CODE Beautiful Volumising Lengthening Mascara, VLM, Review

Hello and Welcome!

I hope you had a great New Year and are excited to see what 2019 brings.

If you’ve been here a while then you’ll know I love trying new mascaras, so what better way to welcome in 2019 than with a mascara review!

This product was sent to me for free by CODE Beautiful, who DMed me on Instagram, for me to test and review but (as always) my review will be 100% truthful and I haven’t been asked to say anything positive about the brand or product.

The mascara I was sent was their smaller VLM mascara which retails for £10.00.

As I tend to do with more obscure brands, I’ll give a quick rundown of who CODE Beautiful are before we get into a bit more about this mascara.

Who are CODE Beautiful?

CODE Beautiful are a Manchester-based beauty brand started by three women. In their about section they write that they create ‘handbag essentials we can’t live without’, this started with a mascara after they couldn’t find everything that they needed in a mascara that already existed – so they created their own.

They state ‘once we’ve started a product, we don’t move on until we’ve cracked the code. Only then will we put our name on it’. I assume this is why they are called CODE Beautiful.

On their website they sell two types of mascara, the CODE VLM (volumising lengthening mascara) in two sizes, and the CODE FFL (forget fake lashes) mascara, they also sell CODE SSL (super soft lip) liner, and CODE LIP (lip intense plumper), as well as their own makeup bag.

You can read more about them here in their about section.


As you can see from the title, I was sent the VLM mascara and as I’ve mentioned earlier in the review, I was sent the ‘mini’ version of this. The packaging above represents the packaging of said ‘mini’ mascara, and is not the same as the full-sized packaging.

The mascara comes in a small white cardboard tube with the brand name on, which is surrounded by vibrant pink card which shows photos of the mascara results, and some customer feedback. It also comes with a card which details how to use the product. Inside the mascara comes in a black tube with the brand name on.

I can’t say that I’m blown away by the packaging if I’m honest. Whilst I do appreciate the product containing information about other individuals’ experiences in a trial, that isn’t usually information I look at when I decide whether or not to purchase a product (I’d rather read independent reviews). I personally find trials are usually quite small and, as with all research, there’s a chance that those who signed up have some kind of bias (e.g. why would you volunteer for a mascara trial if you don’t like mascara). This isn’t anything against this particular packaging, Too Faced’s ‘Better Than Sex Mascara’ has a very similar packaging style. It personally just isn’t for me. I’m a sucker for packaging and keep boxes that are particularly nice, so I think this just fell a bit short for me.

Furthermore, the use of a black tube isn’t my cup of tea either, whilst it does have practical benefits (it’s not going to show dirt), it doesn’t stand out at all in my collection and I’ve lost it in my makeup bag several times. A black tube for a mascara is quite ordinary.

However, whilst the packaging may not be for me, at the end of the day it is more about how the product performs rather than how it looks. Additionally, since the tube is more of a traditional shape/colour, it does fit in with their branding of their products as ‘handbag essentials’.

Price Comparisons

Before trying it I think what struck me was how small the bottle was vs. the price that it’s set at. These mini mascaras aren’t uncommon, however they’re typically found in mainstream, mid-range brands such as Tarte, Benefit, and Too Faced.

You know I love doing makeup math so I’ll do a quick price comparison between mini mascaras from a few brands below:

  • CODE Beautiful ‘VLM’ – £10.00 for 3.5ml
  • Too Faced ‘Better Than Sex Mascara’ – £10.00 for 4.8ml
  • Tarte ‘Tartiest Lash Paint Mascara’ – £11.00 for 4.5ml
  • Benefit ‘Roller Lash Mascara’ – £11.00 for 4ml
  • Benefit ‘BADgal Lash Mascara’ – £11.00 for 4ml

From these, the CODE Beautiful mini is more expensive for how much product you receive.

However, let’s compare the full-sized versions of the mascaras:

  • CODE Beautiful ‘VLM’ – £19.95 for 12ml
  • Too Faced ‘Better Than Sex Mascara’ – £19.00 for 8ml
  • Tarte ‘Tartiest Lash Paint Mascara’ – £21.00 for 7ml
  • Benefit ‘Roller Lash Mascara’ – £22.00 for 8ml
  • Benefit ‘BADgal Lash Mascara’ – £20.00 for 8.5ml

Based on the full-sized priced, the CODE Beautiful mascara is far better value than the competitors.


