The key to the success of these fibers is the wiper inside the tube, which limits how much product comes out because “the more mascara you have on your lash, the more likely it is to clump,” says Ford Danielson. And though Fan Fest is buildable, Helfrich says, “it’s not meant to give you mega-mega drama.”
Its fluttery aesthetic is apparent as soon as you swipe it on: “If you’re looking for a wispier, fanned-out, sexy lash, this is it,” makeup artist Fara Homidi tells Allure.
About the ingredients
A mascara wand doesn’t work like magic without what’s inside the tube. As with most formulas, iron oxide is responsible for Fan Fest’s ultrablack pigment, while waxes and film formers coat and thicken lashes. In particular, rice wax gives Benefit Cosmetics’ newest mascara its grit and “acacia senegal gum helps provide support to lashes, so they stay lifted,” says Helfrich.
What’s especially unique about Fan Fest is its finish. “The formula is a bit more matte than others, like [Benefit Cosmetics’] Roller Lash, which is more glossy,” says cosmetic chemist Jane Tsui. This adds to the fanning effect. “When you think about it, if a formula is wet and gloopy, your lashes might stick together, whereas this [texture] will separate your lashes instead of them sticking together,” says Tsui.
Besides that, it also makes for a streamlined application: “When I took the brush out of the tube, I didn’t have to wipe off any excess,” says makeup artist Holly Gowers. “Normally it’ll all be clumped and you have to clean the bristles so you can get an even application — but I didn’t have any of that.”
The benefits of Fan Fest don’t stop there — once it’s washed off, lashes aren’t at all brittle, thanks to the addition of nourishing ingredients. Panthenol, also known as vitamin B5, “provides some conditioning effects,” says Tsui, as does sunflower seed oil and olive oil esters, “an emollient wax to help keep the formula more malleable and softer, so that your lashes don’t dry out.”
How I tested it
I wear mascara most days, but wouldn’t call it my desert island beauty product. Typically, I define my eyes with a flick of eyeliner and a few swipes of tubing mascara (I never have to worry about it smudging until I’m ready to wash it off). I prefer a mascara formula with a fresh-looking, defined finish that enhances my very average lashes — without going over the top.