Mascara Has its Moment

Toss the lip plumpers aside, it's all about the mascara!

From the Editor

Mascara Has a Moment

Forget lip plumpers – lashes are the new erogenous zone

-Lois Joy Johnson

Keira KnightleyFor years, every makeup artist and model on the planet carried around Maybelline’s classic pink-and-green wand like it held the secret of the universe. In a way it did, since women cited mascara as the beauty item that did the most for their faces. We called it the if-I-could-take-one-thing-to-a-desert-island product.

We still love Maybelline New York Great Lash (though, instead of the original, we love its Washable Blackest Black formula – great for contact lens wearers), but the competition for lash plumping, building, lengthening and separating has created an entire category of choices.

Several products have even spurred a cult fascination for eyelash regrowth and fattening. One such product was pulled from the market after being shown to contain an ingredient used to treat glaucoma patients. Unfortunately, although it did create what celebrity makeup artist Sandy Linter called “lashes an ostrich would envy,” it also had a tendency to turn blue eyes muddy over time. Copycat companies have tried to duplicate the formula with nonprescription botanicals that moisturize and make lashes silky, but they don’t do much beyond that. Think of them as you would conditioner for your hair until the FDA gives clearance to medical-grade growth products for lashes.

Sharon StoneThe arrival of battery-powered, vibrating mascaras like Lancôme Oscillation PowerMascara ($34) and Estee Lauder Turbolash All Effects Motion Mascara ($33) is the next step in the development of precision mascaras, a category that assures you of no-clump application and lash separation, and you don’t have to manually wiggle the wand back and forth as you roll the mascara on. They last about two months (until the battery wears down), but that’s about when you’ll use up the pigmented formula, anyway, if you’re a mascara devotee.

Personally, I like an ultrafat, false-lash look from my mascara – the thicker the better. Here are five of my fattening favorites in black, the shade I think everyone should wear:

Diorshow Blackout Mascara ($24). Rich, dense black beyond belief. I have backups of backups should it ever disappear from Dior counters, which I am assured it won’t.

Chanel Exceptionnel de Chanel Intense Volume and Curl Mascara in Noir ($30). Combs alternate with bristles on the wand to layer on the color – like frosting cupcakes, only easier. Note this is the one time I can say I like a colored mascara also. If you have green eyes, go for the Violine, a grape shade that will make your eye color pop.

EllenMaybelline New York Colossal Volum Express Mascara in Classic Black ($6.99). The brush has very separated bristles and although the company says the formula is boosted with collagen, it’s the thick, one-coat coverage that makes this a find.

CoverGirl Lash Blast Volumizing Mascara in Very Black ($8.49). I can always locate this orange tube fast in my makeup bag, like a faux fur for lashes.

Neutrogena Healthy Volume Mascara in Carbon Black ($8.99). A ginormous brush and moisturizing formula with olive oil and almond oil makes this a feel-good mascara that’s great for brittle lashes and/or sensitive eyes.

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