Posted by: Chelsea Novak | July 4, 2009

Maybelline Pulse Perfection Mascara

Mascara was invented about 96 years ago. For the first 57 years of its existence, innovations were slow. The first cake mascara was created in 1915 by Thomas Williams (the founder of Maybelline) and it took until 1971 for the company to develop its iconic Great Lash Mascara. To this day, it remains the best basic go to mascara on the market.

Being human we are never satisfied with what we have. We are always looking for the next great thing and in the world of beauty, the application of technology that makeup that yields incredible results with maximum ease and minimal pain.  With this as our state of mind, it’s no shock that we are being marketed to with guarantees of perfection and beauty never before attained.
This is our introduction to Maybelline Pulse Perfection mascara. Maybelline asked me to test this product and generously supplied me with seven samples to share with my nearest and dearest makeup minions. So not only will you have my perspective on the product, but that of seven other women, each with their own unique and wonderful approach to beauty.

Before we get into that, what is this Pulse Perfection mascara all about. To put it simply, it’s the refined Maybelline mascara formula that you apply with a vibrating brush. Yep, the handle comes with its own wee motor that dies about three months after you use it for the first time. Oh, and look at that! Three months is the about the time you should be replacing your mascara anyway. Pretty clever.

So why a vibrating brush? For many moons, makeup fans and artists alike have known that applying mascara in a zig-zag motion up the lash results in some pretty gorgeous volume and length. Humans being humans we decided to take a technique and mechanize it.  We’re efficient and insane creatures. I mean, why wouldn’t you want a vibrating brush covered in goop right beside your eye.

But (according to Maybelline) Pulse Perfection is much, much more than a vibrating brush. It’s five years of mechanical development, seven patents (including the vibrating brush, waved brush, motor that pulses 100 times per second), a turbo equalizer wiping system (I’m not kidding, that’s what it’s called – it sounds more like something I’d find in my car’s engine which does not make me want to put it near my eye) which modifies the formula deposit for even coverage and high-gloss, ultra-smooth coating formula with lengthening polymers for unprecedented elongation. All this technology comes together to help you achieve the “Seven must-haves for stunningly perfect lashes – Thickness, Length, Separation, Colour, Curve, Luster, Zero Clumps.”

I have to say that when I was going through all the collateral that came with the testing kit, I really wanted to go for a drive in my car and not test mascara. I digress.

I used Pulse Perfection exclusively for one week. I tried several variables including applying with and without the vibrating motor running and applying using the aforementioned zig-zag technique while using the motor.  The first time I used the motor, it felt really strange. It made my whole eye vibrate, especially when I was at the base of my lashes. I eventually got over how strange it felt and have to say that as mascaras go, this one is pretty good. I don’t know if I would buy it as I have an unhealthy addiction to premium makeup brands, but I would consider buying its premium cousin made by Lancome.

Here’s what it Pulse Perfection does really well. Because of the design of the brush and the vibration, the lash separation was fantastic. It was great on length and was quite clump-free. When I used the vibration and the zig-zag technique I was able to get the kind of volume I wanted and I was able to get the results I wanted with two coats at most, which felt really pleasant and light.

My only complaint with it (and I don’t even really know if it qualifies as one) is that it does not take well to water at all. In all my life, I’ve never encountered that “you cry a little and you look like a raccoon” thing with mascara (maybe the stuff I’ve used has always been industrial strength), but with this stuff, a little bit of water or mist or rain and BLAM, I might as well have been living in the park basking the the glory of the garbage strike.

That’s my take on it. Here’s what the other ladies had to say about it:

I love American packaging.  Especially the “Caution: Never apply this product in a moving vehicle” warning.  But seriously…

Pluses:  It certainly gave my lashes definition and nice colour.  It stayed on well and didn’t irritate my eyes, which is saying a lot given it’s allergy season for me.

Minuses:  The pulsing brush is an interesting gimmick, and coats the lashes well, but I need more control for getting at the base of my lashes, so I wouldn’t use the pulsing for that.  And there just wasn’t enough volume in the product for me, so I wouldn’t buy it for myself.

I had a lot of trouble getting nice results.  It could be my relative n00b status when it comes to makeup application, but I found my technique didn’t work while trying to hold onto the vibrate button at the same time (call me uncoordinated 🙂 ).  Maybe it’ll just take more practice, but I found I got better results when I didn’t make it vibrate!  Mind you, when I noticed that the picture on the back looked like she was applying from the top of her lash instead of below, like I’m used to, it worked a little better for me.  I also found it slightly scary to bring a vibrating stick toward my eye :).

