L'Oreal Miss Manga mascara isn't exactly new, but then I'm not exactly a cutting edge, new releases blogger--you may have noticed that. I was slightly worried that it would be discontinued by the time I got around to trying it, because I never hear anyone talking about it anymore. But it seems to still exist. Phew.
Based on the way this stuff is advertised, I fully expected to hate it and to write a fun (i.e. scathing) review about how much it sucks. I don't like clumpiness, and since I have quite thin, stubby lashes, globby formulas do not look good. This is one of those mascaras from the last year or so that exaggerates the spidery clumps (sorry, "mega volume") in its marketing. Here's part of the ad photo from L'Oreal's website:
Here's are stills from an animation on the same L'Oreal page that, I guess, is supposed to show what the mascara looks like in reality (not "simulated"). It's not terrible, but it's not great. A bit chunky for my taste. Actually, the thing that probably bothers me the most is that she doesn't have mascara on the tips or the back/top side of her blond lashes, which looks odd to me. As someone with invisible eyelashes, I've learned that they look strange when then are two-tone.
In actual practice, on me, this is just an impressive volumnizing and lengthening mascara--nothing too wild. I was surprised by how much I liked it. Here is a photo of my bare lashes (and eyebrow) and then a photo with two coats of Miss Manga:
Keeping in mind that mascara always looks spikier in a close-up photo than in person, I think this is pretty good! It adds volume and quite a bit of length as well. My lashes are sort of grouped into mini-clumps of a few eyelashes each, I suppose, if you really want to analyze them. That may be the extent of the "manga" effect. I don't think I would be able to achieve the results in the ad photos even with many more coats, but people with much thicker lashes could, perhaps. You might need to use the tip of the brush to push the lashes together to really get it to work. But then couldn't you do that with any mascara?
The design of the brush seems to be intended to apply a lot of product and to separate lashes into distinct clumps. You can sort of see in the photo below that the bristles have wide spaces between them, and the wand is very flexible. It bends easily at that indentation below the brush. I assume this is to prevent it from combing through the lashes too much so that is deposits more mascara. While recognizing how this is supposed to function, it doesn't really do those things when I use it. It works pretty much like a normal mascara wand.
In the past, when I've tried L'Oreal mascaras, my main complaint has been that they don't seem to interact well with my body chemistry, and I'll get a lot of flaking and smearing. I'm happy to report that I haven't had unusual flaking or smearing with Miss Manga. (ETA: See update on flaking here.) Overall, I was (shockingly) impressed with this stuff and might even buy it again. It's easy to use and creates moderate drama--exactly what I'm looking for. I would recommend trying this, especially if you have similar lashes to mine, and you're not, in fact, hoping to look like a cartoon. Amazon has it for under $6.
Sorry, the grumpy review will have to wait for another time. I actually have two disappointing products that I've tried recently on the docket, so stay tuned if that's your jam.