Essence i love extreme volume mascara reviewSo, there I am, at Easter, in Welly, at Farmers Cuba Street, having a debate with myself over the purchase of a $6.30 mascara.

“You don’t need it. You have several new tubes of mascara already” screamed penny-pinching Lou.  This is ‘new Lou’ who is keeping a steady eye on her ASB bank balance after commencing a new part-time job (a lifestyle ‘adjustment’ is currently underway).

“But it’s $6.30 you EGG!” yelled bargain-loving Lou. “You can’t buy it in Rotorua and you’ll regret it!” cautioned pragmatic, live-in-the-moment Lou.  Bargain-live-in-the-moment Lou won. I departed with a new mascara. 

So, a $6.30 mascara, hit or miss?  It must be said: I had low hopes.  I mean, seriously, I’m a mascara addict and I’ve been known to fork out close to $58 for a mascara (Lancome…. contented sigh) and declare “it’s worth every cent”. I’m a tough mascara customer. So, here’s my thoughts on the $6.30 jobbie…

Let’s back up the bus.

What mascara?  What’s the brand?  

The budget mascara in question is ‘I love Extreme Volume’ from European beauty giant Essence Cosmetics.  As a brand, Essence is a relative newcomer to NZ’s beauty shores.

Back to my mascara selection. There was lots of mascaras on the Essence stand. After some deliberation I narrowed my selection down to the waterproof formulas. I did an ‘eeny meeny miny moe’ to aid my selection.  

Why waterproof mascara?

I only ever wear waterproof mascara on account of two reasons.  Firstly, I have VERY oily eyelids and I can’t abide all the smudging that used to happen with non-waterproof mascara. Secondly, being an eyelash curling addict, normal mascara straightens out my eyelashes, whilst waterproof keeps the curl in place allllll day (learning this was a game changer).

My first impressions

My first impressions of this mascara was “Holy shit! That’s a big mascara wand”.  No joke, this has the biggest brush of any mascara I’ve ever used. Hence there’s a word of caution: If you have small eyes or are prone to getting mascara on your nose, in your hair, in your brows, or on your teeth (I’ve seen it all), stop reading. This probably isn’t the mascara for you.  If you have intermediate level-ninja mascara application skills, or are confident you are on the cusp of securing ninja status mascara skills, keep reading.

Essence i love extreme volume mascara review
That’s a big brush.

In the interests of thoroughness, here’s a whistle-stop overview of I love Extreme Volume mascara (waterproof).  Here’s the good, coupled with the irritating, in the interests of balance. I’ve used this mascara everyday since Easter, so it’s had a decent road test.

The Good 

  • Did I mention it costs NZ$6.30?
  • The formula delivers on the product name: The result is long, separated, and super-thick, porn-star looking eyelashes. It definitely pulls off an extreme volumised look.  
  • It holds eyelash curl so well. Contented sigh (I have given away brand new mascaras because of their failure to do this!)
  • Despite the gi-normous brush (which’ll put some off) I like the synthetic brush and I’ve adapted and can work well with it.  I much prefer this kind of wand to the wand in the afore mentioned Maybelline mascara. The secret may well be in the fact that the opening of the tube ensures there is not too much product dispensed onto the wand (i.e. the brush doesn’t get super wet with product).
  • It lasts all day.
  • It’s got a build-able formula. I usually wear a double coat of mascara – I’ve experienced no clumping. 

The Irritating

  • It’s got a massive brush. If you have small eyes OR are slightly clumsy with your mascara, I’d urge caution, or else have a stash of cotton buds on your person to clean up the mess.
  • It’s a bastard to get off. However, this is the case, to be fair, with most waterproof mascaras. I don’t personally find the removal process a drama: I’m a massive fan of removing my eye makeup with coconut oil and it removes ALL mascara in a jiffy. Frankly, I don’t understand why more people haven’t jumped on the coconut-oil-as-a-makeup-remover band wagon.
  • After all day wear, the mascara smudges slightly. Now, that said, I have hooded eyelids and I curl my eyelashes within an inch of their life, so if anyone is going to get mascara smudges on their upper eye lid by the end of the day, ’tis moi [waves hand].  However, refer to the number one bullet point under ‘good stuff’. I have deduced that, on balance, based on price and everything else in the ‘thumbs up department’ with this mascara. Yes, I can cope with a bit of mascara smudging.  If you have spectacularly oily eyelids though: You might get quite a bit of smudging (consider this a warning). I have noticed, however, that smudging is mitigated by wearing a good quality eyelid primer (even if I’m not wearing mascara).  
  • I’ve experienced a little bit of flaking. That’s not a biggie for me, I find most mascaras flake a smidgen. Let’s not get too pedantic.
Essence i love extreme volume mascara review
Voila – $6.30 mascara. Side note: Has my chin always been this pointy?!

Want more info?

Click here to visit Essence’s website. You’ll also find a list of ingredients if you like that level of detail (translation: I couldn’t be bothered typing it out).

Where to buy?

Farmers is the NZ stockist for Essence cosmetics, however, annoyingly, not all Farmers in NZ stock the range. I emailed them to find out who the stockists are (to save you getting disappointed) and these are: Palmerston North, Albany,  Henderson, Riccarton, Porirua, Dunedin, Hornby, Cuba St, Shirley, Manukau, Chartwell, Hastings, Wanganui, Upper Hutt,  Whakatane, Taupo,  Kilbirnie, Pukekohe, Gisborne, Glenfield, Levin, North West, Whakatane, Whangaparaoa, Papakura.  Not Rotorua, Tauranga or Napier, my most frequented Farmers’ stores. Sigh.

Post script: November 2016: You can now buy Essence Cosmetics online from Pricewise Direct (as well as in store). Yippee.

Executive Summary

This is one bloody tremendous mascara. Big thumbs up from me. I can’t declare it quite as good as Lancome Hypnose Doll Eyes mascara, that’s on a total pedestal for me, on it’s own island in fact, my number one: You get my drift. However, for price and quality (with a few marks removed because of the smudging on my upper eyelids) this gets some oohing and ahhing from me. I can’t think of a mascara in the ‘cheap stakes’ that I like more than this one. Would I repurchase? Hell yes, based on quality and price.  

Lastly – a confession and an apology….

I blogged in last month’s Lou’s Fave’s blog post that I was really enjoying Maybelline’s Lash Sensational mascara. Well, knowing then what I know now, I wouldn’t have written that semi-rave review. Why? Because Essence’s $6.30 offering blows the pants off Maybelline’s $27 efforts and Maybelline has been biffed into Neverland (i.e. the drawer of doom).

Get in peeps!