Since I began wearing makeup (at thirteen?–ah that sounds so young!), I’ve always been susceptible to falling for the promises on a tube of mascara. “Clinically proven to give you 5 million more eyelashes!” “20X the length, thickness, and amazingness!” And my favorite, courtesy of Too Faced Cosmetics, mascara that’s “Better than Sex.” Do I really want my mascara to be better than sex?
When it comes to mascara, we want it all–or most of it, at least. While I don’t know if I’ve met any that actually boost my lash prowess by 1036%, I do know that some mascaras are better than others. The best, in my opinion, are buildable, so you can at least have versatility.
Ideally, the same mascara you quickly swipe on for a touch of polish before dashing out for groceries should also be able to be layered (and layered) to give you a perfected, doe-eyed effect (see below for instructions!). On top of that, it shouldn’t run, flake, or clump. Many of us–including me–also want our mascaras free of strange chemicals and health no-nos, like parabens.
For these reasons and more, finding the right mascara is hard. I have not discovered the holy grail of mascara. Please enlighten me if you have! For a while, I was using Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Mascara. Then I learned that Tarte was bought by Kose, a company that tests on animals. Although Tarte itself states its products will continue to be cruelty-free, I felt kind of iffy about the whole thing. What’s a vegan beauty to do?
The best this hopelessly between-mascaras-girl can do is tell you the best way to apply your mascara–whichever one you’re using!
1. Begin by curling your lashes. This immediately “opens” your eyes, giving you a more refreshed appearance. I also find that my mascara seems to adhere better to my lashes when curl them. Here’s how to do it: Look down, and gently clamp the curler at the roots of your upper lashes. Squeeze briefly. Gradually, squeeze curler along the lashes until you reach the end. The end result should be a soft curl rather than a crimped look.
2. Make sure your wand isn’t overloaded with product by wiping any extra clumps on a tissue. Excess product can transfer to skin, which is especially annoying if you’ve just applied the perfect pale pink eyeshadow.
3. Look down and apply mascara along the top of your upper lashes, from root to tip. Move from corner to corner until each lash is coated. Repeat the same thing on the underside of your top lashes, with your eyes open.
4. For a second coat, repeat step three, only this time, wiggle the wand back and forth so product gets on the sides of your lashes. (This was a major “aha” moment for me when I first learned of this trick!)
5. For a third and final coat–and falsie-esque volume–hold the wand vertically, pushing it into the roots of your lashes, wiggling it until the area is fully coated.
6. You can also repeat this vertical application on your lower lashes. Be extra careful to avoid transferring product to skin.
7. Finally, remove any clumps with an eyelash comb.
A note on the brush:
Cosmetic companies make a big fuss about the size and shape of their mascara brushes. In my experience, if you have long lashes, a large brush may be wonderful, but when you have shorter lashes, it’s kind of overwhelming. Plus, a smaller brush allows you get into little crannies, so keep a few these around (either cleaned or discarded after use), isn’t a bad idea.
Mascara should be replaced about every three months. I find it impossible to go through an entire bottle in that time, even if I wear almost everyday, multiple coats and all. The lesson from this must be: Don’t hold back! 🙂 Finally, never share mascara.
Do you have a tip for getting perfect lashes? What is your favorite mascara? Share!
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Photos: Laura Rushing, Laura Loveday, both via Flickr.