Sh*t I Actually Use is where Beauty Editor Nikki Brown and other members of the StyleCaster team wax poetic about the products that make it past their desks and into their beauty routines.
OK, so I have a confession: The cult favorite top-selling Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara is not my favorite. I’ve included it in countless product round-ups and sung its praises because, hey, it actually does work for a whole lot of people. So much so that it continues to sell out like it just hit shelves. I’m also not here to say that it completely fails at lifting my lashes because it is effective to some degree.
But it just doesn’t deliver the volume a faux-lash-a-phobe like me needs. As someone who sleeps with an eye mask every night and accidentally cut some of her lashes while trimming her brows (long story), to say my eye whiskers need help would be a grave understatement. They’re short, sparse, and almost lay completely flat. Up until about two years ago, I would need more mascara than the late Tammy Faye Bakker to get even the smallest level of curl definition.
That all ended when Lash Star came into my life. And now, although testing other tubes is a part of my gig, this is the one that feels like home and stays in my purse.
The Name: Lash Star Full Control Lash Sculpting Mascara
The Price: $35. If your products are exclusive to the drugstore, then I guarantee you’re side-eyeing that price tag. Hear me out, please!
The Ingredients: The website doesn’t highlight any specific hero ingredients, but the formula is free from parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, triclosan, and artificial fragrances. It’s also not tested on animals. And if you do take a moment to look at the modest ingredients list, you’ll see standouts such as beeswax (for hold), sunflower seed oil (antioxidants), and multiple forms of protein (strength and length retention).
Besides whatever magic sauce is in the actual formula, the dual-ended brushes are what really separate this mascara from other ones. The one on the white side is a tight-line brush that carefully separates and lengthens lashes, while covering them in mascara from root to tip.
This makes it less likely that you’ll have to apply multiple layers trying to achieve curl definition and volume. The second brush, which is curved to the new shape of her lashes, adds even more definition, but without the clumping. The brand claims this formula boosts lash volume by 4,100 percent. I’m not sure if it’s that powerful, but it certainly perks them up without the need for an eyelash curler or multiple layers.
If you’re like me and don’t feel the need to wear eyeliner every day, but still want to look wide-eyed and bushy-tailed without trying hard, invest in a tube of this. You can buy it on the Lash Star website or in Bloomingdale’s Glowhaus.