Pros: No flaking, smearing, or smudging. Generally, a great daytime mascara. Cheap.
Cons: The smell?
Mascara can be the most problematic cosmetic. It's prone to run, unless you buy a waterproof version. If it's waterproof it might smear and that's a hell of a lot harder to clean up if you don't have eye make-up remover on hand. In any case, it's going to flake as the day wears on. I live in Hawaii. I may not be speaking for the majority here, but in this type of humidity (especially during the summer), mascara--waterproof or not--will have you perpetually running your fingers beneath your eyes to remove raccoon circles. Eventually, most of the mascara that's on your lashes will be lost to your lower eyelid.
Thus, a mascara designed against flaking, smearing and smudging is imperative. The negative reviews of this particular mascara do hold some water. However, taking all of this into consideration, I offer a differing opinion.
Why'd I buy?
Previously I had been using Maybelline's Unstoppable mascara which claims to resist "raccoon eyes" and smudging for up to 12 hours. Although it definitely smudged/smeared less than a basic mascara (e.g. Great Lash) a thin black crescent would form after a few hours, not twelve. I blame this on the humid environment though.
So, about a week ago, it was time to buy a new tube. But, instead of reaching for another tube of Unstoppable, Neutrogena's Weightless Volume caught my eye. I read the packaging and figured I'd give it a chance for 6 bucks.
Breakthrough wax-free formula eliminates traditional mascara wax clumping, smudging and smearing. Lashes look healthy and feel weightless, not heavy, stiff or brittle. Patent-pending, long-wearing formula goes on cleanly, feels weightless and washes off easily. Lash Building Brush builds and separates lashes with no clumps or smudges. Hypoallergenic. Ophthalmologist Tested.
The mascara comes in a chic black, sparkle-flecked, tube. The first thing you'll notice is the smell. The other reviewers made note of it's weird, off-putting smell. It kind of smells like...paint. I'd like to add, though, that the odor doesn't seem to transfer to your lashes. I didn't find it all that bad considering the only good smelling mascara I know of is Diorshow (which is rose scented). And really, it's applied in such minute amounts does smell really matter at all?
Personally, I didn't experience any excessive clumping. Much less than with Great Lash, ANY Lancome mascara, or Diorshow. Perhaps the problem isn't the mascara but the technique. With any mascara, I always wipe the excess off the brush with a paper towel before applying it to my lashes. This eliminated any clumping problems for me.
I liked the consistency and emphasis this mascara gave my lashes. Lashes are defined, accentuated and soft. Of course, if you're going for intense volume, this isn't your mascara. It only provides an adequate amount of oomph--enough to wear during the day. I usually don't opt for anything heavier (But if I am, Diorshow all the way).
Concerning the no smudge, smear, flaking feature of this mascara: unimpeachable. I can take a nap, sweat profusely, labor under the oppressive sun and this mascara holds up. Having no great expectations for this product, I was very impressed. And it, ironically, removes very easily with soap/water or oil free make-up remover.
This'll be a cosmetic mainstay for me until someone can possibly one-up it.
Things You Should Know About Mascara
You may have already read this in a beauty magazine (I did) but these are things I keep in mind when considering a mascara.
1. Mascaras don't have a very long life. Microbes are transferred from your eyes, hands, surfaces, etc into the nice moist tube where it can flourish and inevitably corrupt the mascara. After 3 months it's time to get a new tube. So, buying a $15 tube every 90 days may not be very realistic for most budgets.
2. Drug-store brands are usually just as good as designer. And they're usually more innovative. The only exception I can think of is Diorshow, my holy grail of mascaras. Unfortunately, I consider it a luxury and can't justify buying it regularly.
3. It's not always the formula that counts. It's more common for a company to patent the mascara's brush than they do the actual formula. I definitely look at the brush design when shopping.
Hope my review helps.