Drugstore Dupe: Too Faced Better Than Sex Vs L'Oreal Miss Manga Review

Friday 4 September 2015

Hello beauties

Isn't it great when you find a dupe for an expensive product? There are plenty of sites out there dedicated to finding and testing cheaper alternatives for big-name products, which shows we all have a fascination with value.

Personally, I absolutely love a bargain as long as it performs. Equally, I don't mind spending more on a product that I know delivers, either. What I'm looking for is a great performance for the price point.

My holy grail mascara is Too Faced Better Than Sex. It's £19.00, which I think its worth, but there are times when you don't want or need to spend that amount. I love the fullness, volume and feathery soft finish it gives to my lashes, but could there be a drugstore dupe that would deliver identical results?
Recently, I unearthed some drugstore make-up treasure, and one of the items was the L'Oreal Miss Manga Mega Volume mascara,  which usually retails for £8.99.

Despite the cute packaging, I'd never tried this before as I used to think that only mascaras with plastic comb brushes worked well for me - before Better Than Sex came into my life. How wrong can you be?

Miss Manga Mega Volume looked like a brilliant dupe for my beloved Too Faced formula, but at half the price would it deliver half the results?

That's something only a head to head comparison could decide.

So first up, here are my bare, unadorned lashes so we can have a proper comparison. My lashes are naturally quite dark, but pin-straight and not very voluminous. 

Mascara is definitely very personal and everyone wants different things from it, which makes it a bit difficult. I've splashed out on so called 'wonder formulas' before only to be disappointed. Benefit's much-hyped 'They're Real' never worked for me -  I found it left lashes too lank and spindly with no volume.

What I'm after is lots of fat lashes, but with a soft, feathery appearance. Serious flutter power. No flaking. Some sort of uplifted effect.

First up...

Too Faced Better Than Sex

The Packaging

Comes in a sleek, pink brushed metallic tube that looks super-classy and very girlie. On the regular size, the wording is embossed into the metal, but this is the travel size. It's worth nothing that buying a travel size is a brilliant way to work out if a premium product suits you, and if it will be worth the splurge. 

The Hype

"Creates exceptionally full, intense and dramatic lashes. High performance, full-coverage formula for a sexy, flirtatious flutter."

The Brush 

The brush on this mascara is absolutely huge compared to the thinner, comb-type ones I normally favour, and I found it took a little getting used to! It has quite a fluffy appearance, with fronds sticking out at all angles.

The first thing you notice is the brush's 'hourglass curves', apparently inspired by Hollywood icons. 

This all seems a bit silly to me - why would a film star's figure make a difference to my lashes? - but actually there is some kind of weird magic to it, because the brush grips onto the lashes beautifully and delivers a rich, even coating of product to my lashes.

The Formula

This is a mascara with real impact from a single coat -  it makes a big, bold difference to lashes straight away, which I loved. 

The formula is enriched with Collagen, and it does deliver a plumped-up, lash-multiplying appearance. 

There's also Senegal Acacia Tree extract, which sounds extremely exotic, and is supposed to help moisturise and condition lashes. I think this must work, since my lashes felt soft and fluttery, not all crisped up like you get with some formulas. 

The consistency is creamy rather than really wet. This makes it buildable and easy to layer before it sets without being so damp it smudges everywhere.

Colour wise, it always amuses me when mascaras market themselves as 'black', 'extra black', 'blacker than black', 'blacker than a nuclear apocalypse in a coal mine at midnight', blah blah blah... I mean, who scientifically measures all this blackness?

However, this formula is certainly very dark and gives eyes a beautiful smoky appearance.

The Performance

The thing I really like about Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara is that one coat is totally enough - dramatic, impactful and all the rest. But how does it fare with two coats?

Well, if you're into super-drama, you'll like this. Two coats of the formula delivers unreal lashes - dense, feathery and more dramatic moments than an episode of EastEnders. Its a bit of a show-stopper.

If you're going for a big eye look, you can't do better. At two coats, lashes are thick but remain defined although there is some clumping if you don't comb them. The overall look is still soft and fluttery. Impressive stuff.

