Beauty Battle: Color-Intense Mascaras

Mac's Zoom Fast Black Lash vs. Cover Girl's Exact Eyelights

Welcome to the latest installment of Beauty Battle, where we pit two similar products — one high-end and one drugstore — against each other to see which one reigns supreme. This week, we’re testing two color-intense mascaras: Mac’s Zoom Fast Black Lash and Cover Girl’s Exact Eyelights in Black Pearl.

Mac Zoom Fast Black Lash
Price: $15, available at department stores

The hype: Mac’s newest mascara is “designed for voluptuous night-sky volume…it’s intense. Fast. And blacker than black,” boasts the website. I asked one of Mac’s online makeup artists what she loved about it, and she said she’s stoked because it provides instant gratification for full, blackest-black lashes.

The application: It’s true that one or two coats is all you need for dramatically darker lashes. However, some clumping at lash tips does occur. The worst part? After a few hours the texture becomes flaky and dark smudges creep down under my eyes—leaving me less rock-star glam and more Rocky Raccoon.

Cover Girl Exact Eyelights
Price: Around $7, available at Target and CVS

The hype: Cover Girl claims your eyes will actually look four times brighter if you use this product. There are four different shades, one for each eye color: Black Pearl (brown eyes), Black Sapphire (blue), Black Gold (hazel), and Black Ruby (green). Allegedly, tiny flecks of light-reflecting metallics in the mascara are tailored to the different eye colors.

The application: I have brown eyes so I bought the Black Pearl. Application is smooth and easy, with little to no clumping. In fact, the brush bristles are very fine and appear to be made out of plastic—the best mascara brush I’ve tried since DiorShow. Color lasts all day and doesn’t flake.

The verdict: While the Zoom Fast leaves much to be desired, the Exact Eyelights is definitely a keeper. It goes on easy and stays put, adding ample volume and length. What’s more, while I wasn’t really convinced my eyes looked luminous, I walked around the office wearing one mascara on each eye, asking my colleagues which one looked brighter: Ten out of ten — even the guys! — chose the eye clad in Exact Eyelights.