Benefit's They're REAL mascara makes bold claims, and uses a nifty, if not obvious double entendre, in the marketing campaign supporting it's release. My husband is a big fan of the promotional image, a woman with low cut dress and Christina Hendricks-sized breasts that look like they would be painful to the woman they're attached to, yet he doesn't wear makeup, and is likely not the demographic Benefit hopes to attract (I think). The packaging is rather spiffy, though - a gun metal tube in a curvy shape.
Regardless, here are the claims, per Sephora:
This mascara features an exclusive brush specially designed to maximize the performance of the long-wearing, glossy formula revealing lashes you never knew you had! Staggered bristles grab close to the root, boosting length and volume beyond belief. The precision bristles on the custom-domed tip lift, define, and curl even your tiniest lashes. The end result is luxurious, silky lashes that won't smudge, clump, or dry out.
Research results:-94% saw dramatic length and volume*
-90% saw base-to-tip curl*
-94% saw visible lift*
-100% saw long-wearing results*
I think the formula isn't really the star of the show in terms of lengthening and definition, the brush is. It's a hybrid of the rubberized-bristle brush I dislike, and the Givenchy Phemonen'eyes medieval-mace style wand. The tip of the brush has bristles that fan over it's crown, that you're supposed to use to apply and "fan" out your lashes. This is how you're supposed to apply the Phenomen'eyes mascara, as well, and why I loved that particular product - the definition you get from this application technique is simply astounding. The rest of Benefit's brush is pretty good, too, for the type of brush that it is.
The formula it's self isn't bad, though. It's not water resistant at all (I managed to cry it off my lower lashes relatively quickly, due to some crappiness at work [note: surprisingly, it's not really easy to get off - and I use a eye makeup remover prior to washing my face!]). It's build-able, to an extent, which is why the brush and application technique works - a super thick formula would clump like no one's business before you had chance to apply it properly. It can over-volumize, however, which leads to clumping. It doesn't flake or smudge, and seems to set within a reasonable amount of time. My lashes still feel soft, not crunchy, once the mascara has set.
What I'd be remiss to not discuss, however, is how long it takes to apply. Because you're essentially doing multiple coats (which is probably normal for most people), you wouldn't expect this mascara to be any different than whatever you're currently using. What I failed to consider was how long it would take to use the tip of the wand to apply mascara, comb my lashes, and fan them out a bit. That takes a while. I usually don't do all of my lashes, just the outer third or so, but I if I were to attempt to do all of my lashes, I might drive myself crazy. I don't bother using the tip to go over my bottom lashes, since, you know... who wears falsies on their lower lashline?
Over all, I like this mascara. It's $22, though, which is spendy. I'll be very curious to see how this formula works as it dries out, over time. I have a feeling it may get clumpy as more air is introduced in the tube. Due to this one nagging fact, I can't say I'd repurchase today. I may need to wait until I've used the mascara for more than a month to be sure it'll work out for me.