Seeking gunk-free mascara
November 18, 2013 1:09 AM   Subscribe

My current mascara (Cover Girl Professional) leaves residue that collects in my tear duct area and beneath my lower eyelid. I apply the mascara carefully, and remove it thoroughly at the end of the day, but the gunk nevertheless manages to surface, sometimes the following morning. I've tried both the waterproof and non-waterproof formulas without success. While this doesn't irritate my eyes (yet), I can't imagine it's good for them. I'm seeking recommendations for mascara that won't leave gunk behind. Bonus if it's also effective at making your lashes long and full.
posted by delight to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (28 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I have had good success with "tube" style mascara which makes little tubes around your lashes. Blinc makes a good one. As a bonus, they don't require scrubbing to remove-- just a little warm water and pressure and they slide right off your lashes.
posted by roshy at 1:28 AM on November 18, 2013 [4 favorites]

If you can snag a copy of Paula Begoun's Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me, she reviews all types of makeup, drug store and department store brands. In the copy I read a few years ago, she swore by L'Oreal; it was on par (nearly par?) with the best department store ones.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 1:40 AM on November 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

Paula Begoun's reviews are also online at Beautypedia.
posted by Georgina at 2:12 AM on November 18, 2013

A previous thread on this topic pointed me to L'Oreal Paris Double Extend Beauty Tubes. It's the "tube" style roshy mentioned, and the only mascara I've worn that doesn't smudge at all. It takes a bit longer than regular mascara because there's a primer component involved, but it gets to be very easy: apply primer on one eye, apply mascara immediately on same eye before the primer dries, and repeat the process on the other eye.
posted by brookedel at 2:19 AM on November 18, 2013

My favorite non-clumpy mascara is Sephora Lash Plumper. I was surprised, because the brush seems kind of huge, but I've had a lot of luck with it over the years.
posted by neushoorn at 3:00 AM on November 18, 2013

I've never liked cover girl. The sephora house brand is surprisingly good. If you have dark eyelashes you could also consider applying mascara to the tips only (as opposed to applying root to tip).
posted by St. Peepsburg at 4:54 AM on November 18, 2013

Also change your mascara every 4-6months. I find older mascaras are more prone to 2nd day gunk.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 4:55 AM on November 18, 2013

I'm going to second the recommendation for Blinc. It's my go-to for "I need this to last a long time, not get smudgy and gross, and still look good." I've never had it leave the residue you're talking about (which I hate too). Also washing Blinc off is a really cool and weird experience - since it literally coats your eyelashes with little tubes, you get a sink full of what looks like little black hairs.
posted by DulcineaX at 5:56 AM on November 18, 2013

Lash Power mascara by Clinique is also a tube-type mascara, and my staple. No gunk, and I can wear it all day and into the next morning without it smudging or flaking.
posted by homodachi at 5:57 AM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

My mascaras get chunky like that from age -- have you had your mascara for a while, or has it been sitting in a place where it could get dried out (like in the car)?

For what it's worth, the next mascara I buy is going to be DiorShow, which I've heard good things about. Literally everything I've bought from Bare Minerals has also been great. If I were you, I'd hit up Sophara and see what they have and if you can test anything (since they carry both those brands).

My current mascara is Maybelline "The Rocket Volum' Express," which is OK. I prefer Maybelline generally to Cover Girl for mascara, and haven't been getting clumps, but it's not anything to write home about either (too much separation between lashes -- it's not really spider eyes, it's like the brush combs out the lashes somehow).
posted by rue72 at 6:32 AM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

The answer to your question WAS Max Factor 2000 Calorie, but now that is only available overseas or on eBay.

The current answer is Benefit Bad Gal mascara. It's 96 % as good as the Max Factor.

