Lien Yeung, Makeup

How to Choose Your Perfect Mascara

Mascara brushes. Original simple wire brush to the left.

I spent nine years behind the counter helping women (and sometimes men!) select the right beauty products for them. Mascara is actually quite a technical product but you should be able to accurately decide for yourself based on your lash needs. Women usually had the wrong mascara or confessed, “I don’t know…what do you think?” Here’s some common mascara language that should help you pick your next mascara.

Volume – basically, this means the creating the look of more lashes. So taking you from 15 eyelashes per eye to the “look” of 30 lashes. And naturally, the higher the claim for % increase of lashes, the thicker the formula. That’s how they make you look like you have more lashes. Keep this in mind when selecting volumizing formulas because the only way to actually have more lashes is to do falsies. Volumizing mascaras offer the most dramatic look. This is why many companies have now come out with “definition” versions of their volumizing mascara

Examples: L’Oreal Volumnious (my standard), Maybelline Volum’ Express One-By-One (see note below on “plastic brushes”), Lancome Hypnose (an indulgent favourite), Diorshow (crowd favourite)

Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian and lash excess. Rumour: eyelash transplants. Still hot.

Length – simple, it just means giving you longer lashes. Don’t all mascaras lengthen, you ask? Yes but lengthening mascaras typically have fibres in the formula that adhere to your own lashes to extend the look of your lash. These mascaras DO NOT provide volume. The formulas are thin and perfect those who have lots of short lashes or those who want a very natural look

ExamplesCover Girl Lash Blast LengthLancome Definicils (original best seller; great mascara if you want a naturally enhanced look)

Definition– exaggerate each individual lash by darkening and separating them. Defining mascaras mean clump-free length without too much drama. I find that definition is now often added as a quality of “volumizing” mascaras so that you get more separation from the brush. This also limits the amount of drama.

Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron with mascara on natural lashes. She could use a little lengthening here.

Plastic/comb brushes – this revolutionary brush was pioneered by Proctor & Gamble (makers of Cover Girl & Max Factor). It changed the entire mascara category because you could now get REAL definition & separation with a thicker volumizing formula. I’m not a fan of comb brushes because I find it separates too much – can look spidery. I’m still hung up on the old wire brushes because I prefer bold, full, feathery lashes. Mo lashes – no problems.

Thickness – see “volume”. You get the same results.

Waterproof vs water-resistant – ‘proof – nothing will get it off other than waterproof eye makeup remover. Typically oil based. Water-resistant – won’t come off with splashes of water but won’t withstand tears, pools or beaches.


One thought on “How to Choose Your Perfect Mascara

  1. Pingback: The world’s your stage: Clinique As You Like It « The Soulcialite

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