In our series Trial Run, TZR editors and writers put the buzziest new beauty products to the test and share their honest reviews. This week, beauty writer Amanda Ross is testing the Tower 28 MakeWaves Mascara.
There is no love lost between myself and eye makeup. It feels like no matter how carefully I layer it on, no matter how delicate the wand or seemingly imperceptible the color, hours later, I invariably end up looking like the day shift manager at Hot Topic — a total win at age 16, less so for me just months shy of 30. The truth is, as controversial as the trend may be, I yearn for the simple sophistication of the “clean girl” aesthetic, which always is just out of reach. The solution, though, might be Tower 28’s new MakeWaves Mascara.
Debuting today with a waiting list 11,000 strong, it’s the very first eye product from the best-selling clean beauty brand and one for which fans have waited years. After trying it for an entire week, though, I get it — a mascara this natural-looking (yet somehow so impactful?!) takes serious development time. MakeWaves isn’t just truly clean in its formula, too. This is the sort of makeup product that makes you look groomed, like a more polished version of yourself. And it’s the best daytime mascara I have ever tried. Keep reading for all the details on the new launch.
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- Price: $20
- Best for: Curled, alive-looking lashes for everyday polish.
- Your rating: 5/5
- Clean/Cruelty-Free? Yes
- What we like: The formula is lightweight yet curls lashes right up with a comb-like wand and a nourishing formula.
- What we don’t like: Only comes in one color (so far, anyway).
My Everyday Mascara Routine
Truth be told, I’d all but lost faith in daytime eye makeup. Sure, there were plenty of excellent options for va-va-voom going out mascaras, but very few that could satisfy my daytime makeup needs. In an everyday mascara, I need lash separation, a bit of definition through color (I usually use a deep brown), and eye-opening abilities with the help of my Shiseido lash curler. My eyes have a slight downward slope which can make me look a little sleepy, so lash curl goes a long way with helping me seem more alert and bright-eyed.
Details On Tower 28’s MakeWaves Mascara
Since the brand’s debut in 2019, the Amy Liu-founded Tower 28 has carved out a niche for itself as a clean beauty line actually committed to the cause. There’s been plenty of discussion over what clean beauty actually means — and the sinister practice of “green washing” — but Tower 28 is built on radical transparency, thorough ingredient research, and accountability. Creating a clean, sensitive eye-friendly mascara with a vegan formula and beneficial ingredients is a massive undertaking, but one that Liu and her team knocked out of the park.
The innovation of MakeWaves can be divided into two categories: the formula and the wand design. On the formula front, the ingredient list is stuffed with names you might recognize, castor oil and vitamin B5 among them. Not only do these ingredients help the color and curl slide right onto the lash, but they’re highly moisturizing and natural antioxidants to keep eyelashes hydrated and strong — which minimizes the chance of breakage and loss. Plus, the mascara’s formula comes infused with patent-pending, open-cell foam technology called Aquaflex, which is commonly used in hair care products for hold and styling. It’s a large part of why the MakeWaves mascara forms and holds curls so well. With the physical design, the mascara’s head is distinctly curved with flexible yet firm teeth — as opposed to bristles — that grab, coat, and comb out every lash.
My First Impression Of The Mascara
When I first applied MakeWaves to a single eye, I physically stopped in my tracks and felt compelled to take a photo to capture the difference. What struck me most immediately was the curl, which flipped right up with just one coat.
Without using a lash curler, a mascara primer, anything, MakeWaves flipped my lashes up and kept them there all day and night. I loved that the mascara itself didn’t feel wet or gloopy or excessive, and for the first time in months I managed to apply it without getting it all over my eyelids.
How I Used Tower 28’s MakeWaves Mascara
It was clear from the start that MakeWaves would be a product I’d come to really lean on. Really, it’s highly versatile — I used it on my upper lashes, on my stubby little lower lashes, to fuse my real lashes with a half-strip of falsies, and even stamped into an angled brush as a pseudo-liner. With a formula this long-lasting, washable, and user-friendly, it was easy to start thinking creatively.
The most surprising part of the mascara was how well it did with reapplication. In my experience this less-wet, comb-style mascaras can be harder to layer on later in the day or night — it’s just more difficult to cut through what’s already there without clumps. But the soft, non-flake formula looked and worked exactly the same, even over older, already-dried layers. MakeWaves officially passed the will-I-put-it-in-my-purse test — the Hunger Games of beauty product trials.
Is Tower 28 MakeWaves Mascara Worth It?
Um, that’s a resounding yes. There is something for everyone in this mascara: layer it on for more drama, stick to one coat for everyday sophistication, boost short lashes, amplify longer ones, and even blend real lashes into falsies. Plus, the brilliantly curved wand makes application totally foolproof and (most importantly) mess-free. With so many new beauty products constantly popping up, there are very few I’d commit to repurchasing — this is absolutely one.
BDG product reviews and recommendations are written and conducted by writers and editors with expertise in their fields. Testers often have specific experience with the situation or product at hand, and/or their review or recommendation is provided in consultation with experts. You can learn more about our standards here.