If you were stranded on a desert island, and you could only have one beauty item, what would it be? A quick poll around the mbg office revealed (unsurprisingly, mind) that mascara would be top of the crop!
When it comes to an everyday mascara, you're looking for a formula that's not too heavy but then not too light and definitely with no clumps—along with a brilliant brush for lengthened, defined, and evenly coated lashes at the stroke of a wand. The idea of creating a versatile mascara repertoire is intriguing, not least because of the power of the supernatural lash stain that makes everything it touches fluttery and downright magical.
The Back Lash
The extra-long, Bambi-style lashes currently ingrained in the cultural zeitgeist (thanks, Kendall Jenner and Japanese anime) are intriguing, and I do think they have their time and their place. But, Disney-length lashes can feel a little too much when you're sloping around a farmers market or zipping off for a run, can't they? The thing is, I wonder if this push for long, spidery lashes harks back to childhood. I used to have a doll that had those big eyelashes on the top and bottom, and I think we may be harking back to that time in our lives. So are we infantilizing ourselves? I asked Dr. Bob Moody, a cognitive behavior psychologist, what he thought:
"I wonder if these types of trends are at least in part because of the vast strides women have taken in other elements of life: where they're CEOs, presidential candidates, and generally, running the world. They could be construed as an unconscious reaction to that. And remember, all makeup is, of course, designed to remind us of our biological signs of fertility."
With beauty brands turning out clean and green, smarter and longer-lasting pigments for fall, the possibilities can seem overwhelming. There's the aforementioned bent wand, the curved wands, and straight wand, waterproof formulas and lash-coating formulas...so, how to find the best mascara for you? Let me add a caveat here: The no-mascara look of seasons past that can be construed as "bare-equals-brave" can seem a bit one-dimensional for me sometimes, without a vibrant pink or red, for real life.
I find a day at the office for me calls only for a bit of concealer, maybe a layer of BB cream, some tinted lip balm, and a subtle slick of mascara—after all, the idea of a daily beauty uniform is increasingly appealing as you consider the extra time in bed in the morning. If you want to give this look a try, always curl lashes first, and for staunch mascara fans you might want to do as I try to do—easing yourself in gently by working the wand into the root of the lash, blending it with a brush for subtle definition.
I regularly bend mascara brushes in half. This may appear to be the ultimate act of beauty vandalism, but let me share a secret: It's an excellent way to get more control over your mascara application. Yup, folks, that's right. No more awkward elbow-raising or hand-numbing elongations. Think of the "bend" as your best friend—she's there for weekends, when you want a more subtle look, nights out, or when staying power and a dramatic curl are top of the list.
Here, the best new and existing formulas in the service of rounding out your collection:
Kjaer Weiss Mascara: The formulation, created by makeup artist Kirsten Kjaer Weis, is completely natural and 99.8 percent organic, which is a big deal in the notoriously difficult world of green mascaras. ($38)
Ilia Beauty Mascara: This natural mascara defies convention—it comes in four colors, from copper to metallic gray, and it goes on a bit dryer than other brands dry, making it incredibly easy to not smudge. ($26)
RMS Beauty Volumizing Mascara gives you that kind of oomph that comes from a skinny and precise brush—definitely one for the evening. ($28)
W3ll People Expressionist Bio Extreme Mascara: Co-founder Shirley Pinkson made it her mission to create a formulation with clean ingredients that gave Maybelline Great Lash Mascara a run for its money. I use it religiously, and it's pretty darn flawless. ($21.99)
Juice Beauty Lash Defining Mascara: The ebony pigment makes going from daytime-to-evening a jiffy, and the hydrating blend of aloe, shea butter, and vegan waxes mean it doesn’t flake. ($22)