Health & Beauty

It Must Be Mascara Season

August 10, 2022

Our inbox is jammed with new mascara launches, from Maybelline New York‘s Green Edition Mega Mousse Mascara to Lâncome‘s Le 8 Hypnôse to Clarins‘ Lash & Brow Double Fix … ’tis the season? We asked Christine Cho, an on-air beauty expert (The Marilyn Denis Show, The Morning Show and Breakfast Television) and professional makeup/hair artist based in Toronto, to weigh in on this t-eye-mly question. —Noa Nichol

Today we’re talking mascara. There’s quite a bit of newness out there! What have you got your “eye” on, and why?

Mascara is a makeup category that will forever be popular and particularly innovative, because when it comes to detail and preference, there is a design and formula for every little lash out there! I’ve been eyeing the following new mascaras: Make Up For Ever The Professionall 24HR Double-Ended Lifting & Volumizing Mascara and Lancôme Le 8 Hypnôse Volumizing Mascara.

OK, so we’ve covered what’s new … but, in your book, what’s tried and true when it comes to mascaras, for both pro and personal use? Which tubes are your go-tos?

My favourite mascaras all do something different but really, really well; they stay put all day, and don’t flake or smudge: Benefit Roller Lash is best for lengthening and separating, providing a clean daytime look and first coat. Also, Benefit They’re Real is best for overall precision and pigment. Lancôme Monsieur Big is great for volume, while Too Faced Better Than Sex is, well, no comment on whether the namesake rings true, but it’s a ridiculously amazing volumizing mascara that brings all the drama and bulk you want in one swipe (great for second coat/evening mascara). Smashbox Superfan Mascara is great for lengthening, no clumping; It Cosmetics Superhero Mascara is a very good overall mascara that adds volume and lengthens in one, fabulous pigment.

Different formulas, wands, colours … what should we keep in mind when hunting for the perfect mascara?

Unfortunately, as with most beauty products, you really need to be your own researcher and tester—trial and error may take a few tubes and some investment, but it’s worth it—if you wear mascara daily. Things to keep in mind when mascara shopping:

  • Formula. First and foremost, make sure it doesn’t irritate your eyes (nothing cute about watery eyes x running mascara). Determine whether you prefer hydrating, conditioning types (this type is better for lashes but tends to run more) or if you prefer really deep pigment (i.e., super black) that stays put. Do you prefer a lighter, easy to brush out formula, or do you prefer a thicker consistency? I tend to reserve waterproof mascara for really humid sweaty days where I’m actually going to be wet; also good for brides, of course, but makes lashes feel crispy and is difficult to remove properly and gently. Water-resistant is my favourite: it smudges less, is a little harder to remove but not difficult with an oil-based cleanser and good eye-makeup remover.
  • Wand design. For separation and lengthening, definitely try the spikey balls or plastic spike bristles. For volume and pigment, I prefer the hourglass-shaped wands with longer softer bristles. For the teeny-tiny lashes and lower lashes, the smaller wands that have more grip work better, as do the spikey balls.
  • Colour. For me there’s only one: black. However, brown mascara can be a really nice subtle tint for those with light lashes, because it’s not as dramatic or unnatural looking as black, but still provides definition and enhancement. Bright colours like cobalt blue, purple and green can be super-fun, too, but keep in mind they won’t provide the same depth and definition as traditional black mascaras.
  • Price. There are great affordable drugstore mascaras that do the job, and there are very expensive designer and luxe brands that feel like they are worth it if you’re a lash lover. And of course, there are plenty of premium brands in-between—really something for any budget. Don’t blow all your money on fancy mascara if you wear it once a month. Also keep in mind that once you open that tube, you really don’t want to use it after three to six months. Basically if it starts to smell, look or feel different, and if it’s no longer doing what it’s supposed to or used to, toss it.

Pro tip: when you have super-fine stubbornly straight lashes like me, make sure to use an eyelash curler first and apply a light, lengthening mascara first; when lashes are nearly dry, add a second volumizing mascara or more coats.

False lashes and extensions: anything to keep in mind with these, mascara wise?

When wearing false lashes, you can of course skip the mascara altogether. However, to get the most realistic or seamless-looking effect, I like to apply a thin layer of mascara first, apply the lashes, then apply another then layer after so the natural and false lashes kind of meld together. Lash extensions can be great for those who are going on vacation or prefer not to wear mascara; they will however damage your natural lashes, as the glue is going directly on the hair follicles. I’m not a fan of people wearing mascara on their lash extensions as that will shorten the life of them. Additionally, you have to use specific tubing mascara for lash extensions so as to not damage them.

Final question: if you could Frankenstein together your dream mascara, what would it look like/be?

I’d reach for the stars if I were designing and formulating my own mascara. My dream mascara would do everything in one: lengthening, separating, volumizing. It would be water resistant (not waterproof), never smudge or flake, and last all day and night without fading. It would also have some conditioning agents so that it is actually good for my lashes over time, and be easy to remove with proper cleansers. The wand would have a precision bristle end and a bulking body with longer bristles. The size would be large enough to offer value, but not so large that I feel like I’m always having to waste product throwing it out by expiry date. The packaging would be cute and eco-conscious, too!

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