Thursday, 23 September 2010

Mascaras - splurge

I was born with porcelain skin and light brown hair and so naturally am obsessed with mascara. Mascara gives my otherwise invisible lashes depth and defines my green eyes. I thought I would use my first post to share my opinion of the many, many mascaras out there that I have tested and also give a few tips on the application process.


Benefit's BADgal mascara is amazing. It does have a large brush so you may have problems applying it if you have small eyes (on this, see Dior, below). 

If, however, you are blessed with Bambi peepers like yours truly, then go for it! It's cheaper than the premium brands but gives excellent volume, length and curl. Although I haven't used it in a while (purely because I keep being given mascaras), I remember it being fantastic at maintaining the curl obtained using my trusty eyelash curlers. 

I would not recommend using this during the day, unless you go for the Kim Kardashian/ Cheryl Cole/ Eva Longoria uber glam, high-maintenance look 24/7.

Benefit do a waterproof BADgal which has a skinnier brush, for those with smaller eyes. The plum-coloured BADgal is also great for those with green eyes.

Recommended for: party girls who love a dramatic evening look.

AB rating: 4.5/5

Benefit mascaras cost £14-15.50 at Boots.


I have tried Clinique's High Impact Curling, High Impact and High Lengths mascaras. I find Clinique mascaras give quite a wet look to lashes. It's been a long time since I used the curling one but I do remember it having good staying-power, keeping my lashes curled all day (which is a mean feat given that my lashes are naturally poker-straight). However, I think they are only suitable for a natural, fresh-faced daytime look. I never use them in the evening. 

Recommended for: fans of the natural look.

AB rating: 2.5/5

Clinique mascaras cost £14.50 and can be purchased here or at most department stores*.


Dior mascaras are, in a word, FABULOUS. Now, these are not for shrinking violets who favour the natural look (for which, see Clinique above, they're much more your style, darling). DiorShow mascaras give fantastic volume, length and curl. 

CAVEAT: I feel I should disclose that I have very big eyes (thanks to my Indian heritage) and, when a university friend of mine asked me to do her make-up for her, I found the brush of the DiorShow far too big and difficult to handle when dressing her rather small eyes.

That said, their Dior Unlimited mascara has a long, thin brush that is perfect for those with smaller eyes. 

Recommended for: glamour goddesses who love the false lash look but can't handle the fiddly application process.

AB rating: 5/5 

Dior mascaras cost £21.50 at Boots.


I think Lancôme has the best overall range: whichever you go for, it's bound to be better than the last mascara you tried. Hypnôse allows you to custom-build volume. This means you can use it for day or night looks. I used Virtuôse while at university and a friend recently recommended it to me. It gives dramatic length and curl that, because of the wax-based formula, stay put. 

Recommended for: girls who want everything and want it now - this is the safest bet, whatever you're after.

AB rating: 4/5

Lancôme mascaras cost £20 from Boots.


I have to say that, despite the glamorous packaging, I found YSL's Volume Effet Faux Cils mascara somewhat disappointing. I was given no less than three of these for Christmas and am secretly happy that they have almost run out. I think this may be an incompatibility issue with my lashes, though, as the reason I was given them is that I always compliment my mother on her eyes when she uses it.

Even though I'm not crazy about it, I still prefer it to the Clinique High Lengths mascara that is also currently in my make-up bag. Maybe it's the too-wet Clinique texture that tends to make my lashes brittle as they dry.

I should add that one of the three I was given is number 8 - grey. This is great for my complexion and a good option for those who don't want to look too over-done.

Recommended for: girls with pretty good lashes who want added volume, a certain je ne sais quoi and dressing table-friendly packaging. 

AB rating: 3.5/5

YSL mascaras cost £21.50 from Boots.  

*All of the above mascaras can be purchased from most big department stores, such as: Boots, Debenhams, House of Fraser, John Lewis, get the picture!

The Application Process

1) Curl

Unless you are blessed with beautifully curled eyelashes (in which case, I don't think we can be friends), then I would always curl them. Shu Uemura and Tweezerman both do great ones.

Be careful not to pinch but make sure you place the curlers as close to the base of your lashes as possible. Hold still for 10 seconds, check and repeat if desired. Some recommend heating the curler beforehand. I think this is asking for trouble but can recommend Blinc's heated eyelash curler. With that, all you need to do is hold at the base, tilting the lashes up, then stroke through to the tips of the lashes, as if you are painting them with mascara.

2) Primer

This is optional but a good idea to 'set' your curl if you have poker-straight lashes. It should also give enhanced volume and length and, if you use one of the new wave of serum-enriched primers, should also nourish your lashes. 

3) Mascara

I think the application process is quite personal and you should practise until you find an effective way. My personal process is to wiggle the wand at the base then sweep all the way to the tip of my lashes several times in quick succession to build length and volume. It's a good idea to sweep outwards towards the temple to create that wide-eyed look. I find it also helps to angle the brush so that the tip points down to your nose. This helps to form a fanned-out look. Another method (which I personally don't use) is to rotate the wand as you sweep the mascara to the tip of your eyelashes.

If the mascara clumps a little, either use a lash comb (Ruby & Millie's is great and can be purchased at Boots. It also comes with a mascara brush, which is good for taming eyebrows) or wiggle the mascara wand through lashes again until the clumps disappear. 

Once you have achieved your desired look, hold the lashes up with the wand for a few seconds to let them dry so that they stay curled.

There is a fourth and rather controversial the lashes. This is controversial because, if not done carefully, you can pull out your eyelashes (nooooo!!). I do this from time to time, mostly if I am re-vamping my day make-up for the evening but can't, for whatever reason, take it all off and start from scratch (which is what I prefer to do). Be very careful when doing this, particularly when you have finished the curling and you are removing the curler from your lashes - they will stick! Peel the curler off slowly, starting from the outer corner, rather like the process of removing false eyelashes.


AB x

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