Beauty X 3: A Really Good Mascara

I’m asked what my favourite mascara is more than any other product. My reaction usually comes with a squint of my eyes, a tilt of my head and a “well, it depends on how I want my lashes to look.” Really, there are so many answers to this question.

I believe the best mascaras are ones which apply sufficient pigment to your lashes in one application and the perfect volume with an extra swipe. The blackest black is the best universal hue, though gold-flecked brown looks really nice against smoky bronze eyeshadow and blue, green and violet have their places too. I think coloured mascaras look best worn against the same shade of shadow to give your eye a “colour-blocked” effect.

The mascara’s composition is important – you want not too dry, not too water-y and not too waterproof to wash off at the end of the night. You want a nicely thickening mascara that won’t clump up on the tips but will add volume at the base of your lashes – that’s what makes them look thick and really dramatic. If long lashes are your thing you’ll want a really waxy mascara that’s nice and flexible (almost rubbery) and won’t flake off easily. Turnoffs include a super dense, short-bristled brush that hardly applies any pigment (this is an old-fashioned thing), a hue that looks grey in the sunlight, and a composition that changes character after two or three applications because a little air in the tube alters it that much.

You may have picked up on a trend in cosmetic packaging over the last few years where manufacturers leave the wand outside the body so you can zoom in on the bristles. Wands used to be made mostly of thick synthetic hair but they’ve recently become much sparser and made of silicone. You can also find wands that are bulbous on the end, tapered, comb-like and even rotating. I like the type that are thick in the middle, tapered on the end and made of synthetic hair – I just feel they grab my lashes more effectively than synthetic tubes do. A tapered end helps you emphasize the outer corner of your eyes with precise application.

With years of freelance makeup artistry, sales behind a beauty counter and beauty writing under my belt, here’s what I’ve gleaned about quality versus price: the higher priced mascaras (above $20 or so) maintain their integrity a little longer than the less-costly versions (under $10 or so), but the effect on your lashes is much of the same. That said, there are a handful of mascaras that stand out as truly luxurious and happen to cost a little extra cash.

Here are three mascaras I believe to be fantastic, including two very affordable options and one super-luxurious splurge:



Revlon Lash Potion™ by Grow Luscious™ Volume + Length Mascara, $10 at drugstores

This mascara is both lengthening and volumizing in pleasing amounts. The wand is exactly how I like it; bushy and oversized like the old-school ones, and it deposits a generous amount of product with one swipe. The formula is build-able, but you may want to prep with a lash primer if you totally despise a few flakes by mid-afternoon.

2. Maybelline The Falsies “Big Eyes” Mascara by Volum Express, $12 at drugstores

I’ve been wearing this mascara every day for two weeks straight and I really like it. The wand is double-ended with the larger one being shaped for your upper lashes and the smaller wand being sized for your lower lashes. The formula is thickening enough to build volume in one swipe on top-and-bottom, and then I’ve been using the smaller brush to build and define my upper lashes on the outer corners. It lasts all day without flaking and is easy to wash off at the end of the day. Overall, this is a great mascara.

3. Diorshow Blackout Mascara, $31 at Sephora and drugstores

Welcome to the mothership of mascaras. Approximately a million makeup artists swear by Diorshow as the best mascara to have in their makeup kits, but then they came out with this super-black formula and blew everyone’s minds into space. It’s so good because it’s so dark and voluminous that false strip lashes have lash envy when you’re wearing it. If you want the Mercedes-Benz of mascaras, this is like the SLS AMG.

Here is a fantastic tutorial on creating a classic Lana Del Rey look with your makeup, complete with long feathery lashes. Have fun!

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Beauty x 3: A really good mascara
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