Clinique High Impact Mascara review: "a soft, gently lifted lash look"

A beauty editor's Clinique High Impact Mascara review reveals if this natural-looking mascara can replace her trusted daily formula

Freelance beauty editor Lisa Barrett holding clinique high impact mascara and wearing it for this Clinique High Impact Mascara review
(Image credit: Future/Lisa Barrett)
Woman & Home Verdict

A conditioning mascara that gives lashes a fluttery, natural look without any clumping. It's not the most exciting-looking or volume-packed mascara on the market, but the allergy-tested and fragrance-free formula is a perfect everyday choice for sensitive eyes.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Conditions lashes

  • +

    Gives a natural finish

  • +

    Perfect for allergy prone eyes

  • +

    Easy application with no clumping

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Doesn’t add dramatic thickness

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I knew taking on this Clinique High Impact Mascara review would mean I’d have to forego my usual mascara of choice, which I’ve bought on repeat for over 20 years. 

With eyelashes that have withered with age – and having been stuck in a rut with my beauty choices for a while – now does seem a good time to look for the best mascara to bring my lashes back to their former glory.


RRP: $23 / £23

Shades: Black, Brown-Black

Key Features: Provitamin B5, 100% fragrance-free

Clinique High Impact Mascara promises volume and length in a flash, and longer, thicker-looking lashes are a key must-have in any mascara search. But just as important for me, and any other women prone to the menopause symptom of dry eyes, is to make sure my mascara is comfortable to wear the whole day, from brisk early morning dog walk to after-work Zumba class. Knowing that Clinique is trusted for its 100% fragrance-free and allergy-tested cosmetics gave me confidence, so I looked forward to putting this best-selling mascara through its paces, checking it thoroughly from formulation to packaging.



Clinique High Impact Mascara in front of flowers

The Clinique High Impact Mascara that Lisa tested

(Image credit: Lisa Barrett)

I'll admit when I took Clinique High Impact Mascara out of the box I wasn’t immediately blown away by its generic-looking tube, but the dark green-almost-black vial with a silver lid and accents is quietly stylish. And though it wouldn’t necessarily add much chutzpah to the aesthetic of my dressing table, its slightly clinical look suits the brand’s dermatologically-tested, hardworking pedigree. 

I like that the brush has a classic uniform shape with slim hollow fiber bristles because, from experience, some of the unusually-shaped wands that I’ve tried have been more of a gimmick than a trusted way to improve how to apply mascara.


After observing that my lashes aren’t as soft as they used to be, I have been wondering, is mascara bad for your eyelashes? I didn’t want to contemplate taking a break from wearing mascara as it’s a staple of my makeup look. But, I was in luck because as I delved into the High Impact formulation, I found myriad conditioning and softening ingredients. 

A biggie – which you may have seen in your haircare and best skincare products – is Panthenol (provitamin B5) a super hydrator that helps seal in moisture as well as improve softness and elasticity – ideal if, like me, you suffer from brittle lashes. As well as having its fill of conditioning agents, High Impact Mascara contains polymers that work as a flexible primer so that each coat of mascara binds to thicken the volume of lashes while keeping them looking and feeling natural and supple.

Clinique claims that their eye-opening formula gives lashes up to a ‘26-degree curl’, which is quite a specific measurement but I’ll take any amount of curl over my straight and basic lashes. The formula also contains polymeric wetting agents said to deliver an exceptionally pigmented black, although it’s also available in black-brown if you prefer to dial down the intensity with one of the best brown mascaras.


I’m not a fan of super chunky mascara wands with extra thick bristles (having had a few embarrassing panda-eye experiences with them in the past) and usually gravitate towards medium, standard-shaped wands, which High Impact has. My instinct with this mascara was right because even though the wand shape looks ordinary, it did a great job of being evenly coated with mascara every time I pulled it from the tube. This as it meant that I could take it from the tube straight to my lashes without spending time wiping away any excess. 

The bristles separated my lashes and coated them with a light layer that was just a tiny bit darker than my own natural shade, so I needed to build up with three or four passes to get a deeper black. Even though I would generally prefer to apply only a couple of coats to get the result I'm looking for (which I get with my go-to best lengthening mascara, Max Factor 2000 Calorie Lash) I wasn’t unduly bothered because what this lacked in intensity, it made up for in feel and length with softer, longer looking lashes.


Lisa lashes before (l) and after (r) applying Clinique High Impact Mascara

Lisa's lashes before (l) and after (r) applying Clinique High Impact Mascara

(Image credit: Lisa Barrett)

Like most of us, I’m not the type of woman who has time to keep checking her make-up throughout the day (This is probably the reason for the embarrassing panda-eye experiences mentioned above) and although I rate high-performing products that stay put, I also like to know that at the end of the day, when I’m ready to slump into bed, I won’t need a super strength makeup remover to take it off. 

I conducted my Clinique High Impact Mascara review over a couple of weeks, making sure it got its fair share of heavy-duty testing and it fared well, stayed put all day. There was only a slight under-eye smudge after a This is Us marathon but nothing that couldn’t be easily fixed with a dab of a tissue. And when the time came, it slipped off pretty easily with come micellar and a cotton pad, too. 


Clinique High Impact Mascara

(Image credit: Lisa Barrett)

After a skeptical start – being prised away from your favorite product can be stressful – I was pleasantly surprised by the end of my Clinique High Impact Mascara review. 

I was looking for the best mascara for straight lashes but also something I could wear from day to night. Although this product might not be the right choice if you’re looking for a super curly, false-eyelash look, I felt that it added just the right amount of impact to give the ‘me but better’ look I was hoping for. 

The overall effect was lovely with a naturally enhanced, soft, and gently lifted lash look, which I was happy with. I guess my old favorite has stiff competition after all.

Lisa Barrett
Freelance Writer

Lisa is a freelance journalist, copywriter and content creator for beauty and well-being brands. During a 30-year career, Lisa has written for some of the UK’s top lifestyle publications including Cosmopolitan, The Sunday Times Style and The Financial Times How to Spend it. When it comes to beauty, she's all about keeping it real and finding fast, fab beauty and health fixes that help fellow 50+ women feel confident in the skin that they're in.