Benefit They’re Real Mascara- Review

August 1, 2011

Benefit They’re Real Mascara ($22) has just released to lovely reviews all around.  Liz and I recently bought one at our local Sephora to test the claims that:

  • 94% saw dramatic length and volume
  • 90% saw base-to-tip curl
  • 94% saw visible lift
  • 100% saw long wearing results
We decided to subject this mascara to a comparison with Benefit Bad Gal mascara.  We used what we call “the scary lens” –it is very sharp and it focuses very close.
Benefit’s packaging gives application advice using the wiggle-method.  They add another step–to hold the wand vertically to stroke upward to curl and separate.
The tube holds a respectable 0.3 oz/8.5 grams, and is a pleasant, fun shape in a shiny gunmetal colored plastic.
The brush uses the spikey shape that seems designed to give good separation while still grabbing plenty of mascara.  Here is a comparison between Benefit They’re Real (on the left) with Benefit Bad Gal (on the right).  As you can tell, They’re Real delivers very voluminous results.  Liz’s lashes are dramatically fringed, with plenty of length.  However, as you layer on the product the mascara has a tendency to clump.
Liz applied They’re Real in several layers, going a little strong.  As you can see, after several layers the mascara started to clump.  We weren’t getting the clean separation that we have experienced with some of the more high end (but much more expensive) mascaras.

Side view (note that Liz did not use an eyelash curler before application):
After wearing the mascara for a full day, Liz found that her lashes stayed soft and flexible.  She reports that after a full day, she got no smudging or flaking.  In short, the formula is very flexible, volumizing and lengthening.  As these pictures show, Liz had plenty of curl (without curling her lashes first).
 Overall, Benefit They’re Real had some very good qualities:
  • High volume
  • Dramatic curl
  • Good lengthening
  • No flaking
  • No smudging
  • Lashes stayed soft
The “con” is the tendency to clump, as you can see in the pictures, during heavy application. Wearers will want to keep a mascara comb nearby, or be ready to work the brush to maximize separation.  The $22 price point could cut either way, depending on what you are used to paying for mascara.  By they way, I’ll be receiving my tube that I bought from soon.  I’ll post a separate update after I’ve played with it a bit.
  • Bottom line: Our initial tests show a clumping, which will be a dealbreaker.  Liz reports that yesterday she wore it much more lightly so the clumping was not as noticeable–but the effect was not as dramatic.
  • For other helpful reviews, see Scrangie’s test here on her site and also this review on The Coveted.

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  • Vesna August 2, 2011 at 1:45 am

    I don’t like how it looks. :/

  • Amy August 2, 2011 at 7:55 am

    That’s really the bottom line, isn’t it Vesna? How it looks… We’re trying to be honest about the final effect. That’s the ‘beauty’ of ‘beauty blogs’–we have the luxury of being able to be objective.

  • ida August 2, 2011 at 8:38 am

    I would never purchase this mascara based on these pics. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to go out looking like that 🙁

  • baby in a corner August 2, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Badgal was the worst mascara I have ever tried – and I’m not that fussy! I think I will go for Chanel Sublimage next or maybe Eyes to Kill which had great reviews from Sabrina from the BLB.

  • mkdallas August 2, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Bummer! I just bought this and had high hopes for it. I’m still going to take it for a test drive, because I use mascara with a very light hand (just looking for a little length and color, no volumizing). It really does look like “clump city” on Liz’s lashes. So glad you brought your gorgeous blog back, Amy!

    • Amy August 2, 2011 at 12:31 pm

      Hi there–me too! I think Scrangie’s review show the mascara applied more lightly. This might be your perfect choice… let us know?

  • Michelle August 2, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    I like the look of the Bad Gal eye! Have you ever tried Make Up Forever Smokey Lash? That is one that I keep hearing about, but haven’t tried. I am forever on the hunt for a fab mascara!

  • Dain August 3, 2011 at 1:02 am

    Thank you for showing this comparison. What a perfect demonstration of irony. “They’re Real”, indeed. Could a mascara be more obvious looking?

  • astrorainfall @ beauty box August 3, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Love the packaging and spiel but oh my that’s is one clumpy mascara…maybe it would look better with a lighter hand…?

    • Amy August 3, 2011 at 8:06 am

      Hi there–see Scrangie’s post (linked in my review) for a lighter hand look. And yes, you will get less clumping with a lighter hand but not as much drama.

  • ?????.. August 3, 2011 at 9:35 am

    I tried it out in a demo stall and it looked really nice it didnt go clumpy at all yet it made my lashes look full leghthened and curled I will definitley be buying this mascara I loved it!!!!

  • Amy August 3, 2011 at 10:50 am

    I definitely agree what a great comparison. No one wants clumpy. i have a mini one from sephora, but not opened yet. been so long since i had bad gal hence great idea to do a comparison

  • AshD August 4, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Thanks for the very telling pictures – that is the most clumpy mascara I have ever seen, even worse than drugstore brands. But, maybe any mascara can get clumpy with many coats? I usually don’t put more than 2. Would Liz be willing to snap a pic when she wears this mascara with just one or two coats?
    The mascara is not only clumpy but also makes all Liz’s lashes stick together in spikes so it looks like she has less of them. very disappointing mascara!

  • Chessie August 7, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    Um, well…. you put too much on. I have been wearing this for a couple of weeks and it looks nothing like this, but I only wear one coat and it looks plenty thick and black on its own with just one coat. There’s no reason to be piling it on like it. It’s a nice mascara and as long as you don’t overdo it like this, it will look great.

  • lizikins August 8, 2011 at 8:10 am

    ive been using this mascara for about a week too and my lashes look nothing like that picture! Maybe you are applying too much. it only takes a small amount to get a massive result. Any mascara will look awfull if you use too much.

    • Amy August 8, 2011 at 9:10 am

      Hi Lizikins–thanks so much. We did note that point in the text of the review. We’ve actually both been using the mascara without this many coats in our daily life over the past week or so. Take care! 🙂

  • Linda August 12, 2011 at 2:41 am

    Please, tell what eyeshadows were used for make-up on this photos? Great nudes!