Ask any woman what one cosmetic she can’t live without and chances are she’ll reply–without a hint of hesitation–“Mascara!”. Why? If you’ve ever had to barrel out of the house in the morning without a chance to even look in the mirror, let alone apply makeup, you know the answer.
With two quick sweeps of a little magic wand, eyes are instantly transformed from sleep-deprived sockets to bright and alert attention-getters. It doesn’t matter what the rest of your face looks like. Long, batting lashes distract unwanted gazes away from puffy undereye circles, unconcealed blemishes and whatever other imperfections you’re worried about.
If you’re fully made up, mascara’s like the icing on the cake. It completes the look of carefully applied eyeshadows and liners, enhancing color (of both makeup shades and your actual eyes) so those “windows to your soul” become the focal point of your face. Mascara creates instant depth, instant drama and instant allure. What other makeup can do so much, with such little effort?
Although it’s pretty hard to mess up, mascara wearers should keep some things in mind to avoid clumps, lumps and the famously unflattering spider-leg look. Follow these guidelines and you’ll be bat, bat, batting beautiful lashes all day long.
Do: Choose a mascara that’s right for you. Black looks best on brunettes and women with darker hair, while brown is better suited to blondes. (Of course, blondes can wear black—it’s just a bolder look.) Colored formulas are playful and can be worn on lash tips or full length for added fun. Besides shade, be sure to consider functionality. Wear waterproof in warmer weather or when headed to wedding, for example. Washable is ideal for women with sensitive eyes.
Don’t: Avoid mascara with questionable chemical ingredients. Mercury is known to lurk in mainstream brands, disguised as thimerosal (a mercury-based preservative) on labels. Natural brands, such as Lavera and Larenim, are not only bio-organic, vegan, vitamin-fortified and safe, they look just as good—if not better!
Do: Curl eyelashes before applying mascara This helps lengthen, separate and prime for product (mascara sticks better when lashes have been curled). Bonus tip: Heat your eyelash curler with a hairdryer for 5 to 10 seconds before using—the curve will be more well-defined and longer lasting.
Don’t: It’s tempting—really tempting. But don’t “pump” the mascara wand! The in and out motion forces air into the tube, causing mascara to dry out more quickly. Instead, dip once and blot any excess with a tissue.
Do: Apply mascara from the base of the lashes to the tips, using a swift, single sweep. Zig zagging the wand as you pull away will help prevent clumping—as will applying mascara to slightly damp lashes. Also, if you’re planning to apply more than one coat, do it before the first one dries.
Don’t: Running low on your favorite tube of brown-black? Adding water, vegetable oil or anything else to extend its life is a bad idea. Not only will the color look terrible, you may irritate your eyes or even get an infection. Instead, replenish your stash at Vitacost–where you’ll find dozens of natural, cruelty-free and high-quality mascaras at great everyday low prices.
The Beauty Boss is written by our staff editors Rebecca Chopin and Katie Kaleita, who work closely with the Vitacost.com beauty department experts to bring you the most relevant, up-to-date information on natural beauty and antiaging tips and trends. Have a beauty question or want to suggest a product for Vitacost.com to carry? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.