Like any good Taurus, I adore luxury, but hem and haw over actually spending money to a truly annoying point. This has led to my closet being a pretty fair mix of budget basics (shout-out to Brandy Melville), paired with some vintage designer finds that would put Carrie Bradshaw to shame. My makeup has long followed the same high-low philosophy—I spend where I need to, like on foundation that covers my acne and on lipstick that looks as good on my vanity as it does on my lips. But nothing gets me excited like a good bargain product.
Historically, I’ve been an evangelist for drugstore mascara, since a tube dries out so quickly, but a fantastic string of recent luxe launches (Gucci, Hourglass, and Pat McGrath) have me changing my tune, and I’m suddenly Team Spendy Mascara.
The latest luxury mascara to join my rotation is Charlotte Tilbury’s new addition to her beloved Pillow Talk line: the Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Push Up Lashes Mascara (anyone in the UK can join the waiting list now). The brand describes it as “a miracle mascara that delivers instant volume, length, and stretch for a 24-hour vertical lift effect and the lashes of your dreams,” and Tilbury is the queen of sexy, sooty, huge lashes, so my expectations were high. I’m also already a devoted fan of the Pillow Talk lip products—the lip liner changed my life—so I knew I was in for something good before I even tried it.
When I pulled the brush out of the perfect pink tube, I was a little shocked. The brush is definitely strange-looking—Tilbury calls it a “paddle”—and it’s not what I expected from a brand known for a mascara called Full Fat Lashes. It’s flat in the middle with tons of tiny diamond-shaped bristles on either side, and it’s an hourglass shape. Apparently, the brush is designed to “lift like air” and paint every single lash for the most dramatic and eye-opening effect.
Lately, in mascara, there’s been a micro trend of brands trying to reinvent the wheel with brushes that are flat on one side and bristled on the other. I have come to find that it is generally kind of a gimmick, but here it works.
The brand recommends starting with the flat side to load up your lashes, and then waiting a few seconds before brushing through with the comb to separate, lift, and define. I personally found the best method was going in with the bristle side, using the flat one to load and curl, and then using the bristles to comb out once again. I love volume, but my sparse lashes tend to clump together. This gave me super mega drama, while ensuring I still got insane separation. It really is like a push-up bra for my lashes—they look lifted, open, and even perky, which I find hard to get even with a lash curler.
Aside from the brush, I do think the formula on this one is really special. It’s black, and has a pretty glossy sheen. It almost feels like a fibre mascara in the way that it coats and extends each lash, but has the plush texture of a more whipped volume formula, so there’s no crunchy look. The curl stays all day, and I had no flakes or smudges, even after a vigorous eye rub. It’s definitely not a natural look—although just one coat with the comb side is glam lite—but it’s easy to build it up as dramatic as you want, depending on how many coats you apply.
The true signature of Tilbury’s Pillow Talk collection is that it looks incredible on everyone. And while that may be more subjective when it comes to lipstick, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone not impressed by this mascara. I know I’m sold.