Hourglass Unlocked Instant Extensions Mascara review: is it worth the hype?

Posted by for Beauty

On the day of launch, it sold out and became Space NK’s bestselling mascara of all time.

When I interviewed for my job as a beauty writer at Stylist, I was asked about my one desert island product. “Mascara. Without it, I look a bit like an egg,” I replied without even needing to think about it. It’s a statement I still stand by today.

For me, mascara really opens my eyes and makes me look more awake – but because my eyelashes are very, very straight, I need a formula that will not only lengthen them but give a curling lift, too.

Over the years, I’ve found a couple that make a huge difference (shout out to Chanel’s incredible 3D wand), but a new mascara has recently been causing ripples of excitement across the industry and I knew I had to give it a try.

When Hourglass launched its new Unlocked Instant Extensions Mascara, £29, on Space NK, it sold out instantly. In fact, it is now Space NK’s bestselling mascara of all time. But what’s all the fuss about?


When I looked at its promises, I could see why it’s garnered so much attention.

Claiming it can deliver “the look of lash extensions in an instant”, this mascara – which is vegan and cruelty-free – also promises to lengthen and lift (tick and tick).

Additionally, it’s a tubing mascara, which means it uses film-forming technology to coat every lash in lightweight fibres that stay put and don’t smudge.

Hanna without any mascara.

When I got my hands on a tube, I fell in love with the packaging alone. It’s sleek, stylish and gold, in typical Hourglass fashion, but also quite weighty, making it feel like a luxurious addition to your make-up bag.

I started with my lower lashes and was instantly amazed at just how much longer it made them. They honestly doubled in length, to the point where they were pretty much touching my under eye.

Hanna with Hourglass' Unlocked Instant Extensions Mascara applied to one eye.

Then I took the mascara to my upper lashes. As I began to swipe it on, I noticed that the thin conical wand has a slight curve, which made it easy to reach every lash, even the little lash hairs towards the inner corners of my eyes.

Better yet, the tiny spikes on the wand were long enough to grab my lashes but still short enough to avoid accidentally poking my skin with it. Something I’m usually prone to.

Again, my top lashes were extended but the best bit? They were swooped into a fluttery curl that sat in place for the rest of the day and didn’t droop once. Plus, the more layers I coated on, the longer and longer my lashes appeared.

The formula is quite wet, so I would say go slow with application as it can group multiple lashes together. This is something I usually hate but I actually quite liked that effect with this mascara as it helped to made them look fanned out, darker and more defined.

Hanna wearing Hourglass' Unlocked Instant Extensions Mascara on both eyes.

Despite my love for mascara, my admiration goes out the window when it comes to removing it.

I hate the long process of gently taking off mascara without irritating my eyes, especially as a contact lens wearer but that’s another area where this Hourglass mascara is a true marvel.

The tube-like film that wraps the lashes simply slides right off with warm water. I gently rubbed warm water along my lashes and the formula came off in my hands into little clumps. It doesn’t even cause any mascara streaks or leave behind any black marks.

If you asked me now what my desert island beauty product is, it would be this.

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Main image: Hanna Ibraheem

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