Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Review - YSL Mascara Volume Effect Faux Cils Noir Radical

Disclosure - PR sample

I make a slightly odd test subject for posh mascaras - mainly because I never, ever buy them. I struggle with the idea of paying more than a tenner for a mascara, which I see as a short-term prospect because of the "throw it out after 6 months" thing. I know not everybody does this, but I do, or rather I try to. My obstinate refusal to throw something expensive out after a short time means that I've never taken the plunge and joined the ranks of the Diorshow and Hypnose devotees.

YSL Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils Noir Radical definitely belongs in the "high end" mascara bracket, with an RRP of £21.50. (However, I've just found the brown variant rather cheaper here.)

What makes it special? Well, I can't resist the temptation to quote another of YSL's deliciously overblown promotional texts:

"The legendary Yves Saint Laurent Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils has metamorphosized into a dangerous weapon of seduction. Now eyelashes are sheathed in radical black for dangerously intense, magnetic eyes….

BLACK - The signature colour of Yves Saint Laurent, black reveals its intonations and intentions in a host of YSL iconic creations. Dense, powerful, exalted black, Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils now reveals unique depths thanks to intense mineral pigments and a triple film complex for;

- Breathtaking volume: a coating film thickens each lash to create spectacular effects

- Gorgeous curl: a conditioning film sheathes the lashes without clumping to maximise the curling effect of the brush
- Extra long hold: a stabilizing film forms an invisible, vinyl polymer shield that maintains the colour without stiffening the lashes, and boosts its lasting qualities

A complex of bio-active sugars of plant origin with pro-vitamin B5 forms a moisture-preserving barrier on the lashes to more effectively protect them." 

So basically it's an incredibly massively BLACK new version of the pre-existing Effet Faux Cils mascara.

The dangerous weapon of seduction comes in a heavy, shiny gold tube. The lid and the barrel are slightly different tones, which gives it quite a nice eye-catching look. However I just don't get the whole gold blingy thing. I just don't like it. Again, I find myself wishing that the tube was silver, or chrome, or even metallic black. But that's YSL, it's how they roll, so fair play to them. A lot of people must love the gold look, because this is an extremely coveted and prestigious brand.

Lid off, the wand is fairly unexceptional to look at. Not for YSL the plastic combs, bendy rubber spindles or other bells and whistles favoured by high street mascara manufacturers. It's just a dense, straight fibre brush on a standard-length wand.

The claims about curl and hold are probably best tested in conjunction with an eyelash curler and a set of fairly straight lashes. I have a natural curl, so I can't comment on whether one is constructed or maintained by this product, sadly. However I can confirm that re. the third claim above, my lashes do certainly feel soft and flexible even after applying a few layers of this mascara.

The USP of being EXTREMELY BLACK is indeed what stands out most about this product. It's incredibly pigmented. It's the blackest mascara I have ever used (and I've used many). It's like midnight on the blackest night at the bottom of a well that goes thousands of feet deep. It's so black that it will put your darkest, heaviest eyeliner to shame and make it look like a pitiful grey smudge.

It covers well and it builds up pretty evenly. As you can see from the pictures (which show me wearing two coats) there's a hint of spider-leg if you're not careful, but it's great fun to build it up and see how black and huge your lashes can go. A lash-comb between coats is advised.

Despite the positively lethal amount of pigment it packs, this mascara is brilliant at staying put. It doesn't smudge unless you really provoke it with tears or eye-rubbing. The only issue I have with it is removal. Because it's so black it makes a dreadful mess when you take it off and clings to the lashes very stubbornly. If you use a muslin cloth with your cleanser, the entire thing will be covered in black by the time you've finished. In short - be aware when you put this on that you'll need to dedicate a bit of time and effort to removing it thoroughly.

Verdict: This stuff definitely does what it says on the tin. It's supremely black, comfortable to wear, and reliable. An excellent purchase for special occasions. For me, it's distinctive enough to justify the price if you want to go all out.

NB A previous review highlighted some concerns about animal testing and L'Oreal (YSL's parent company). Please see this post for L'Oreal's statement on this issue.


  1. I thought this would be the answer to my makeup related prayers but it didn't.

    I found that it was just a big clumpy mess and didn't really lengthen my lashes at all. However, I do agree on the pigment aspect, it is proper soot black.

  2. I didn't find it particularly clumpy provided I applied it carefully - wiggling through the lashes was essential for me. I'd agree on the lengthening, though - this is definitely more of a volumising mascara!

  3. I have got very sparse, short lashing and found that this done nothing for me. I've since found maybelline mascara pulse perfection which is great even though its a little to waterproof to remove without mascara remover and always tends to leave a bit of a residue. But not a fan of YSL, certainly not worth the money for us less well endowed ladies.

  4. Nice review. I'm in the middle of deciding whether to get this soon... :-)

  5. I have tried every mascara in the market and I can honestly say that this mascara is the one for me I LOVE IT


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