And now for a different sort of Sample Rundown: the Sephora in JC Penny (SiJCP) Lash Out Kit! This limited edition kit costs $25 and is only available at SiJCP--you will not find it at full-sized Sephoras or on the Sephora website. It comes with deluxe samples of 5 premium mascaras: Bare Minerals Lash Domination, Too Faced Better Than Sex, Tarte Lights Camera Lashes, Kat von D Immortal Lash, and Buxom Lash. Prices and product amounts for the full sizes are detailed in a chart at the end of this post.
The Lash Out is one of those "try it and buy it" deals. You test out the samples, figure out which mascara is your favorite, then take the included voucher back to the store for a "free" full-size tube. I put "free" in quotes because, technically, you've already paid $25 for that mascara. Regardless, I think this is a great deal: you're likely to find at least one tube you truly love, and if you like more than one, well, you've got several sample tubes to keep you going as well!
I will note that you should probably take the box with you to the store when you make your choice, but keep it in your purse and just hand over the voucher. Sephora associates who are not in the know may try to take the box with all of the samples back from you when you, even though they're not supposed to. It's not the end of the world, but why give up something you already paid for?
Also, the voucher only counts for the exact products in this set--you cannot get a different color or the waterproof version.
Now, on to the reviews for each of the mascaras! Each of these mini-reviews includes three pictures: my naked lashes, the mascara on one eye, and the mascara on both eyes. In all of the images, my lashes have been curled. I know it's a bit weird to include a picture of my naked lashes each time, but I have mild trichotillomania and I sleep on my side, which can change how they look on a day-to-day basis.
Bare Minerals Lash Domination
I've tried, and liked, this mascara before. The rubber bristles are twisted around the wand in a swirl pattern, and they deposit a decent amount of product to your lashes. The formula is on the thin side, though it's not as watery as, say, Maybelline Great Lash.
This mascara gives good length and some volume without too much clumping. You can layer it some for more drama without too much trouble. This mascara is also the best "dollar per ounce" value; you pay $18 for 0.37 ounces of product.
I did not experience any noticeable flaking. There was some mild smearing (and that was at the corners of my eyes when they watered heavily), but beyond that, Lash Domination stayed on pretty well. It was not difficult to remove.
My main gripe with this product is the packaging makes it uncomfortable to hold the tube. The twisted tube sure looks pretty, but it can be hard to grip the wand, and despite the texture, it still rolls all over the table. I'm funny about mascara tubes: if they're not going to be round, fine, but the design should make it easy to hold and prevent it from rolling off of my desk. Lash Domination can also be a bit messy because it takes a little longer than usual to dry down.
Overall, this is a nice mascara, but it doesn't provide enough volume for me, personally, to go for a full size.
Too Faced Better Than Sex
This mascara has mad hype surrounding it, so I was REALLY excited to try it. The brush is supposedly designed to "mimic the curves of a woman's body," but really, it's just a traditional wand that gets thinner in the middle. The formula is incredibly thick, wet, and creamy.
It's obvious why this mascara is so popular. It provides a ton of volume and a decent amount of length, giving me a great false lash effect. If you don't mind having slightly clumped or "fake-looking" lashes, you can layer this stuff on for even more volume. As these pictures show, it really does bring the drama.
Unfortunately, Better Than Sex wears terribly on my eyes. The formula is one of the messiest I've ever used; even when I was being careful, I made a mess out of my eyelids applying this stuff. It begins flaking after 2-3 hours, and it smears like crazy. This is also the most expensive product per ounce, costing $23 for 0.27 ounces of product.
People who love done-up lashes and don't mind some flaking and smearing, or use lash primers extensively, may like this more than I did. As it stands, I was disappointed.
Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes
This mascara has the most interesting packaging out of the whole set: an almost flat, snake-printed, purple cardboard tube with gold lettering. It's a bit garish compared to the sleek black tubes and compacts I'm normally attracted to, but I appreciate that it's easy to hold, kinda eco-friendly, and--ding ding ding!--it won't roll off of my desk.
The brush on this one is the most basic and classic out of the entire set. It also has the driest formula out of the bunch, though it's by no means "crunchy." I'd say it's got a faint powderiness to it, if that makes sense.
Lights, Camera, Lashes is an all-rounder: it gives plenty of length and volume. You can also layer it for more drama, though I recommend doing one eye at a time as quickly as possible: the dry formula means that adding layers when your lashes are already dry will result in a super-spidery look.
This mascara did flake a little, but only a little--I found maybe 2-3 miniscule flakes under each eye at the end of the day. Also, because this is a classic brush, it doesn't do the best job of separating your lashes, so you can get a lot of clumping if you aren't careful. Overall, though, I found this to be an incredibly versatile and long-wearing product. I used my voucher to get a full tube of this one (though I was a bit sad that I couldn't get the waterproof version, since I love waterproof mascaras).
Kat von D Immortal Lash
I only used this stuff once because it was AWFUL. The brush looks like a torture device, and that was an apt design choice: it's one of the scratchiest, most painful things I've ever put near my eye.
The formula is incredibly thin and gives minimal results. I don't mind a natural mascara (as the last mini-review in this series will show), but the Kat Von D really just seemed to tint my lashes black and provide minimal length. I mean, maybe I would've gotten more volume if I'd really rubbed it in to the base of my lashes, but OW, that stupid brush! The only thing that brush was good for was getting in to the corners of my eyes.
I experienced some flaking and smearing with this product, albeit not to the level of Too Faced Better Than Sex. Just a disappointment of a product, really.
This is another mascara I've tried before. The brush has evenly dispersed rubber bristles, but thankfully, they're relatively soft and painless. The brush gets slightly thinner in the center. The formula is very standard: neither thin nor thick, neither wet nor dry, just overall well-balanced and easy to apply.
Buxom Lash is definitely best for those who like length and separation, because it provides plenty of that. I didn't have a bit of clumping with this one. You can't really layer this one for more drama, but on the bright side, that means it's difficult to overdo. Buxom Lash is also really easy to remove. I'd say it's a great choice for people who like low-maintenance makeup.
Unfortunately, this product does smear easily, particularly around the corners of my eyes where they tend to water. There's no flaking, though, and it's not as messy as Too Faced.
It's a nice day-to-day mascara, but because it doesn't add volume and smears, it doesn't suit my needs.
Last but not least, the comparison chart!