Friday, January 25, 2013

Make-Up 101: Mascara (including Healthier Options!)

Hey There S+SR Readers!

I know it has been a while since I've done a more "traditional" S+SR post.  The S+SR Think Tank (consisting of on Ms. Sparkles, a guinea pig named Squiggles and a hamster named Atherton) has been hard at work coming up with great post ideas.  Well not only did my furry friends help me think of this post, they encouraged me to be artistic for this post image.  Do you like it? 

Hey, check it out, this image is property of Shine and Sparkle Report: Beauty Blog! If you want to use it, just let me, the hamster, and the guinea pig know =)

Now I'm sure that most of you have never put a whole lot of thought into mascaras (or maybe you have).  Perhaps you thought "Brown or Black?" or "Water-proof or Not?"  Having relatively pathetic and puny lashes means that I'm always trying to balance what makes them look good with ones that wont over dry or make my lashes fall out.  I have explored the gamut of "healthy" mascaras and have some great recommendations for all price ranges.  That being said, this is S+SR folks, lets start with the basics.

The Basics: 
Mascara is a mix of chemicals that coats your lashes to make them look longer and fuller.  There are two main attributes to any mascara--The formula and the brush/wand applicator.  Below I detail the most common ones to help you navigate those beauty isles.

1) The Formula-
  • Lengthening vs. Volumizing:  Most mascaras are aimed at either adding length (typically a more stiff feel, these make each lash appear longer-often with added fibers) or volumizing (typically softer to the touch and make each lash appear thicker.)
  • Water-Proof vs. Not Water-Proof:  In a nut shell, I don't recommend water-proof mascaras unless you are going to be swimming, sweating profusely, or participating in a slip-n'-slide competition (yeah that exists, Google it).  This is because good non-waterproof mascaras have come a long way over the years in the "not smudging" category.  If your mascara smudges from daily wear to the office, you need to find a better mascara.  Also, waterpoof mascaras seal around your lashes and tend to dry them out.  Lastly, the extra effort it takes to remove waterproof mascaras can irritate the delicate eye skin and cause more lash fall-out.  Boo!
  • Color: Get whatever color floats your boat.  Black and brown are the most common, but if you feel like purple eyelashes, go for it! 
2) The Brush/Applicator-
  •  Classic Bristle vs. Molded Plastic:  This is purely a preference thing.  I personally think that the classic bristle is better at applying more product for a voluminous effect.  I think that the molded plastic applicators are better at separating each lash to lengthen.
  • Brush Shape/Size:  Like above, it is a personal preference thing. I typically find that rather than any one being "the best" some just really suck.  For instance, "U" shaped applicator tend to just get mascara all over my face.  Maybe they work great for you, but I typically look like a dalmatian if I try and use a "U" shaped applicator.  I tend to prefer classic or tapered ones instead.   In general, smaller applicators allow you to more easily get those tiny lashes in the corners, while bigger ones can be much faster as you stumble around trying to get ready in the morning. Mini Tip: Apply mascara with the brush turned vertically to get more product on your lashes, then go back to the classic horizontal motion to distribute evenly!
How Much Should I Spend on Mascara?
Ah dear reader, call me sacrilegious but I think you shouldn't spend more than $10 on a mascara.  Why? Because, I have never had a expensive mascara that does any better a job than a good cheap one.  Want another reason?  You should be replacing your mascara every 3-5 months.  For other make-up products I don't think expiration is a large concern (other than for super sensitive skin or acne sufferers.)  But mascara is on your eyelashes which are constantly blinking over your warm moist eyes.  Basically, mascaras are the most likely to result in eye infection/irritation.  I'm not a doctor but I think it is a bit of good ol' common sense. 

I Have Super Puny Lashes Too.  How Can I Make Them Shine and Sparkle?
If you have super full lashes already, your choice in mascara is much easier.  Find a formula and brush/applicator that you love! Done!  If your lashes could use a helping hand, here are some healthier mascara factors to consider (all are much cheaper and less scary than Latisee!). 
  •  Paraben-Free: I have talked a lot on this blog about parabens being used in cosmetics to help preserve them.  That being said, major irritants/harsh chemicals on my puny lashes?  As little as possible please.
  • Nutrient Enriched: Many mascaras are now adding proteins, vitamins and other conditioners to give lashes some help.  A good one will leave your lashes feeling super soft after you remove them.  Want to make them feel even softer after make-up removal? Check out my make-up removal method in my Coconut Oil Post!
  • Natural Hair Growth Stimulators: While not medically proven, I still don't think these natural stimulants can hurt.  For example, one of the products I mention next has wheat grass extract.  This is a natural alternative to caffeine and could possibly help encourage your lashes to grow.
I'm not saying that you shouldn't use waterproof, fiber, chemically mascara (over giant fake lashes) that makes you look like Eva Longoria for those special occasions, but for everyday, I like a more healthy approach. 

Healthy Mascara Product Recommendations:

Cheap Option: Almay "Get Up and Grow" Mascara ($9):
This is my favorite mascara ever.  It is more of a volumizing mascara.  It is very build-able (meaning apply one coat, wait a few seconds, add another coat for for extra volume, clump free!).  This brush is kind of hour glass shaped which is perfect for my small almond shaped eyes as well.

More Expensive Option: Lush "Eyes Right" Mascara ($19):
This brush isn't my favorite, definitely use my mini tip above!  You do get quite a bit of product for your money (5 grams as opposed to they typical 1-2 grams).  This mascara is better for lengthening than it is for volume.  You really need at least 2 coats, maybe more.  I actually really like layering it under my Almay "Get Up and Grow" for maximum healthy impact.

Less Healthy Mascara Product Recommendations:

Cheap Option: L'Oreal "Voluminous False Fiber Lashes" Mascara ($9):
BOOM! Kim Kardashian?  Where did you come from?

More Expensive Option: Clinique "High Impact" Mascara ($16):
Marketed as a volumizing mascara, I think it does both volume and length very well.  The formula on this is fantastic.  I got this as a trial size in a set of 20 samples from Sephora.  It was my favorite thing in the whole lot.  I used up every last drop of the sample.  I plan to buy the full size when I need a new mascara.  For now, I will simply encourage you to check it out!

Shine & Sparkle!

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