I've been playing a lot with makeup lately, which isn't like me, but it's fun! I always wished I had big, long lashes and I'm not interested in extensions any more. I've tried two mascaras, Benefit They're Real and Smashbox Full Exposure, along with Younique 3D Fiber Lashes (I DO NOT sell them, fyi!) and Ardell false lashes in Wispies. I also played with the old staple, Great Lash, that I've never actually liked but seems to always make "Best of" lists and NYX Doll Eyes which seems to have a cult following (it's in the drug store section at Ulta but I'm not sure it's a drug store brand. It's cheap though).
Comparison pics, in order:
No mascara- nuff said
Younique 3D fiber mascara ($32ish shipping from younique's website)- I hate that you have to buy this stuff via a consultant (even on the company's website) but the effort required is minimal and it's comparable to the fake lashes. One coat of gel, one coat of fiber lashes from 1/2 way up my lashes to ends, another coat of gel. Bam. Done. If it appears to have a clump of fibers on my lashes I just hit it with a lash comb. It lasts all day and seems waterproof (tear proof, rain proof, haven't gone swimming) as well. I have Smashbox Full Exposure on my bottom lashes in this photo.
Ardell false lashes ($4.49/pair, $6.99 for Duo gel, $6.99 for a false lash applicator that is a toss up on helpfulness, everything from Sally's)- I'm using Duo gel and I trimmed about 1/4" off in the inside ends of these. Putting them on was a PITA. Duo gel smells, it's messy, it does take practice and you better have a good way to wipe the glue off your cheeks when you smear it trying to wash your eye area (tip, baby oil on a cotton ball works well in a pinch), you can kind of "feel" them, and also, I trimmed the length once they were on my eye as they were literally touching my eyelashes. I like the look, I don't like the effort. In the photo, I have just a touch of Benefit They're Real on my bottom lashes and have combed through to combine my real and false lashes.
Benefit They're Real! mascara ($23, Sephora)- This is probably my favorite mascara brush ever, but the mascara itself seems average. I put on a coat, then other eye, then back to first eye for coat 2, and repeat on eye 2. Seems to have good staying power but is NOT waterproof. This is on my bottom lashes as well.
Smashbox Full Exposure ($19.50, Sephora)- This is my favorite mascara, but given the choice I use the Fiber Lashes. I keep this in my purse or travel kit as I don't like how Fiber Lashes is 2 tubes to pack instead of 1. My lashes look really full and long but it does seem to flake. I like to use Anastasia Lash Genius Waterproof Topcoat ($21, Sephora) over the top to help with that. For comparison purposes I am NOT using Anastasia in this photo. This is on my bottom lashes as well.
NYX Doll Eyes ($6.99, Ulta)- this is cheap, but I do feel like it elongated my lashes pretty well. If I needed a mascara in a hurry, the drugstore is where I'd head, and I'd look for this over Great Lash any day. This is on my bottom lashes as well.
Maybelline Great Lash ($2.99, CVS)- It's cheap and it does make a difference vs no mascara, but it's not even in the realm of favorites for me compared to above. This is on my bottom lashes as well.
Summarize: I like the look of the false lashes (especially the cost, in comparison!) but for ease and comfort I like the fiber lashes. Full Exposure is my other favorite, which is even easier than fiber lashes and cheaper as well. I like to use Anastasia Lash Genius on the top of Full Exposure, which negates the cost effectiveness, but makes it pretty much bullet proof. I don't get the hype of Benefit "They're Real!" or Nyx/Maybelline value drugstore mascaras.