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The Many Faces Of Mascara


By Natalie Katsman

After finding the right foundation shade, choosing mascara is probably the next most challenging beauty task. Sure, there are less color options, but quality of the product is what will make the difference in the way you look.

Volume building, lengthening, clump-free, hypoallergenic… Will your eyelashes look longer, become curlier or fuller? Will the mascara go on smoothly without clumps and stay on without flaking for many hours to come? In other words, will it live up to the promise, or all these words are nothing more than money-making tricks? In most cases, you will know the answer only after you trade your hard earned money for the little pretty tube.

Lengthening Mascaras

These usually do make your eyelashes a tiny bit longer. This is achieved by the addition of ingredients that build up on the tip of the lashes. Actually, any mascara will visually lengthen the eyelashes. In most people (at least those who feel they need mascara), the tips of eyelashes are lighter and sometimes invisible. When you apply mascara, you show off the real length of your eyelashes. What a nice surprise! If that is still not enough, a lengthening mascara will help.

Volume Building Mascara

If you desire fuller lashes, this is the kind of mascara you need. The effect is provided by the higher concentration of waxes in the formula. They encapsulate each lash, making it more prominent.

Waterproof Mascara

As the name suggests, waterproof mascara stays intact even in contact with water. Synthetic polymers, included in the formula, instantly freeze around each lash, creating a water resistant barrier. There is a downside, though. Waterproof mascaras usually make eyelashes pretty stiff. In addition, waterproof mascara will rarely perform for more than 3 months, becoming flaky afterwards. Choosing a mascara that is truly water resistant can also be tricky, and the price is not always the true indicator of quality.

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Hypoallergenic Mascaras

Hypoallergenic mascaras are formulated to reduce the odds of triggering an allergic reaction. Fragrances are known to be the most aggressive allergy causing components in cosmetics, so they are excluded from hypoallergenic formulas. In some people, ingredients other than fragrances may create problems. Testing is always a good idea to avoid puffy, itchy and watery eyes. Apply a small amount of mascara to the back of your ear. If the area does not get inflamed or itchy after a few hours, the product is safe for the eyes.

Colorless Mascaras

Colorless mascaras are designed for weak or damaged eyelashes, but healthy lashes will certainly benefit as well. Sometimes these mascaras are made with vitamins, vitamin B in particular, and plant extracts. They are used as a base coat under color mascara to add length, thickness and volume. In addition, they are great to shape your eyebrows.

Do you need all the different kinds of mascaras? Of course, not. These days, manufacturers try to combine several features in one tube. However, it is difficult to be perfect all around. A mascara may perform better adding length, but not so good at building volume, or vice versa. It may resist water well, but won’t curl as expected. And who needs the perfect curl if it can’t provide the water resistance you need?

Try and error method is probably the only sure way to find a mascara that is right for you and for your eyes, but it may become expensive. Don’t despair. Look at it from another angle: with the ever-changing variety of products, search for the perfect mascara will never be boring.

© Natalie Katsman
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