UPDATE (April 21, 11:45 A.M. EST): Too Faced’s Better Than Sex mascara continues to be a best seller for the brand, but that doesn’t mean that the controversy behind some of its claims isn’t still simmering in the background. The Better Business Bureau’s National Advertising Division began looking into claims on the product packaging that the mascara could increase lash volume by up to “1,944 percent” back in November, and according to Refinery29, it has found that the before-and-after photos do not support the claim.
The National Advertising Review Board, “the appellate unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation” according to the ASRC, has since made recommendations to the brand to change packaging and discontinue use of before-and-after images. Too Faced has since released a statement saying that they’ll change packaging based on the new recommendations, though the brand “strongly disagrees with NARB’s conclusions.” However, though the packaging may look different in the future, the formula of your beloved mascara will remain the same, so don’t fret.
This post was originally published on November 9, 2017.
Makeup brands imply slightly egregious claims all the time (see Fenty Beauty, which will not actually turn you into Rihanna, no matter how many times you use it). But Too Faced just crossed a line with a major regulatory agency for some of its claims about the brand’s iconic Better Than Sex mascara.
The National Advertising Division (which is part of the Better Business Bureau, a consumer regulatory agency that keeps businesses on the up and up with consumers) is calling out Too Faced’s claim that the brand’s bold claim that Better Than Sex adds “1,944 percent more volume” to lashes, according to a report by Women’s Wear Daily.
Convinced that there’s no reliable evidence to support that famous stat, the agency is pushing Too Faced to cut the claim from its packaging, as well as the use of the amazing before-and-after photos.
Too Faced, however, reportedly isn’t taking this lying down — it’s standing by its better-than-the-bedroom bravado. “Too Faced strongly stands behind its claims and has appealed the NAD’s decision in this case,” the brand said in a statement provided to WWD and Allure. “The tests used to establish these claims were conducted using sound methodology at a highly regarded independent laboratory and the results support not only the 1,944 percent claim but also the before and after photographs at issue.”
Whether the exact stats are correct might just be a matter of splitting hairs. Either way, this mascara is still bomb.
For more mascara:
- Maybelline Just Announced They’re Launching a New Mascara
- The Most Popular Mascara on Pinterest Is REALLY Good
- I Stopped Wearing Mascara for a Week and This Is What Happened
Let’s talk about mascara.
I have lot of jokes about the name of this product, but I’ll let you think up your own. I will, however, tell you that the Salt-n-Pepa classic “Let’s Talk About Sex” has been in my head since I decided to write this review. (And now it’s in your’s, if you’re between 35 – 45.)
Y’all know I love my Dior Diorshow Mascara, but my local Sephora (when I was in RI) was out of it the last two times I went. I was not happy. But I needed a new tube and didn’t want to order one online because I was about to leave for my temporary winter home, with a couple stops for family stuff in between. So I asked the Sephora rep which mascara was closest to Diorshow, and she mentioned Too Faced Better Than Sex and a Marc Jacobs one. I’ve had several clients tell me they liked Better Than Sex, so I figured that was the way to go.
First, packaging. It comes in a heavy, pink chrome tube that reminds me of a nail polish color from Sally Hansen’s Chrome nail polishes that were popular in the 90s. (If you know “Let’s Talk About Sex,” you probably remember that nail polish too.) It’s probably the heaviest mascara tube I’ve ever come across. Surprisingly, I feel neutral about that. The cap stays on really well, so no issues with the product drying out due to sub-par packaging.
Remember this stuff?
The wand is on the bigger side, which I like, and is standard wand material–none of that spiky, rubber crap. Too Faced claims the bristles are extra thick, and I suppose they are compared to other bristles I’ve encountered, but I’m not sold on that making a big difference. Maybe it does though, because I like the mascara and a good mascara is usually due to both product and wand. The wand is hourglass shaped and “inspired by a woman’s body.” I don’t get how that shape would make any difference in the application, and I find that dip in the middle kind of pointless.
But, the product is good. I wasn’t sold on it the first day, but I think that was because I wasn’t putting on as many coats as I usually do of Diorshow. Better Than Sex layers really well, and provides both volume and length. It’s also inky black, which I love. Like any thickening mascara, it clumps up a little when you apply it. But ladies–comb through your lashes! I do that with every mascara, and I know a lot of other pros do the same.
I did an Instagram post about Better Than Sex the day I bought it, and a few people said they found it very smudgy. I haven’t experienced any smudging when I’ve worn it on my top lashes only. I’ve worn it on my bottom lashes a few times too (I normally use another mascara for that) and yes, I saw minimal smudging on those days. But I get that from most non-beauty tubes or non-waterproof mascaras I wear on my bottom lashes. I’m talking tiny little smudges four or five hours later that I can gently wipe off with my finger, not Courtney Love style.
Although I kind of like it.
