Friday, May 19, 2006

Mascara Review: Bobbi Brown’s Everything Mascara

Graphic created by Katie at Scentzilla

I bought this mascara as an impulse purchase several months ago, along with the Pink Shimmer Brick Compact and the Pot Rouge for Lips and Cheeks in Flushed Pink. I was feeling ready for spring (mind you, it’s taking its time getting here this year, too), so I thought these purchases might freshen things up a bit. The few things I’ve bought from that line, I have mostly enjoyed, although I am not really a fan of the lipstick. Her makeup doesn’t draw me in the way MAC or Chanel does (I own lots of MAC, no Chanel, but I love to look and dream), but she does make good basics, and what’s more basic than mascara?

And besides, this mascara does EVERYTHING! Not only will it lengthen, thicken, and condition your lashes, but it will pick up your dry cleaning, vacuum your living room, and cook you dinner at night!


Here’s what says about Everything Mascara: “Formulated to lengthen, thicken, and define for maximum fullness. Conditions and strengthens soft lashes. The formula won’t flake, smudge, or clump.” Hm, like it says—everything. Wait: except curling. It says nothing about curling, so get out the old eyelash curler if that’s part of the “everything’ you want from your mascara.

As far as color, I tested the dark brown. I think it’s important to note this because I honestly believe that the color makes a difference. Brown and black mascaras behave the differently. Brown mascaras tend to feel thinner, not coat lashes as well, and not hold lashes in place as well. (The only exception to this: Maybelline’s Full & Soft mascara, in any color, both regular and waterproof.)

This mascara comes in a basic black tube. The brush is about an inch long and slightly tapered at the end. It seems to be designed so that all the extra mascara ends up in a little blob at the end of the brush, so it’s easy to remove with a tissue. The brush itself has evenly spaced bristles that spiral down the brush, instead of being layered separately, like branches on an artificial Christmas tree. (I don’t know why, but most mascara brushes make me think of Christmas trees.)

My general routine, because of the wonky left eyelashes, is to comb my lashes, then curl them, and then comb again, and then apply mascara. The Everything Mascara goes on very smoothly. I rarely have problems with dots or clumps as I apply. It definitely defines my lashes very nicely, but I would not say it thickens them much. Again, this could be because I am using the brown, which may be a thinner formula than the black. It does give nice, even coverage. My lashes are long, so I can’t say whether the lengthening claim works or not.

As to the “conditions and strengthens,” I ask you: How would you really know? I mean, when you use bad mascara, you know it. But when you wear a good mascara, how do you know if it is doing anything? I personally believe that the condition of your lashes has much more to do with the remover that you use (and whether you remove your makeup at all!) than with the mascara you wear. I have yet to find one I could definitely say improved my lashes. If you know of one, please tell me!

This formula definitely does not flake at all. However, its claims about no smudging or clumping don’t fare so well. By mid-day, I can usually see little smudges under my eyes—and I generally do not wear mascara on my lower lashes (which are very long, fine and sparse. Remember those adds “Hey spider eyes?!”—that was me they were talking to…). This means the mascara is wearing off a little bit every time I blink, I suppose. As for the clumping, the lashes on my left eye have generally migrated back to their usual positions (lash clique in the middle, chaos on the outside lashes, etc.) by mid-morning. In my book, this is on par with “clumping.” It’s important to me that mascara be able to hold my lashes in place, more or less, and this one doesn’t do that.

I use Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover and a cotton ball to remove my mascara at night (although like Cavewoman, I prefer Almay pads). This mascara comes off very cleanly, and I see no residue in the morning. Again, my lashes don’t seem to be conditioned or strengthened in any way.

Considering that this is $20 a tube, I would say buy L’Oreal Voluminous, or if you want something softer, Maybelline Full & Soft instead. They are both much better for much less money. But if you are loyal to Bobbi Brown and want to give the black version a try, it may fare better. Happy hunting!

Product Rating: 6

*photo from