Hangovers, tiredness, tears: How mascara overtook lipstick as the MVP of beauty


Natalie Reilly

Last week I read an article in which red lipstick was referred to as “the little black dress of make-up”. Apparently, lipstick is a glamorous staple or some such nonsense. Listen, I stopped reading after the first paragraph.

This has almost certainly everything to do with the fact that red lipstick makes me, with my pale complexion and dark brown hair, look nothing short of witchy. Red lipstick is only a pick-me-up if your skin is good. In other words, don’t try it if you’re tired or hungover or crying and blotchy. And then, really, what’s the point?

You know what looks fantastic when you’re tired or hungover or blotchy? And even stays on while you cry (provided it’s waterproof)? Mascara. It opens the eyes, it frames them black, honestly, what was that person even thinking giving the title of LBD to lipstick?

It’s mascara that’s the glamorous staple. It never, ever goes out of style. Who is stupid enough to declare it uncool? As Coco Chanel once said: “All I need is my cigarette, my work and my mascara.”

Yeah, look, she never said that. But it feels like something she’d say … on Pinterest.

Speaking of Chanel, last month, NYMag went in search of the perfect waterproof mascara. They asked Kim Kardashian’s make-up artist, Mario Dedivanovic because, of course.

He nominated Chanel Inimitable Waterproof Mascara, as he said, it’s “waterproof but also curls, lengthens, and gives volume in just one coat. A lot of waterproof-mascara formulas tend to be drying, but this one feels soft and is conditioning.”

He’s right. And while my love for Chanel skincare, perfume and general elan will never waver, I have to say, their mascara is not my No.1, although it’s close. It is beautifully black and it does really condition. And unlike so many other wands, instead of clumping up my lashes, Chanel mascara just made me look better. That’s some Chanel witchy shit right there.

So you’ve just read it works for Kim so why should you care about little old moi? Well, because, my very ordinariness qualifies me. See, if it will work on my non-Kardashian eyelashes, the mascara will work on anyone.

Below are my top five. I confess I did not try every mascara available to humans, I tried approximately 30. And over the course of my life, perhaps 10 more, so while not strictly scientific, this list is accurate as far as major brands are concerned.

  1. Maybelline Volum’ Express The Colossal Smoky Eyes $19.95

This collagen-enriched formula pumps up your lashes, is reasonably priced and available almost everywhere. What’s not to love?

  1. ModelCo. Fibre Lash Mascara $36

If eyelash implants and fake eyelashes aren’t your jam (they’re not mine), this is the answer. The extra fibres on one end of the wand adhere to your eyelashes so that when you apply mascara on the other end, your eyelashes look crazily long.

  1. Clinique High Lengths Mascara $39

This delivers fantastically long, separated eyelashes without any trace of goo or gunk. It’s perfect for work, because your eyelashes look lengthy without looking too full or dark. On its website, Clinique claims your eyes will look “fully energised” and who am I to argue with that?

  1. Chanel Inimitable Waterproof Mascara $56

It’s everything Mario said it was, and more. Guys? It contains Provitamin B5 for the nourishment of your lashes. I mean, it’s gorgeous.

  1. L’OREAL PARIS Volume Million Lashes Mascara $24.95

This is the one. It’s does pretty much everything Chanel does, but it’s cheaper. That means it really delivers on opening my eyes and adding volume without clumping. Plus, it curled my lashes in a kind of feline style, which was, as all mascaras are, infinitely cool.



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