26 October 2010

Chanel Inimitable Intense Mascara Review: "Are you hoping for a miracle? It’s not enough"*

I have a wee Dine in Dublin review coming up along with an account of the Great Glaswegian Punkfest this weekend, but they’ll have to wait till photos, words and laptops are aligned. So in the meantime I thought I’d share my experiences from my recent Hunt For The Greatest Mascara In The World, Ever.
Now, what I want from a mascara is fairly standard. I want it to give me length and volume and separation and definition and curl and lift. I want one product that will give me pretty, defined and fluttery day-time lashes, and I want to layer it up for a more dramatic and intense night-time look. Oh, and I’d prefer it to look pretty in my make-up bag, too.
See? Simples.
So, after weeks and weeks of exhaustive and in-depth research -- which involved mainly reading the beaut.ie archives, looking at highly unrealistic images in beauty ads and asking my mates -- I had narrowed the selection down to three: Chanel Inimitable Intense, Lancôme Hypnose Drama, and Dior Show. Then I discarded the latter because the brush reminded me of Benefit’s Bad Gal, which I didn’t really get on with, and I was left with two. Handily, I also have two eyes, so I hit the beauty counters and spent a day jumping out at colleagues to demand they point out their favourite eye. It was 50/50, so I picked the one with the nicest packaging, and went with the Chanel.
Launched this summer as a successor to the very popular Inimitable, Chanel’s Inimitable Intense set me back €28 in Brown Thomas. From a selection of four colours –- black, black/brown, black/navy or rouge noir – I chose, as I always do, the plain ol’ black variety. The packaging is lovely, a slim classy black and silver rectangular-ish tube. But that, I am very sad to report, is the nicest thing I have to say about this product.
This mascara is very, very thick –that much is obvious as soon as you pull the wand from the tube. And yet, one application was disappointing, delivering none of the intensity of its name and with no real impact on volume, length or lift. It also failed to coat all my lashes, leading to much jiggery-pokery as I tried to get at the pesky little feckers at the inner and outermost corners of my eyes. Which is when I noticed the smudging. After messing about with cotton buds and concealer pencils (thanks, Glamour mag and Benefit, for that free IT stick a few months back), I concluded that applying mascara had never felt this much like hard work.
And then I went in for the second coat. This is a stiff, thick formula that just doesn’t work well when layering. My lashes clumped together in uneven, spiky little groups and frantically wiping off the brush and attempting to comb and separate did nothing to help the situation: if anything, my lashes looked even bumpier with a definite ‘spider effect’ going on.
I left it for a week while I finished off a Lancôme trial sized sample, but found the same disappointing results when I returned to it. Having used this for the past two weeks, I am seriously unimpressed. The Chanel blurb tells me this mascara will deliver “dramatic effects with a unique brush. The result is a more intense lash look, with the same easy application. Lashes appear longer, thicker and more curled, yet each lash, even the finest, is still precisely separated – without clumping, spiking or flaking.”
Well, it didn’t flake, dear readers, but at €28, this is a case when 2 outta 3 IS bad.

*Post title: Lyric from Bloc Party, ‘Helicopter’
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