The new generation of mascaras combines high-spec wands with high-tech formulas. They won’t just transform your lashes, but life as you know it...
Words: Sarah-Jane Corfield-Smith
After 15 years of searching, testing close to 100 products, a gruesome accident involving a scratched retina and spending enough money to make a City boy blush, I have finally found The One.
Finding a mascara that wakes up my tired eyes at 7am, stays smudge-free all day and gives me a subtle smoulder come nightfall has quite literally changed my life. You think I’m exaggerating? I’m not alone in the search for fuller, longer, supernaturally glossy lashes. Mascara’s global market value has now hit a staggering £4.5billion, proving how far we’re prepared to go for fuller, clump-free lashes that won’t flake all over our faces.
While we are fastidiously loyal to our favourite moisturiser or fragrance, the latest figures from market researchers Mintel show 47% of us will drop our mascara for a new one faster than we can say, “I want what she’s having” because we’re so hell-bent on creating perfect lashes. It’s no surprise that brands want to change our fickle ways and produce a mascara we can enjoy a happy long-term relationship with.
Cosmetic companies have invested record sums in developing the best way to enhance our lashes and now the fruits of their labour are finally hitting the beauty halls. Formulas, of course, are important, but these new mascaras rely on trademarked bristle formulations on top of ergonomically designed wands that feel like an extension of your hand and sweeping pigments so intense, they send shock waves through the lashes. Leading the charge is Chanel, launching its first volumising mascara this week with a brush so sophisticated it’s been patented.
It’s not often we can say this, but we believe you’ll find The One right here...
BEST FOR VOLUMISING
Le Volume de Chanel, £23, Chanel
Formula: A blend of inky pigments and natural waxes fasten on to lashes making them look twice as thick, protecting and holding them in a curled position, like hairtongs. The quick-drying formula stayed profile-picture perfect all day, even after an accidental eye-rub incident.
Brush: Patented snowflake-shaped discs are positioned along the wand in a helix. The formula sits between the discs’ points in a ‘reservoir’, so when the long, stiff bristles grab onto each lash, formula is deposited evenly along the shaft, while shorter bristles separate lashes for a clean finish.
BEST FOR CONTACT LENS WEARERS
Mega Plush Volum’Express, £7.99, Maybelline
Formula: Maybelline’s research revealed that over 50% of us are most bothered by crumbling, flaking lashes that feel dry and brittle. Their answer is the first gel-mousse mascara. It brushes smoothly through the lashes, building subtle volume without clumps or brittle flakes – making it ideal for contact lens wearers.
Brush: This Shock Absorber brush is fully flexible (bend it, it won’t snap), allowing you to manipulate the wand, placing the bristles far closer to the lash line and inner corners than ever before.
BEST FOR LASH GROWTH
So Intense, £38.50, Sisley
Formula: Best-known as an anti-ageing skincare brand, Sisley have put their skin know-how into this lash-fortifying formula. Using a vitamin-infused tripeptide, it stimulates protein-producing cells called keratinocytes. These act like building-blocks making lashes grow longer, stronger and thicker. Flexible waxes sheath the lash to help prevent breakage.
Brush: The perplexing comb-style wand has two rows of very small bristles a nano-millimetre apart. As the mascara is applied, they slot between every lash ensuring separation, giving eyes a doll-like look.
BEST FOR INTENSE COLOUR
Noir Couture Waterproof, £22.50, Givenchy
Formula: The dense Brazilian Copernicia wax creates thick lashes without clumps, while the active ingredient, oxazolidone, acts like filler, making lashes look sleeker and longer. Black is always chic but Purple Velvet looks beguiling with green eyes.
Brush: We can’t lie; it looks like something out of Star Trek. But the row of three prickly orbs features varying bristle lengths to target the longest and shortest lashes. When I’ve worn this, people have actually commented on my fluttery lashes.
BEST ALL ROUNDER
Sumptuous Extreme Waterproof Mascara, £22, Estée Lauder
Formula: Different fibres address specific issues. Flexible hollow ones encourage lashes to curl; short, dense solid ones nestle between lashes making them look fuller, while Y-shaped fibres stack up to make lashes look longer. The waterproof formula wraps around lashes so it stays put until you say so.
Brush: The sheer volume of the brush means that it can deliver more mascara where it’s needed. Hold the chubby brush at the root for two seconds longer than usual and you’ll see noticeable lash lift. The pointy tip can help extend smaller lashes too.
BEST FOR FULLER LASHES
False Lash Flutter, £10.99, L’Oréal Paris
Formula: Microfibres in this formula encase lashes in an ultra-black, high-shine pigment that’s silky soft. Clogging and clumping are history. As are the chances of your mascara streaming down your face at a humid gig. Lashes really do look glossy. Trust me, I’ve spent the past 10 minutes analysing mine.
Brush: The first-ever double-winged asymmetric shaped brush is designed to fit around the natural curve of your lash line. The lower curved bristles grab lashes at the root as the upper bristles apply pressure to the outer lashes, lifting them to create a winged, Sixties-esque feline lash.