The Best New Luxury Mascaras

I don’t have an amazing track record with mascara-testing. Firstly, I am massively picky when it comes to what I put on my lashes, which means that I hate most mascaras and quickly become disgruntled when I have to test a whole run of them. (I like my mascaras to be just tacky enough to give volume but not require a blowtorch and chisel to remove, I like the brush to be precise enough not to spread product all over my eyelids but big enough to create lift and length. The list continues but I wouldn’t want you to fall asleep.)

So as I said, I’m picky, which means that I relegate most test samples to the sin bin after a couple of uses, but I’m also sensitive around the eye area which means that I can only test one or two a day before my eyes start streaming and the skin gets red and raw. It’s a slow and arduous process, then, and one that I’ll only drum up the enthusiasm for once in a blue moon.

Fortunately for you (if you’re interested in mascaras!) it’s that blue moon kind of time and I’ve been putting up with eyes that look as though they’ve been weeping battery fluid just so that I can bring you the best of the new luxury mascara launches.

The idea was to rate all of these with scores out of ten for various things like longevity, ease of application, depth of colour, but let’s be frank: they’re all black, none of them come off easily and the wand size and flexibility (hoho) is all about personal preference, so vaguely irrelevant.

But if you have flattish, fine and fair lashes like mine and tend to coat your eyelid in product when applying then you’re in a similar beauty boat to me and you’ll hopefully love these new launches as much as I do.

Charlotte Tilbury Push Up Lashes Mascara, £12/£23 at SpaceNK here*. Best for flat, drab lashes that refuse to go upwards, this really does push up by depositing a load of mascara at the base of the lash before sweeping the volume through to the ends. I find this one the messiest, so be warned on that front if you tend to need an hour to clean up after you’ve put on your mascara! Out of the four this is the one that gives me a tiny but of dropping and flaking towards the end of a long wear, but it’s nothing massively noticeable.

Dior Iconic Overcurl Mascara, £28 at Selfridges here*. I think that this is my favourite of the lot. I’m not sure it beats Dior’s Pump ‘n’ Volume, which is one of the greatest mascaras of all time, but it’s up there. Pump ‘n’ Volume (find it at FeelUnique here*) is like the Batman of mascaras, with its rubbery suit packaging and its ability to coat each and every lash with about a kilo of product without any clumping; the Iconic Overcurl is just ever so slightly more refined. I need to do a side-by-side comparison on these don’t I?

Marc Jacobs At Lash’d Mascara, £25 at Harvey Nichols here*. I’d say that this mascara is perfect for the smaller-lash’d amongst us as the brush is ever-so-slightly more petite. I get the least amount of lid-painting carnage with this one but I still get great volume and brilliant lash separation. For those who can’t abide the formation of those lash-fans that you get when all of your lashes start off nicely separated but then five or six of them join together at the ends to form a super-clump, this is important. Because when you get a lash-fan it follows that you then have to find something sharp and pointy to separate them out again, which inevitably is the pin from one of those freebie hotel sewing kits, and then it’s so fine you can’t actually see it, because you’re long-sighted and anything within a foot of your face is invisible, and then you pierce your own eyeball and it’s all game over and who needs mascara anyway when you have to permanently wear an eye patch.

NARS Climax Extreme Mascara, £22 at SpaceNK here*. Annoying name, because honestly, I’m not a prude, but I don’t want everything to be about sex. What has mascara got to do with sex? Unless you like to groom your private areas with your mascara (brings a new meaning to the term “bottom lashes”), but that would be weird. Anyway, this is a very good mascara with huge volume and a sort of matte, rubbery finish on the lashes rather than a shiny one. You could get away with one coat of this (and the Dior Iconic, come to think of it) but as with most mascaras this really comes into its own on the second.

Watch the video to see all of these mascaras in action – I’m going to do the same thing for some high street launches too, when I get a second and my eyes have recovered. Honestly it’s as though someone’s brillo-padded the skin off my undereyes.

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  1. January 26, 2021 / 5:33 pm

    I love what you’ve picked here. I’m quite picky with my mascaras. Probably because I have short eyelashes.

