This might seem shocking to admit as a beauty editor, but mascara isn’t one of my favorite products. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of mascaras out there that I love and have loved (RIP, Marc Jacobs Beauty Velvet Noir!!), but compared to other makeup that I tend to truly obsess over (and write about a lot), I don’t consider it as much of a priority. (Then again, I do feel naked if I do eye shadow and liner and forget mascara, so maybe I’m wrong!)
My lashes are super-duper straight, which is a feature we Asians tend to have, so I can’t just put on a great mascara and instantly have the most gorgeously lifted lashes like some of my friends. Yes, I have lash envy! I’ve considered going back to lash extensions, or at least a lash-lift, but have had second thoughts since my hair and nails already require serious maintenance. So when I find a mascara that I love, it's a big deal, and now that I've finally found my holy-grail mascara in Milk Makeup’s new Rise Lifting + Lengthening formula, I've completely neglected the idea of getting any type of fancy professional lash treatment.
I’m on a serious Milk Makeup kick lately and have been using the Hydro Grip Hydrating Makeup Primer ($36), the Hydro Grip Setting + Refreshing Spray ($21), and the new Future Fluid All Over Medium Coverage Hydrating Concealer ($29). I was curious about Rise, especially since I was already a fan of the brand’s Kush High Volumizing Mascara ($26), and had wondered how different they would be. Kush is focused on volumizing and uses a straight brush with heart-shaped fibers (cute), which wrap around lashes and thus really lock in the formula. It also contains hemp-derived cannabis sativa oil, which is packed with fatty acids and antioxidants, so it helps keep your lashes soft and healthy (shout-out to Milk Makeup for being one of the first mainstream beauty brands to showcase the benefits of cannabis, BTW).
Meanwhile, Rise contains a blend of four all-vegan waxes, such as sunflower seed wax, carnauba wax, tree berry wax, and candelilla wax, that are supposed to help give lashes lift and length without weighing them down. Instead of cannabis sativa oil, the mascara uses monoi oil and marigold extract to keep lashes strong and conditioned.
My Honest Review: Milk Makeup Rise Lifting + Lengthening Mascara
At first glance, I loved how unique the packaging was. The tube is futuristic looking, which is the vibe I get from most of Milk Makeup’s products. It’s white, with a ridged, rubbery texture that can help you get a good grip when you’re applying the mascara. Naturally, it stood out to me since most mascaras have a smooth, sleek, metal, or plastic packaging.
When I applied Rise mascara to my lashes for the first time, I gasped out loud. Usually I have to use my trusty Shiseido Lash Curler ($23) whenever I use mascara, but with each swipe, my lashes were already lifting. Talk about rise… She was waking up! Glorious! I applied it how the brand recommends: wiggling the brush up from the root to the tip and applying a couple of coats without letting them dry in between. My lashes looked full, curled, and not spidery, stiff, or overdone. Love it! All in all, while I’m not completely dismissing the idea of getting a lash-lift someday, I’m definitely not in any rush to do it thanks to Milk Makeup's Rise Lifting + Lengthening Mascara ($28).
Helpful Tips: Using Milk Makeup Rise Lifting + Lengthening Mascara
Something that has helped me with mascaras, in general, is using a lash guard or mascara shield while I apply since it can easily end up on my eyelids during application. Rise is not waterproof, so keep that in mind if you’re watching any kind of emotional TV series. However, because it's not waterproof, you don’t need a heavy duty makeup remover to take it off at night. I’ll usually use Bioderma's famed Sensibio H2O Micellar Water ($19), which is great for sensitive eyes.
Another somewhat random but important note: I realized you should keep the brush straight when you put it back in the tube (this is recommended by the brand). Because I was rushing and not paying attention, I put the brush in too quickly, which caused the formula to get smudged around the opening of the tube. And because it’s white, it can be noticeable and look messy. For my second tube (yes, I’m already on my second), I’ve learned the error of my ways, and I always make sure to put it in slowly.
10 More Mascaras I Love & Highly Recommend
This is another new mascara that I’ve been enjoying, from the folks over at Tower 28. It’s made with a special technology that’s seen in hairstyling and that actually memorizes the wave of your lash. The formula also contains lash-loving ingredients like panthenol vitamin B5 and castor oil.
The fluffy wand on this Covergirl mascara easily brings volume, while the combination of a hyaluronic acid complex and bamboo serum results in stronger, healthier-looking lashes. Plus, it’s water-resistant, so let those tears flow if they need to!
When it comes to packaging, this mascara from the British makeup artist Isamaya Ffrench is the winner, hands down. I mean, the tube is literally pierced with a silver nipple ring, and I instantly got flashbacks to one of my early aughts body piercings. (Sorry, TMI?) It’s kitschy and fun, yes, but the actual mascara is pretty fantastic. It has a slightly curved wand that helps lengthen the lashes and delivers a long-lasting, pitch-black formula. I especially love to use it to draw out my bottom lashes.
Tarte is behind some of my all-time favorite mascaras (like Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara, $24), and the tubes always look so chic. The brand recently came out with its first tubing mascara, which is great if you want some serious hold and length without weighing down your lashes. It’s sweatproof, so it will last all day, but is also easy to take off with regular micellar water or a makeup remover.
The brush on this mascara stands out due to its cone-like shape, which helps comb through each individual lash to build intensity with each application. I love using this one to get into the corners of my lashes, which can be a tad more difficult with larger or ultra-fluffy wands.
Remember when Wendy Williams said about Lil' Kim (which turned into a meme), “She’s an icon, she’s a legend, and she is the moment.”? That’s how I feel about Too Faced’s Better Than Sex Mascara. It never fails at giving that perfectly full, flirty lash look.
Panthenol and peptides are the secret to this mascara’s hydrating, buildable formula, while the wand’s staggered bristles allow lashes to be combed and coated from top to bottom. Doe eyes, tubed! Plus, it comes from one of the most legendary makeup artists of all time, Pat McGrath, so you know it's gold.