Brush up – or give 'em the brush-off?

Estee Lauder Vibrating Mascara

As a fairly uncoordinated person, I found that applying mascara with a vibrating brush incited nightmares of looking like a walking Jackson Pollock painting. Estee Lauder's TurboLash All Effects Motion Mascara, touted as having the world's first self-powered brush, claimed to be the ultimate lash booster: lengthening, adding volume, curling and separating all at once. But my stick-straight lashes had heard those promises before, and I usually wound up with clumps or raccoon eyes by the end of the day.

It took some time to get accustomed to the buzz of the motor, which sounded like a fly circling my head. But after a week, my doubts disappeared, and my lashes were curlier and thicker. I'm not sure what I love more about this mascara: its clump-free formula or the vibrating brush. $30; Kathleen Hom, Washington Post

Givenchy Phenomen'eyes Mascara

My makeup routine has seven mascaras in rotation. They're all different formulas and shades: volume-enhancing, lengthening, soft black, jet black. I even have three varieties of Benefit's BadGal mascara. But the real way to my heart is through the brush. A thin, wimpy-bristled brush just won't do.

So when I heard that Givenchy had reimagined the traditional brush with a shape seemingly inspired by a medieval mace, I was intrigued. Indeed, the brush gets an A-plus. Its spherical tip is easy to maneuver into the very corners of the lash lines, and the spikes, while somewhat intimidating, excel at grasping every lash. But sadly, this is one instance when the formula fails. The watery solution smudged quickly and clumped my lashes.

Good thing I still have six other options. $27; Michelle Thomas, Washington Post