It's been a bumper summer for mascaras with blockbuster launches from Urban Decay and Hourglass. MUA Lisa Potter Dixon sends them into battle
This year has been the summer of mascaras, with more launches than we can remember; among others, Pat McGrath's Dark Star, £24 , Huda Beauty Legit Lashes , £24, and Boots No7 brought out a waterproof version of its mega-selling Full 360 Mascara , £12.
The months of lockdown have seen a 156 per cent rise in sales of eye products driven by mascaras, according to Space NK. Hourglass's Unlocked Instant Extensions Mascara, £29 became the site's biggest seller, shifting 1.6 per minute, when it launched last month, making it their fastest-selling mascara ever.
In the age of the face mask, mascara sales are becoming the new economic barometer to replace the Lipstick Index. The Lipstick Index was famously coined by Estee Lauder chairman Leonard Lauder in the crash of the early 2000s, when despite the recession, sales of lipstick rose as women swapped indulgences for little luxuries. As we head towards a predicted covid recession, it seems that all eyes will be on the Mascara Index.
Hourglass Unlocked has undoubtedly been the big hitter this season but also making a noise with its quirky brush and long wear promise is Urban Decay's Lash Freak Mascara , £21.
Which one is best? We'll hand over to makeup artist Lisa Potter Dixon, who took to Instagram to let them duke it out on her face (one on each eye).
Here's her verdict, and ours
Lisa's long-term favourite mascaras are Benefit's Bad Gal Bang , £22.50 (jet black pigment and masses of volume) and Marc Jacobs At Lash'd, £25, (for fluttery, feathered volume). Can these newcomers rival her trusty favourites?
Lisa's verdict on Hourglass's UnlockedInstant Extensions Mascara, £29
First up what does this vegan mascara promise? Lisa notes that it claims to add definition, lift and length "three things we all want from mascara," notes Lisa, but with no mention of volume. It says it will deliver dramatic instant extension results with film-forming tech that coats each lash with light fibres for fanned out lashes. It has a plastic wand which is wider at the bottom and narrow at top with lots of tiny bristles. It doesn't have too much excess on the end to avoid mess. When Lisa applies it she said she can feel it grabbing the lashes, albeit gently. "It gives good colour and it lengthens and defines the lashes without needing to dip back in. What I'm noticing as I'm combing is it's lifting the more and lengthening. They said it's like lash extensions and it really is giving that individual lash look."
Lisa's lashes look seriously impressive - she even says "wow" at her own lashes, so you just know it's good - like long, fluttery falsies, without any of the faff. Consider us convinced! It's a tubing mascara, so comes off with just warm water.
Lisa's verdict on Urban Decay's Lash Freak Mascara , £21
Lash Freak is up next, with a totally different new wand unlike any we've seen before; it's a comb on one half and a flat side on the other. "Sometimes brands do weird things with products just for the hype, but sometimes they do weird things because they actually work," Lisa says of the quirky applicator - let's see which is the case with this.
The brand called it a volumising, asymmetric brush to lengthen, lift and curl for a wide-eyed effect, Lisa calls it "the weirdest thing ever". It promises everything you could want from a mascara, but does it deliver? It's ultra-pigmented and flake resistant with Lisa exclaiming "Immediately it's definitely got a great pigment". The tip of the brush defines and separates, while the curved side lifts at the lash root. It provides more volume at the root than Hourglass, but Hourglass never claimed volume with this launch. Lisa points out that it feels like the brush isn't doing much, but her lashes, which are straight away defined, tell a different story.
Lisa says that when she goes in for a second coat, her lashes stick together a little rather than the brush gliding through. Again, Lisa's lashes look very defined with a false-lash effect rarely seen without some help in the lash department.
Lisa concludes that Hourglass is easier to apply than Lash Freak but both deliver on their promises and live up to the hype.
How do they fare as the day goes on? To check their staying power, Lisa spritzes her face with a facial mist and neither mascara budges and four hours in there's still no movement on either formula.
Our verdict? GTG's Editorial Director Victoria Woodhall tried them both and adds, "I've been using them for a few weeks now and tellingly Hourglass is the one I turn to day-to-day because so easy to apply and comes off with water. Lash Freak requires a bit more skill because of the unusual shape of the brush. It's easy to overload, but once you get the hang of it, it really does give you power lashes that are really wide. This is my choice for a night out."