Friday, July 30, 2010


This really funny thing happened when I was getting ready to go out the other night. Somehow I managed to forget that I had purchased every type of mascara created in 2009. I was desperately trying to find the mascara that I like (L'Oreal Beauty Tubes – see post 1/15/10), when it occurred to me that there were 2 other products that I had yet to try. One was L’Oreal Volume Shocking Mascara, the topic of this review, and the other was Maybelline Pulse Perfection. I didn’t have it in me that night to put a vibrator on my eyelids, so I went with the volume shocker. I wasn’t shocked.

The concept of L’Oreal Volume Shocking Mascara is the same as that of L'Oreal Beauty Tubes: application is a 2-step process. Apparently, L’Oreal likes adding steps to the mascara application process. The difference however, between Volume Shocking and Beauty Tubes is that Volume Shocking also has the added shock value of having a comb as the “top coat” application device and not a brush.

If I had paid attention to the packaging, I would have noticed the Volume Constructing Top Coat applicator comb. However, I didn’t pay attention to the packaging and was shocked, not quite appalled, but definitely shocked to notice the strange applicator. I for one did not enjoy using the Volume Constructing Top Coat applicator comb. Maybe if used with any sort of frequency, one would get used to it, but I have to say, I didn’t much care for it. For one thing, because a brush is round it doesn’t’ really matter how you grasp the applicator. However you grasp it, whatever the angle, you can successfully apply. With the comb, this is not the case. You have to pick the comb applicator up at the correct angle or there is no applicating. You can’t apply mascara with the flat side of the Volume Constructing Top Coat applicator comb any more than you can comb your hair with the flat side of a regular comb. It’s just not going to happen. Add that to the fact that the applicator comb is very small (as it would have to be to be used on eyelashes). So to get the comb at the proper angle to apply without getting mascara all over your eye lids, sticking it in your eye, or creating really nasty clumps is no easy feat. Add that to the rather odd shape of the applicator bottle and you have yourself a small pre-party disaster.

I didn’t take the mascara off and reapply, because well, I just didn’t have that kind of commitment to my aesthetic that day. That said, I did moisten a washcloth to try to rid the side of my eye of the clumps of black goop that found their way there via the end of the Volume Constructing Top Coat applicator comb. I wasn’t entirely disappointed with the results, but the 12x the volume claim is just a crock of hooey. The extent of the dual process-comb-application is that my lashes were brown and more easily visible through my glasses. They were definitely not 12x the volume. Had they been, they wouldn’t have fit under my glasses without scraping the frames and I would have had to wear contacts instead. Since that was not the case, I can only conclude that the 12x the volume claim is at best a slight exaggeration and at worst and outright lie.

Upon mascara removal, I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t turn instantly into a nocturnal rodent. The product came off easier than many mascaras I’ve tried, but no where near as easily or as gracefully as L'Oreal Beauty Tubes. (Sorry L'Oreal, but you broke the mold with that one.) With only a little rubbing, my eyelashes were clean and my eyes were not completely red and puffy from the pressure. I was expecting a cleansing process more dramatic than that, but was pretty happy at the results.

Since I now have the product in my cabinet with only one use missing, I figure I’ll keep it around until it gets old and clumpy or I misplace it behind the vanity. Would I ever buy it again? To that question I give a resounding “no”. Although in all honestly, I don’t think it will be on the market for very long. I can’t imagine the market research people have found that the applicator-comb is a great fit for women on the go. It’s too much hassle for not enough result. And really, now, who needs more of that?

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