Lash Out!

Posted February 16, 2013 by Katherine Toll in Life After Five

A few years ago, Ellen Bryon of the Wall Street Journal interviewed me about consumer buying trends in the mascara category. What was hot? Mega-brush mascaras, primers, eyelash curlers, eyelash growth serums, etc. If it goes on, or around the lash then Ellen wanted to know about it.

We discussed this topic with a fervor some might reserve for, let’s say, world peace, or healthcare reform. I never considered myself high maintenance when it came to my “mascara regime” until she asked me to explain mine:

Well, I start with Tarte’s lash primer to prep my lash for the mascara.


My lashes resemble short pieces of thread. Then I use my MAC ‘In Extreme Dimension Lash’ mascara.


I felt like I was talking with a 4-year-old. Why, why, why! Of course I then remembered she reports for a living, so I saved my snotty comments for someone else. I continued explaining my three additional steps and felt like a total ass when I finished. Let me tell you, when I leave the house after all that damn work NO ONE on the street points at me and exclaims:


But, many women share my quest, so we continue striving to great lengths to amplify our sad excuse for eyelashes. Hence, this week we focus on the mascara category.

Much gnashing of teeth went on because the choice between the winner and runner-up #1 forced me to finally declare my favorite mascara. I typically sit on the fence because I love buying different formulas, always searching for the PERFECT one. Now, with my declaration, I must settle down and snuggle up with my official winner. I must be faithful. No more mascara purchases. I feel lightheaded.

But, let’s move onto the rankings:

The Winner: MAC’s ‘In Extreme Dimension Lash’ mascara —

While I find the name of this product completely over-engineered, I LOVE the formula. You win the trifecta with this mascara: length, volume and curl. I actually re-purchased this mascara several times, which is unheard for me. I never re-buy the same formula of anything.

MAC claims that,

This lightweight whipped formula saturates lashes root to tip, adds volume, extends length and creates curl while conditioning for softness and flexibility. The final result: extreme dimension that won’t smudge, clump or flake.

This product knocks it out of the ballpark!

Runner Up #1: Sephora’s Outrageous Volume mascara

I received a sample of this mascara. After using it for a few days, I marched into Sephora and secured my very own full size. I rarely respond to samples that way, but this formula wowed me.

Sephora describes it this way,

This mascara’s unique triple load brush intensely coats lashes in one easy stroke for a full, luscious look. The thick, Ultra Black formula is enriched with hyaluronic acid—an ingredient recognized for its moisturizing properties. Use the brush’s reservoirs to intensify lashes from root to tip, separate lashes with the “spiked” areas, or achieve a curved effect by pressing the brush lightly against the tips of the upper lashes.

One caveat – I find I need to replace this formula more often because it dries out faster than the MAC product.

Runner Up #2: Tarte’s Gifted Amazonian Clay Smart mascara

For all you of you who prefer a ‘green’ option, this mascara fits the bill, plus it wears beautifully.

Tarte describes the formula this way,

An Amazonian clay smart mascara that instinctively treats your unique lash concerns- working overtime to keep lashes hydrated, intact, healthier, and stronger, while delivering the appearance of voluminous lashes.

Admittedly, I prefer the MAC formula to this one, but I travel with this product. I struggle with dry, brittle lashes, so this product put me on the path to lash recovery!

Well, that’s a wrap for me. Next week we tackle eyelash growth primers and serums.

PS — I deliberately left off false eyelashes because they NEVER enter into a Career Girl’s day repertoire, unless you cough up a damn good reason. If you insist on wearing them, please save them for a night out….and by the way — we all know they’re fake! We can see the glue….or the super thick liner covering the glue, until the glue loosens and the lashes start dangling making you look really silly.



About the Author

Katherine Toll

Katherine (Kathi) Toll possesses more than 20 years of management and consulting experience within the retail and beauty industry. Her industry experience combined with her special brand of irreverence fuels her mission to find the ‘must-have’ beauty products for Career Girls of all ages. She aspires to remind women the airbrushed perfection of the beauty industry must be tempered with a healthy dose of humor. Kathi holds a general management certification from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, along with an undergraduate degree from Northwestern’s School of Communications.