Thought I’d focus on Mascara after my last post, “Concealer- My BFF” … A girl can have more than one best friend, can’t she?
I think I was just 14 years old when I first started experimenting with makeup. Girls were just into cosmetics at an earlier age where I grew up in England. I wasn’t a girly-girl growing up, and neither was I in High School. At least, that wasn’t the image I wanted to portray while I was hangin’ with my friends and enjoying being more like “one-of-the-guys” when the boys were around. (Made it easier to be around guys I had a ”crush” on- but that’s a whole other story!)
We had a school uniform and weren’t allowed to wear makeup, but mascara, a touch of blush and lip balm was enough to make me feel pretty and stay under the radar.
Mascara fascinated me as much as it scared me. I have typical straight, short Asian lashes that grow downwards and look more like shutter blinds than the type of fab-o-lashes that fan out and draw attention to one’s eyes! Once I got the hang of putting on (mum’s) mascara, I was hooked! Then came my first ever Eye Lash Curlers, and mascara and I have been ”besties” ever since.
Here are a few BEFORE and AFTER mascara photos just to illustrate what a difference it can make to different eye shapes and lash types, with or without eye makeup:
See how lashes open up and emphasize the eyes? In the past, I’ve been a fan of so many brands ranging from $8-$35! But I soon came to discover that no matter the type of mascara: Thickening, Lengthening, Curling, Waterproof, Vibrating and Coloured – it was one thing that made the most significant difference. The BRUSH.
By now, most reputable brands carry good for your lash ingredients such as ProVitB5, Vit A, C and E, Glycerin and are fragrance and fibre-free, and opthalmology tested etc. So that being said and known, it all falls on the brush and…wait for it…HOW it’s applied.
Here’s a quick step-by-step:
1) Give your mascara wand a bit of a bend on the opening of the mascara by denting the brush end a few millimeters. You can always unbend it afterwards or leave it that way. It won’t stop you from popping the wand back in to close it. Why? It’s easier to apply and you’ll find you won’t be knocking the brush-end against the bridge of your nose or eye lids as much since the “angled brush” can be held further away, as opposed to being held too close and parallel to your lashes.
2) Curl your lashes close to the roots then “walk” the lash curler gradually up to the tips of your lashes, squeezing gently but firmly for 10 seconds at the roots, middle and near the ends. This will give you longer lasting and more natural looking curls than if you were to only pinch once (which creates what look more like Nike check marks than flirty curves!) Always curl BEFORE applying mascara to avoid breakage!
3) Remove excess mascara from the tip of your wand by stroking the tip off in the tube (less wasteful than: wiping excess mascara off on a tissue).
4) Tip your head up and back a bit and look down with your eyes into a mirror to stretch out your lids and point out those lashes. Hold the brush under the top lashes and give it a bit of a jiggle to get as close to the roots as possible, and turn the wand with your fingers as you brush to the ends of the lashes.
5) Repeat as you apply the mascara as you turn the brush through your lashes to coat while eliminating clumps and make sure to fan out the lashes- to the left, center (brush upwards) and to the right. Apply a few extra coats onto the outer lashes and allow each coat to dry a few seconds before reapplying. Look up with your eyes- into a mirror- to apply mascara to the bottom lashes using the tip of the brush for precision.
For short, straight lashes like mine, my fave brushes are the thinner ones that have shorter, split-type bristles that grab even the little baby lashes on the inner corners of the eyes like the Laura Mercier Long Lash Mascara ($25) Brush:
Or the new rubber-type brushes that have more flex and coat my lashes nicely, like of some of my fave drug store mascara brands:
I’ve always preferred the drug store mascara brands and was happy just to spend $10 tops of my hard-earned cash for something I know i’ll be replacing in 3 months time, like this bunch I just grabbed from my kit:
But being in the Beauty Industry, I’m either lucky enough to be given products to try out (or show off) for free, or I can’t help but notice all the fuss and hype around the latest Mascara must-haves and I always, always find myself wondering over to those counters to find out just what all the fuss is about… (Having come from the marketing end of the industry, I don’t fall for the hype as easily and always ask WHY someone loves a product to hear real life testimonials, rather than depending on what the latest buzz on the “it” product is).
Of the more pricy and unusual mascaras, my picks are:
And reportedly selling a mascara every 6 seconds out there, is the Industry’s Beauty Editors’ best choice: Lancome Definicils Mascara- for its defining and lengthening without clumping performance. Although, what really intrigues me is the $34 Lancome Oscillation Mascara, which was demonstrated to me by a makeup consultant when I asked her what she was wearing to get such fab lashes.
There is a cheaper version or two out there already, but in the meantime, I think I’ll finish off what i have for now!
When you’re shopping for mascara, it’s easy to get carried away with all the Photoshop and false lashes that are used in the adds. And we can’t assume the best mascara (or products) are always the most expensive or the least expensive are of lesser quality. The best thing is to ask yourself these questions before deciding and ask for recommendations from trusted sources and friends…Ask:
1) What are my natural lashes like and what do I need it to do for my lashes the most? Lengthening, Curling, more volume or a combination of some or all of the above?
2) How much am I willing to pay?
3) Do I need a waterproof or regular mascara?
4) How often will I be using it?
5) Maybe I can still use what I have but should invest on a lash Primer (Clinique has a pretty good one, or Maybelline’s XXL mascara comes with a Primer on one end, and mascara on the other) to add more oomph to my lashes under my basic mascara…?
Whether it’s for my own personal use or for my client’s, I replace my mascaras every 3-4 months tops. Why? One, they start to get clumpy and not as glossy after the first 3 months, two -unless you use disposable wands each time you use the mascara, the bacteria we all have on our lashes can contaminate and cause the product to become unsafe for use near the eyes.
Disposable mascara wands are a MUST when working with clients for hygiene reasons, but you won’t get the effect of the brush that was designed for that mascara. So remember to always bring your own and tell your clients the benefits of bringing her own mascara to the makeup room/consultation.
I always go for the classic black, unless my client’s really fair with light hair, in which case brown or soft black may look more natural. Colored mascaras are also great, but I prefer to introduce them on the tips of the lashes over black mascara just as an accent to reflect and complement my client’s eye color. The Body Shop has a fun electric blue mascara and Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Duo is certainly worth checking out!
Tip: Don’t pump the wand in the tube! This can push bacteria into the product and pumps air into the tube, which will cause your mascara to dry up. Not exactly something you want to happen to your latest battery operated vibrating, telescopic, volumizing, curling mascara!