This Amazon Top-Seller Is the Best Mascara You’ve Never Heard Of
I put it to the test.
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Some people have an encyclopedic knowledge of, oh, American history, sports statistics, or Friends trivia. I, on the other hand, have a vast database of the best mascaras hardwired into my brain. Depending on whom you ask, this is a much less useful skill than rattling off WWI facts, but seeing as it's literally my job, I could be doing a lot worse. From around the age of 12, I made learning everything there is to know about beauty my life's mission, and I quickly became my friends' and family's go-to for all cosmetics questions.
I've helped compile numerous lists over the years: the best mascaras at Sephora, the best mascaras for sensitive eyes, the best drugstore mascaras—and the even-more-specific best Maybelline mascaras. (Don't worry, I made one for CoverGirl too.) This has led me down many various rabbit holes of Sephora message boards, Reddit threads, and Amazon comments. And yet somehow—just when I'm about to declare a definitive best of the best—a sleeper hit comes along and shocks me.
Such was the case recently when I was scrolling through a list of the highest rated, best mascaras on Amazon, and found a mascara brand I had never heard of. Tucked among the usual suspects (mostly L'Oréal and Maybelline classics) was the Vivienne Sabó Cabaret Première mascara, with 1,511 reviews, the majority of them five stars.
Scrolling through the comments, it was clear I was missing out on a hidden gem. Hundreds of women shared reviews, claiming it doubled their lashes, never clumped, and had replaced the mascara they'd been using for 20 years. I hit order faster than a shopper on Prime Day.
I would be remiss if I didn't start with the name of the product. "Cabaret Première" is so delightfully campy, but the tube itself is actually pretty sleek. The brand promises to "transform your ordinary [lashes] into ooh-la-la" and claims to be smudge-proof. "Just one coat defines and volumizes your natural lashes for a deep black, fanned look with no clumps, that doesn’t flake or transfer."
The brush itself is quite small, and it's the spiky plastic that implies it will be better at lengthening than volumizing. The formula is light and whipped, and it doesn't dry down to look crunchy. Upon first swipe I was impressed. My lashes looked longer and fuller. The Amazon reviewers all referenced the "fanned out" quality it gave their lashes, and I definitely agree there. It pulled my lashes into a nice eye-opening curl, and no matter how many coats I applied, it didn't clump up. I also wore it for a full day with no smudging or flaking, despite how inky black the formula is.