It’s kind of funny – the packaging has “7 Must-Haves of Lash Perfection” on the front, and I used it as a checklist: Luscious thickness?  Nope!  Luxurious length?  Maybe if I did it right :).  Smooth separation?  5 spiked eyelash daggers!  Intense colour?  Yes!  Shapely curve?  Nope.  Healthy luster?  Nothing healthy about what they looked like when I was done!  Zero clumps?  Uh, clearly no :).  My results were definitely better when I didn’t use the vibrate option.

So yes, my verdict is that I think if I was more a pro at the makeup application, it might have worked better for me.  It’s an interesting idea, but I didn’t get much from it.

I found that the mascara coated my eyelashes evenly from top to bottom while providing maximum extension and eyelash separation. I found that with the pulse, the base of my eyelashes received a great amount of coverage, which made my eyelashes appear to be fuller. Now this all sounds fantastic but there is a downside. The actual pulse of the mascara vibrated my eye and the surrounding area. It was quite an uncomfortable sensation (vibrating eyeball). Also, by the end of the day my eyelashes were stiff and a bit flaky, which irritated my eyes slightly. I believe I would use this product every now and then and in circumstances where I could remove it after a few hours but for day-to-day wear, I will stick to my regular non-pulsating mascara.

So the mascara is, in a word, interesting. I think it does a pretty good job of lengthening and separating with minimal clumps – when the vibration thing is on. I tried it once without the “pulsing” and my lashes were a mess all stuck together and icky. I don’t know that I find it particularly thickening or volumizing.

The pulsing is definitely a bit disconcerting as I can feel it all thought my eye area, but if the payoff was better it wouldn’t be something that would totally turn me off.

Bottom line – okay mascara but doesn’t stand out from my other “everyday” mascaras that don’t buzz near my eye, so probably not going to spend more on it over them.

I really liked the brush, it seemed to really grab hold of the lashes and push them that little bit further. Perhaps this is a metaphor for how you feel when you have long lashes, ha!

I am not sure if the vibration motion helped. I did feel when I used it, it did get a little clumpy in parts and was not as even as I would have hoped for. It did add a little drama and height, but not sure if that was the vibration or the brush.

One thing I did not like about this mascara was the flaking. I did see some light dusting under my eye and it did run if it came in contact with water.

I would not replace my regular everyday mascara with this, but if I wanted to add a little lift or if I was feeling a little theatrical, I may opt for this mascara. I mean if I wanted to reenact a Hollywood scene, I wouldn’t mind so much if the mascara ran.

The pros: As someone who has a bit of phobia about things being near my eye, I was initially scared that i wouldn’t be able to use it but strangely enough the vibration didn’t bother me at all which was nice. I found it did a really good job of lengthening my eyelashes and I really liked that aspect of it but I have fairly thin eyelashes and I didn’t find that it gave them much volume beyond the lengthening which I could live with because it was nice to have such long lashes. but I think it wise to only do one solid coat. which brings me to the cons,

The cons: It was awesome with one coat in terms of lengthening and lasting but three coats was a disaster, clumpy sticky mess in that it caused my lashes to stick together. I think I was even pushing it with two coats in that by the end of the day, my lashes started sticking together.

I had limited hopes for the mascara because I find most don’t have a great combo of what makes a great mascara – Great brush and great formulation in the actual makeup. I have long thick lashes that most mascaras can’t get through and if I decide to put on a few coats, I end up looking like I have spiders fringing my eyes.

That being said, when the buzz hit about this new vibrating mascara – I was game to try it. Surprisingly, it lengthened and separated quite nicely without the spider effect. The only problem was that by the time it dried, it felt like I had used glue on my lashes rather than a mascara. They were VERY dry, VERY sharp (which should never used to describe one’s lashes), and took me a long time to get it off (combo of double face washing and several makeup remover wipes when I generally just need a quick wash and one swipe of the wipe).

I would probably use it again for special occasions but definitely not part of my everyday routine. I’ll stick to my L’Oreal Voluminous and keep trying to find one that will beat it.

So there you go. A bunch of different experiences with Pulse Perfection. Want to try it for yourself? Maybelline has been kind enough to pass on some coupons, so just click through to and try it out for yourself.



  1. Wow, I use smileys a lot!

  2. I never noticed the whole water works part about the mascara … good to note (not to wear on potential rainy days)!

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