In case you're new to these parts (welcome!), I review one or two mascaras, and show up-close pictures of exactly what they do (or don't) for my lashes. Just to recap: I have long, but very fine and wispy eyelashes that must be curled with my Shu curler before any lash makeup. My ideal mascara is something that will absolutely hold that curl, add definition and drama without being clumpy, and is reasonably smudge-proof.
On to the good stuff!
Shu's newest Stretch Xtreme mascara claims to be, "a revolutionary mascara that represents a dramatic new way of achieving extremely long, full, beautiful lashes. The secret is the perfect combination of a breakthrough double fiber formula with a brand new application system.Developed after extensive research, the new formula has properties of a gel, so it can be applied and reapplied in ultra-fine, film-like coats. this precision layering effect allows users to build their desired volume, but still maintaining dramatic, separate lashes."
The main words there were lightweight, volume, and length, which is interesting given how much heft a volumizing formula typically has. I was a bit of a skeptic, probably because of Maybelline's gel Megaplush mascara that I hated (post), but I figured that if anyone could come up with a volumizing but still clean mascara, it would be Uemura-san. (I tell ya, I've got the man on a pedestal).
|Stretch Xtreme brush|
I liked Stretch Xtreme from the very first use (note: I love that Shu mascaras are good from first application--no silly waiting around for the tube to dry out). It held the curl nicely, was just as lightweight as it promised to be, and barely smudged. I don't typically do more than one coat of mascara, but I did two-three to test the claims, and the effect was more dramatic, but not clumpy--just less feathery and defined. (You don't even have to put it on your lashes to know that this stuff is lightweight. You can tell just by looking at the brush that it's not a gloopy or wet formula). Unfortunately, I really didn't see any lengthening, even though it seemed like the fibrous formula would give me longer lashes. I classified it under lightweight mascara that holds curl and adds drama, but something was gnawing away at me all the while and I finally realized what it was:
Sure, there was a new gel formula and shiny new packaging, but it felt very similar to my Holy Grail--the description I gave this newcomer is almost identical to how I describe my Natural!
A side-by-side test was in order. It really wasn't until I wore one on each eye that I could really see their differences, and it was this dual testing that brought out the highlighted features of each.
|Naked left eye|
In case you missed my entire post on the Ultimate Natural, it's been my Holy Grail for some time because it ticks all my "mascara requirement" boxes. It holds a curl like nobody's business and still looks light and clean on the lashes while retaining a bit of dramatic flair.
|Left eye with one coat of Ultimate Natural|
This new formula, Stretch Xtreme does basically the same things, just with a twist. The biggest distinction between the two is that Stretch leaves you with more coquettish, feathery lashes. I thought the Ultimate Natural was as light as lashes got, but this newer formula almost makes the U.N look poorly defined in comparison. I don't know if it's the new gel formula, or something about the slightly curved brush, but Stretch perfectly fans out all my lashes and separates them cleanly--really making the most of them. Again, it's not that the Natural doesn't do this as well, it's just that the Stretch does it better.
|Naked right eye|
That's the biggest difference, but the way each of them "holds a curl" is actually the most interesting. (Yes, I said interesting!). With the Ultimate Natural, I really rely on the eyelash curler to get my lashes into the proper curl first, and then the mascara locks that into place. However, it seems that the Stretch has more curling properties in the formula, so while I still definitely need an eyelash curler (always!), it's not needed quite as much. I know the mascara will give me some curl as well, so I might only curl two times instead of three. The end result is actually a more natural, smooth curl than what I get with the Ultimate Natural, but at a price. Whereas the U.N. curl will stay all day and night, the Stretch curl will start to droop after a few hours--you'll still have curled lashes by the end of the day, but it'll be a much softer shape.
|Right eye after a coat of Stretch Xtreme|
Normally I'd be whining about a decreased curl, but I must say that there's something about it that goes with the general sultry effect of the mascara. Super feathery, evenly fanned out lashes with a seductively soft curl are pure bedroom eyes.
Other than that, these two mascaras are practically identical--equally dark, equally little smudging, and equally clump-free. The Stretch Xtreme is just like Ultimate Natural's newer, slightly sluttier sister--doesn't have the same longevity as her big sis (more fling than long-term), but she's sure to show you a good time.
Obviously I like them both (enough to personify them, apparently) and they're the same price ($28) so if it's a question of one or the other, that's really up to your type of lashes. If curl is your main priority, go with the Natural. But if you're all about a lush, feathery, fringe of lashes, check out the Stretch.
Imagine all the flirty eyelash-batting you could do!
There's just one more Shu mascara that I haven't tried, so we can all look forward to more creepy pictures of my eyes in an upcoming post!
Hope you're well!