaves lashes are lovely and feathery, perfectly acceptable for everyday purposes and for those favouring a "less unnatural" look. Though my "one coat" involves coating upper and lower sides of top lashes, down to the roots, which means more than just one layer anyway. Waiting for that to dry then adding a second coat didn't make much difference, other than lashes started to clump and be dry to the touch. If building up, do it without waiting for the lashes to dry between coats: that works fine.

(2) Comb through immediately, as this mascara sets fast (but not as a fast as a tubing one); there will be the odd teeny ball-clump at ends of lashes, easily removed with a fine-toothed metal lash-comb. This is a very non-clumpy mascara, though, and the great brush makes it easy to work with.

(3) As with any decent waterproof mascara, remove any excess from surrounding skin immediately, otherwise it will take forever and a lot of rubbing once it's dried. I always end up with smudgy bits around the eyes, it seems inevitable when getting mascara down to the roots (pale lashes here, avoiding that roots-showing effect).

Cost: It is quite expensive--in the region of CAN 26.00--and dries out quite fast. Hence major peeve if you get a dodgy tube and it dries out in under two weeks...a drugstore mascara is second-rate if it only lasts that long; unforgivable from a pricier one. Not sure if it's worth the hefty price tag.

Alternatives: My main recent favourite mascaras, for reference, have been Clinique Naturally Glossy with Clarins Double' Fix Mascara on top, Maybelline Full & Soft Waterproof, and BWC waterproof (I've also reviewed many another long-term love, ex, brief lust-smiting, and lamented departed). Also Clinique & Bobbi Brown's tubing mascaras.

If you're on more of a budget, try out the F&S and BWC w/p first; though outside the US, F&S is either only available online (with high risk of getting older stock that hasn't travelled well), and BWC is available almost exclusively online. Other viable w/p options with good MUA reviews (but not cruelty-free): Lancôme, L'Oréal Voluminous, some Cover Girl.

INGREDIENTS: isodecane - water - trisiloxane - dimethicone silylate - ptfe - sorbitan olivate - sorbitan tristearate - polyisobutene - kaolin - silica silylate - trihydroxystearin - diisopropyl adipate - carnauba wax - quaternium-90 bentonite - microcrystalline wax - hectorite - cholesterol - caprylyl glycol - propylene carbonate - methicone - hexylene glycol - magnesium salicylate - phenoxyethanol - [ /- mica - iron oxides (ci 77491, 92, 99) - titanium dioxide (ci 77891) - manganese violet (ci 77742) - chromium oxide greens (ci 77288) - chromium hydroxide green (ci 77289) - carmine (ci 75470) - ferric ferrocyanide (ci 77510) - bismuth oxychoride (ci 77163) - ultramarines (ci 77007)]

* Tests: (1) 2 mascaras side-by-side, experiment repeated for each of the 3 mascara combinations. (2) Staying-power: mascara applied a.m., left on all day + overnight: lashes should not be left bent and crumpled the next morning--sign of over-dry mascaras. (3) Further tested waterproofness morning after in shower, making sure not to rub or touch eyes: masca

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