Hello darlings, a while ago we did the battle of the red lipsticks and now it’s time to move on to another staple of retro makeup. Mascara.
And our four competitors are:
Urban Decay’s Perversion: 33AUD at Mecca for full size (this is the sample size in the photo)
Bésame Cosmetics’ 1930’s Mascara: 28 AUD
The Balm’s What’s Your Type – Tall Dark and and Handsome: 24.94 AUD at David Jones
Clio’s Hitch Eye-King Longlash No Smudge Mascara: 20 AUD at W Cosmetics.
I know these might not be the most common brands, but I wanted a range of brands with a retro vibe to them. Both the Balm and Bésame Cosmetics have a very vintage/pinup theme going for them, Urban Decay is a brand ‘makeup gurus’ rave about, and Clio is a brand that doesn’t get much attention in the west.
We’ll be examining how they perform in the following factors: packaging and wand, application, sad panda factor, elegance, and value for money/final verdict.
Packaging and wand:
Urban Decay goes for bold black and purple tones, named the product Perversion, and had the tag line ‘bigger blacker badder’. The tube I’ve got is a metallic dark grey, since it’s the sample size it’s on the small side but it doesn’t appear that the same problem affects the full size. It’s the grip of the wand I’m talking about, not the amount of product. The wand itself is… voluptuous. It’s big and wide. A bit tricky to work with but won’t cause you too much trouble.
Bésame is the polar opposite of the Urban Decay one. It’s very pretty with it’s golden colours and elaborate patterns. The grip is fine. The wand is extremely weird. You can see a photo of it here. It’s a stick with ridges on it. I honestly don’t know if mine is broken or not, because mine is even more stick like than the one seen in the promotional photo. It works well though, which surprised me. It’s easy to avoid getting too much product on the wand, which in turn means that it’s incredibly easy to avoid clumping on the top lashes but a bit trickier to work with the lower lashes. Way better than it looks.
The Balm will forever be the odd one out. This is the kind of packaging that would make things awkward if you were to bring it along when you travel. If you look at the tube itself it’s a lot less in-your-face. It’s black plastic with white text, still gimmicky but not with any weird pictures on it. The wand is fairly thin and the bristles rigid. This means greater control during the application process for me.
Clio has the most generic packaging of the bunch. It’s black and has text on it. No crazy gimmicks beyond a weird name. The tube is sizeable, easy to grip. Just like the Balm it’s a plastic tube as opposed to a metal one. The wand is a pretty standard one, medium sized, no crazy shapes. Soft bristles.
Urban Decay’s Perversion is perhaps the boldest of the bunch. It’s somewhat prone to clumping, but nothing extreme. A coat or two is enough to yield good results. Because the wand is so thick, it’s pretty difficult to apply the product to the innermost part of the lashes without also painting on your skin.
Bésame requires a bit of strategy. You’ll need more layers but have more precision than with most of the others. However, it doesn’t really shape your lashes. I’d recommend using one of those contraptions that look like a hybrid between something you’d find in a slaughterhouse and in a gynaecologist’s examination room. You know, the one’s that curl your lashes. No idea how this type of wand would work with false eyelashes but I think it would be tricky. Poking yourself in the eye is more likely to happen on the lower lashes.
The Balm is pretty straightforward. You don’t need to have a strategy with this product and it’s a very uncomplicated mascara. Sure, you can build it up, but I prefer just one or two coats for daytime activities. Since the wand is on the thin side but still has enough bristles it’s a great combo of control and reach. The one downside is that it sometimes picks up a bit too much product.
Clio is a fiber mascara. Meaning that it will have a different effect than the others. It’s pretty easy to work with but you need to pay attention to any weird gatherings of fibres on the wand before you put it to your lashes. This mascara does a lot of the job for you and one coat is enough. If you’ve never worked with a mascara like this before, it’s a good one to start with since it’s pretty easy to figure out.
Sad Panda Factor
Urban Decay – not a lot of sad panda happening here. Perhaps a mildly concerned panda after a full day’s wear. It’s got a little bit of smudge but nothing extreme. If you do rub your eyes the product will crumble pretty easily, but any smudge that happens as a result of that is quite easy to remove with your finger. Solid product but nothing mind-blowing. Not waterproof.
The Balm – about the same as Urban Decay. Doesn’t crumble as easily.
Clio – zero to little smudge. Has survived both pool parties and showers without suffering any significant damage. Best of the bunch.
Elegance (aka looks)
Urban Decay tries to sell you this whole 50 Shades of Grey image. This mascara wants you to wear it to bed. However, it’s nothing revolutionary. It’s quite big. Very black. Rather badass. It looks good, but don’t expect it to be The Product That Changes Your Lashes Like An Extreme Home Makeover. It tried too hard with the marketing. Looks solid, looks elegant, looks just a little bit heavy. Night time wear.
Bésame looks very elegant when you first apply it. It makes your lashes longer and blacker but doesn’t look heavy. However, don’t expect it to stay that way. I love Bésame but this product doesn’t stay good long enough for me to be able to give it a favourable review. Maybe if you have a photoshoot or a short event to attend it would make a good option. This is not an all-day mascara. Elegant at first.
The Balm looks good. It’s not too heavy, not too discrete, not overly clumpy. I imagine this is a mascara that will look good on a large variety of people, but it’s also one that works especially well with the retro styles. If you wear eyeliner with it, it won’t try to steal the show. I’d say this is a reliable mascara that compliments the rest of you and can be dressed up or down.
Clio is flattering. That’s the best way to put it. It does to your lashes what high heels do to your posture. It’s not too heavy, does lengthen your lashes, no excessive clumping, good colour. Like the Balm, it can be dressed up or down.
Coming out on top is Clio. It’s the cheapest of the bunch but has the best durability, is easy to work with, and looks good. It’s a mascara that doesn’t require a lot of skill or amazing lashes to begin with. This is a product that I trust and my go-to option. I might check my makeup once or twice during a full day just to ensure that there’s nothing wrong, but I don’t think about this mascara while I’m wearing it. Oh and anything that survives water without claiming to be waterproof is freaking impressive. Downsides? If you can’t stand fibre mascaras, then maybe it’s not for you. It can also be a bit difficult to locate but check if you have any W Cosmetics near you or order it online.
The runner up is The Balm. It’s a great mascara but I don’t feel it’s 5AUD better than Clio. It’s easier to find since most David Jones’ stores have a small The Balm counter.
Third, we have Urban Decay. Again, a pretty good mascara but also the most expensive one. It’s not a robbery by any means, but the Clio one costs like 75% of what you get to pay for Perversion. I’d wear this mascara on a night out with some setting spray.
Unfortunately Bésame finishes last, it’s the Sad Panda factor more than anything else.