Thursday, July 28, 2011

Review: Benefit They're Real Mascara

Benefit They're Real mascara packaging
UPDATE: I actually called Benefit directly regarding the product to see if I was doing something wrong (kind of a far reach since it's mascara and I have used it daily for over a decade, but I was willing to consider that notion) or if I could have possibly gotten a bad batch. The Benefit rep was far from helpful and didn't really have much to say other than, "Um....I don't know." I was then told to contact Ulta, from whom I purchased my tube of They're Real. Ulta told me if I wanted to return it I had to send it back, get a refund, then buy another if I wanted to exchange it. They don't do exchanges for the online store, only returns. Not helpful. I'm still trying it out for the next week. If I'm still unhappy I'm going to bite the bullet and send it back. We'll see, I can't see it suddenly changing the way it works ... or doesn't work ... for me.

If you know me at all you know I HATE my eyelashes. And when I say hate, I really do mean hate. They're short, thin, and don't naturally curl. Just evil and a big disappointment all around (especially considering the fact my kids and most of my siblings have gorgeous lashes). For this reason, mascara is one of those MUST-HAVE makeup items for me. I am constantly on a search for that Holy Grail mascara that makes my pathetic lashes look red-carpet-worthy. Oh, and it has to be waterproof, too! I live in New England so the weather is far too fickle for me to risk having my mascara melt down my face when a sudden blizzard or thunderstorm comes out of nowhere.

First, a quick rundown!

Benefit cosmetics recently came out with They're Real mascara, claiming that essentially this mascara is so amazing, people will wonder if you're wearing false lashes.

At First Glance
Packaging: They box can be seen above (total trivial observation, but is it just me or does this box look more drugstore than benefit cosmetics?). The mascara comes in a gun metal tube (seems to be popular with packaging despite its ease in being covered in fingerprints, which drives me nuts).

Brush: The brush on the end of the wand is a spikey and rubbery. It reminds me a lot of some of the applicators I've seen for some drugstore mascaras.

Claim v. Reality
Claim (according to the packaging and site):
  • 94% saw dramatic length and volume*
  • 90% saw base-to-tip curl*
  • 94% saw visible lift*
  • 100% saw long-wearing results*
  • "layer generously as desired" (buildable/layerable)
*Results observed in a consumer panel survey

Here's the reality:
I always give mascara a 3x try on different days before forming an opinion. Why? Because for some odd reason mascara rarely works for me the first try, but by the second or third it either randomly surprises me and then works every time after or it continues to fail miserably. More than 3x and I think that's giving it a little too much of a chance. With They're Real I tried it on 3 different days scattered throughout the last week. I think it's best if I show you what I've seen every time I've used it.
My naked eye. Oh the horror! Note pathetic lashes (they have been curled).
1st Coat: Each coat consisted of me applying it by brushing base to tip and wiggling back and forth as suggested by Benefit. I barely saw a result with the first application each time. It was so anticlimactic, especially the first day I tried it. I could still barely see my lashes.
2nd Coat: When the first coat didn't work, I tried a second coat each time. The second coat gave me a little volume and length, but barely enough for me to put the wand down and walk out the door.
3rd Coat: The third coat gave me a tiny bit more length and began clumping my lashes. This is actually the most successful application I have had so far. The clumping the first time was so bad I had to take it off and use a different mascara.

Major Pros or Cons:
  • Con - Mascara ingredients are seriously anything but natural, so if you want drama (from what I've found so far) you have to relent and use whatever works best regardless of the ingredients for the most part.
  • Con - It's not waterproof. This isn't an issue for everyone, but it is for me.
  • Con - The pricetage! At $22 a tube (.03oz or 85g) this isn't a very economical choice
  • Pro - Other people are claiming to love it, so it's possible you'll have a positive experience, unlike mine.
Overall impression:
Not only did it take me 3 coats in order to be able to really even see enough of an effect to consider putting the mascara wand down, but it clumped so badly on the third coat that I was less than thrilled. Less than 3 coats and I barely saw results. As I mentioned above, this has been my most successful application and as you can see on my outer lashes, it's clumped my lashes together and is actually weighing them down so that they're no longer curled. This happened every time.

There's a little sheet inside the packaging that basically reiterates everything the site and outside packaging say with the addition of the following directions for use:

Position wand horizontally & wiggle from side to side, base to tip, to achieve maximum volume, length & lift. Hold wand vertically & stroke upward to curl & separate. Layer generously as desired.

I did all of this each time and got the same results EACH time. 

Did it give me dramatic length and volume? Not really.
Did it give me base to tip curl? No.
Did it give me visible lift? No.
Was it long-wearing? Yes, that was the only thing it completely lived up to. The spidery lashes lasted all day long.

Price: $22 per tube.

Would I recommend it or use it again?
Not at this point. For $22 a tube I can easily get 3 or 4 cheap tubes that will give me the same poor results I've seen so far. I do plan to continue to use it and see if perhaps I can make it work. I'll update later on if anything changes!

Disappointing. Have you tried it? Did you get different results?

Check back tomorrow, I'll be posting another review for a different mascara! 

Benefit They're Real mascara can be purchased on the company's site HERE, at Sephora, Ulta, and similar places online and in-store. According to the reviews on the site it has a 4.9 rating. Makes me wonder...

This product was purchased by me. All opinions above are my own.

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