I’ve only heard good words and recommendations for Benefit BADgal Lash Mascara since its debut, which is perhaps why I have been so skeptical.

The usually eco-conscious Sophia Bush told Cosmo it was her favorite beauty product. Elle magazine put this makeup essential on its list of best mascaras, and Daily Candy followed suit. Lots of beauty bloggers have been singing its praises, and I have been stubbornly ignoring the buzz.

Call me a beauty cynic, but whenever a product is becoming universally hailed, my immediate thought is, “Eh… this is going to let me down, isn’t it?” As the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. But I just had to see for myself. I figured it was about time to throw my reservations to the wind and delve into BADgal.

Finding great mascara has been a constant battle for me. I don’t have thick, luscious lashes (my brother was blessed with those), and they’re certainly not long and curly (my nephew’s are—I’m kind of jealous). So, finding a tube of mascara that could enhance my somewhat-meager genetic hand-me-downs has been on the top of my beauty to-do list since I was a pre-teen. There has been an issue with every kind I’ve used: Too clumpy, leaves raccoon rings, too sticky, won’t separate the lashes… one mascara from a major brand even made my eyes burn unimaginably, and when I tried to wash it away? It would not come off my lashes with makeup remover or Vaseline. I was getting more and more alarmed as I furiously flushed my eyes out with water. I finally did get it all off, but needless to say I could not throw that mascara in the trash fast enough.

Now, I don’t ever plan on having that problem again, because Benefit BADgal is completely different from any mascara I’ve tried before. Heck, I’ll even call it a beauty “experience.” This mascara was just that good.

For $19, you get a generous amount of product in the little tube. The mascara wand is large, with lots of crisscrossed bristles that lift and separate. After applying two coats of BADgal to my upper and lower lashes, they appeared noticeably thicker and longer. But what’s more? It looked natural. It didn’t look like I had mascara on, assisting in the “magical” growth my lashes. There were no yucky clumps. My lashes didn’t stick together. And after a couple of all-day wears, I was not gifted with that always-pleasant raccoon-eye look.

Cue the giddiness. I was ecstatic.

But of course, then I had to sit down and analyze what’s actually in my miracle product. (Oh, please… Let it be good news!) As I start to sift through the ingredient list, I’m impressed. Personal preference: I love seeing water first. Having the most natural element on the planet highly concentrated in my beauty product kind of puts me at ease. I know some people feel like water is filler instead of ingredient, but I disagree. There’s still plenty of room for other additives, the product itself is just more natural. And BADgal is pretty good product. Most of the ingredients rank a low-hazard 0 or 1 in the Cosmetic Database. But, for the sake of laying it all out there, let’s talk about the only real glitches.

I was bummed to see the preservative BHT, however low, on the ingredient list. I didn’t discover it until I had the actual tube in hand—not online or in magazines, which is always a little shady to me. Maybe I just missed it, or could have found it if I’d dug a little deeper, but I don’t like the feeling that a cosmetics company is hiding the complete list of additives. I’m not saying that’s the case with Benefit, but it’s something to think about if you can’t easily find out what’s in a product.

Anyway, back to BHT. It’s one of those debatable ingredients—some say it’s a carcinogen, others say it prevents cancer. In a perfect world, I’d just avoid it. Same goes with controversial PEGs and parabens found in small doses in BADgal (the latter of which has been declared safe by the National Cancer Institute, but even still).

However, we don’t live in that perfect world. And overall, Benefit BADgal Lash Mascara is one fabulous product. It looks natural, feels light and it’s easy to remove, too. So I’ll be using it, and kissing my thin, clumpy, raccoon-rimmed eyelashes goodbye.

Oh, and I’m going to try to be less of a cynic from now on, too. Just think of what I might be missing out on…


Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Beeswax (Cera Alba), Cetearyl Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Polybutene, C18-36 Acid Triglyceride, Glyceryl Stearate, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Panthenol, Silica, Ceteth-10 Phosphate, Dicetyl Phosphate, PEG-100 Stearate, PVP, Aminomethyl Propanediol, Xanthan Gum, Methylparaben, Chlorphenesin, Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Sericin, Gossypium (Cotton) Seed Oil, Cetraria Islandica Extract, Sorbic Acid, BHT, Dehydroacetic Acid, Sodium Dehydroacetate [+/- Iron Oxides, Mica, Ultramarines, Titanium Dioxide, Carmine, Chromium Hydroxide Green, Chromium Oxide Greens]