XXL Volume Mascara involves a two-step process of a white “lash-building” basecoat plus a color-rich topcoat that both feature a standard pointed bristle brush. As is the case with most lash primers, this one does little more than give lashes the same benefit that an extra coat of mascara might, and in this case the basecoat and the topcoat build far more length than volume, which makes the product’s name confusing to say the least! Even though it doesn’t actually deliver its promise of 11 times the volume of natural lashes, whether you choose to use the primer or not, this mascara applies easily, with hardly any clumps. The formula keeps lashes soft, it doesn’t flake, and it comes off easily with a water-soluble cleanser. While this is very good mascara, the drugstore is crowded and competitive enough that this addition just isn’t a clear standout. In fact, you can get better results from many of Maybelline’s longstanding mascaras, which begs the question of why they keep adding new ones with such zeal.
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 getting much better. Both companies specialize in offering a large selection of lipsticks, nail polishes, and mascaras, and many of their foundations have the same strengths and weaknesses (smooth textures and finishes plus the inclusion of sunscreens that are often without much-needed UVA-protecting ingredients).
The powders, several mascaras, pencils, matte-finish concealers, and Superstay Lipcolor are impressive and inexpensive. Although L'Oreal remains the more sophisticated and refined of the two lines (and now they have credible products, not just sleek ads, to back this assertion), 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. Price-wise, Maybelline is the least expensive of the L'Oreal-owned cosmetic lines (which also includes Lancome, Biotherm, Vichy, and Kiehl’s), and smart shoppers will note the similarities among brands that, with conscientious shopping, can really save you money without sacrificing quality or performance.
For more information about Maybelline New York, owned by L'Oreal, call (800) 944-0730 or visit their interactive Web site at www.maybelline.com.