Thursday, December 9, 2010

War of the Definition Mascaras: Maybelline Define a Lash vs. Max Factor Masterpiece

I know that most ladies love dramatic lashes but I was interested in a more natural, defining mascara. This started after I tried out one of the mascaras I am reviewing: Max Factor's Masterpiece mascara.

To start off, as this is my first proper mascara review -- I have to put a small disclaimer that will be present in the future. My lashes take to mascara VERY well. My naked lashes are almost invisible, even though they have decent length, but they also have no natural curl. I rarely curl them... and instead rely on my mascara to do so. The before and after pictures are quite dramatically different on me due to the fact that my lashes love mascara. That being said, and with anyone's mascara review, these are my own results and may not necessarily be yours. I post this to hopefully be useful to someone!

Back to the review. Because I was looking for a defining mascara, one definitely wants a clump free formula. You are also wanting a plastic brush with spikes instead of bristles.

I was never a fan of CoverGirl Lash Blast or any of its offshoots... so I knew this would be an uphill battle. I received a mini of Max Factor Masterpiece (hereinafter called MFM), gave it a go... and was decently impressed. Wendy, liking a synthetic, plastic brush? Nonsense! I went scouring the drugstore for another one, eager to find one that was more readily available here (more on that later). I ended up with Maybelline Define A Lash (hereinafter DAL) for $4.97 at Walgreens' 50% sale.

Maybelline describes the mascara as:
"This zero clump volumizing mascara creates voluptuous volume with clean definition.
  • Patented shaped-to-the-lash brush
  • Ophthalmologist tested, Contact lens safe
  • Washable"
Well... not much of a description there. But if it doesn't promise big things, you won't be as disappointed, no? Normal price of this ranges from $5 to $8.99. I think that is reasonable for a drugstore mascara... and it's openly available here in the US and most likely the UK/Canada.

Product photos:

I do admit to loving the packaging. The shiny, bright green tube is really unique. It's definitely easy to find in your mascara stash. It's also got a neat little clear bit at the end that I forgot to photograph... just a small little detail type thing.

The brush is as I described -- it's got a slightly bulbous tip. This does help prevent a lot of mascara from clumping at the end as commonly happens with bristle brushes. But you do still get a little bit... no big deal. The spikes are well coated and not clumped with too much product. I did not notice a scent when using this.

Usage pictures, before picture, after and comparisons between mascara lashes and naked lashes:

Well, I've definitely got length with this. That much is evident from the bottom picture. Definition... I'd say my lashes look better than with no mascara -- but I don't know about the no clumping formula. I had some issues with clumps at the ends of my lashes. It was giving me a bit of a spidery look. I know you can use a lash comb but I wanted to see how the mascara performed on its own. I will say that I am more used to the effect that a volumizing mascara gives... this took a little getting used to but I do like the defined effect now as well.

I didn't experience any flaking or running throughout the day whenever I used the DAL. I had a little bit of fading, but not much, and my lashes only felt slightly hard in the first couple of hours of wear. The colour of the mascara is "Very Black", and it is indeed a rich black. Nicely pigmented.

Even with all of these positives... I am a little meh on this. I don't know why. Maybe it's just not what I'm used to.

For the second mascara, I used the MFM to compare. Let's take a look at the brushes:

DAL is on the left and MFM is on the right. Bear in mind that the MFM is a mini so the brush wouldn't be as short... but the head is the same size.

I'd say they are similar in that they both have similar spikes and shapes... the DAL has a curved mid section I'm assuming to help with curl. Even though the MFM doesn't have that, it also does an okay job at curling on it's own.

Max Factor says that Masterpiece is:
"The advanced iFX brush beautifully frames eyes. This mascara finally can define and separate your lashes to give a striking, professional effect, the kind a make-up artist could create! Masterpiece's high tech IFX brush works to evenly coat individual lashes, even those hard to reach ones at the corners of your eyes. The result? Beautifully framed eyes up to 5X more striking. "

Interesting that they make no 5x volume claim or anything... just the striking claim.

I'll start by saying that I much prefer this one for doing my bottom lashes. The bulbous tip on DAL is a bit awkward and I poked myself in the eye a couple of times. The MFM has a flattened end so you can angle it away a little easier.

Here are shots of me wearing the mascara:

To me personally, I feel like the MFM defines better... as it is obviously less clumpy. The formula is slightly more wet but at the same time is thinner so that I didn't get the spidery lash effect. Again, no scent on this. As for the pigmentation, this is not as rich of a black as the DAL. But the sample just says black so there may be a very black available?

On the particular day I tested this (the photos day), I had a little bit of running underneath my eyes. I don't remember experiencing that on the other test days but I do remember my eyes watering early on in the day. So, if you have watery eyes, you may want to consider a waterproof version of this. It was nothing severe, the photos were actually taken at the end of the day and looking at them is how I noticed it. I also had a flake on the outside edge of my eye.

The problem with this mascara is that 1) it is apparently not readily available anymore and 2) relatively hard to obtain in the US. I tried google searching it and many places say it is out of stock or are charging over $10 for it. To me, that is a lot for a drugstore mascara... even though I like it. On the Superdrug site, it shows £9.99... but I don't see one labeled High Definition like the sample I have. It may not be available on the website.

I am giving my approval to the Maybelline ONLY because the MFM is not readily available here. It is a real shame because I honestly think it's close to being an HG mascara for me in terms of a natural, defined look.

That's pretty much all for the review -- what do you guys think of these two mascaras? Love it or leave it?


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  2. I'd go for the Maybelline one.... it looks pretty good. Normally I don't like the skinny plastic brushes because I get the mascara all over my lids, but I might give this one a go one time. I don't think the Max Factor would do much for me, my lashes need a bit more work than yours do, I think.

    Awesome review chicken x