popcorner/ShutterstockIt’s a question that’s crossed nearly every makeup lover’s mind: Is luxe mascara really any better than its drugstore counterpart? After all, mascaras use mostly the same ingredients, and some are even manufactured by the same larger corporations—so what really is the secret behind their varying price points and marketplaces, and which is the best mascara?
“Cost doesn’t play a role in the quality of mascara,” says Tekoa Hash, celebrity stylist and founder of The Teknique Agency. “As a pro-makeup artist, I’ve use a wide range of price points for my kit and for my personal use, and the drugstore brands have never failed me.”
We were intrigued. If the top-notch makeup artists in the industry all love the best mascara brands that we sometimes shy away from because we’re afraid they’re not as good as their pricier competitors, we should be using them too. But when we asked celebrity beauty gurus to reveal their faves, we couldn’t believe that almost every single one of them came back with the same answer: L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Superstar Mascara, ($11, cvs.com).
How could it be that these makeup artists to the stars all separately have the very same preference for a drugstore brand mascara? We were wondering the same thing. So we asked each of them to fess up—what was it about this mascara that worked magic?
“When I learned that L’Oreal Cosmetics owned Lancome, I figured they shared the same formulas and/or patents of mascaras. Lancome had always been my favorite mascara but came at a heftier price tag. I tried several L’Oreal formulas, but Voluminous seemed the most like Lancome Definicils. It really lengthened and thickened, which are my musts in a mascara. I’ve remained pretty faithful to L’Oreal Voluminous and have used it in my professional kit since the ’90s. Sometimes I still buy it for my personal use!” —Michelle Spieler, Hollywood Industry Makeup Artist (Make sure to avoid the mascara mistakes that will make your lashes look clumpy.)
“I love Voluminous mainly because of its lengthening and thickening ability. It’s comparable to Lancome Hypnose and the formula doesn’t clump. It comes in black, blackest black, and carbon black. The carbon black formula contains panthenol and ceramides to strengthen your lashes. It’s available also in waterproof.” —Mindy Green, makeup artist and owner of MG Beauty a mobile beauty business
“Voluminous is my go-to drugstore brand. Priced under $10, it’s really rich and black, doesn’t flake, is very buildable, and enhances lashes naturally.” —Tekoa Hash, celebrity stylist and founder of The Teknique Agency (Find out the sneaky ways you’re applying makeup wrong.)
“Voluminous is a two-step mascara, so it allows you to build up the layers with primer to make it more subtle or more dramatic. The mascara has fibers which make your lashes look longer while the primer gives them more volume.” —Alex LaMarsh, celebrity makeup artist who’s worked with the likes of Kim Kardashian, Cher, and Sarah Jessica Parker
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“Voluminous is my all-time favorite mascara because I love the texture it gives the lashes. I love the look of full, flirty lashes that every girl wants and that’s just what I get when I use this item. Plus, the carbon black color gives the look of a smoky eye without trying. Once applied, you can have the look of false mink lashes. I never have to worry about the mascara smudging, clumping or flaking on my clients. I’ve used a lot of mascaras in my 20-plus years as a professional makeup artist in the industry, but I always find myself going back to Voluminous. I can count on it to give me the best results and use it on A-list clients, campaigns, photoshoots, fashion shows and weddings.” —Brandy Gomez-Duplessis, celebrity makeup artist
“I love Voluminous for clients, but personally use L’Oreal Double Extend Lash every day. It has a tubing formula that encapsulates the lashes, rather than simply coating them. This prevents smudging, running, and flaking, so I highly recommend it to people who have a tendency toward allergies and sensitive eyes. As a bonus, one end of the tube has a nourishing, protective primer that can be used prior to coating the lashes with the dark, lengthening pigment. I’ve tried other tubing options from expensive department store brands only to achieve the same desired effect.” —Erin B. Guth, celebrity makeup artist