How to Makeup: Mascara

Part five of the How To Makeup series.

It’s one of the simplest makeup products, but also one of the few that I won’t leave the house without. No matter how simple or complex a makeup look is, mascara makes it look ‘finished.’

Mascara:

What is it?

Mascara is a creamy product used to define the eyelashes. It comes in a tube and is applied with a wand brush.

Why might I want to use this stuff?

Eyelashes are like the picture frames of your eyes. Mascara enhances the lashes, which draws attention to your eyes and makes them look bigger or more open.

How do I choose the right one for me?

Some things to take into account are formula, function, color and waterproof-ness.

Formula

Some mascaras are more liquid than others; the wetter they are, the longer they’ll take to dry. Wet formulas can work better for applying multiple coats since they don’t tend to clump up as quickly; however, the increased drying time means you also have to take more care not to let anything touch your lashes while they’re drying, or you run the risk of smudging or smearing your mascara. This is one of those things that really comes down to personal preference.

Function

Mascaras enhance lashes in several ways – they increase the length, volume and/or curl of your natural lashes. A good mascara should also separate and define the individual lash hairs.

  • Length – lengthening mascaras deposit product at the tip of the hairs, making them appear longer. “Tubing” mascaras are made of a flexible polymer that encases each hair as it dries, and can be built up for extra length.
  • Volume – volumizing mascaras make the lashes appear thicker by depositing product around each hair. “Fiber” mascaras contain small fibers (hence the name) that fill in the areas between lashes.
  • Curl – curling mascaras generally have a curved brush that encourages your lashes to bend during application, and also contains ingredients to help them keep that shape.

Color

The most common colors for mascara are black and brown. Black is usually the all-purpose color, but it can look a bit stark on very fair or light-haired people. Brown is sometimes a better choice for a more natural or less dramatic look. Several brands also offer colored mascaras for bolder looks, such as blue, purple, red, etc.

Waterproofing

Waterproof mascaras, well, don’t come off easily with water. This is helpful for situations where the face might get wet (rain, swimming, crying), and can also be necessary for people whose eyes are more watery than average, such as allergy sufferers. Waterproof mascara does tend to be a bit more difficult to remove, so an oil-based cleanser might be necessary.

My favorites

For everyday wear, I prefer a slightly drier formula that separates well while adding a bit of length. CoverGirl Clump Crusher and YSL Babydoll are my daily go-to mascaras. For more full, dramatic looks, I like Korres Volcanic Minerals Volumizing Mascara. As a side note, it’s incredibly easy to get free mascara minis; Sephora almost always has one available as a free deluxe sample or points perk, and they’re frequently included in department store gift with purchase deals.

Fin.

You made it to the end! Feel free to comment below if you still have any unanswered questions.

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