Mascara Review: Thrive vs. Hourglass

Mascara Review: Thrive vs. Hourglass

Today I’m sharing my reviews of two cult-favorite mascaras: Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara and Hourglass Unlocked Instant Extensions Mascara

(pictured with Hourglass mascara on)

Mascara is my desert island makeup item. I have really small eyes, so I rely on mascara to help me look awake and balance out the rest of my face. 

I have tried MANY mascaras over the years and have a handful of “go-to’s,” but I was never able to find one that didn’t end up smudging beneath my eyes throughout the day. (It’s probably worth noting that I don’t like using waterproof mascara–it’s too difficult to remove, for me. I can’t afford to lose any lashes!). 

In the last year and a half, I have tried and LOVED both the Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara and Hourglass Unlocked Instant Extensions Mascara

The reason these two mascaras are particularly exciting for me is because they both use a “tubing” formula that basically coats your eyelashes and makes them look fuller and longer. The tubing formula allows the mascara to stay put all day, until you apply some very light pressure with warm water to remove it (more on that later). 

I first tried the Thrive mascara last November. I fell in love with the formula immediately and talked about it many times on IG and my newsletter. Then, I kept hearing bloggers I trust talk about the Hourglass tubing mascara. Many said they liked it even better than Thrive! So, naturally, I had to give it a go. 

In total, I used Thrive for about 9 months and have been using Hourglass for about 3 now, so I feel comfortable comparing the two now. 

I thought it would be fun to do a full, detailed breakdown of these two products. 

For today’s post, I am going to be comparing the two mascaras on the grounds of price, ingredients, brush style, color, consistency, volume/length results, staying power, and ease of removal. Like I said, detailed. 

AND PLEASE REMEMBER: I am not a makeup artist or professional. This post, much like my blog as a whole, is just a collection of peasant opinions from an antsy stay-at-home-mom. 


Thrive’s Liquid Lash Extensions mascara costs $24, but you have to spend $35 on their site to qualify for free shipping (unless they are doing a special which happens from time to time). Hourglass Unlocked Instant Extensions costs $29, but you can get it from other retailers like Nordstrom (free shipping for all) and Sephora (free shipping depending on your status).

Both of these seem to last a long time without drying out (I used one bottle of Thrive for 5-6 months at one point!). 


A win for everyone! Both of these mascaras are formulated without parabens, phthalates, sulfates and synthetic fragrance. Both brands are cruelty-free. 

Thrive’s formula contains castor oil which is said to be beneficial for lash health and length. I guess I noticed a difference in my lashes after using this for a while, but I can’t say it was for sure because of the mascara since I intermittently use a lash serum (love this one from Amazon). 


The brushes are very similar: thick with short, plastic bristles (as opposed to a longer, fuller brush). I, personally, prefer brushes like this because I am better able to manipulate my lashes with them. 


Currently, Hourglass is offered only in black, whereas Thrive comes in black, brown, and blue. 


Thrive’s formula is very wet. In fact, one tip I heard which proved true was to give the tube a few weeks to “dry out” a bit. (note: I don’t mean to leave it open for a few weeks–just to naturally let some air in as you use the product like you normally would). Once it dried a little, the consistency thickened up, and the formula became more buildable. 

Hourglass’ formula is more dry, and can even run a *tiny* bit flaky. For the most part, this formula is also very buildable, meaning you can decide how dramatic of a lash you want and layer the product as you please. 

Length/Volume results

Both of these mascaras are INCREDIBLY lengthening. This is where the tubing formula shines. 

In terms of volume, for me, Hourglass wins. I noticed that Thrive can be a little clumpy on some days, so when I’m going for more volume, Thrive can look a little spidery rather than feathery–-really hope you guys know what I mean here. Hourglass gives you that feathery, full look in addition to insane length. It does not clump as easily as Thrive. 

***When I went to make this pic collage for this post, I came to the realization that the results are actually VERY similar, lol. I sent this side by side to my sisters, and my older sister said, “I’m suddenly very bored with this comparison.”

I asked her which of the two she prefers since she has tried both too, and she said that she hated Thrive and loved Hourglass. Just a little real world data point***

Hourglass is pictured on the top, and Thrive is on the bottom

Staying Power

Both of these products do a fantastic job staying put, but if I had to choose–I think Hourglass is a bit weaker in this area. Since my eyes are so squinty, I feel like I am the perfect person to test this. And Hourglass does have some rare moments of smudging beneath my eyes, particularly on days if I’m out in the sun or squinting a lot, etc. 

For reference, though, I would not be scared to apply either of these to my lower lashes for a “full face” of makeup. 

Ease of removal

Okay, so there is a slight learning curve with removing a tubing mascara. It’s different than just wiping off normal mascara. You basically have to loosen it first, and then it peels off. What I normally do is GENTLY massage my eyes with a cleansing balm (I like Farmacy or Clean it Zero). Then I splash warm water on my face, and the mascara begins to peel off–maybe “pills” would even be a better word? It was jarring the first time I did it and can feel weird since it comes off in clumps. I have found, over time, that this method has preserved my lashes much better than removing traditional mascaras where I’d lose a few lashes every night. 

To compare the two: Hourglass does come off a bit easier than Thrive. The technique is the same, but Thrive’s formula hangs on a little tighter. 

Overall winner

Ultimately, I prefer Hourglass because of the consistency and its ability to build volume without looking spidery. Both products are truly fantastic, though, and I will never go back from tubing!

Please let me know if you try either of these!? Can’t wait to hear how you like them.

I hope you found this post helpful (or at the very least, entertaining). I send out a newsletter each Friday morning. I usually share the newest blog post, what I’m reading, and any products I’m obsessed with. My goal with it is to be the vibe of a friend dropping off a surprise latte in the morning–a little pre-weekend buzz to start your day off, know what I mean? Anyway, here’s the link to sign up if you haven’t already. And not to micromanage, but don’t forget to confirm your subscription! Sometimes it goes to spam. ALSO–I am sending out a pdf of all of my travel beauty tips and tricks to all new subscribers–it’s excessive in the best way.

More beauty posts:

How I tint my brows and lashes at home

Sephora sale picks

The best affordable skincare products on Amazon


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