Beauty Battle: Benefit’s They’re Real Mascara vs. L’Oreal Lash Paradise Mascara

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I like my eyes, but my eyelashes can be a pain. Like the hair on my head, my lashes are naturally rebond-straight, somewhat fine, and do what they want, which usually involves clumping together when curled or after more than one coat of mascara. On top of this, I have an odd eye shape: a tapering eyelid crease creates a “hood” which tends to swallow up my lashes. Because of this, putting on mascara can be a nerve-racking experience, as I’m constantly running the risk of getting product all over my lids.

Bare faced and lash-less

Bare faced and lash-less

Due to my eyelash obsession, over the years I’ve amassed a considerable collection of lengthening, curling, and volumizing mascaras, from drugstore steals to department store HGs. I cycle through them frequently, far from loyal, but there have been a few formulas that have managed to linger longer than others in my kikay kit.

Among my current faves are: Benefit’s They’re Real Mascara (arguably a pricey choice at P1,200 for a full-size product) and the significantly more affordable L’Oreal Lash Paradise (P500 at beauty counters). I fell in love with both formulas for their ability to transform my fine, finicky lashes into fluttery doll-eyes, but considering their drastically different price points, I couldn’t help but wonder how they would stack up next to each other. Are dramatic lashes worth the splurge, or can you get them for a steal? Let the mascara beauty battle begin!

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Splurge: Benefit’s They’re Real MASCARA

I actually purchased a mini of Benefit’s They’re Real Mascara (P800++ at Benefit counters) because the P1,200 full-sized tube requires more commitment than my fickle self can handle. It also actually took me quite a long time to use up my first mini of this product, which I got as part of the Primping With The Stars Kit.

As the name suggests, this formula promises dramatic results in both length and volume, as well as a visible lift and curl. Its iconic wand features fine spikes on a straight, slender base, ending in a ball-like tip that is useful for reaching the corners of the eyes as well as gliding through lower lashes. If applied with their recommended technique - moving from root to tip in a wiggling motion - They’re Real promises to make your lashes look fake in the best way. Did it? ...well, yes and no.

With a thin, fluid formula and slender brush, Benefit’s mascara is definitely easy to use and does visibly lengthen lashes. It can also be built up to deliver on volume. The overall effect, however, definitely did not scream “falsies,” and it took a few coats to get to a length that didn’t get “eaten up” by the crease in my lids.

Pros:

  • Lengthens lashes, and can be built up to provide volume

  • Thin, fluid formula prevents clumping, even when layered on

  • Slender brush creates a natural-looking “tapered” effect and is easy to use in corners of eyes

Cons:

  • Does not provide much curl, nor does it “hold” curled lashes well

  • Formula is not waterproof or smudge-proof, and it will give you raccoon eyes over time (but it’s easy to wipe off fallout, however)

  • Formula takes a while to dry, so it’s not completely accident-proof

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Steal: L’Oreal Lash Paradise

L’Oreal’s Lash Paradise has gotten a lot of love from beauty girls (most notably Youtube legend Tati!) since its release. At P500 (or $7 if you buy it in the US) for 8.5mL of product, it’s comparatively more expensive than offerings from L’Oreal’s sister brand, Maybelline (also famous for its mascara formulas), but can still be considered affordable.

With its pale pink tube and thick, hourglass-shaped wand, the Lash Paradise definitely looks a little bit like Too Faced’s Better Than Sex mascara, which it’s often touted as a drugstore “dupe” for. The thick, viscous formula grabs on to lashes, bulking them up to create volume while also, I suspect, acting in a way similar to a fiber mascara: binding to the ends of lashes to add length. Compared to Benefit’s mascara, Lash Paradise definitely brought the drama!

...but it also brought a serious case of the clumps. The thickness of Lash Paradise’s formula helps it volumize and lengthen with one swipe, but its bulky applicator makes distributing that formula rather challenging. The lack of space between bristles made it impossible to use the wand to separate my lashes, causing them to turn spidery with each layer. I also found the application process rather messy as the wand kept hitting the crease in my lids.

Having used this formula several times before this Beauty Battle, I know for a fact that it is 100% possible to get gorgeous results with this mascara. However, I would personally say it has a bit of a learning curve, so it may not be the best pick for makeup beginners.

Pros:

  • Provides dramatic length and volume

  • Holds a curl well and has minimal fall-outs

  • Water-resistant and long-wearing (I have oily-combination skin but do not have oily lids though)

Cons:

  • Bulky applicator combined with a sticky formula resulted in a high tendency to create clumps or a ”spider leg” effect

  • Formula tends to “ball up” at the ends of lashes, losing the “fluttery” look

  • Large wand means it is easy to get product on your eyelids while applying the mascara

L’Oreal on the left; Benefit on the right

L’Oreal on the left; Benefit on the right

The Final Verdict

Despite having very similar claims, the Benefit They’re Real Mascara and L’Oreal Lash Paradise Mascara have such drastically different formulas that it’s difficult to declare a clear winner. Instead, it’s a lot easier to break down who did better in specific areas.

  • Length: Despite needing to be “built up” in order to see dramatic results, Benefit’s They’re Real delivers on its promise of length, with a natural-looking effect.

  • Volume: Thanks to its thick and viscous formula, L’Oreal Lash Paradise definitely wins in terms of adding volume. One swipe is all you need!

  • Lift and Hold: Neither formula really “curls” lashes, but if you have a lash curler handy, L’Oreal Lash Paradise holds a curl well, and its formula helps lift the lash, making the curl more obvious.

  • Ease of Use: Benefit’s They’re Real is definitely the easier to use of the two, with its slim, spiky wand and more fluid formulation. The applicator makes it easier to distribute mascara evenly and without (much) mess, even for beginners.

Wearing Benefit on both eyes

Wearing Benefit on both eyes

That being said, Benefit’s They’re Real Mascara is my pick for a winner because it was easier to use. While it did not curl or lift my lashes as well as L’Oreal’s Lash Paradise did, it was buildable to my desired volume and length, enabling me to achieve the effect I wanted without worrying about clumps and spidery ends. However, if Lash Paradise re-released with a different applicator - or if I could find a way to switch out the existing wand - I’d probably go with the L’Oreal formula!

Have you tried either one of these mascaras? What was your experience like? Which one was the winner for you?