In our series Trial Run, TZR editors and writers put the buzziest new beauty products to the test and share their honest reviews.
Clean mascara aficionados rejoice — new beauty brand Caliray (from Urban Decay founder Wende Zomnir and business partner Jenna Dover) recently released its Come Hell or High Water Mascara, a water-resistant formula that promises to lengthen and nourish lashes with zero harsh chemicals. Now, you might be thinking, And why exactly should I be excited about a water-resistant formula? Well, this is a *big* deal for the clean mascara community since most options flake and smudge easily (due to an absence of waxes that provide hold in traditional mascara formulas). Additionally, most clean mascaras refrain from using waterproof or water-resistant technology as many of those ingredients don’t meet the typical standards of clean, but now, with this tubing option, those tell-tale dark undereyes are a thing of the past.
I am a huge fan of clean beauty, so I was especially excited to give the Come Hell or High Water Mascara a try. The lack of chemicals is a huge plus for these types of formulas, but I still find myself reaching for traditional formulas when I *know* that I’ll have a busy day that requires extra hold from my mascara. Could this new option finally give me the long-wearing results I crave?
After living my busy city life in this formula for three weeks, here’s what I’ve come to realize about Caliray’s $24 Come Hell or High Water Mascara.
A Beacon of Hope for Clean Freaks
Although a lack of US regulation means that the standard for “clean” is not universal, Caliray follows an EU-standard of clean, meaning this formula is free from parabens, sulfates, phthalates, formaldehyde, BPA, nano materials, microplastics, mineral oil, hydroquinone, and cyclic silicones. Additionally, this mascara contains argan oil to condition the lashes while you wear it, which is a nice plus, since most water-resistant and waterproof formulas tend to be drying.
As I explained, most clean mascaras are notorious for smudging or flaking after a few hours of wear — and waterproof options are few and far between. So, what sets this formula apart from the rest, you might ask? Well, it’s a clean tubing mascara, which is very rare in the clean beauty world. If you need a bit of a refresher as to what a tubing mascara is, it’s a formula that contains polymers that bind to one another on the lashes, creating a water- and smudge-resistant tube of product that surrounds each lash. Think of tubing technology as temporary caps of pigment that attach to and surround your individual lash hairs, leading to a smudge-free separation. This is different from traditional mascara formulas that (somewhat haphazardly) deposit pigment onto lashes to make them darker, thicker, and/or longer.
The Come Hell or High Water Mascara isn’t just nice on your lashes — it treats the earth kindly, too. This tube is made from 100% ocean plastic, and its packaging comes from 100% post-consumer recycled paper. Caliray has also partnered with Pact, a non-profit mail-back program that will accept empty product packaging and recycle it for you.
Does This Mascara Live Up To Its Name?
So, yes, on paper, the Caliray mascara has a lot going for it, but I’ve been let down by clean formulas before. However, I’m happy to report that this mascara not only works (meaning my lashes looked beautifully long and fluttery) but it also held up when I used my favorite facial mist mid-day — no running pigment or droopy lashes in sight. I’m finally able to spray my face and keep my skin hydrated and happy without having to get up from my WFH station to fix any smudges in the mirror.
I also noticed that this mascara holds very well throughout the day, even when I walked three miles outdoors. I’ve tried wearing the mascara to the gym as well (which I never do) just to put it to the ultimate test. After my elliptical routine, I was left with a bright red faces and zero traces of mascara on my under eyes. Impressive!
The brush itself is fairly thin, which makes applying the Come Hell or High Water formula onto my lower lashes and around the corners of my eyes a breeze. Plus, with just one coat, the color payoff is incredible — the formula is quite black, which helps define each of my lashes from root to tip. I also find that, for a clean formula, this brush does an exceptional job at lengthening my lashes — people have even been asking me where I get my lashes done. They really look that long.
Plus, the removal is incredibly easy (remember, it’s water-resistant, not water-proof). I take a warm, damp muslin cloth and massage my lashes until the dark tubes release. No pulling or harsh tugging required.
Is it Worth the Price Tag?
So, would I recommend the Come Hell or High Water Mascara? Let me frame this rhetorically: Do I recommend a $24 mascara with a clean and water-resistant formula, eco-friendly packaging, intense color payoff, all while supporting an emerging brand? Of course. The $24 price tag is comparable to most mascaras currently on the market, but with remarkable, long-lasting results for a clean formula.
Does this belong in someone’s makeup routine if they’re looking to add va-va-voom volume to their upcoming holiday makeup looks? Perhaps not, since this formula errs on the lengthening side and feels more subtle and suitable for everyday wear. Still, I’d recommend this to anyone looking to up the ante on their daily routine while still keeping their lashes conditioned and their product collection clean.
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