Q: I have really straight lashes. What's the best curling mascara that won't be a mess to take off?
A: The real reason so-called "curling mascaras" can defy gravity is because they're loaded with polymers that form a synthetic tube around the base of each tiny lash. This acts as a support system — almost like a crutch — that keeps your lashes from falling as you brush them sky-high. These polymers have to be strong to last all day, which means you'll need warm hot water, makeup remover, and serious rubbing to remove them. Even then, the under-eye area remains littered with tiny little mascara tubes that look like spider legs.
For a cleaner curl, you're better off with the brute force of a lash curler. From there, swipe Cover Girl's Lash Blast Mascara, which builds volume by thickening each hair and will make the bend from your metal curler seem more pronounced. The mascara brush's design, created by Pat McGrath, legitimately prevents clumping so the product doesn't weigh down the tiny hairs and, therefore, defeat the curl.
If you still insist upon a one-step solution, Clinique's High Impact Curling Mascara has less intense polymers than the competition and it will give lashes a subtle flip upward though it doesn't compare to the hand-curled look, in my opinion. Think of it this way: Any time you might save on the application will just be erased when you need makeup remover to take off the polymers at night.