I wonder if some of the smudging people have experienced comes from not using an eye primer or not applying powder to their undereye area after concealer. Eye primer (on the top lid) and powder (over undereye concealer) create barriers between the natural oils in the skin and mascara, because when oil and mascara meet, it gets messy.
Better Than Sex Mascara is not waterproof, but I found that I have to use an oil precleanse or oil cleanser to fully remove it. When oil dissolves the product, it does tend to come off in flaky way, almost like a fiber mascara (but the flakes are much smaller). If you pack on mascara like I do, I think you’ll have trouble getting it off with a cream cleanser or makeup wipe (neither of which I recommend for makeup removal anyway).
I have to say, I really like the Better Than Sex Mascara. It has more positive than negative attributes, at least in my book. Am I still going to get Diorshow the next time I go to Sephora? (Hopefully my local store in SC has it in stock.) Yes. But will I alternate between the two? I do believe so.
If you like inky black, lengthening, volumizing mascaras and you want to get a workout every time you pick up the tube, Better Than Sex Mascara may be worth a try.
Have a beautiful day 🙂
NAD Recommends Too Faced Cosmetics Discontinue ‘1,944% More Volume’ Claim for Better Than Sex Mascara, Advertiser to Appeal
New York, NY – Nov. 8, 2017 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that Too Faced Cosmetics, LLC, discontinue the “1,944% more volume” claim – and before and after photographs – made on product packaging and online videos for the company’s Better Than Sex original and waterproof mascara. The company said it will appeal NAD’s decision.
NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
The claims at issue were challenged by Benefit Cosmetics, LLC, the maker of They’re Real! Mascara.
As an initial matter, the advertiser represented in writing that it had elected to permanently discontinue the online HSN videos that included the following claims:
- “1944% more volume!*”
- “*results observed in a clinical study”
- “Don’t miss out on the mind-blowing mascara that gives your lashes 1,944% more volume.”
- “Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara is a sweat-proof, waterproof, play-proof mascara that gives you 1,944% more volume**.”
- “**Clinical study results”
- “In a recent study of 40 lashes after 3 coats of Better Than Sex Mascara there was a 1,944% improvement in the appearance.”
- “1,944% increase in the appearance of lash volume*”
- “*as observed in a study after applying three coats.”
- “This has got a claim on it that I have never in my life in my career heard any other mascara say…. This is a study of 40 women after 3 coats of Better Than Sex, that is the percentage, 1944% improvement in the appearance.”
- “1944% improvement in the appearance of your lashes, that’s crazy, I’ve never seen that number, that statistic.”
- “hat is the truth, it is 1944% it’s crazy but it’s true.”
The advertiser also advised NAD in writing that it agreed to permanently discontinue all references to the increased volume claim being based on a “clinical study.”
The advertiser argued, though, that both its “1,944% More Volume” claim and its before and after photographs were properly substantiated. In support of the “1,944%” claim, the advertiser provided confidential testing to NAD. According to the advertiser, an experienced, independent testing facility conducted volume testing on one tube of BTS original mascara and one tube of BTS waterproof mascara during 2013 and 2015, respectively. In both studies, human lashes were coated with three coats of BTS mascara and objective measurements using a digital caliper/micrometer were taken at baseline and after each successive coat. According to the test results, following each coating, the mean volume showed a statistically significant increase over the prior mean. After three coats of mascara, the mean lash volume increased 1,944%, as compared to the mean volume at baseline.
NAD noted in its decision that it was troubled by the advertiser’s test methodology and concerned about the consumer relevance of the test methodology and results.
NAD next considered whether the advertiser’s product depictions were properly supported. The challenged product packaging displays two photographs, labeled “Before” and “After,” which are located directly beneath the “1,944% more volume” claim. The “Before” photograph depicts a woman’s short, sparse eyelashes devoid of any mascara; the “After” photograph shows dramatically transformed lashes that appear lengthier, well-defined, and much more voluminous. In YouTube advertisements, spokespeople are depicted with BTS mascara applied to one set of eyelashes while their other lashes are conspicuously sparse and bare.
NAD noted that the advertiser’s “before” and “after” images reasonably convey a message that consumers using the product will achieve similar eyelash volume when they apply the product according to its use instructions. Without reliable evidence in the record demonstrating the volume consumers can expect to achieve when applying BTS Mascaras, NAD concluded that the performance message conveyed by the advertiser’s “before” and “after” images was not supported.
NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue its “1,944% more volume” claim and also recommended that the advertiser discontinue its “before” and “after” images.
Too Faced Cosmetics, in its advertiser’s statement, said it “believes that NAD reached the wrong results in concluding that Too Faced should discontinue its 1,944 percent more-volume claim and its Before-and-After photographs, and designates both of these issues for NARB review on appeal.”
Note: A recommendation by NAD to modify or discontinue a claim is not a finding of wrongdoing and an advertiser’s voluntary discontinuance or modification of claims should not be construed as an admission of impropriety. It is the policy of NAD not to endorse any company, product, or service. Decisions finding that advertising claims have been substantiated should not be construed as endorsements.