My first reactions to this mascara were mixed. On the positive side, I love Clinique's High Impact mascara, so a variation on that theme was a welcome thing. But on the other hand, I'm convinced there is a special bargain bin in makeup hell for those "volumising" mascaras with the giant toilet-brush-sized wands that paint your entire eyelid black no matter how carefully you apply them. And I was scared I had one of those on my hands.
So with some trepidation I slid the chunky silver tube from its flowery Clinique box, and unscrewed the lid (which closes with a satisfying clunk-click feel). The wand lurking within is definitely big, and might even be called oversized. But it differs in one important respect from the giant-brushed mascaras I complained about just now - the barrel of the wand is big and wide, but the bristles are quite fine and short.
How does this translate into application? Well, there was a bit of eyelid-blotching going on first time around (as these pictures show) but now that I've been wearing it for a few days I can wield the brush quite comfortably.
The big plus point about this mascara is that it gives maximum lash with one coat. The formula contains polymers that bulk up the lashes straight off. You really don't need a further coat, and in fact trying for a second round is likely to result in clumps. For me, that one-coat finish is a godsend first thing in the morning when every second counts.
I'm also really impressed with the blackness of the mascara and how well it covers and separates the lashes. It's definitely comparable to the original High Impact mascara in those terms, and although the brushes are worlds apart, the finish is kind of similar (although High Impact does need more than one coat).
And despite the whole volume thing, it doesn't leave the lashes brittle or spidery, and I've had no problems with flaking. It's got hyaluronic acid, no less, panthenol and hydrolysed wheat protein in it to keep lashes moisturised and flexible, which may be why.
On the whole, I really like this. It has drawbacks - the wand could have been slimmer, and the tube itself is pretty big and will hog space in your makeup bag - but generally I'm really impressed that Clinique has come up with yet another ace mascara.
Clinique High Impact Extreme Volume Mascara is available in Black and Extreme Black, and will cost £17 for 10ml. It comes out on 1 August 2012.
Disclosure - PR sample