The following claims are taken from the CODE Beautiful website:

‘Glossy, black fibre-based mascara enriched with vitamins and waxes to encourage lash growth
Water-resistant formula, we’ve got you covered for those tearful moments or gym sessions ?
No flakes or clumps
Build on build technology to allow you to fully tailor your lash look
Full bristle brush designed to grab every lash for guaranteed definition, thickness, volume and lift
Cruelty free and vegan friendly’


As I always am with mascaras, I was very excited to try this one – especially as it claimed to be volumising and lengthening (usually I find mascaras to be one or the other).

The claims for this mascara are pretty large but did it live up to it?

I’ve used this mascara pretty much every day for a few weeks now so I have a good idea about how it performs.

Firstly, it absolutely fulfills its claim to be volumising and lengthening, it makes my lashes look great and I really think it’s an amazing mascara in that respect. I’ve tried a lot of mascaras and this one definitely is just as good as, if not slightly better than, its competitors (I’m namely talking about the Too Faced ‘Better than Sex Mascara’).

However, a couple of claims it doesn’t hit. Firstly it comes off when you cry. If it hadn’t included that it was water-resistant then I wouldn’t be mentioning this as much but it did claim that it would ‘have my back’ and it doesn’t really. I have mascaras that don’t claim to be water-resistant that hold up better than this one does during crying (if a product claims it can withstand crying then you know I’m going to be crying all over the place to test it). It smudges a lot and comes off when in contact with water.

Secondly, I do find that it flakes. The picture to the right shows what effect the product has on my lashes and, as you can see in the picture, there is some flaking. This was unedited, after being out for a couple of hours.

I wouldn’t say that the smudging or flaking is anything too bad and it definitely doesn’t mean the mascara isn’t good, I’m just mentioning both of them as they were part of the claims. It isn’t, however, clumpy which is my absolute pet hate with mascaras! I can deal with a little flaking but clumpy spider lashes are not for me.

The brush on this mascara is where I believe the magic happens. The brush grabs onto every single lash as you’re wiggling it which makes every lash separated, and lengthened. The brush also doesn’t pick up too much product, which is why it isn’t clumpy.

Overall, I think this is a good little mascara. If you’re looking to purchase a mascara around this price point then I’d definitely say go for this one. I’ve tried a few of the others around this point and I think this one is better. However, if you’re looking for value for money then skip out on the mini and go straight to the full-sized one. Whilst minis are good for seeing if you like a product, they’re pretty expensive I find and not cost-effective. I will definitely keep using this mascara and may consider purchasing it in the future.

If you’d like to grab this mascara then you can find the full-sized one on their website here, and the mini one here (they also have free worldwide shipping). Alternatively they are sold through Beauty Bay (go them), so you can check out their products here.

So this brings us to the end of this review, I really hope that you enjoyed reading! If you did then please leave a quick like on this post and drop a comment letting me know if you have any thoughts. Finally, please make sure you follow my blog if you aren’t already!


Charlotte (Multibendystraw)

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Check out my previous posts!

What I achieved in 2018

15 Comments Add yours

  1. briannamarielifestyle says:

    I’d love to try this mascara!
    Brianna |

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Multibendybeauty says:

      Definitely worth a shot if you’re looking for a mascara in that price range!


  2. Maya says:

    It seems to have worked well for you and looks gorgeous on your lashes but if it’s not water resistant then it’ll be rubbish on my watery eyes! Plus I can’t believe the price for a third of the original size??

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Multibendybeauty says:

      Exactly, if a mascara says it’s tear proof then I’m absolutely going to test it and this smudged every time (and I always dab my eyes in a specific way with a tissue when I cry to minimise makeup damage). Yeah the pricing really confused me as well!


  3. Cheers to you and to CODE. All the best to you in the new year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Multibendybeauty says:

      Thank you, happy new year!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I like that you cried to really test it out! That’s dedication. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Multibendybeauty says:

      Haha well if it says it’s tear-resistant then we have to test that claim xx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Chloe Chats says:

    Great review, the bigger one does seem to be worth it more especially seeing how expensive the mini one is compared to other brands. I don’t usually buy mini’s anyway though! I love that you cried to test it out, that’s a great idea. It doesn’t seem to bad, and your lashes definitely look long! Thank you for sharing 🙂

    Chloe xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Multibendybeauty says:

      Yeah I’m not sure why the smaller one is so expensive yet the larger one contains so much product! Haha well the claims needed to be tested! Xx


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  8. Rebecca Allatt says:

    Loved this mascara ?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Multibendybeauty says:

      It’s so good at lengthening and thickening isn’t it!

      Liked by 1 person

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