How to get lashings of glamour: Our pick of the best mascaras
By BETHAN COLE
Last updated at 12:52 AM on 17th March 2011
Last updated at 12:52 AM on 17th March 2011
It's the most vital item in your make-up bag – but one mascara is no longer enough if you want to model all the latest looks...
For many women, mascara is, quite simply, a miracle. I, for one, readily admit that the first sight I catch of myself each morning is like some blinking albino.
Without my mascara, I am a pale-eyed wretch whose eyes are fringed with invisible blonde tendrils. So when a recent survey found that 95 per cent of women won’t leave the house without mascara in their handbag, I wondered what the hell are the other 5 per cent thinking!
With the mascara market worth an incredible £130 million and women spending an average £20 a time to make their lashes as bouffed up, voluminous, long and thick as possible, it would seem most girls would be with me on that one.
Alluring eyes: Dita Von Teese has long eyelashes, certain mascaras can help you achieve a similar look
Max Factor claims to sell three of its best-selling False Lash Effect Mascara every minute across Britain. Two Lancome mascaras are sold every second worldwide.
Heady figures, indeed. The thing about mascara is it really does work: it opens the eye, defining it and giving you unquantifiable allure. No woman should be without it.
And yet recently, in an avant garde gesture, catwalk make-up artists have been eschewing mascara for a naked eye look. In a throwback to the Eighties, when eyebrows were strong, but eyes were sometimes left blank for a more masculine effect, models’ eyes are once more being left undefined.
Not that I believe this will catch on in real life. Since 1913, when Maybelline mascara was invented by a young Chicago chemist called Thomas Williams using carbon dust and Vaseline, women have been mad for it.
And for more than a century our lust for longer and ever more luxurious lashes has continued.
These days it’s practically part of the make-up routine to pop on a pair of falsies while getting ready for a night out (Shu Uemura do some of the best). And even though lash extensions don’t last much longer than a month to six weeks, it hasn’t stopped ladies filing in their droves to beauty salons to spend hours having them applied.
But the latest trend is for mascara ‘wardrobing’ — using different mascaras at the same time for various effects. I carry three with me everywhere I go.
First, there’s Diorshow Blackout for my upper lashes, to volumise and blacken them. Then Clinique’s amazing new Bottom Lash mascara, which has a teeny-weeny brush to tackle fine and sparse lashes that rim the bottom of the eye.
And finally No 7 Intense Volume in Brown Black to darken and groom my sparse and blonde brows (yes, you can use mascara on your brows — it creates a subtle look).
Dior has noticed this trend — customers will often use a first coat of Diorshow Iconic to lengthen and curl lashes for a fan effect. They then follow it with Diorshow Extase, which creates intense volume and blackness due to black pearl powder in the formula. It also encourages growth with a cocktail of vitamins and minerals.
Lash growth is something of a hot topic with Allergan’s (the makers of Botox) latest development, Latisse, which is being road tested in British hospitals.
Latisse is proven to lengthen, thicken and darken lashes, the only drawback being it can cause brown pigmentation on the eyelid if not applied properly. It is likely to be available in Britain in the next couple of years.
Until then, we’ve got the pick of the best mascaras whatever your lashes...
BEST ON THE HIGH STREET
L'Oreal Million Volume Lashes, £11.22
Stockists: 0800 030 4032
Believe the hype! Blacker than black pigment and a really high-tech brush combine to plump up and define lashes. There’s an extra-black version, too, which is also great for definition.
BEST FOR WATERPROOFING
17 Waterproof Mascara, £4.69
Cheap as chips and great if you need something specific for the pool or the beach. Reasonable at covering, blackening and volumising, not outstanding, but good as a standby. Rich cream or oil-based make-up removers are best for taking it off — watery eye make-up remover won’t budge it.
Best buys: From left, L'Oreal Million Volume Lashes, 17 Waterproof and No 7 Exquisite Curl mascaras
BEST FOR CURLING
No 7 Exquisite Curl Mascara, £10
A good buy if you want to skip using eyelash curlers. The sculpted brush curls and sets lashes by up to 90 degrees. Not the greatest mascara for volume and definition, but a good one to combine with another mascara to create a truly dramatic effect.
BEST FOR LASH GROWTH
Rimmel Lash Accelerator Mascara, £8.99
Boots and Superdrug
Contains a patented formula called Grow-Lash Complex to encourage lash growth from the root. In tests, lashes were 117 per cent longer and thicker after just one month. You need to persevere with it for a few weeks to get the optimum results.
Get longer lashes: From left, Rimmel Lash Accelerator, MAC Haute abd Naughty and Maybelline One by One
BEST FOR DIFFERENT EFFECTS
MAC Haute and Naughty, £17.50
This fabulously innovative piece of make-up kit ingeniously contains two brushes and two different styles of mascara.
One is subtle and low-key for soft-focus daytime definition; the other is a super-duper thick and volumising brush ideal for evening drama.
BEST FOR PRECISION COATING
Maybelline One By One £8.49
Boots and Superdrug
THE average eye has a total of 100 lashes and Maybelline’s latest mascara has a special lash catcher brush, with 300 bristles, to make sure each and every lash is precision coated. Good for very fine and/or dense lashes because it makes them look as though they are proliferating.
Fake it: From left, Clinque Bottom Lash, Bobbi Brown Extreme Lengthening and Max Factor False Lash Effect
BEST FOR BOTTOM LASHES
Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara, £10
A teensy mini mascara with a tiny mini brush. Absolutely perfect for the precise application of mascara to the bottom lashes. Coats those fine blonde, sparse lower lashes exactly, without leaving blobs or clumps around the lash line.
BEST FOR LENGTHENING
Bobbi Brown Lash Glamour Extreme Lengthening, £18
Uses a kind of zip lock technology to attach lengthening fibres onto existing lashes. Great for extending stumpy lashes and making them look alluring and frond-like. Not bad at blackening and volumising, too.
BEST FOR FALSE LASH EFFECT
Max Factor False Lash Effect £10.99
Max Factor can be relied on for some of the consistently brilliant mascaras on the High Street. This one is their latest and a best-seller. It lengthens, thickens, volumises, blackens and generally mimics the drama and sex appeal of a pair of fakes without having to attach falsies.
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