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An honest review of about-face's volumizing mascara and eye gloss.

I Reviewed About-Face Beauty’s First Mascara And Eye Gloss, And I’m Hooked

Halsey’s got me glossed up.

Lindsay Hattrick/BDG

One of the perks of my job as a beauty editor is getting to test brand-new products before they launch. Sometimes, the new launches are great, sometimes they’re just OK, and, as is the case with about-face’s 1994 Volumizing Mascara and Vinyl Effect Eye Gloss, sometimes they rock my whole world. I’m not that surprised because, in a landscape full of celebrity beauty brands, Halsey’s about-face beauty has stood out from the jump. I know the beauty industry throws words like “innovative” around all the time, but about-face’s Matte Fluid Eye Paints truly changed the eye makeup game. Not only is Halsey super-involved with the formulation and production of about-face products, ensuring that everything is as clean and sensitivity-conscious as possible, but they also slashed the brand’s prices across the board in April 2022 to make about-face more accessible to everyone. Now, about-face is dropping two new products, a volumizing mascara and an eye gloss, and I got to try them before the official launch on Tuesday, Sept. 20.

Glossy lids have come in and out of style, but they were definitely spotted in the Spring/Summer 2023 shows at NYFW, which suggests they’re here to stay. Meanwhile, long lashes have always been the moment. I love that about-face is dropping a mascara and an eye gloss right at the start of fall because now is the time to take beauty risks, try new looks, and switch up your aesthetic for the season. As usual, Halsey’s beauty brand did not disappoint. In fact, the latest products, like the ones that have come before, actually make real makeup artistry accessible to folks like me who are hopeless with makeup brushes. Ahead, you’ll find my honest review of about-face beauty’s 1994 Volumizing Mascara and Vinyl Effect Eye Gloss.

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.

Lindsay Hattrick / BDG

Fast Facts:

  • Price: about-face’s new 1994 Volumizing Mascara costs $15 and the Vinyl Effect Eye Gloss costs $14.
  • Clean/Cruelty-Free? Like all of about-face’s products, this mascara and eye gloss are vegan, cruelty-free, and formulated without synthetic fragrance, gluten, or phthalates.
  • Who this is best for: The 1994 Volumizing Mascara is best for people with short lashes. The Vinyl Effect Eye Gloss is best for anyone looking to amp up a fun, exciting beauty look.
  • What I like: I love the price point of both new products. I’m also a fan of the final effect and the application process was easy.
  • What I don't like: I’m not the biggest fan of the 1994 Volumizing Mascara brush, but I’m also not not a fan of it.
  • My rating: 4.5/5

My Lashes:

My lashes are a pain in the butt. They’re sparse, straight, and need a lot of help in both the volume and the length department. Most volumizing mascaras leave my lashes looking super clumpy after only a few coats and my eyes are very sensitive, so I often skip mascara altogether.

About-Face 1994 Volumizing Mascara:

About-face claims that the 1994 Volumizing Mascara primes, lengthens, and lifts lashes. It also claims that its brush is uniquely designed to deliver serious volume to even the stubbiest of lashes without causing any smudging or flaking. I found this claim to be almost entirely true. I wore the 1994 Volumizing Mascara for about 10 hours without any flaking or smudging. I even stabbed myself in the eye with the brush during the application process and didn’t get the usual mascara brush bite marks on my face afterwards. In terms of volume, I did notice that each of my individual lashes appeared much thicker, but my lashes are quite sparse, so too many coats of the 1994 Volumizing Mascara left me with slightly spidery lashes, though not as spidery as usual.

About-Face Vinyl Effect Eye Gloss:

The Vinyl Effect Eye Gloss promises a glass-like shine without any stickiness and is recommended as a topper. I’m all about any glazed doughnut beauty moments, so I was amped up about this product and it definitely delivered the only truly non-sticky and easy-to-apply eye glaze I’ve ever encountered. It’s also entirely mess-free.

The Packaging:

I love the chrome look of both the mascara and the eye gloss tubes. The Vinyl Effect Eye Gloss features the same applicator sponge tip as the Matte Fluid Eye Paint and is also the same size and shape with a fancy chrome exterior.

I’m not a huge fan of the 1994 Volumizing Mascara’s brush, but that’s less about the brush and more about how I feel about this type of mascara wand. I prefer fluffy, fibrous brushes to this style of silicone brush. I have sensitive eyelids and a tougher brush can scrape at them, plus it hurts more if you stab yourself in the eye with a stiff brush.

