Mascara can trace its roots all the way back to ancient Egypt, where a substance called kohl was used to enhance the eyes of both men and women. In Victorian times, women would make their own type of lash enhancement with ash, lampblack, and elderberry juice. This mixture would then be heated and applied to their lashes.
In the 19th century, European chemist Eugene Rimmel (yep, that Rimmel!) developed a product with petroleum jelly that could be applied to lashes. At about the same time in America, Thomas Lyle Williams developed a similar product for his sister Mabel. He started selling it mail order in 1917 under the name, you guessed it, Maybelline!
So, which mascaras are the best? It depends on the type of lashes you have (what I would also call your lash challenges), the look you are trying to achieve, and if you want waterproof or not. It’s a bit of learning CURVE (pun intended!) at first.
If you find that no matter what you do with mascara or the various tricks of the trade, your eyelashes just won’t get as full as you’d like, you should consider fake lashes or lash extensions. The options are endless, and you might just love how you look once they’re applied!
The main thing most of us want from our mascara is length and volume. Most do provide both, but some people may prefer one or the other. I’ve identified some mascaras that many consider being their holy grail. These are tried and true, deliver what they say, and have a huge fan base.
Thrive Causemetics’ award-winning mascara mimics the look of lash extensions without the high salon prices or lash-damaging glue. Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara™ won’t ever clump, flake or smudge. Plus, its clean, nourishing formula actually supports longer and healthier-looking lashes over time. No wonder it has over 15,000 five-star reviews!
Benefit BADgal Bang! is the best mascara on the market to give you voluminous lashes. It lasts up to 36 hours and is so weightless it almost feels like you’re not wearing makeup.
Too Faced Better Than Sex with its bold hourglass-shaped wand will get in there and curl, thicken and lengthen even the puniest lashes. It comes in a waterproof formula, too.
Benefit Roller Lash has what they call a Hook ‘n’ Roll Brush which grabs, lifts, lengthens, and curls setting the lashes in place for up to 12 hours.
Hourglass Caution’s deceptively simple-looking wand delivers buildable drama length and volume along with a dark, lush, black color. Plus, it’s cruelty-free.
Maybelline has several well-priced options in their Falsies line. Lash Lift is for lengthening, Volume Express adds volume and comes in a waterproof formula, Flared is for a fan-like effect, and Black Drama gives intense black color.
Dior Diorshow, 29.50
Dior Diorshow is another that has capitalized with multiple formulas to meet different needs. The original is a true cult classic known for its oversize wand that provides length and volume. They now offer Pump ‘n’ Volume HD for a more dramatic effect, Iconic Overcurl with a curved wand to help curl lashes with a swipe, and Blackout for true black coverage.
Waterproof or not? This is one that ladies will draw sides on. One of the main reasons we feel strongly is due to the process it takes to remove waterproof mascara. In the past, it was challenging, but new makeup removal products are now available to make that easier. A good waterproof mascara should hold up to summer humidity, a sweaty workout, or a good old sob-fest when your latest Netflix marathon is over.
Essence Lash Princess has an iconic fiber brush that provides dramatic volume to your lashes at a budget-friendly price.
Clinique High Impact Waterproof provides easy application and no clumping for a simple, natural look with buildable coverage.
Diorshow Waterproof Mascara, $29.50
Dior’s Diorshow Waterproof is a cult favorite that will give you a full and lush look with just a few swipes of its oversize wand.
One of the best products to remove waterproof mascara or a full face of makeup, in any case, is Clinique’s Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm. This is also safe for contact lens wearers.
Those with sensitive eyes or contact lens wearers are often hard to please when it comes to makeup. It’s understandable; no one wants to suffer for beauty. Some mascaras contain fibers to add volume, and those can often become flaky and irritate contact wearer’s eyes. Also, when shopping for mascara, look for terms like ophthalmologist tested, allergy tested, or hypoallergenic.
Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 is a favorite of those with sensitive eyes and gives very dramatic results. Ophthalmologist and dermatologist tested.
Covergirl Lash Blast Volume Mascara is a workhorse providing length, volume, smooth application as well as being hypoallergenic.
Almay One Coat Thickening is hypoallergenic and fragrance-free, plus contains aloe vera and Vitamin B5.
When mascara just isn’t getting the job done, consider adding some fake lashes or lash extensions. The DIY options are getting better and better every day, with a variety of styles and application methods.
The Ardell Magnetic Lash collection is a revolutionary multi-magnet technology that uses virtually invisible magnets, strategically embedded end to end for complete magnetic contact. This allows your lashes to lay down seamlessly along the natural lash line so they don’t flare out. The pre-curved bands make these magnetic lashes easier to put on because they’re perfectly contoured to fit the lid.
This new innovation in magnetic lashes allows you to apply magnetic lashes with a gel eyeliner! The magnetic gel liner provides a new innovative magnetic lash application with the added benefit of eyeliner wear, allowing you to create a subtle line for your magnetic lash or a dramatic, sultry cat-eye look.
Suzie Bumble Magnetic Lashes, $24.99
The contoured design of these reusable daily magnetic eyelashes allows for a natural look with or without eyeliner, and they won’t damage your actual lashes.
Lastly, to use an eyelash curler or not? I have short, straight, blondish lashes, and I cannot live without my curler. It takes a bit of practice to learn to use it, but it can really make a difference. It helps lifts your lashes, and you may find you need less mascara. I often get asked about which color mascara will suit.
Most people can use black, but if your lashes are exceptionally light (maybe you are very blonde or a redhead), then a brown or brown-black may look less harsh.
Are you fascinated by the history of beauty and the origination of makeup? Read about an infamous battle in the book War Paint.
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