Mascara Experimentation: Shu Uemura Ultimate Expression vs. Shiseido Lasting Lift

Friday, January 27, 2012

I know I promised to talk about the Organix oils next, but a familial health emergency came up and there was no way I'd be able to write it in time. (I'm a bit obsessed with hair oils, so it's going to be a long post!). I really wanted to get something up before the weekend, though, so I'm back with more pictures of my droopy eyes and done-up lashes!

*To recap, my eyelashes are super fine, wispy, and curled with my Shu Uemura curler. I look for mascaras that will absolutely hold that curl and give me a clean definition, but also have a touch of drama and va-va-voom*

This particular Shu Uemura mascara was one that intrigued me for a long time, as the first time I ever ordered from their site, I almost purchased this instead of my beloved--and now discontinued--Mascara Basic (post). From them on, I just kept repurchasing the basic, but recently, while ordering my Ultimate Natural mascara, I decided to bite the bullet and chuck this into my cart as well. 

You know the drill, here's the before (again, my lashes are more sparse from the aftermath of the extensions)...


This mascara promises, "extreme volume, dramatic length, beautiful curl," and I have to say, I'm really impressed with the results! Normally I find mascaras that focus on volume (or list it first, anyway!) to be the most prone to uncurling, but this one only pulled the curl out a little! Obviously, Shu tends to market it as an all-around mascara, and I really think they nailed that with this formula. For the first time with a mascara, I actually noticed some lengthening action while applying, and even though it does have the added weight of a more dramatic mascara, the curl is still there and there's not a clump in sight. Again, I'm all about the curled lashes, and I've noticed that as I wear this mascara throughout the day, the curl tends to fall out a bit more. That kind of forces me to take my Shu curler in my purse and re-curl every few hours or so (and I don't like curling after my lashes already have mascara on). It's also not perhaps the most dramatic, but I tend to think you need to choose between a dramatic mascara and one that cleanly defines, and this one is a nice compromise. 

As much as I like it, this couldn't replace the Ultimate Natural as my Holy Grail mascara, (that curling thing is an issue) but I'll definitely still wear it, maybe when my school/work day is a little shorter, or when I just want a slightly softer look to my lashes. This mascara really excels at giving an ultra-feminine, more delicate feel that still has enough dramatic impact--I bet it would look really fabulous paired with more complicated eyeshadow!

As for the second mascara, I've never really used Shiseido makeup before, but my cousin's wife and fellow lash enthusiast Jamie praised this so much--she swore it held a curl like nothing else!--that I had to pick it up. 

So here we go with the before...

And after!

Ick. What a mess. Something about this mascara makes it impossible to only get on your lashes, so if you like being able to apply your eyeliner and mascara in one swipe, go ahead and check this out.

A quick clean-up with the fabulous Almay Makeup Eraser Sticks (post) and...

Jamie was right about this mascara holding a curl, in any case--it never drops or falls out in the slightest. Unfortunately, that's about the only good thing I have to say about this product. As you can see, this gives me totally ridiculous spider lashes that look even more absurd on eyelashes as thin as mine. This formula is actually so clumpy that I can't even use a lash comb to brush through this mess--I need to insert the comb vertically into each clump and painstakingly try and separate them. I almost can't believe this is a mascara marketed for Asian people as instead of making the most of my puny lashes, it makes them look even more sparse--talk about counterproductive makeup! It also transfers horribly, and is a complete pain to take off at night. (Yes, it's waterproof, but that's no excuse as I've never had problems removing waterproof formulas before). What really absolutely kills this product for me, though, is how sloppily it goes on, which especially doesn't make any sense given how skinny the brush is!

Lasting Lift on top, Ultimate Expression beneath it.

Even if you like the spidery look this mascara produces, I'm sure there are other products out there that could recreate that effect without all the hassle this one causes. Between the sloppy application, the subsequent clean-up and the red eyes you'll have from trying to get it all off, this mascara just isn't worth it. 

Bottom line: Shu Uemura is the absolute king of mascaras, and if you're looking for a natural one for daytime that can really cover your bases and do it all, check out the Ultimate Expression. And I have no idea how the Lasting Lift gets such rave reviews, but even if you have really thick, full lashes and like a spidery effect, I would still steer clear of it. 

That post on the Organix hair oils will be up next--seriously!

Have a lovely weekend!

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