Mascara Base: Shiseido vs Dr. Mascara Fixer

Continuing with Lash Week, today I’ll be looking at mascara bases.  What is a mascara base?  It’s like a primer for your lashes.  I didn’t believe the hype until I received a gwp sample of the Shiseido, and then I became a convert.
Late last year, I ordered a Korean mascara base by Etude House that had been highly reviewed online, which costs $9 each, vs $25 for the Shiseido one.  Let’s see how they stack up against each other.

I don’t wear false lashes, so I need all the help I can get with a mascara base. What a good mascara base does:
• enhances curled lashes
• helps build length and volume
• helps mascara to adhere to lashes better to prevent flaking and smudging
• some will even provide conditioning to the lashes

Shiseido Nourishing Mascara Base is a cult favourite, and has been my HG staple for a few years now, and it checks all of the above attributes.  A tube with daily use will last me around 6 months (I’m quite surprised that for an eye product, the expiry on the product says 24 months after opening!)
It has natural bristles that are quite short and fairly sparsely spaced so that it can get close to the roots of the lashes.  How I use the primer is as follows: I curl my lashes, then I apply a coat of the primer, let it dry for around 15 seconds, then apply my mascara on top as normal.  The primer applies clear and doesn’t make my lashes stiff.  The Shiseido performs brilliantly and I have no complaints – except that it’s quite pricey at $25 per tube.

The contender is Etude House Dr. Mascara Fixer – I bought both the Volume Up and the Longlash Up to try.  I’ve only opened the Volume version to use first (Longlash up has a curved wand).
It also has natural bristles that are of average length with a tapered end, and the spacing of the bristles are slightly further apart compared to the Shiseido. The primer also applies clear.  It has a 6 month expiry after opening.
I tested the Dr. Mascara Fixer for a week wearing my beloved L’Oreal Bare Naturale mascara on top.  Imagine my surprise when I noticed that the Dr. Mascara performed slightly better than the Shiseido!  I would say that in the area of building length or volume, it was on par with the Shiseido.  It also matched Shiseido for keeping my mascara from flaking and smudging.  The area where this base excelled was at holding my curl – it was quite impressive!
A few other observations:
• Dr. Mascara Fixer claims it is “infused with Black Food extracts to condition lashes”; Shiseido also touts lash conditioning as an attribute. I don’t relay on my mascara base for this – I use my trusty Cargo LashActivator Night (or soon to be caster oil) for helping my lashes stay healthy.
• I didn’t notice any difference between how the 2 wand styles applied their respective products.
• Maybe it’s just me, but I really like mascaras that come in these squeeze lipgloss type tubes – I feel like I can get more product out of the tube.
• The only downside to Dr. Mascara Fixer is that I can only buy it online whereas I have easy access to Shiseido

Overall, I’m very pleased I took a chance and tried the Etude House Mr. Mascara Fix base.  I’ll be buying this from now on!  I can’t wait to try the Longlash version.  Saving $16 on every tube is a no brainer.

Other mascara bases that I’ve used before that I haven’t liked as much:
Clinique Lash Building Primer ($19) – makes my lashes droop
DiorShow Maximizer Lash Plumping Serum & Primer ($35) – good for volumizing but tend to give lashes a spidery appearance, also very expensive

Do you use mascara bases?  What is your favourite?

38 thoughts on “Mascara Base: Shiseido vs Dr. Mascara Fixer

  1. I’ve never tried using a mascara base before, honestly i didn’t even know such not until I read your post. Hurray for Etude! My fingers are crossed while reading your verdict. Please, let it be Etude! 😭
    I also have pin straight lashes and I believe this is a life changing product.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve only ever tried the Urban Decay one. Not the new one that came out with their Perversion mascara, but the old one from a few years ago. I was not impressed with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The only one I’ve tried is from MAC, but only because I was hoping it would help my mascara not smudge. Didn’t work out. That’s awesome that the budget brand worked better!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m intrigued!! I’ll put this on my wish list! I currently have a few lonely mascaras in my bin that I’m avoiding because they smudge or flake. Hopefully the Etude House base will fix them!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you try this – it makes a huge difference for me with mascaras that aren’t stellar. Make sure you get the Perfect Lash one (straight wand), not the Length one (curved wand) – the Length one has nasty fibres in it that were so irritating.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I thought mascara primers were a superfluous gimmick product until I received one in a GWP and tried It. I have used Clinique and Estee Lauder with great success. They make my lashes significantly longer than with mascara alone. No matter the brand, I have always had a problem with mascara splattering on my eyelids, even though I wipe the brush before applying and apply slowly and carefully. Primer alleviates this problem: no more splatters. It gives the mascara something to adhere to. Mascara primers is now a must have product for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always thought mascara bases were gimmick too but they do make a huge difference on any mascara that I put on top. For me, they hold a curl and help to reduce flaking and smudges. I often wonder why don’t mascaras just have built-in primers instead? 😛


      1. Omg yes!! I have this EXACT SAME PROBLEM with that particular Dr Mascara Fixer! It’s so annoying and gross – I find myself having to wipe it every now and again cos I can’t stand how disgusting and gunky it looks!

        I’m still currently (kinda) using the long lash Dr Mascara but it’s really time for me to part with it. I like how clean the Shiseido one is but I’m not sure it’s something I can purchase all the time?


    1. Oh really? Shiseido discontinued their mascara base? How silly of them. It was one of the first makeup items I ever tried from Shiseido. I highly recommend the Dr Mascara Volume Up version with the pink lettering as a replacement. You can buy it off Amazon or Jolse. Don’t get the Longlash Up version – it has thick black fibres that are irritating to the eyes.


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