The luxury mascaras that justify their price tag
In my experience, cheap mascaras are almost universally terrible, creating a dilemma
Some expensive mascaras can be excellent, but their lifespan is really only around three months.
Mascara is an inherently frustrating beauty product, and yet it is the one product most of us absolutely would not be without. On those dehydrated summer mornings when you awake and stumble to the bathroom mirror only to see a potato staring back at you, with two desiccated raisins for eyes, one of the products that can help retrieve a face from this vegetative state is mascara. It finds those blond or tiny lashes which pretend not to exist to the naked eye, and slicks them in a black layer which opens and lengthens the eye, and frames the most expressive part of the face.
In my experience, cheap mascaras are almost universally terrible, which creates a dilemma. Some expensive mascaras can be excellent, but their lifespan is really only around three months, and this can make parting with any significant sum an irritation. If you’re willing to invest, it might be worth looking into an LVL Lash Lift costing in or around €50, which tints the lashes and rather than curling them (which shortens them in appearance), forces the lashes vertically, lengthening them dramatically and eliminating the need for any elaborate eye makeup for a couple of months. It is by no means cheap, but the effect is quite astonishing, and it saves time daily. If you are going to invest in a great mascara, there are a few new ones to look out for.
Le Volume Révolution de Chanel (€34 at Brown Thomas) features an innovative 3D printed mascara brush for big lashes and is a dense, pigmented black, which is precisely what you want. Only Aislings, of Oh My God What a Complete Aisling fame, will stomach a brown mascara. For the rest of us, mascara must always be black.
Though I like an intensely volumising mascara, something that really is just a bit much but in the best sense – the new Yves Saint Laurent Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils The Curler (€32.50 at Brown Thomas) is the best I have ever tried for big, long, separated lashes – you may prefer something more subtle occasionally.
For a single product that offers both, look to Pixi Lashlift Double Brush Mascara (€21 at Marks and Spencer). It contains a small, dainty brush for minimal daytime coverage, and a larger one which picks up more of the formula for evening, for a generally oomphier look. We must occasionally take licence with the English language when describing the otherworldly effects of a good mascara.
”That’s all well and good,” you may declare, “but I positively insist on a waterproof formula”. Waterproof mascaras tend to be rather thinner in consistency than non-waterproof, so the big lash look is harder to achieve.
However, the best two of the season I have tried are Lancôme Monsieur Big Waterproof Mascara (€27.50 at Arnotts) and L’Oréal Paris Paradise Extatic Waterproof Mascara (€18.45 at Boots). Both are waterproof iterations of volumising mascara heavyweights.
You can also slick a coat of one of these on over your regular mascara to render it more water resistant.