Finding Your Mascara; Reviews of Tarte, Dior, & Chanel

Sorry I haven’t posted in over a week.  I have not been feeling well lately.  So much so that my doctor doubled my dose of Prednisone to 10 mg and increased my Gabapentin  for my Myasthenia Gravis (MG).  In the midst of all this MG and Polycystic Ovarian fun, there has been some good news, however–my numerous friends and family on the East Coast have all survived Hurricane Sandy.  As a chronically ill person, I am buoyed by their resilience.  On a much lighter subject, though, I thought I’d demystify mascara for us–many women want to wear mascara but we don’t know where to begin.  I’ll blog  about three great mascaras, and help you figure out which mascara best suits your eyes.  You’ll see pictures of each product and how it looks on me.

Tarte’s Gifted Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara

Tarte Gifted Mascara

Best Feature: Like other products in Tarte’s Amazonian Clay line, it lasts 12 hours.  And keeps me looking fresh and therefore employable (!) when I’m dead tired at the end of my workday.

Who benefits most?

  • women who have sparse or few lashes–I use Tarte’s mulitplEYE Clinically-Proven Lash Enhancing Primer, which promises to increase volume by 739%.  When I use Tarte’s lash primer and mascara, I see lashes I never even knew I had before! Yes, it’s that good.

    Tarte’s Smart Mascara
  • women who have a hard time applying makeup–the wands on both the primer and the mascara are huge, which is good for women with neuromuscular coordination issues (caused by MG, Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, and other diseases)
  • women who are dead tired–obviously having cancer or an autoimmune disease or any illness can be tiring.  Add this to the stuff of life that makes us all tired like stress at work, taking care of the kids, and who doesn’t need a mascara that lasts 12 hours?

Price: $19.00 at Sephora

My Rank:  ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ (5/5 stars)

Dior’s Diorshow Black Out Mascara

Best Feature: The mascara’s ultra-black kohl formula is highly pigmented.  Some women say it shines like “diamonds.”

Diorshow Black Out

Who benefits most? 

  • women with really light lashes–women with blonde or light brown lashes will love seeing their eyes “pop” in Dior
  • women with short lashes–Dior lengthens lashes

 Price: $25.00 at Sephora

My Rank: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ (4/5 stars)

I wanted to give this favorite of beauty junkies a perfect ranking but while it gave me length, it did not give me lasting volume even though I used Dior primer.  After a few hours, my lashes looked thin and brittle.

 CHANEL’s Le Volume

Best Feature: Volume!  This mascara has huge WOW factor. I thought CHANEL’s classic Inimitable couldn’t get any better.  But now we have, Le Volume, which actually is an upgrade to the already awesome CHANEL formula.  The best part?  Le Volume is the same price as its predecessor.

CHANEL Le Volume

Who benefits most?

  • women with thin lashes–this mascara delivers on its promise: volume with a panoramic effect
  • women with short lashes–CHANEL lengthens too
  • women whose lashes clump together–CHANEL gives lashes definition–it separates while giving each lash a life of its own

    CHANEL’s Le Volume

Price: $30.00 at CHANEL’s website (though I bought it in-store at Nordstrom’s)

My Rank:  ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ (5/5 stars)


1.  Apply one coat of primer before using mascara (if you have time).  The primers for the above three brands are: Tarte’s multiplEYE Primer, Diorshow Maximizer Lush Plumping Serum, and CHANEL’s BEAUTÉ DES CILS (translation: Nourishing Base Primer).  I also wear CHANEL’s primer at night to condition my lashes while I sleep.

2. Use a lash comb to separate lashes like this Sonia Kashuk one at Target.

 –Your Stylist, Jessica Gimeno 


Hi there! I am a patient advocate, writer, and public speaker most well known for my TEDx Talk, “How to Get Stuff Done When You Are Depressed.” As someone who is juggling 5 illnesses: bipolar 2, myasthenia gravis, endometriosis, psoriasis, and asthma, I’m passionate about helping people who navigate life with both chronic physical & emotional pain. If you’re interested in hiring me to speak at your event, check out the CONTACT tab.

6 thoughts on “Finding Your Mascara; Reviews of Tarte, Dior, & Chanel

  • November 15, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    I have tried so many mascaras trying to find the ideal one for my eyes. I find that even if I don’t put any other makeup on, a little mascara and some under eye concealer can make me look and feel better (and healthier). I think Chanel’s will be my next try. Thanks for the post and glad to read your family survived Sandy.

  • November 20, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    this was so helpful jess! 😀

  • November 29, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Great review! I have so many mascara tubes that have disappointed me. Guess I thought it was just the nature of choosing to use or not to use mascara as part of my makeup regime. I can’t wait to try your top picks for myself!

  • March 25, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    I recently tried Tarte’s “Lights Camera Lashes!” at the same time as L’Oreal’s Voluminous Million Lashes. Gotta say, I couldn’t tell the difference between Tarte’s $26 mascara and L’Oreal’s $8 mascara!

    Another thing I just did that helped… put all the coats on one eye first. Mascara always does better layering when wet. I knew this. But I never realized how much it dried between coats if you do one eye and then the other – and then go back to the first eye. Doing all the layers on one eye at a time meant WAY less clumps. =)

    • March 25, 2014 at 8:02 pm

      Tami, Thanks for sharing the comparison and your tip on finishing one eye first. If my lashes clump, I’ll be sure to try that tip sometime. I just looked at your blog. I will add it to my “Blogs I Read” Section ASAP. Keep in touch!

  • June 8, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Be careful with mascara. I have MG and was using a lash enhancer that had magnesium in it. Then I realized my mascara had a form of propranolol in it. Both worsen MG!! Looking for a single ingredient product.


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