I count myself as something of a mascara connoisseur—an expert in wand technology, if you will. I know exactly which mascaras will lengthen, separate, define and volumise all at the same time, so it takes a pretty impressive mascara to win me over. I tend to stick to drugstore wands (as you'll remember me ranting about way back when), but when I discover a really special mascara, I'm more than willing to fork out a little extra cash—that's how much my lashes mean to me. And that's exactly why I'm on my sixth tube of Nars Audacious Mascara (£22), which is quite simply, the undefeated champion of the midpriced mascara world.
Keep scrolling to hear why I love it so much.
My love of a mascara can be broken down into three component parts, which each need to not only impress me individually, but they also need to work simultaneously to do the kinds of things to my lashes usually reserved for LVL treatments.
The first is, of course, the wand. In the case of Nars Audacious Mascara, the wand isn't just your run-of-the-mill spoolie. This one is made of silicone (which I find brush through lashes more smoothly than a bristle brush) and packs in 200 teeny-tiny bristles each with a minuscule hook at its end. It might sound painful, but these hooks are what give this mascara its unparalleled curling action: They cling to hairs and pull them upwards, setting them in a curled position as the formula dries down.
The second criteria I like to judge is the formula and this one can only really be described as wet, thanks to a high wax content. It struggles to go crusty, even at the end of its life span, and lacquers lashes in a glossy layer of true-black pigment. It doesn't stay wet for long, so you needn't worry about it rubbing off onto your eyelids, but the high-shine finish remains all day which, in my opinion, is a marker of a quality mascara. It's also worth mentioning here that it doesn't leave lashes stiff and as though they could snap off at any second, but instead they'll be pretty malleable and fluffy.
The last—and probably the most over-looked—factor I look at is the wiper action. It's vital that the opening of the tube wipes off enough product so that lashes aren't left weighed down by lumps of black mascara, but it also shouldn't wipe away too much, lest you be left with what is fundamentally a glorified lash brush. Nars' does neither, and somehow gets the ratio just right: One plunge into the tube will do an entire eye without leaving the lashes spidery and stuck together.
Put simply, Nars Audacious Mascara (£22) does everything that a mascara should, and that is why I love it. Want to see it in action? Below, you can watch it being applied to a variety of lash types, which, weirdly enough, is pretty mesmerizing.