L'Oreal says this iteration of its Voluminous Superstar Mascara, "Red Carpet Black," is an amped-up version of the original and is designed for nighttime wear. This one has all the positives of its predecessor, but that also means it stumbles in the same areas, which is why it falls just short of earning our highest rating.
Voluminous Superstar Red Carpet Black Mascara actually includes two products: A white lash primer, and the mascara itself. It's packaged in a large, double-ended tube; one end contains the primer with a straight-bristled brush, the other holds the mascara, which has a curved brush.
As with the original Voluminous Superstar Mascara, you're supposed to apply the primer coat first to add volume, and then add the mascara for length and separation. When we tried this, we didn't find the primer or the mascara to be all that volumizing. Some volume is added, but not nearly the amount claimed!
The good news is that this mascara shines in other areas. It does an excellent job separating and lengthening lashes for a noticeable effect. The primer does the separating, making it appear as though each lash is standing out. We should note not to overdo it on the primer, though! One or two coats is enough; more than that can lead to some minor clumping.
The mascara itself adds quite a bit of length to lashes, as well as darkening them. We noticed this formula is a bit darker than the original, which is good news for those who like their lashes jet black. Now what about those "pearls that glisten in the night" that are supposed to enhance this mascara? Again, we did note a darker color, but not any sort of sparkling or pearlized effect, even in various lighting conditions. Consider that great marketing copy, not something that leads to visible results.
As far as wear, this has standout performance: It lasts through a standard workday (or evening party) without smudging, flaking, or fading, and came off in a cinch with our regular cleanser.
Though some of its claims, such as the volumizing and the pearlized effect, are overstated, L'Oreal Voluminous Superstar Red Carpet Black Mascara still has a lot of award-worthy traits, and is worth premiering at your next event!
Step One: Aqua / Water / Eau, Polybutene, Paraffin, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Cera Alba / Beeswax / Cire Dabeille, Copernicia Cerifera Cera / Carnauba Wax / Cire De Carnauba, Steareth-2, Cetyl Alcohol, Alcohol Denat., Phenoxyethanol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Acacia Senegal / Acacia Senegal Gum, Panthenol, Ethylenediamine/Stearyl, Dimer Dilinoleate Copolymer, Caprylyl Glycol, Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil, Hydrogenated Palm Oil, 2-Oleamido-1,3-Octadecanediol, Disodium EDTA, BHT, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil. Step Two: Aqua / Water / Eau, Paraffin, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Steareth-20, Ethylene/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Cera Alba / Beeswax / Cire Dabeille, Acacia Senegal / Acacia Senegal Gum, Copernicia Cerifera Cera / Carnauba Wax / Cire De Carnauba, Alcohol Denat., Butylene Glycol, Steareth-2, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Phenoxyethanol, Panthenol, Sodium Polymethacrylate, Silica, Sodium Dehydroacetate, 2-Oleamido-1,3-Octadecanediol, Disodium EDTA, Rayon, Nylon-6, Polyquaternium-10, Stearyl Alcohol, Myristyl Alcohol, Tin Oxide, Sodium Acetate, Sodium Chloride, BHT, Isopropyl Alcohol, Triethoxycaprylylsilane.
L'Oreal Paris At-A-Glance
Strengths: Budget-friendly prices; good makeup removers; wide assortment of self-tanning options; one of the best, most comprehensive makeup collections at the drugstore, with superb options in almost every category; the mascaras are a tough act to follow.
Weaknesses: Jar packaging hinders some of the skincare formulas; many of their skincare formulas contain problematic amounts of fragrance and/or other irritants; exaggerated anti-aging claims.
L'Oreal's extensive makeup collection retains its stature as one of the better selections at the drugstore, though they have stiff competition from Revlon and, in some cases, sister company Maybelline New York. In recent years L'Oreal has made significant strides with foundation shades, powder textures, concealers, and, of course, superlative mascaras that rarely fail to impress. Their lipsticks are excellent and you will find many L'Oreal makeup products have a Lancome counterpart, and that the differences are minor—if there are any at all.
L'Oreal's displays in many drugstores reflect better-organized products and shade categories (though testers are still scarce). Given the number of lipsticks they sell, it only makes sense to put them in color families so consumers have a better shopping experience. Their True Match products are also sensibly laid out, but the rest of the foundations aren't as organized, likely due to the smaller selection of shades. Speaking of foundations, L'Oreal has made further strides by offering more that provide sufficient UVA protection. Revlon still has the edge for consistently launching impressive foundations with sunscreen, but at least L'Oreal is (finally) catching up.
The bottom line is that every category of L'Oreal’s makeup has some winning (and in some cases, benchmark-setting) products.
Unfortunately, despite the brands’ enormous presence in the beauty industry, L'Oreal's moisturizers and treatment products are a nearly all unremarkable and repetitive. When it comes to moisturizers or serums, just about anything from Dove, Olay, Neutrogena, or Aveeno is preferred. L'Oreal does well with most of their cleansers, along with scrubs and self-tanning products, but given the widespread availability and financial resources of this line, they could be doing so much more. The good news is their makeup has made major strides and now ranks as the best overall color collection at the drugstore—imagine the results if their skin care followed suit.
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