(If you decide to try and track down the 2000 Calorie online, do not order the "dramatic lash" kind. Formula is not the same.)
posted by jbenben at 6:56 AM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Are you sure this is a problem with the mascara? Because it sounds to me more like you need a good eye makeup remover, if you believe you are cleaning your lashes thoroughly at the end of the day but gunk continues to surface. After years of using just regular face wash to try to clean mascara, I got the Bliss Lid + Lash Makeup Remover and kicked myself for not realizing earlier that there's a reason these products exist - no more scrub scrub scrubbing at my eyes with a washcloth!

Alternatively, I also like the "tube" style mascaras - when it's time to remove, the little tubes slide right off the lashes, leaving nothing behind.
posted by coupdefoudre at 7:05 AM on November 18, 2013 [3 favorites]

My current go-to mascara is Benefit They're Real mascara. Doesn't clump, doesn't smudge, makes my lashes look insanely long. I also suggest revisiting what you are doing to remove your mascara - you may need a better eye makeup remover. I LOVE Lancome's Bi-facil, but any eye makeup remover that is like that with an oil and water component that you have to shake to mix before using is really effective at melting eye makeup off.
posted by bedhead at 7:16 AM on November 18, 2013 [6 favorites]

I've tried both L'Oreal Paris Double Extend Beauty Tubes and Blinc mascara. L'Oreal is much cheaper, but four times the work, which I don't like: one application of the white base, then one application (or more) of the mascara itself. YMMV but when I'm rushing around in the morning, this is a big minus.

Blinc is pretty good but pricey. There's no base you have to put on, just swipe on the mascara and go.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:22 AM on November 18, 2013

Neutrogena Healthy Lengths doesn't flake or accumulate in my eyes. It washes off easily with face wash, but even the non-waterproof kind can withstand a bit of sweat and tears. Good to wear with contacts, too.

I promise I don't work for Neutrogena.
posted by Sullenbode at 7:41 AM on November 18, 2013

I get Birchbox and Ipsy and I currently have a ton of mascara samples. Like, at the very least, 4 different mascaras.

My favorite of them that doesn't flake: "It's So Big" by Elizabeth Mott. And I like the new one I got through Ipsy the other day by Michelle Phan called Em (her whole makeup line is called Em).

There's a Pixie Lash Booster mascara that doesn't flake and gunk but it's pretty thin on. And I think I did have the Benefit sample but it wasn't as good as the Elizabeth Mott.

PS I have a full-size Eyeko sample (Black Magic) that flaked and gunked like a mofo. Highly disappointing, because I expected great things.

Try the Elizabeth Mott "It's So Big." That's some good stuff there.
posted by discopolo at 8:04 AM on November 18, 2013

An alternate although possibly controversial solution: have you tried eyelash tinting? I got sick of gunky, clumpy mascara altogether and now I just have my lashes tinted (I do it at home myself with a kit, but you can have it done professionally.) No smearing, no gross eye stuff, no muss, no fuss.

There are some risks associated with lash tinting, so read up before you decide to have it done.
posted by ladybird at 8:05 AM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

I use two kinds of mascara, because I've found I have different smudging problems on upper vs lower lashes.

On top I use L'Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black Waterproof and on my bottom lashes I use the "Beauty Tubes" stuff linked above. I use cold cream to remove my makeup, and if I wear a LOT of heavy makeup, I will sometimes have residue in the morning, but that's probably more from coming home drunk or tired and not being diligent about full removal.
posted by Medieval Maven at 9:34 AM on November 18, 2013

I tried the L'Oreal Beauty Tubes and I'm a convert. I doubt I'll use another kind of mascara until this stuff gets discontinued. It's relatively cheap (about $10), doesn't smudge or smear and makes my eyelashes so long and full. The two steps can be a pain in the morning, but it's a small price to pay. So add a vote to it.
posted by dearwassily at 11:02 AM on November 18, 2013

I use the L'Oreal tubing stuff, and I don't even bother with the white primer layer. It works just fine without that extra step if you don't need the added thickness/length it provides (e.g., if you have long/full lashes that are blonde, and just need a coat of color).

It stays put, even with my bad habit of rubbing my eyes during the day.