First Impression:

I was most excited to use the about-face Vinyl Effect Eye Gloss. I immediately swatched the eye gloss on my wrist and was impressed with how non-sticky the formula was. My first impression of the 1994 Volumizing Mascara was, word for word, the following thought: “Dang, my lashes are long AF.”

How To Apply:

Applying the Vinyl Effect Eye Gloss should be the second to last step in your makeup application process (the last step being mascara application). First, I applied two layers of Matte Fluid Eye Paint in Lime Green for a slime moment and let the matte shadow dry completely before gently dabbing on the gloss. I noticed that this application method did transfer a slight amount of eye paint onto the eye gloss applicator, so I switched over to dabbing the gloss onto my finger and tapping it onto my lid for the second eye. Alternatively, you could apply the eye gloss with a synthetic brush, but I have no patience for any of that.

Amber Rambharose

To apply the 1994 Volumizing Mascara, I first curled my lashes and then went in for coat No. 1, starting right on my lash line and wiggling the brush as I went. I eventually applied three coats of mascara to one eye and only two to the other (in the name of science!), allowing about 30 seconds of dry time between each coat. The photo below shows me with one eye sans any mascara and the other with three coats of the 1994 Volumizing Mascara.

Amber Rambharose

The Results:

As you can see in the pre- and post-eye gloss photos, the Vinyl Effect Eye Gloss really does create a glass-like finish. It takes under a minute to apply, is non-sticky, and is a great way to amp up a look without having to do a ton of work. The 1994 Volumizing Mascara is one of the best lengthening mascaras I’ve ever tried. It’s very editorial, meaning that applying too many coats will give you spidery lashes, but that’s also a vibe I’m not mad at. For the sake of this review, I applied three coats to my left eye and only two to my right eye so you can see how buildable the mascara is. Overall, I was immediately impressed with the eye gloss and also enjoyed the mascara, although I found the mascara to deliver more length than volume.

Amber Rambharose

Ingredients:

About-face is cruelty-free and the products are designed for folks who deal with sensitivities, which is especially meaningful because Halsey themself has talked about the sensitivities they’ve dealt with due to an autoimmune disorder. As such, these two products are vegan and free of synthetic fragrance, gluten, and phthalates.

Similar Products:

About-face is known for making unique makeup and its 1994 Volumizing Mascara and Vinyl Effect Eye Gloss are no exception, so it’s difficult to recommend similar products, but I love you all, so I tried. In terms of eye glosses, there are two available right now that get the job done in a similar fashion. Danessa Myricks Beauty’s Colorfix Glaze in Clear delivers the same mirror finish, but at $18, it’s more expensive. It also comes in a tube without an applicator, making it slightly more difficult to apply. Ariana Grande’s r.e.m. beauty also recently released an eye gloss for $16. It delivers a lot of shine, but I found its tube applicator style to be difficult to control.

The two mascaras that are closest to about-face’s 1994 Volumizing Mascara are cult faves. Thrive Cosmetics’ Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara has a similar brush and is Instagram-famous. It costs $24 and does deliver lots of length, but I really dislike how prickly its brush is and found that it often clumps my sparse lashes. Macstack Mascara from MAC Cosmetics has been my go-to mascara since it launched because it is literally impervious to clumping, but, at $28, it’s the least affordable similar product.

Worth It?

I wore this look for about five hours and my eyes never felt dry. Usually, after about three hours, mascara starts to irritate my eyes, which is why I seldom wear it. It’s also worth noting that I switched from green to pink shadow for a dinner out with a friend, leaving the mascara on, and my eyes didn’t start to feel itchy until after about 10 hours. That alone makes it worth the money in my book. The Vinyl Effect Eye Gloss is the only product of its kind I’ve encountered that doesn’t stick to mascara, make my lids feel sticky, or make a mess. Given that both products cost under $20, I’d recommend them to anyone with sensitive eyes who likes a lot of look with not a lot of effort.

Final Verdict:

Between the price point and ease of use, both the Vinyl Effect Eye Gloss and the 1994 Volumizing Mascara are entering permanent rotation in my makeup bag. The combo of about-face’s Matte Fluid Eye Paint and Vinyl Effect Eye Gloss is basically the peanut butter and jelly of fall beauty trends, meaning it’s a 10/10 with no notes from me.

Amber Rambharose

About-face’s 1994 Volumizing Mascara and Vinyl Effect Eye Gloss are exclusively launching on Tuesday, Sept. 20, on the about-face website and on Ulta.com in October 2022.

About Me:

I’m Elite Daily’s beauty editor and I’ve been writing about, testing, and reviewing beauty products since 2016.