Next up, the challenger to the throne....

L'Oreal Miss Manga Mega Volume

The Packaging

Comes in an angled tube with a glossy black bottom half, and a sweet pink metallic upper half. Appealing, easy to hold and although it doesn't feel as luxurious as BTS,  its pretty enough to pass muster in anyone's make-up bag, even for packaging snobs like me.

The Hype

"Creates mega volume on top and bottom lashes with ultimate hold. Amplifies lashes with effortless application."

The Brush 

The brush is slimmer than BTS, with more regular patterns of bristles, but they still have that soft appearance. The shape is conical rather than the hourglass style. I actually prefer this shape - the pointed tip makes coating bottom lashes and getting into the corners much easier and more manoeuvrable.

Its also very flexible, which feels a bit weird - the actual wand itself is bendy. Honestly? I don't think it adds much, and I would prefer a stiff wand as that's easier to press and work into lashes than one that fights back. 

The Formula


Miss Manga Mega Volume has a similar creamy consistency to BTS, although its perhaps fractionally wetter to begin with, and I felt like it dried faster once on, so there's less 'play time' to add lots of coats.

One coat is great, but has slightly less wow factor than BTS. The formula contains collagen spheres - just like its more expensive rival, and a 'trilogy of polymers' which give great hold and staying power.

This felt a bit more crispy on the lashes, but not enough to put anyone off.
Colour-wise? This is just as super-duper black and dense as well. The payoff is a soft volumised look - pretty for day, ever so slightly on the clumpy side.

The Performance

This fares much better with multiple coats than its expensive rival. The formula feels designed to be buildable and looks better the more you pile on, whereas with the BTS, the huge fat brush just drinks up the formula and can overload lashes too easily.

The look with one coat is almost a bit spiky, whereas two seems to soften and fatten out the lashes, and gives a better overall result. 

The Verdict

Okay, so top is the Too Faced Better Than Sex, bottom is the other eye done with L'Oreal Miss Manga Mega Volume - and you can immediately see there's not much in it!

I've already given the game away really by declaring BTS to be my holy grail mascara, but I'm still blown away by how good the formula is. One coat is enough. It lasts all day without flaking as well, and although it still doesn't really curl my poker-straight lashes, it does provide root uplift.

I actually think one coat is all you need, as two starts to look a little OTT and slightly clumpy.

When it comes to multiple coats? Miss Manga wins hands down. The formula doesn't struggle and clump as much. My husband actually said he preferred the look of the L'Oreal formula as well, but I think that's because its a bit more understated!

All in all, Miss Manga Mega Volume is a credible, affordable dupe and I'm glad to have it in my make-up collection as an everyday staple. Although Better Than Sex just has the slight edge and wow factor for me, there isn't really enough in it to justify it being double the price.

If you're looking for volumised fluttery lashes that don't cost the earth, definitely try out the L'Oreal. If you want one-stroke-wonder with a hefty dose of luxury, call at the Too Faced counter.

Have you tried either of these formulas? What other good drugstore mascaras are there? Please share your tips below!


  1. I've been wanting to try Miss Manga for a while and after reading this I think you've convinced me to pick it up when I go shopping tomorrow :) Really enjoyed this post; I love how detailed it is and the comparison photos are really useful :)
    Love Holly x


    1. Ahhh give it a go Holly, its pretty decent for the price - I've been using it most days since I got it. Plus I think L'Oreal is all 3 for 2 at Boots right now, so you should treat yourself!
      Thanks ever so much for your kind comment, I spend ages reading review before buying anything so its nice to know I can be helpful too :) xx

  2. I really want to try Better Than Sex! I have Miss Manga and I agree the wobbly wand makes it harder to use so I don't reach for it that much as a result xx

    Jasmine Talks Beauty

    1. Oooh, you totally should, its amazing stuff. If you pick up the travel size I have, its only about £6 something and its still lasted me for a couple of months - really useful way to try it out as well x

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