Review: No7 Exceptional Definition Mascara


A while ago I did some mascara reviews and this was meant to be in that original batch but I decided to actually use the ones I had opened before I started the next group. I used to love the Exceptional Definition Mascara from No7, for about a couple of years this was my go to mascara but I haven’t used it for a while so I was interested to see if it was as nice as I originally thought.

This mascara is available in two colours; black and black and brown, the one I have is in black but I have to say that I do really like the No7 black/brown colour as I got another type of mascara in that colour and it’s darker than I expected and a bit more subtle than the black so gives a more natural look. exceptionaldefinition4It costs £11.50 in the UK on the Boots website, I have seen it in videos for US hauls so it seems to be available in physical stores there too, I’m not sure when that started, maybe I’m late to see it.

The mascara claims to have a triple effect brush that gives volume and definition to your lashes, they do seem to be the go to descriptions and things that mascara can do for your lashes so I don’t really trust these things. The first time I got this was from one of those sets you get from No7 when you spend X amount and I’ve had a few from those kinds of sets so if you want to try this it might be worth seeing if it’s available in that kind of offer.


The packaging for this is really nice, I like the metallic blue/green colour they’ve used, it does set it apart from other mascaras I have and makes it easy to pick out of a group. It’s a long thin packaging and the slightly curved outwards end of the handle part of the packaging makes it really easy to hold and control. I do wish that the stick part that attaches to the brush end to the handle was shorter as it’s a bit long for me. It’s easy to use and distribute the mascara evenly but on days where my hands are shaky it’s not the best mascara to choose.


The main thing I love about this mascara is the brush, I am a big fan of mascaras that use the plastic brushes especially if they have two obviously different size of bristles so you can get more or less product on your lashes. This was the first mascara I tried with this kind of brush, there didn’t seem to be many around at the time that did it but now a lot more do. There are three sides of the brush, one has a very short bristles that are pretty fine, there’s another section with the same fine bristles but longer and the final area is thicker bristles with larger spaces between. I think the longer bristles are good for the top lashes and the shorter bristles actually work really well for the bottom lashes if you like mascara on them. One down side of this brush is it does get a large blob on the end which can end up making a bit of a mess on the opening in the packaging when you wipe it off. The larger bristles also can end up getting a few blobs between them. On the photos on the site the end of the brush is bright yellow, I have rubbed the end to remove some mascara and it seems to be slightly yellow at the tips where the mascara has gone so I guess it’s the same.


The product itself I tried with a few layers and gave it a bit of a go with water, though it’s not described as waterproof I thought I’d see if it could survive a bit of a splash or if it would run as soon as it started raining. The first layer of the mascara gave quite a subtle look, it added colour and kept the lashes separate so you just got the benefit of the black colouring. It did add a bit of length to my lashes but nothing too noticeable. It dried pretty quickly, faster than most of the other mascaras I’ve used and was tacky very quickly so you have to be careful not to blink too fast, it seemed to stick my eyelashes together more than others did if I did blink too early.

The second layer I added seemed to make a lot of my lashes stick together, it ended up with a very dramatic look but to me they stuck together too much so I wouldn’t use it like this. I found that even wiggling the brush when I used it didn’t really help, it seemed like it really stuck to the previous layer and started to dry quickly and become tacky which was why the lashes stuck together.

I did have one eye with one layer and the other with two for day so it looked a bit odd but it did last well, I found that the thinner layer seemed to last better, the one with a second coat got a bit flaky after five or six hours and the bottom lashes got more melty and smudged. The single layer top lashes lasted until I removed it seven hours after I applied it but the bottom lashes were smudged within four or five hours.

I tried the water test with both one and two layers and, again, the one layer coat seemed to survive better. Both were reasonably successful at surviving the cold water splashing, there was a bit of colour loss but no real running, the bottom lashes didn’t survive this but it seems to be a common thing with me and mascaras so it might just be my skin or lashes rather than the product. With slightly warm water, around room temperature, the thicker layer started to get a bit gooey and sticky. Considering that this isn’t marketed as waterproof I think it did well, it would survive rain pretty well but I think in warmer countries there might be a bit of a problem with it in general and a single layer would be the best bet for it to survive.

Overall I was happy with this mascara, it survived well and with one layer I liked the effect. I would say that if you want a dramatic look then this isn’t the mascara for you as the second layer didn’t help it at all for me. A single layer did add definition and I do really like the packaging and brush, the formula works well in the UK but I’m not sure how well it would survive in a hot or humid area. I think it’s a nice mascara and if you like the subtle look it might be worth looking at but there are others I would choose first. I don’t think I would buy this now, I used to really like it but I do prefer their Extravagant Volume Waterproof mascara which is only 50p more expensive and has a similar brush. I did a review of that here if you want to see how that one looked with similar conditions and I’d say that one came out better for me.

Have any of you guys tried this mascara? Did you like it? I feel like it’s a nice day mascara and I’ll use it as I have it but it didn’t work with more than one layer or add much to my lashes, did you find a way to make a second coat look less spider like? Hope you guys enjoyed this post. I just made another Boots order as I saw the Sleek new palettes out and the VIP lip colours so I’ll be posting about them next week when they arrive.


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