How to choose a good mascara

Mascara’s are a staple product for any woman.

A common question I always get asked, “What is the best mascara?”. With so much choice out there, it is not surprising that client gets confused.  What works for one person will not work for everyone. The reason being that we have different types of lashes, be they curly, light, dark, straight, pointing downwards or sparse.

A good mascara should open the eyes making the lashes appear darker, longer and thicker and that’s without the falsies!

To achieve this look, it’s important to get the application technique right as well as having the right mascara to do the job. To choose the right mascara you need to understand your lashes.

Identify your lashes

There are different types of lashes and it’s important you know which you identify yours before buying any mascara. Broadly speaking, lashes fall into the following categories:

  • Sparse lashes – these need some volume and thus need coating
  • Light coloured lashes – they need to be darker
  • Straight lashes – these are often pointing downwards
  • Short lashes – which need volume and length require a thin brush

Frequently, your lashes are a combination of two the above.

Other considerations are the duration of your makeup and your skin type. If you are wearing make up for more than 7 hours then you need a long-lasting mascara or if your skin type is oily skin you may require a mascara that does not smudge.

Other points to note are the size and the shape of the brush and your lashes. The skinny brushes are for lengthening, full brushes with criss-cross bristles are for volume, curved are for long lashes which need curving and taped brushes provide length and definition. Also note the texture of the mascara, some have fibres which your lashes respond well, giving sufficient coating without looking too clumpy. Other formulas give length with what I call a ‘wet natural look’, so has no clumsiness (hey maybe it’s natural!). Sensitivity should be noted as there are some hypo-allergy products on the market, as well as waterproof formulas. Finally, the  type of look you like, for instance, you may opt for a high definition look during the day and in the evening you may wish for a ‘dramatic’ look.

Depending on the client, I tend to combine two types of mascaras, either a lengthening/curling one or lengthening/defining one.

Remember to change your mascara every 3 months and do NOT share your mascara. ALWAYS remove your mascara and clean your lashes before you go to bed.

Different types of mascaras

There are different types of mascaras:

Lengthening – These mascaras are for those with straight or short lashes and it creates length and volume.

Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Lashes Volume 2 £25 This mascara adds volume to your lashes and one coat is quite dramatic. However the brush can overload and cause clumps of mascara transferring onto the lashes, so technique is important. Having said that, it really does make short lashes lengthen, like falsies as the brush is thin and straight.
L’Oreal Paradise Castor Oil Enrich Volumising Mascara £11   This is a good mascara which conditions your lashes at the same time. You needed to apply two/three coats to get desired effect. The brush has crisscross bristles which allows the fibres to cover the lashes.   

Define Lashes – The role of these mascaras are to create volume, curl and extend lashes. So they are good for those with straight and/or short lashes.

Chanel Inimitable £28 This mascara claims to stretch, add volume and curl at the same time. After two coats you will definitely see a difference. Too many applications will give you that ‘spidery’ and clumpy look. Great mascara and you see a difference straight away however this  product does not last long and it  does dry up after a month, or gets clumpy. Expensive but it does the job!          
Benefit They’re Real £22 This product is very popular and you either like it or loathe it. The brush shape allows you to push this product into the roots and pull up. It’s not a good mascara if you have straight lashes that point downwards as it does not curl.

Curling – these mascaras curl the lashes by lifting the lashes from the roots.

Benefit Cosmetics Roller Lash and Curling £22 This is a great product if you need a lift and curl. Using this product  on it’s own you will need 2/3 coats. I combine this with a lengthening mascara and va va voom what a great look!    
Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Spectacular Volume & Curl Mascara £ 28 I love the brush on this mascara as it really helps to lift and curl the lashes at the root and gets to the corners to coat those lashes.

Thickening – this mascara contains ingredients that make the lashes look thicker thus opening the eyes and giving volume.

Kevyn Aucoin The Volume Mascara £23 This mascara adds volume, however I found the formula a little too wet for me. It is a good nature look mascara and great for a day look giving a glossy look. The thin brush is great for short lashes and as the brush is spiral as you can give it a spiral of the brush to lift.  A good mascara however, it has been known to dry out.  
Chanel Le Volume Stretch Chanel £28 Look out for Chanel’s new mascara Le Volume Stretch de Chanel. I like the brush on this mascara if your application technique is not so good, it will help you rotate the brush through your lashes. This is a spiral brush which will give definition as the brush will coat the lashes, even the difficult ones at the corner and by rotating the brush it will lift the lashes.
L’Oreal Million Lashes Volume £11 This is my go to mascara. With its long lasting formula it’s always the one that I will carry in my kit, however you do need several coats to define the lashes.

Bal’s top three All Rounder Mascaras

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara Too Faced Better than Sex £22

This mascara is better than sex! It gives a dramatic look after 2 coats, your lashes look longer and the brush shape (the shape of an hourglass woman) ensures that all lashes are coated, even the difficult ones at the edge of your eyes. The brush stretches your lashes and defines them. This is a great evening mascara for a dramatic look.

Maybelle Lash Sensation Mascara £9

This is a good budget mascara which does lengthen and provide some volume after 2 or 3 coats. This mascara curls the lashes however if you  have super straight lashes then this mascara will not hold the curl for long.  The brush is slightly big so needs concentration to manage, it’s spiral  brush grabs and coats all the lashes! Overall a good budget mascara.

Best mascara for lengthening MAC Extended Play Gigablack Lash Mascara £16.50

We love the brush on this mascara, it’s long and slim and reaches those difficult corners which have small lashes. It lengthens the lashes without them looking too clumpy. This gives a very natural look and it’s great for a daytime look.

Next Week – How to apply your mascara like a pro

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