Long, luxurious eyelashes are an almost-unending quest. We want volume and extension-without discomfort and smudging. To that end, I embarked on a months-long mission to find the ultimate mascara. I used more than 20 different products-applying in the morning, checking in the afternoon, rechecking at night and taking meticulous notes along the way. Here, we showcase the better half of the lot. Each mascara is graded on "wow factor" and "wearability" from 0 to 5, with 5 being the best. Wow factor ranks how dramatic the lashes look. Wearability ranks comfort level and how well the mascara stays on. Enjoy!

1
Hourglass
Superficial Lash
$26 at Sephora
Wow Factor: 2 stars
Wearability: 2 stars
BOTTOM LINE:
Offers a lot of length, but is so clumpy upon application that by the time I comb out the clumps, much of the wow factor leaves with them. Smudges too easily.

2
Chantecaille
Mascara
$34 at Chantecaille.com
Wow Factor: 4 stars
Wearability: 3 stars
BOTTOM LINE:
Opens and really emphasizes eyes by making lashes appear more black and defined than most. Do need to comb out clumps a bit, and smudges a touch.

3
Pur Minerals Triple Impact Mascara
$18 at PurMinerals.com
Wow Factor: 2 stars
Wearability: 2 stars
BOTTOM LINE:
Promises more than its sister product but doesn't deliver any extra wow factor. Actually looks worse
(too clumpy) and smudges some.

4
Estee Lauder
Projectionist
$19.50 at Estee Lauder counters
Wow Factor: 3 stars
Wearability: 2 stars
BOTTOM LINE:
Lengthens and lifts nicely, and doesn't clump at all. But it smudges too easily-significantly so before the end of the work day.

5
Smashbox
Hyperlash
$21 at Sephora
Wow Factor: 3 stars
Wearability: 1 star
BOTTOM LINE:
Doesn't overly impress with length or volume. Uncomfortable and actually made my vision foggy at one point. Looks are just OK, comfort level poor.

6
Estee Lauder
TurboLash
$32 at Estee Lauder counters
Wow Factor: 3 stars
Wearability: 3 stars
BOTTOM LINE:
Vibrating wand lengthens and defines. Definitely a solid mascara (and fun). Must apply carefully, as you can easily overdo it with this. Some smudging.

7
Clinique
High Impact
$14 at Clinique counters
Wow Factor: 4 stars
Wearability: 3 stars
BOTTOM LINE:
Significantly opens eyes with a little extra volume and a lot of extra length. Minimal smudging. Great for events-or to zip on without other makeup for a nice boost.

8
Becca:
The Ultimate Mascara
(in bronze)
$24 at BeccaCosmetics.com
Wow Factor: 3 stars
Wearability: 4 stars
BOTTOM LINE:
Doesn't offer extraordinary length, but does provide a lovely, natural look-particularly in the bronze color. I "felt" it just a bit, but it didn't smudge at all.

9
Bare Minerals Flawless Definition
$18 at Bare Escentuals
Wow Factor: 3 stars
Wearability: 4 stars
BOTTOM LINE:
No exceptional length, but comb-like brush defines and separates beautifully, making lashes seemingly multiply. Very minimal smudging.

10
Clinique High Lengths
$14 at Clinique counters
Wow Factor: 4 stars
Wearability: 3 stars
BOTTOM LINE:
Long, thin brush offers smooth application and lengthened, silky, almost dainty lashes. Definitely all length, no volume. Some smudging.

11
Pur Minerals Mineral Mascara
$16 at PurMinerals.com
Wow Factor: 4 stars
Wearability: 4 stars
BOTTOM LINE:
Airy and almost fluffy. Opens eyes by defining and lengthening lashes in a very natural, silky looking way. Only trace smudging after work and sweaty yoga.

THE MAGIC MITT
Simply put, this is the best product I've tried for removing mascara. The Magic Mitt by Jane Iredale is a soft, thin mitt made of microfibers that gently "grab" makeup from your face. To use, simply wet the mitt and gently wipe off makeup-no cleanser necessary. The mitt costs $15 at The Spa at River Ridge in Dublin.