For many of us, when we buy mascara we're looking for something that will add length, volume, or curl to lashes without making them look clumpy. With Maybelline's Volum' Express The Colossal Chaotic Lash Mascara, however, clumps are the point. The ads for this mascara feature a model with very spidery lashes; the goal is a messy, high-fashion runway look. This only earned a two-star rating from us, because not only does it not create that "chaotic" look, it also doesn't perform well as a regular mascara.
The Colossal Chaotic Mascara comes in a bright yellow, larger-than-normal tube with a large, "pipe cleaner" style brush with densely packed bristles. This works well to coat lashes with mascara, and the formula adds moderate length and volume. The very end of the brush features a slight curve that's supposed to be brushed horizontally across lashes to create a clumpy look.
We found that the curved end collected quite a bit of mascara, so it has to be wiped off a little before you use it (if you don't, you'll wind up with one big clump of mascara on lashes—not the intentionally messy look that's advertised). We brushed the end back and forth across our lashes as instructed to accomplish the "chaotic" look, but it didn't do much at all; in fact, our lashes didn't look any different than when we first applied the mascara.
Maybelline's site does have a disclaimer on the bottom of the picture of the model with the spider-like lashes that says, "Simulation of product results on lashes enhanced with lash inserts." It's likely that the only way to fully achieve this look is with false lashes or inserts like the model is wearing.
As far as its performance as a regular mascara goes, it doesn't do much to set itself apart from Maybelline's other offerings. While it does add a moderate amount of length and volume, and doesn't flake throughout the day, it does smudge a few hours into its wear time, which resulted in some very unfashionably emphasized dark circles.
However, like so many looks coming off the runway, we found that Volum' Express The Colossal Chaotic Lash Mascara, simply didn't translate well to everyday wear, nor did it live up to its considerable hype. For much better options (including many from Maybelline), see our list of Best Mascaras.
Maybelline New York At-A-Glance
Strengths: At least one excellent product (if not several) in almost every category; many excellent foundations; superior mascaras; inexpensive makeup brushes; some terrific concealers, powders, blush, and lip color options.
Weaknesses: Lips balms tend to be a letdown; a few of the Great Lash mascaras are surprisingly average compared to other Maybelline formulas.
Maybelline is one of the best-known and most recognized mass-market makeup lines in the world—it's available in 90 countries. Throughout its long history, which began in 1915 when T. L. Wilson founded the company and named it after his sister, Mabel, and Vaseline (which he combined with coal dust to concoct a mascara for her), the company has prided itself on bringing innovative products to the marketplace. L'Oreal purchased the company in early 1996, and that's when things really started coming together for the Maybelline brand.
Specializing in a large selection of lipsticks, nail polishes, and mascaras, there is a lot to love from this drugstore brand. Many of their foundations are exceptional, and their powders, several mascaras, pencils, matte-finish concealers, and Superstay Lipcolor collection impressed us by offering a high degree of quality for their inexpensive price point.
Maybelline's latest urban image is a positive step, as many of their latest launches have been innovative without resorting to "been-there, done-that" gimmicks. Smart shoppers will note the similarities of a few of Maybelline’s formulas to products from high-end brands that are also owned by parent company L’Oreal. That just goes to show conscientious shopping can really save you money—without sacrificing quality or performance.
For more information about Maybelline New York, call (800) 944-0730 or visit their interactive Web site at www.maybelline.com.
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