Hourglass Mascara Review: We Tried Unlocked Instant Extensions

You know how Carrie Bradshaw feels about shoes? That’s how I feel about mascara (and, okay, also shoes). It is something I will hoard until the day I die, I feel naked without, and will probably require a separate closet for someday. In short, I love the stuff, and will never pass up an opportunity to try a new tube. 

While I don’t think anyone needs to spend over $12 on mascara (there are some truly excellent drugstore options out there), there’s something to be said about pulling a luxurious mascara out of your bag. And let me tell you, Hourglass knows luxury. In addition to making my favorite bronzer, Hourglass is behind Caution, one of the internet’s favorite mascaras. So when I heard it was coming out with a new formula—the Hourglass Unlocked Instant Extensions Mascara—I had high hopes.

Unlocked Instant Lash Extensions promises “More definition, more lift, and more length,” all words I like to hear. It’s a fiber formula that uses something the brand calls “film-forming technology” to coat and fan out lashes for extreme definition and length, and it promises smudge-proof wear. It’s also vegan and cruelty free, and 5% of every sale will be donated to the Nonhuman Rights Project

I knew I would like it the second I read the words “Instant Extensions.” I absolutely love the look of lash extensions, but unfortunately, having my eyes glued shut for a few hours seems to really spike my anxiety. So instead, I’ve been spending months looking for a mascara that gives me the same effect. 

Another clue I was going to be obsessed with this mascara? The brush resembles one of my all-time favorite formulas, Glossier’s Lash Slick. Like Lash Slick, Unlocked has a spiky plastic brush that’s packed with tiny bristles to grab every hair, and it’s tapered to reach the inner corners. Unlike Glossier’s, the tube feels really heavy and luxe, which I would expect given the $29 price.

Looks can be deceiving though, and you never really know whether a formula will deliver until you actually put it on. Good news: As soon as it hit my lashes I was instantly into it. The formula is incredibly black, possibly one of the darkest I’ve ever tried, and the comb-like brush really coated every single lash. My lashes looked defined, fanned out, and above all, long. If you’re into fluffy, voluminous lashes, this probably isn’t the best mascara for you since it’s a little wet. I personally prefer more defined, long lashes since volume formulas tend to clump up on me, so it was right up my alley. 

In terms of wear, it is totally smudge proof. I wore it all day long with no flaking or raccoon eyes. However, note that since it’s a fiber or “tubing” formula, it’s not waterproof. The plus side is all it takes is a little warm water for the mascara to slide right off, no makeup remover needed, but it did come off when I teared up chopping shallots, so it’s probably not ideal for easy criers or a pool day. All in all, I think the gorgeous length is worth the risk. 

Please ignore my peeling forehead and remember to wear SPF. 

Bella Cacciatore 

Despite it being a little pricer than what I usually go for, I think my lashes speak for themselves. And for the time being, I’ll just re-allocate some of my lipstick budget to my mascara. 

Hourglass Unlocked Instant Extensions Mascara

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Bella Cacciatore is the beauty associate at Glamour. Follow her @bellacacciatore. 

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