Being a real Russian at heart, I rarely leave home without dressing up and fixing my make-up (if you’re not familiar with Russian tradition of looking gorgeous, you should visit my motherland one day and count how many girls on heels you can spot in one minute: on a Tuesday morning… in a subway). To say the truth, I won’t even take out trash without looking in the mirror and making sure that the hair looks all right. However at the same time as much as I fear being under-dressed, I hate over-dressing and wearing inappropriate amount of cosmetics. My no-matter-what-essential-kit consists of just two products that I put on every morning, even if the world is coming to an end or I’m in an extreme hurry. Those are a perfect-matching tone and an eye-opening mascara.
I’ve already written enough about foundations, so it’s about time I pay a similar tribute to mascaras.
Ever since I was a little kid, lashes have been my signature feature. Like most of us I’ve gone through different phases of hating my face: willing to make my nose smaller, lips – bigger, cheeks – hollower, but I’ve always been at peace with the lashes, and I probably won’t do anything to them for a million dollar. My grandma used to measure how long they were by putting matches on top of them. I haven’t tried it in a while, but back in the days I could bare up to four matches on top of my lashes. So, yeah, they are long, strong and with a nice natural curve.
You’re probably wondering why the heck I’m singing an ode to my own lashes and what’s the point of wearing a mascara if I’m so happy with them as they are. But actually, regardless of our starting points, we all want the same basic things from a mascara: fuller lashes (a.k.a va-va-voom volume), higher definition (most of the time it means separation and more colour) and optionally a bit of curl.
You can see what I’m talking about more clearly on the picture above. True, the lashes are long, but they could be bolder, blacker and more intense to give the eyes better frame.
In this past year I’ve tried 10 to 15 different mascaras ranging from cheap-never-heard-of-brands that come together with biweekly magazines, to drug-store classics, to mineral wonders and luxury treats with price tags over 50€ a piece. The ones I liked had a couple of things in common: first of all, a silicon (or otherwise plastic) brush, secondly, looser formula (almost on a runny side), and, thirdly – all non-waterproof. So here they are: three best mascaras according to me.
Benefit they’re real!
This was love at first sight. Exactly a year ago, I saw it on a shelf in Sephora and couldn’t resist trying (although, it’s not very hygienic, I have a habit of putting on multiple mascaras on top of each other and leaving shops looking like a total freak).
As the name suggests it, the results are hard to believe in: lashes look like falsies thanks to a lot of volume, never-ending length and even a bit of curl.
Its wand is rather big and extremely spiky, which allows you to get the perfect amount of product. I prefer starting with a thin layer and then gradually building it up by putting a couple more. In this way you minimise the risk of getting clumps. For they’re real three layers isn’t a problem, although your make-up will look a bit exaggerated if you decide to go all in (on the pictures below I wear only one layer which looks like a handful already). Generally, this is my go-to product when I’m getting ready for a party or an night out. I feel like it can easily become too much for a day at work.
Its only disadvantage is that it crumbles. Not terribly much, so you can rely on it for 8-hours of careful wear, but it won’t survive the whole Saturday night of clubbing, drinking, dancing and what not. The crumble is easy to conceal or remove completely, but, let’s agree, it’s a bit annoying.
Total score: 8.5
Sisley So Intense
I’m a big fan of innovation and I respect companies that build their successes on research, development and will to re-invent. So Sisley is definitely one of my favourite cosmetics brands. Just look at the brush of this mascara and try to recollect if you have ever seen anything like it before? For me the answer is: no, never.
It’s strange that no one has thought of a comb-like-mascara-wand before. It’s pretty damn genius! With its help you can easily get the product everywhere alongside the lash: from the bottom to the top, allowing you to get the extreme length (especially useful for someone with rather short lashes).
If you prefer to apply mascara on both upper and lower lash lines, you’ll love the elegancy and the agility of the wand. Although I often use another mascara (keep reading and you’ll find out which one), for my lower lashes I prefer doing a couple of strokes with So Intense, because I can avoid getting the product under my eyes, which otherwise happens to me quite often.
All those advantages and we haven’t even talked about its best feature yet! This formula is packed with high-tech ingredients, for-example, vitamin-rich peptide that will thicken and lengthen you natural lashes within just two weeks. How marvellous isn’t that?
So Intense available in three different colours: deep black, brown and blue. As you can see on this pictures, I’ve tested black and blue and think that both look gorgeous, however, someone with lighter lashes might rock blue one better.
Price: 50€ (ouch)
Total score: 9
L’Oréal Million Lashes So Couture
This is my absolute favourite mascara at the moment (and it’s been that for more than half a year already). I use it every damn day, go to work and sell at least 10 of those to customers at H&M who wonder how to get such long, elegant and sensual lashes.
I’m not the only one to acknowledge the greatness of this product, among other credentials it got ELLE Sweden Beauty Awards 2014 as the best mascara this year. Not bad for a mainstream cosmetic that is being sold in every supermarket worldwide (I love when the cheapest turns out to be the best but if you can’t defeat the snob in you and require exclusivity and fancy packaging, you’ll always have Sisley).
So Couture is actually an upgrade of a previous L’Oréal mascara, which confusing enough is also called Million Lashes. When you run out to your local convenient store to purchase one after you’re done reading this post, look for a purple tube, because it’s many times better than black, golden or red. The main difference is in the formula: this last version contains silk for better layering, so you can apply coat-after-coat-after-coat intensifying your look with zero risk for clumps. I’ve tested up to four layers and the result was still amazing.
The brush is quite unique (resembles Maybelline Rocket, but less chunky): it’s made of soft silicon and has many tiny spikes, so you can get the product even on the thinest lashes.
I usually wear mascara only on the outer parts of my lashes, replicating cat eyes effect (otherwise my eyes tend to look a bit too round on my yet again round face) and with this wand I can effortlessly apply the product exactly where I want it and at the same time kind of giving lashes a new direction, guiding them outwards.
Million Lashes So Couture stays on for more than 24 hours (tested on myself) without crumbling, leaving black circles under your eyes or causing any other trouble. It survives, rain, wind, heat, swimming pools, steamy saunas and even power naps. When the time comes to remove it, you just loosen it up with warm water and then drag it off the lashes with your fingers. No need for any extra cleanser, of course if you prefer so you could use an eye make-up remover.
Price: 18€ (but if you’re in Sweden, during campaigns you can buy it for 119SEK at H&M)
Total score: 10
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