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making faces :: the window dressing to the soul [chanel inimitable intense mascara]

this is the tale of a woman obsessed. a woman whose mother told her that the very first thing she noticed about her daughter when she was presented with her in the hospital was that said daughter had rather dramatically long, curly eyelashes. a woman who swore that she would honour that birthright every living day, no matter what the obstacles or the cost, that she would make sure the world would see her as her mother had first seen her- as a strange bundle with long, curly eyelashes.

that woman is me. and, yes, it is absolutely true that my mother told me that the first thing she noticed about me was that i had long, curly eyelashes when i was born. i also apparently had a surprising amount of red hair on my head, which fell out shortly after.

and it is true that i have a real preoccupation with my eyelashes. a friend of mine once pointed out that it was the one feature i could be counted on to accentuate, even when i couldn't be bothered with any other makeup. that's true. i can leave the house with no makeup, no problem, but i feel kind of naked without mascara.

to that end, i'm always searching for the ultimate mascara, something that will allow others to view me as my mother first did, all big blue eyes and dramatic lashes, but skipping the part where i barfed on her shoulder. and what a search it has been.

essentially, i like something that adds some volume and definition and that shows off length. i don't really need something that curls my lashes, because to this day, they curl pretty well on their own. while most curling mascaras are utter failures, those that do live up to the claim tend to make me look a little ridiculous, like i applied miniature rollers to my eyes.

after hearing so many wonderful things about it and being so enamoured of chanel in general, i decided to give their "inimitable intense" mascara a try. it promises the world: length, definition and curl. a tall order for anyone, let alone a demanding mascara-phile like myself.

the results? surprisingly good.

i don't think it delivers maximum impact in "a single stroke", as promised, but it does give great volume, emphasises length from root to tip and, yes, does give my lashes just a little bit more of an upward curve.

i did not find that it clumped my lashes together or deposited so much product that it smudged or smeared around the base of my lashes. this is a big thing for me, because i'm already a little clumsy and have to be careful not to get mascara on my actual eyelids. i don't need to fiddle around with a mascara wand that's prone to mischief.

i do have a tendency to go with a fairly deep, dramatic application, which may not suit all tastes. the photo on the right shows two coats fresh from a new tube. i'd be likely to wear it this way, but you'd get a more natural look with a single pass. also, if you want something softer, the mascara does come in brown as well.

below is a comparison of inimitable intense with benefit's "they're real", which i reviewed here. both are good for length and volume, but you can definitely see that chanel has the edge. in addition, chanel offers that little bit of curl, which is a nice finishing touch [and which can counteract the tendency of mascara to weigh your lashes down].

l :: chanel inimitable intense; r :: benefit they're real

at $30usd/ $36cad, "inimitable intense" is definitely a higher-end product. i don't mind splurging for something that has really excellent results, but i was disappointed that there seemed to be far less product- or that it dried out much quicker- than other mascaras in the same price range. most mascaras last me between three and four months. this one lasted less than two before requiring multiple coats to get anywhere near the original effect. if it had cost a lot less than other luxury brands, that wouldn't bother me, but i expect items in the same price range to be comparable and this one fell well short, either because it dried out quickly or because there simply wasn't as much product included.

it is a very nice formula, in that it delivers on its claims, doesn't become crusty on the lashes and lasts well during use. but among prestige brands, i can't say it would earn the highest marks, simply because the value isn't as good. [nothing has yet displaced yves st. laurent "faux cils" as my favourite.]

worth the coin? yes, probably. the best you can get? close, but no. 

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