After years of shutting my short-lashed eyes and praying at the altar of formulas that promised to extend them, I'd finally given up. No matter how many mascaras and serums I tried, I simply couldn't find one that delivered on its promise of helping me fake the look of falsies and stayed on all night... so it didn't really feel worth it to deal with the hassle of morning-after raccoon rings. I became a proud no-eye-makeup girl (yes, even with a full face beat), and felt stress-free knowing my lashes couldn't fail at what they didn't try. But then, I was convinced to give one last product one last shot.
Enter: Wet n' Wild's Breakup-Proof Mascara ($7), which promises to be “waterproof, smudge-proof, cry-proof, and fade-proof” and last up to 16 hours without smearing, smudging, or flaking—no small feat for any mascara, let alone one with a $7 price tag.
Unlike other mascaras in my arsenal, this product plumped my lashes without making them feel hard or heavy. This is likely because of the castor oil (which, in addition to being nourishing, also stimulates lash growth), vitamin E (which offers conditioning benefits), and vegetable collagen in the formula, which according to the brand "will make your lashes look softer and plumper than they ever have before."
The wand's big, fluffy brush also contributes to the formula's barely-there feeling. It coats each individual lash with just enough product to make it look like I have eyelashes, but not so much that they felt cakey or like excessive movement would cause flakes. Since I often gravitate towards plastic wands that have a bit more weight to them and really glob the product on, I was surprised to like this more bristly brush and the subtle, but still noticeable, length and volume. Another Amazon reviewer agreed, saying, “I especially like the application brush…it does help my lashes look more noticeable and they look like natural lashes!”
Did it give me the full Tweety Bird effect that I've gotten from alternatives? No. But my lashes felt so light and soft that I forgot I was wearing mascara, which is a major selling point in itself.
Being chronically single, I had to get a little creative to test the true “breakup proof-ness” of this mascara. So, as a hopeless romantic runner with a degree in storytelling, “creative” is what I got and I took to the West Side Highway—a waterfront path that many New Yorkers refer to as "West Side Hinge" thanks to its notoriously beautiful (and eligible!) frequenters—to see how the mascara would stand up on an extra-sweaty run.
During my first mile, I made eye contact with a sweaty stranger, then spent the entirety of miles two through six concocting a narrative in my head about how we met, fell in love, and built a beautiful life together (all while listening to Taylor Swift so that I could really get into my feels). By the time I hit mile 7, though, I brought myself back to reality with a reminder that this figment of my imagination never really loved me in the first place (... or knew my name), which left me shedding a few sweaty tears over "Tall HOKA man" on the walk home.
... We went through a breakup. He was just on a need-to-know basis about it.
When I got back to my apartment and looked in the mirror, I fully expected to see smears and smudges reminiscent of Jenny Humphrey's goth-girl phase on Gossip Girl—especially considering that it’s spring and I’d been rubbing my allergy-attacked eyes with reckless abandon. To my surprise, though, my mascara had remained fully intact.
I was shocked, but am not alone in singing the formula's staying-power praises. One Amazon reviewer said, “It is def waterproof! I put it to the test. It didn’t budge!…Def a good mascara for the price and great for those days you might be sweating or crying.” I had just done both.
After my elation at the mascara's staying power had passed, I was confronted with a new concern: If this stuff survived 8 miles of sweating, crying, rubbing, and fantasizing, will it ever come off?
Waterproof mascaras typically use wax to create a protective seal around each lash, which prevents moisture from getting in and keeps your look from smudging. However, this makes them (understandably) difficult to remove, which is why I've traditionally been hesitant to use waterproof formulas on my own barely-there lashes.
Despite not coming off when dry rubbing my eyes while running, though, removing the Breakup Proof Mascara didn’t require much elbow grease when I got home. I used the Solvasa Cleansing Butter ($42), my fingers, and a good rinse with the Baebody Collagen Micellar Face Cleanser ($16), and that was all it took. When I showered that evening, I did find a little bit more come off under my eyes, but that is pretty standard for my makeup removal process.
All said, this mascara does just as it promises for a very wallet-friendly price tag: It survived a “breakup” (in my head, at least) without giving me something else to cry about. It isn't necessarily what I would turn to for a full "could blow out candles with a blink" look, but the big, bushy, brush is uniquely effective in achieving a more natural day-to-day look and the formula really does stand up to just about anything.
Unlike the exes you’re breaking up with, this mascara will last, keep its promises, and is low-maintenance enough to want to keep around for a long while. "Forever" material, indeed.
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