It’s hard not to be irritated by those photos of celebrities that applaud their make-up-free face. Most of the time, to even the most casual cosmetic wearer, it’s pretty obvious that they’re not entirely bare-faced. At the minimum, almost all have applied some mascara, the wonder item that everyone can master, afford and the effect of which is immediately apparent. No wonder, then, that we buy so many of them.
From the teenager who believes that she can’t face school without some slap, but can’t be too obvious; through the school-run mum who needs to look awake, but has no time for anything more; to the full-on make-up diva who knows that lush lashes lend weight to any look, mascara is magic.
By nature, most women’s eyelashes are lacklustre, the best lashes being wasted on toddler boys, but how much you want to ramp them up varies from person to person.
Some see glamour in loaded lashes, where others see only clumps, and where one person applauds a barely there effect, another believes that make-up should announce itself.
Which explains, in part, why we seem to need so many mascaras.
Lancome Hypnose Star, €25.72, Lancome counters nationwide This mascara has a dual-sided brush: one side is flat and the other side is curved, which results in separated, curled lashes. How the mascara itself differs from the other available Hypnose mascaras is that it’s a very glossy gel that doesn’t impart glitter as the name and packaging might suggest, but just a shine that gives a visual impression of abundant lashes. Available only in black. “I like something between a so-called natural look and a bit of glamour,” said one panellist, “but I can’t abide clumps. This gives a thick-lash effect without being thick and clumpy.”
BEST NATURAL LOOK
Max Factor Clump Defy, €13.99, available nationwide The brush is one of the winning features of this mascara — it’s a curved tool that catches even the small lashes at the eyes’ inner and outer edges very easily and saves you going at them individually, which can often lead to overloading. Available in black and black/brown, it’s a slightly glossy mascara that lends daytime-friendly volume. “The brush works well on both upper and lower lashes and it doesn’t get clogged with product, either, a problem that blights even the best brushes,” a panellist said.
BEST HOLIDAY HELPER
Catrice Waterproof Top Coat, €4.99, Dunnes; Penneys; selected pharmacies nationwide Waterproof mascara is one of those things that is particularly tricky to get right. Even the waterproof version of your favourite mascara will not be quite the same as the original, because texture is key in a mascara and the waterproof ingredients must alter that. This top coat is a great idea, because it means you can build and blacken your lashes with your preferred mascara and then seal them with this product. “It’s a great addition to the summer-holiday make-up bag,” a panellist said. “And a great price, too.”
BEST LOADED LASHES
Rimmel Scandaleyes Flex, €8.95, available nationwide This is one for the person who loves lashes that are hard to miss but easy to apply. The brush is of the big and fat variety, but not overly so, which means that you don’t end up with mascara all over your eyelids or cheeks. The product itself lives up to its volumising promise; it is the densifying kind that will please the types who love false lashes but sometimes can’t face the fuss. Available in black. “My lashes flutter right in front of my eyes like big batwings,” explained a panellist, “and that’s exactly what I’m after.”
BEST SUMMER COLOUR
Chanel Inimitable Waterproof in Blue Note, €30, Chanel counters nationwide This is one of four limited-edition colours, with another, lighter blue, a lime green and a yellow also available. They’re best used as hints of colour, applied to the tips of your lashes, where they will flash brightly as you flutter your lashes, rather than to create an Eighties’ Lady Diana look. “Brilliant with a tan,” said a panellist. “And the waterproof element means I can nearly convince myself that it’s a practical choice, too.” Sarah Caden Pictured, from left: Lancome Hypnose Star; Max Factor Clump Defy; Catrice Waterproof Top Coat; Rimmel Scandaleyes Flex; Chanel Inimitable Waterproof in Blue Note Email firstname.lastname@example.org