The quest for a mascara that doesn’t clump or smudge can be a lifelong process. Because I have “deep-set eyes,” which are apparently a thing, smudging is a major issue; it happens on both my top lids and under my eyes. By 3 p.m. or so, I start looking like a party girl at the next day’s brunch, which worked for a long while but doesn’t vibe with the whole having-an-office-job thing I’m trying these days.
About a year ago, I ordered a Sephora Favorites Lashstash To Go Set, which gets you five mini-mascaras for $28. I figured that going on a mascara sampling tour would help me sort the problem once and for all. As beauty deals go, it’s a good one; the mascaras are by Bobbi Brown, IT Cosmetics, Lancôme, Too Faced, and Urban Decay. Each one lasted me about two months. But while a number of them made my lashes look longer, darker, and more defined, each one gave me that post-party smudge within a few hours.
It turns out it’s just as they say: When you stop looking, you find the one. One day, I was trawling Nordstrom for an eyebrow pencil when I met a makeup artist who told me he was bored. He did my whole face for free without pressuring me to buy anything. (Obviously I bought five things; any good salesman knows a sucker when they see one.)
“It turns out it’s just as they say: When you stop looking, you find the one.”
Reader, that man introduced me to Trish McEvoy’s High Volume Mascara, the only mascara on this planet that I enjoy using. The secret is what he called “the tubular formula.” He doesn’t even work for Trish McEvoy; he works for Nars. This mascara is so good he blew past the four hundred tubes of Nars stuff and went to another part of the store to snatch it from the Trish McEvoy people.
What is a tubular formula? I don’t know; I’m just an average person trying to look less stupid, not a beauty editor. The product description says this “revolutionary volumizing mascara forms a water-resistant, 360 degree coating around lashes, dries instantly and cannot smudge or smear. Better than waterproof, the 24-hour formula stays looking freshly applied yet slides off with just warm water without leaving residue.”
This is somehow all true. It doesn’t smudge at all, ever, but it immediately comes off with warm water. And when you rub it off, it even looks different than other mascaras on your Face Halo. (Don’t tell me you’re still using cotton rounds. Get a Face Halo and thank me later.) It comes in a skinny tube that feels like a fancy metal pencil you’d get at an expensive law firm. The brush is super small. It is deeply special, unique—it is the mascara that ends the search.
“It doesn’t smudge at all, ever, but it immediately comes off with warm water.”
Of course, there’s a structural reason why women have to blow their money on a million mascaras to find out which one works best for them and that reason is false advertising. Mascara companies are still using lash inserts and photoshop in their glossy ads. In love with your mascara’s performance? Probably not; so few of us are. But we do love the way those (expensive and false) eyelashes look in ads. We love the photoshop editors who are going back and drawing more lashes on—darkening and lengthening.
After makeup companies were slapped by the National Advertising Division for doing this all the way back in 2013, they put tiny little disclaimers on the bottom that acknowledge their photos do not actually show the product they’re selling. But they’re all still doing it. And if you don’t want to pony up for luxe lash extensions, which can run up to $250 a month, or if you don’t have the dexterity to apply the drugstore inserts yourself every morning, then you have to try all the mascaras to figure out which one actually does what.
It’s not like buying a pair of jeans where you can see the jeans or a blush where you can see the blush. It’s like buying a black box of questions. All that’s to say, skip the expensive and time-consuming search and join me at the end. Trish McEvoy, man. She’s the one.