By Samantha Crowell

I have a confession. The reason I am so hooked on upscale beauty brands is because they let me try before I buy. I can do a test run on nearly anything before I drop big bucks to own it. I feel like many women appreciate this concept, especially those who suffer from allergies or who are critical of their makeup’s performance.

This month, I tried to break out of that mold. I decided to take four drugstore mascaras on a test run to see if they help my short, stubby lashes become as beautiful as my favorite prestige brand.
I’m bringing you along for the ride, since I took a photo of the mascara’s performance as soon as I applied it, and then eight hours after, when I was finished with work. This is because I like my lashes to look long and lovely, with no black residue under my eyes, which is a pet peeve. The results of my little study were surprising, and I may or may not have found a new favorite!

Contender #1: Maybelline Great Lash BIG Mascara:

This mascara is a cousin of Maybelline’s best seller, with the classic pink and green packaging. It boasted a boost to my lashes, so I was excited to give it a whirl.

Here’s how it looked right after application. My lashes look bigger, but in a natural way, which I like. The brush was nice and puffy, but there were no clumps or spidery eyelashes, so I liked it.

The after effects, however, were less exciting. It was mildly irritating to my eyes, which could be an allergy I have. It also came off a bit under my eyes, which is my biggest pet peeve…ever.

Contender #2: Revlon Grow Luscious Lash Potion:

I didn’t know that mascara could help grow eyelashes, so I was thrilled when I saw this little beauty. The packaging is super cute, too.

The application was easy and the mascara had a straightforward brush. I was able to get even the smallest lashes in the corners of my eyes. It lengthened well too. I like my lashes in this photo.

My lashes still look great, with none of that annoying black underneath my eyes. This stuff is long wearing! I haven’t noticed any change in my lashes yet, but I’m waiting to see some of that promised growth. This is my new everyday mascara.

Contender #3: Revlon PhotoReady 3D Volume Mascara

This stuff is supposed to make me look like a movie star. I will say, out of all the mascaras, this one had the fanciest packaging — I liked that you could see the brush before making the investment. Unfortunately for me, this was another plastic porcupine brush.

For some reason, this brush was awesome, much better than L’Oreal’s. It looked really nice on, and kind of gave me that doe-eyed innocent look, I think.

More flaking and heavy flakes! I really wanted to like this mascara, but I will not recommend it to anyone who is critical of flakes.

Contender #4: Almay One Coat Get Up and Grow Mascara

I am so into these new “lash growing” mascaras. They are such a smart idea. I also love that Almay is hypoallergenic.

There’s another traditional mascara brush in this sample. My lashes didn’t get super long, so I put on a few more applications just on the tips of my lashes.

No flakes, no clumps for me. This is a very average mascara, as I felt very natural, my eyes didn’t pop. This would be great for people who prefer that look from their mascara.

I love being able to provide reviews on drugstore products, because there really are some great ones out there! What is your favorite drugstore mascara? Let me know in the comments!

Originally published July 2013
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