Back to Lash!

In the two years (yes, really!) that I’ve been writing this column, the one makeup product that has undergone an almost complete transformation in that time has been … mascara.

Take a look at the shelves of your local drugstore – especially the displays from Maybelline, L’Oreal and Cover Girl. Despite the presence of old standbys like Great Lash and Voluminous, you will find a wide array of new products designed to plump up your lashes to dizzying new heights.

These mascaras contain new formulations to make them lighter, less harmful to your lashes, longer lasting and easier to remove than ever. Most of them employ new polymers to do this, and they succeed to such an extent that even the waterproof versions of these products are not as damaging as before.

There are also new designs for the brushes used to apply mascaras. Take a look at the tiny double-vee rubbery bristles in Maybelline’s new Lash Stylist mascara. The company claims that it improves “lift” by 65%, but what I like about it is the separation it gives my lashes. One coat provides enough coverage for me for everyday wear, but I’ve been finding that I get less clumping when I apply multiple coats for evenings out.

A similar type of brush is found in L’Oreal’s new Volume Shocking. However, this product is one of the new double-coat mascaras that have a base designed to act as a primer that evens out your lashes in preparation for the colour coat. Some of these are designed to lengthen lashes using tiny fibres that attach to the ends of your natural lashes, giving a false eyelash effect. Others are simply supposed to intensify the colour coat and help the product last longer. However, some people find that these double-coat products flake more easily than traditional mascaras, making them unsuitable for anyone who wears contact lenses. And, of course, contact lens-wearers should not use products with lengthening fibres.

Cover Girl also entered the new brush game with its LashExact product. Looking more like a hairbrush than a traditional bristle mascara wand, the brush is designed to reduce the amount of product used, and reduce clumping.

For ease of use, Rimmel’s Extreme Definition Ultimate Lash-Separating Mascara, with its comb-style brush, offers great definition and separation with each coat. The low price also makes it a great buy.

Some of these new mascaras can retail for upwards of $10 US, but it is possible to find sales and coupons at drugstore chains throughout Canada and the United States, so you may want to check one out to see if you get better results than with your old favourite.

Whichever new product you use, I suggest you still follow the application tips I outlined in that first column all the way back in 2004 – depending on the brush, of course. I don’t wipe off as much product from the Lash Stylist brush as I do on the Wonder Curl brush, for example.

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I hope that all my readers in the northern hemisphere have switched over to their summer sunscreen routines by now. Please remember that spf 15 is most likely not enough protection for your skin, even for simply driving around town, unless you have a very dark skin tone. And, even then, I suggest that you wear sunscreen too.

The incidence of skin cancer is on the rise in North America. Protect yourself, protect your loved ones.