  2. November 2, 2020 / 10:11 pm

    Grea suggestions, Ruth!
    I had a fabulous experience with Marc Jacobs that I would try a new one from its mascara range again, straight away!

    xoxo and stay safe

  3. Giulia
    October 10, 2020 / 3:11 pm

    Do you have a vegan mascara you can recommend Ruth. ? Xx

  4. October 7, 2020 / 9:15 am

    After trying several luxury brands, I still wanna come back to drug store brands! many thanks to your videos, I think it’s helpful for so many girls.
    All About Gloves Review

  5. October 5, 2020 / 12:36 pm

    That’s a lot of goodness of these products Fingers crossed they expand the color selection.

  6. October 3, 2020 / 5:53 pm

    Loved your picks. I have tried the Marc Jacobs At Lash’d Mascara and it’s just so perfect for my eyes. Will try others too. Thanks for your review…

  7. October 3, 2020 / 2:39 pm

    I’m picky with mascara as well, so I don’t experiment that much. Honestly, when it comes to luxury, I’m probably using a sample! This list is very helpful. I appreciate you giving these a try for us.

    xoxo Amanda |

  8. Claire N
    October 3, 2020 / 5:52 am

    I am allergic to some mascaras, apparently nickel is in some mascaras! I’m allergic to nickel so that figures. I loved Maybelline’s Colossal mascara but in time it irritated my eyelids so badly.

    • October 3, 2020 / 10:54 pm

      Oh that’s interesting! Maybe I am too – I have one necklace that really irritates my neck when I wear it…

  9. Nanaka
    October 1, 2020 / 8:02 pm

    Hahahaha, “bottom lashes” – cannot unread!!!! Comedy gold again! =D

    I rarely stray from my tried and trusted Mac Extended Play Gigablack Lash. Oldie but goodie! No flaking, smudging or spider legs with this. :-) But alas, I am intrigued….

  10. Susan Wilken
    October 1, 2020 / 3:11 pm

    I have discovered after many years of mascara fallout and flaky stuff that using a mascara primer has solved this problem. I no longer have to worry about flakes/fallout.

  11. K.
    October 1, 2020 / 1:39 am

    Oh! Oh! When you try the high street mascaras, you should try Maybelline’s Snapscara. It is awesome. I’m a devoted luxury mascara buyer, but bought some Snapscara on a whim for my travel kit and because I had an expensive tubing mascara I liked a lot (Trish McEvoy) and really wanted to try an inexpensive tubing mascara. It is awesome! I’ve since recommended Snapscara to several friends (who annoyingly refuse to go out and buy it immediately and force me to pester them for months before they buy and try) and the all love it.

    But on to high street mascaras. Love the reviews. I’m so tempted to try Pump ‘n’ Volume because I’m such a sucker for luxury mascara. I think my love for Snapscara will keep me strong though.

    • Potimarron
      October 1, 2020 / 9:19 pm

      When I tried Snapscara I didn’t feel that it was a tubing mascara, just a really water-soluble one (I am a smudger and it smudged). Bargain though, and the sort of nice light coverage that I like. I quite like Beauty Pie Flash False Lash (nice brush and easy to get a fluttery fringe), but that smudges on me too…

      I think mascara is a really subjective thing. My lashes are long and thick, but they’re blond (I don’t know why; the hair on my scalp isn’t) and I too have a tendency to make a mess with big brushes. I like a small skinny brush that I can get right into the roots (blonde roots look a bit rubbish) and a formulation that isn’t too heavy for my bottom lashes (I’m not using two mascaras in the morning).

      For me, The One is No7 Stay Perfect (a tubing one). Nothing I’ve tried since (I am cheap with makeup and often on the lookout for something cheaper) has measured up.

  12. natacha
    September 30, 2020 / 11:05 pm

    I, once, applied mascara on my moustache. It was hilarious.

  13. Sally
    September 30, 2020 / 9:22 pm

    Have you tried the new Hourglass one? I’ve been considering trying it but it’s on the spendy side for a mascara if I don’t get on with it!

    • October 1, 2020 / 9:12 am

      I hated it at first, now I’ve given it another chance and it’s….better….still not sure.

      • Sally
        October 1, 2020 / 9:39 am

        Thanks – I don’t think I’ll bother then! I might try that Maybelline one recommended above instead!

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