Mascara Melee : Round Six!


Oh, today’s lash-glop battle is truly a special one — two high-end brands, and unintentional comedy! LET’S GOOOOOOO.

THE RULES : All will be applied in my “normal” fashion, to freshly-washed face with a little serum or light moisturizer — nothing oily, and no foundation or powder or other makeup in the eye area. No eye makeup either, just mascara alone, because I don’t want to blame a product for smears or flecks that were caused by a misbehaving eyeliner or shadow. I’ll generally use full-size products, or minis as long as they have the same brush as the regular size, and aren’t more difficult to use for any reason. I’ll probably also test out mascaras I’ve had for a while, but I certainly won’t use anything that’s old, dried out, or otherwise not applying/behaving as is “normal” for that product.


Guerlain MaxiLash ($32/.28oz at Sephora) comes in a fancy faceted-rectangular golden tube (ooooooo) and is billed as a “volumizing and curling” formula. It’s got a long straight medium-width bristle-type brush with no notable taper at the tip :

Givenchy Phenomen’Eyes ($32/.24oz at Sephora) has apparently updated its cap style since I bought mine, but it still comes in a stout round black and silver tube. This dude’s claim to fame (or infamy) is its weird-ass applicator that looks like a damn morning star. (The medieval weapon, not Venus.) (Or Lucifer.) (Or the mutual fund company.)

“WTF.” I know, right? Here’s a size comparison so you can get a clearer picture :


Guerlain MaxiLash on the left, Givenchy Phenomen’Eyes on the right.

Guerlain MaxiLash, freshly applied.

The Guerlain usually applies a little more soft/feathery looking for me? It looks unusually spiky here, so I might’ve overbrushed it a bit. In general, it’s fairly good on volume, does add a bit of lift/curl, decent but not huge lengthening, and tends to look softer and “sootier” than most of my other mascaras. It’s pretty easy to apply neatly without getting smears everywhere.

Givenchy Phenomen’Eyes, freshly applied.

That weird damn wand on the Givenchy does, unsurprisingly, take some getting used to. But once I acclimated to it, it actually was reasonably effective (but not like “OH, THIS IS A REVELATION, ALL MASCARA WANDS SHOULD BE LIKE THIS!”) — I do get a few errant blops deposited with it, but on the whole it’s not as messy or clumsy to apply as you’d think. You DO have to be careful not to form lash-spikes with this one.


I left this pic in color so you could get the full effect. On the left, the Guerlain is holding up reasonably well. On the right, the Givenchy has lost its goddamn mind. No I did not put oil on that side of my face, nor did I get sweaty, nor did I rub my eye. WTF, YO.

Guerlain MaxiLash, about seven hours later. A little smudging, but not too dire.
Givenchy Phenomen’Eyes, about seven hours later. Girl, yikes.

You guys I normally like to give these 8-10 hours to better simulate a full day’s wear, but I happened to glance in a mirror about six hours after applying and HOLY ACTUAL CRAP. I’ve used the Givenchy maybe three times since I bought it aaaages ago (yes, of course I bought it bc of that bizarro wand) annnnd this is why. Well, and I mean also it’s just not stellar mascara, but this level of smudging is absolutely unrivaled in my [extensive] mascara experience. Oh hey let’s check the cleanup results :

BEHOLD THE FILTHY Q-TIPS OF XTREME SHAME. Guerlain MaxiLash (top) resulted in more q-tip filth than anticipated — its smudging was kinda dark, but contained to a small area at least. Givenchy Phenomen’Eyes, on the other hand … you could probably write somebody a note with that swab. It is BLACK.


THE WINNER : Obviously the Guerlain, holy crap. MaxiLash is one I actually keep in rotation and wear occasionally — with some eyemakeup, I like its softer and more feathery look. Phenomen’Eyes, however, I only keep for the freakshow applicator, or in case one of my action figures ever needs a mace/bludgeon-type weapon.