I refuse to go back to anything else.
posted by nacho fries at 3:51 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Dying your eyelashes has slightly less impact than mascara, but it doesn't run or smudge, looks natural, but always awesome and is less effort over the month.

Although, I dye my black occasionally anyway, so I just grab a cotton bud and do my eyelashes at the same time.
posted by Elysum at 3:55 PM on November 18, 2013

Good point about the lash tinting. Godefry has a tinting product that is pretty easy to master (tip: throw out the lame-ass toothpicks and undereye protectors that come with the kit, and buy some of those tiny dental work flossers -- they look like tiny mascara wands -- and use those instead).

(Before people scream up and down about OMG YOUR EYES ARE GONNA MELT YOU'RE GONNA GO BLIND YOU'RE GONNA DIE: dude. This stuff has been QC'd and approved for home use. Steady hand and a magnifying mirror, and you're good.)
posted by nacho fries at 4:05 PM on November 18, 2013

Oh, I just thought of this, but I've never tried it or gotten a sample. I've heard really good things about Blinc, like it just encases your eyelashes into little tubes.

Just a thought if you're dropping by a Sephora and want to check it out. I've been meaning to but I've got my paws full of way too much makeup because of Birchbox and Ipsy to justify a Sephora run.

Oh, one of my favorite samples of mascara that I used every inch of? A lovely smelling one by Chantecaille. That and the Elizabeth Mott really behave themselves!
posted by discopolo at 4:47 PM on November 18, 2013

My go-to mascara is Maybelline Full'N Soft. It's not all clumpy or gunky and washes off very cleanly. I also wipe the wand off with a paper towel before applying, this keeps the application to a thin layer, I can always add more if I want.

I always remove my eye makeup in the shower at the end, so it gets all softened up by the water and comes off easily, either when washing my face, or if I have a lot of makeup or waterproof makeup on, with an Almay makeup removing pad.
posted by Aquifer at 5:03 PM on November 18, 2013

I agree with coupdefoudre- this sounds like you are not completely removing your eye makeup at the end of the day. Even if you can see that your lashes are clean, you may have bits of pigment at the base of your lashes that migrates. This also may be eyeshadow pigment (if you wear it). Try rinsing your eyes with saline solution after removing your makeup, and see if that helps.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:11 PM on November 18, 2013

I just purchased the Blinc tubing mascara (mainly because they offer a rare shade of medium brown -- black mascara looks like ass on me), and unfortunately, I'm not at all thrilled with it. Yes, once it's on, it stays put, but it is much less user-friendly than the L'Oreal tubing stuff. If you dast blink while it is drying, the Blinc mascara leaves little dribs and drabs on your delicate eye-area skin, which is not fun to try and remove after the fact. It also clumps my eyelashes waaaaaaay more than the L'Oreal. Phooey.

The L'Oreal product is very much superior, and about half the price. Sadly, not available in brown. If black mascara is your color, I suggest it over the Blinc by a wide margin.
posted by nacho fries at 7:42 AM on November 21, 2013

Wow, I came back to post almost the exact opposite to nacho fries: I have just revisited L'Oreal Beauty Tubes (both with and without the white primer) and Blinc mascara, and I much prefer the Blinc both for it's color selection (mentioned above) and I found it much easier to apply than the L'Oreal. It took me two seconds with Blinc, very very easy appliction; with the L'Oreal I had much fiddling and mistakes (accidental transfers to my skin).

The L'Oreal also looks clumpy on me, as opposed to the smooth Blinc application.

I guess this really is a YMMV type thing, good luck though!
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 11:15 AM on November 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I suspect my issues with Blinc have more to do with my klutzy application, and the fact that I have weirdly long eyelashes that tend to get stuck to my eyelids or stuck to each other. When I apply the Blinc, my upper lashes get stuck to my lower ones...urk. But I really do prefer the color, and the less-thick texture of the Blinc product. I'm just not applying it properly, I think. The L'Oreal product adds too much thickness for my taste. I'll keep trying with the Blinc.
posted by nacho fries at 12:26 PM on November 23, 2013

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