Mascara musings

Dec 25, 2007 at 3:00 p.m. ET

It's the product women love the most to wear -- and hate the most to shop for: Mascara.

Today, products are more sophisticated than ever before, and the choices number in the hundreds.

So where to begin your search for the perfect eye makeup? Here is a short list of the good bang-for-your-buck mascaras.

1. For price, the best value and best application with longevity without flaking is L'Oreal Voluminous. You can buy it at any drugstore and it's usually around $5. It's my favorite all-'round mascara, and it is what I use on my brides.

2. Arbonne mascara for the water resistance, since I live in the desert and sweat a lot -- plus it holds up in humidity! $20

3. Basic Lorac mascara, because it comes in beautiful shades of eggplant, navy, moss, brown and black. It's a conditioner based product with low parabens. $17.50

4. Maximum impact and the closest thing to false lashes and perfect for big drama events and photos: Dior Diorshow $23.

5. Benefit Cosmetics BADgal: It's very close to Diorshow and saves a few bucks, plus the formulation tends to have more slip to it.

6. Bourjois Coup de Theatre False Lash Illusion Duo mascara. This is a two-ended product, with one being a base coat and the other the color. It comes in numerous shades, from basic black and brown to vibrant blue and purple, and green. It wears well and goes on slick over the base coat -- which truly adds plumpness and fullness to your natural lashes. $18

Now a few for honorable mention:

I have not tried, but I am intrigued by (and most likely will try):

  • Fusion Beauty Lash Fusion Micro Technology Pure Protein Lash Plump...$39! Wow, for that price. it must be doing something!
  • I don't wear waterproof mascara, but I have heard about the most amazing results with MakeupForEver Aqua Eyes. Hey -- if it works for the water ballet team, it will work at the water park. $16
  • I personally do not use Lancome's Definicils, but it's always in the gift when you buy Lancome products, and other women seem to like it. $23.

Shopping tips
When buying mascara, the most important thing to consider is the brush or wand. If you have petite lashes, you need the mini brush or a comb-like wand to reach the small lashes. If you have a fuller lash, you need a full teddy bear brush. (No lashes? First you need Talika Lipocils enzyme treatment.)

The formulation is second, and it's all about the "slip," texture, finish and wearability of the product.

When at the counter or at a store shopping for mascara, do not put the wand on your eye! Rub it on your hand! (Sorry for yelling, but this is important.) Use your finger to test its texture and slip, and see if the color smudges a lot. If it smears on your hand, it's going to smear on your lids.

Does it smell? Perfumes can make your eyes water -- and then your mascara runs. (Yes, there is fragrance in mascara.)

Pretty much across the board, all makeup products can be returned. If you just fell out of your chair because you have a drawer full of stuff that you bought, tried, hated and felt stuck with, buck up little camper! You must have the original box or packaging (it helps to have the bag from the store it came in) and the receipt ,and be with in 30 days of original purchase.

Mascara is something that you need to try on at home, with clean lashes. So buy it, go home, and try it. If it works, bingo. If it doesn't, return it -- or at least get an exchange for a different product.

The magic of multi-use mascara

I love mascara. It can be work on the lashes, smudged into the lash line for liner, smeared in the crease for contour or rubbed on the lids for shadow. Everything a girl on a desert island needs!

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