Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What makes a great mascara?

Happy Halloween to beauty gurus everywhere!  

I told myself I was not dressing up for Halloween this year...but I decided to have some fun last minute.  First, I said I would just dress in a witch dress with some smoky eye makeup.  Then the perfectionist in me kicked in when my hair didn't fit with the I had 15 minutes to dig through my cupboards to find some black hair spray.   I was on my balcony spraying away and didn't even realize what I mess I made around my ears and neck until I got to work, hahaa!  So, I sat at my desk and some cream eyeliner pots were right in front of my face tempting the makeup artist in me to try something fun.

Not sure if you remember, but years back MAC Cosmetics would release Halloween face charts every year.  It was one of my favorite things, so I printed and saved them.  Now their Halloween is much more commercial with intense makeup artistry, which is cool, but I always think back to the days of the face charts.  Face charts really speak to me...LOVE them.  I always say that that is how I got my job.  Christy Thurston thought I could make great face charts, so I charted at her events when I was 18 yrs old and the rest is history.  So I pulled out a look called Dark Desire for MAC's 2006 Halloween collection.  I had about 15-20 mins to quickly mark up my face.  Thank you Magic Marker Eyeliner!  Here are a couple of pics...

Moving on to the purpose of this blog...What makes a great mascara?  A great question that most everyone has thought at one time or another.  Mascara is so personal to each individual person...some people will love a formula while others absolutely hate it.  So when it comes to evaluating mascaras I have three main rules...and believe me when I say that I have tried thousands of mascaras.  They can be soooo bad!  Trust me...if a mascara is actually sold in the store, there is at least  one redeeming quality to it.

Rule 1: A good mascara will adhere to your lashes well.  
       When I am sculpting my lashes, I make sure to roll the brush on the top of my lashes as well as working from the bottom.  The brush should kind of stick to your lash with tension and roll off smoothly.  If it doesn't, the mascara is likely too wet.

Rule 2:  A good mascara will dry quickly.

      Your mascara should dry quickly without leaving mascara dots on your eyelid.  However, you should be able to work with a couple of coats of mascara before it dries completely in order to build up your lashes.

Rule 3:  A good mascara will not dry too hard.

     Your mascara should not dry to a brittle stage.  It should be slightly tacky if you were to touch your lashes throughout the day.  If your mascara dries too hard, you will want to itch your eyes by the end of the night which will ultimately cause specs of mascara to fall out under your eyes and smear.

That is why I love Mirabella's Lash Essential Mascara!  It fits all three key points for me.  I count us lucky that we were able to create such a great everyday mascara without spending millions of dollars.  The truth is that mascaras are one of the most difficult cosmetic products to make next to foundations.  Why?  Well, the brush, wiper and width of component all need to be considered in conjunction with the formula.  For example, you may have what seems like a good formula, but the wiper allows too much product to come out of the vial...making a mess.  And the wiper is such a small part of the development process but can make such a big difference.

My pilates instructor asked me just a week ago whether she needed to buy expensive mascaras from the department store or if she could purchase something equivalent at Target.  The answer is that you can get some really fabulous mascaras from Loreal, Maybelline, etc.  Same with the department store.  Many of these companies spend millions of dollars in mascara development.  And one is not the same as the other!  I once heard a makeup artist say that a black mascara was a black mascara.  I totally cringed!  Mascara developers would have just slapped her for that comment:).  Each is very unique, but can be great in its individuality.

The reason that Maybelline can make a better mascara than a smaller prestige brand for a fraction of the cost is that they sell millions of pieces of mascara.  Small companies can pick from stock mascara brushes and containers and hope that they can find a good formula to put in them.  But when you sell millions of pieces, you have the luxury of designing a special shaped brush that works perfectly with the formula.  When I checked in to custom mascara brushes, the minimum purchase was anywhere from 500,000 pcs to 1 million pieces per order.  Suffice it to say that many smaller companies cannot buy that many pieces.

Because it is my job to know what beauty products are being sold out on the market, I decided to test one mascara from Target and another from Sephora and give you a product review.

Givenchy Noir Couture
On my last trip to NYC, I was in the cab when a commercial for Givenchy Noir Couture with Liv Tyler came on.  I loved it because it really conveyed emotion and provided that inspirational pull that makes you feel like if you just bought this mascara, you would look like Liv Tyler.  That kind of inspiration is hard to pull off, and I thought Givenchy did a great job.  Here is the commercial...

I really thought I would love this mascara because it takes the brush design from Phenomenon Eyes by Givenchy a step further.  Phenomenon Eyes is the single spike ball applicator that was truly revolutionary and continues to be a favorite of mine.  By using three spheres, Givenchy has lengthened the wand for a more traditional application.  Unfortunately, I did not like this brush.  It is very visual, which is a plus, but product really builds up in between the spheres and globs onto your lashes in those areas.  It is quite difficult to comb out.  I think the formula is probably nice, but the brush applies too many clumps of mascara.  Once I spent quite awhile combing it out, my lashes were very black and sculpted nicely...but it was too much work for me.  And to put that into perspective, I usually spend at least 7-10 minutes on mascara...which would already be much longer than most girls out there.  I will say that the application would probably become easier the more that you used it, but I was turned off on the first go.  Givenchy's formulas are also hard to remove.  I have to use the super power Chanel eye makeup remover just to make it budge.  I must point out that the actual container is super special.  LOVE it!  It is a heavy zamac and feels so luxurious in my hand.  To me...that is a very important detail. $32 at Sephora.

Million Lashes by Loreal

Our National Trainer, Jasmine Dashtizad, asked me recently if I had tried Loreal's Million Lashes mascara.  She gave it a great review, so I immediately purchased it for myself.  She was right!  Million Lashes is a fabulous mascara.  It sports a moulded flexible brush...which I usually love.  This formula is unique in that it goes on quite wet but doesn't really dot all over your eyelids.  It is very controllable.  And it stays true to its name by defining every little single lash that you have.  Usually I like to work the rows of my lashes together to form the perfect sculpted arch, but Million Lashes is very interesting.  It is so fun to see all of the tiny lashes separate but defined and black.  Really cool.  You can layer and layer it to build your lashes even more.  My only complaint is that it does dry a little brittle, so by the end of the night it isn't so comfortable anymore.   Other than that, it is definitely a good buy.  Does it feel as expensive and exclusive as the Givenchy Noir Couture?  No, but it isn't supposed to.  $8-9 at various locations.

As you can see, I love talking about mascara!  It is so fun to hash it out with fellow beauties.  What do you think makes a great mascara?


1 comment:

  1. Great post! You look fabulous with dark hair by the way! Hottie