My Story: Mascara


When I was younger, I felt mascara was quite intimidating so I never dared to use it especially when I had to apply it so closely to my eyes. Around the time hair mascara was trending, on a whim, I decided to purchase a blue mascara from Maybelline called Great Lash (pink tube, cult following) thinking I could use it for my bangs. I never did though because as I mentioned before, I hated using any type of product on my hair because it made me feel dirty (yup pretty sure I’ve got OCD). One idle afternoon, I sat criss-cross (indian style) in front of a floor-length mirror in our house’s carpeted hallway and with plenty of good lighting decided to use the mascara on my eyelashes. This wasn’t a slightly blue-tinted mascara, this was straight up cobalt blue, too avante garde for Kuwait in the late 90’s, but at the time I was quite new to the world of mascara so I had nothing to base my opinion on, I thought “Oh it makes my browns eyes look almost greenish” so I continued to use it until it dried up (which was way past the suggested 3 month mark). To remove it, I just washed my face with water and soap.

After that, my mother bought me a Lancome mascara and I noticed that the brush on the Lancome mascara was considerably larger and denser than the Maybelline mascara. Once I applied it to my lashes, I realized the true potential of mascara. My eyes looked bigger and my nose looked smaller in comparison. My mother told me to apply mascara on my lower lashes as well, to open up the eyes and it made a world of  a difference! I looked like a photoshopped version of myself (back before there was such a thing as photoshop). I soon discovered that water and soap just wasn’t gonna cut it with Lancome mascaras so my mom gave me her Lancome eye makeup remover (Bi-Facil). It was one of the few eye makeup removers she could use because as I mentioned before, my mother is super fair and consequentially has super senstive skin that’s easily inflamed or irritated so she could only use very specific things from specific brands like Lancome, Clinique, Elizabeth Arden, and such. I used it, and hated it because it left an oily residue on my skin and again as I mentioned before, I absolutely hate feeling unclean. I’d splash water on my face repeatedly trying to get it off, and I’d literally see the water droplets beading and rolling down my face because the Bi-Facil formed a barrier of sorts on my face, the water didn’t penetrate throught the oil, which was incredibly annoying and just made me so mad. To make matters worse, it also always got in my eyes and gave me foggy/cloudy vision. I absolutely hated removing mascara!

My mother purchased some Estee Lauder makeup and they’d given her sample size mascaras which she had no use for so she gave them to me. After using them, I noticed that I loved them specifically for my lower lashes. The mascara made them just as fluttery and defined as my upper lashes.  Soon afterwards, I started buying my own mascara. At first, I got the exact same kind my mom had given me. I’d buy it from the Lancome counter at Va Va Voom at Marina Mall. Back then, they used to hand out deluxe samples so I didn’t have to buy an eye makeup remover, I’d just get it for free as a gift with purchase. I went through so many tubes of mascara that I had a life-time supply of mini Bi-Facils so I gave them out to my friends and family. Much to my dismay, my beloved something or other Cils was discontinued. I tried all the other Lancome mascaras but didn’t find one that made my sad, wimpy barely there eyelashes appear visible. I even tried purchasing another colored mascara from Lancome in an olive green shade which just made my lashes look washed out! Once you go black, and all…

So I started purchasing the full size version of the Estee Lauder mascara samples I’d been given by my mother. As an avid reader of Allure magazines (I stopped reading Seventeen because I was  no longer… 17), I remembered reading about this new mascara by Dior called DiorShow so I decided to buy it and try it. Once a special occasion came up (the weekend), I sat criss-cross in front of the full-length mirror, rested my elbow on my thigh, and applied the mascara to my lashes. It was love at first swipe! DiorShow was ultra-black, had an ultra-huge brush, and the formula was ultra-buildable (trust me, I went ham!). I just kept building and building and it kept looking better and better. After 15 minutes of building, my lashes literally looked like falsies… so I moved on to the next eye. Because the brush was huge, when I’d wiggle the mascara on my lower lashes, it looked like I had lined them with eyeliner even though I hadn’t. I used this trick on my upper lashes as well to create a winged eye (makeup remover wipes were needed at first but eventually I got the hang of it).

As a blonde, I felt colors looked more vivid on me so I tried to tone it down. I’d apply a matte  lilac eyeshadow I’d bough from a classmate who was selling Avon, spend 30 minutes on mascara using Diorshow, apply the foundation from The Body Shop (that made me look like I’d just gotten back from vacationing in some exotic location and gotten a gorgeous tan as a souvenir) and finally a MAC lipstick called Relic which was a frosty grey that pulled lilac on me. Sometimes, I’d apply a peachy blush also from The Body Shop. Everyone, and I mean everyone, literally people would stop me in the street, in Kuwait, to ask about my mascara. It was fun, applying it, parading around in it, and so on but it was not fun to remove. I developed the nasty habit of falling asleep with my mascara on. Note that I said mascara on, not makeup. I’d remove my makeup using a makeup removing cloth usually Neutrogena (blue packaging), brush my teeth, and go to bed and deal with the mascara in the morning. Sleeping with makeup on, even mascara is one of the worst things you can do to your skin and I used to be a big offender.

Which is why during college, I rebelled against makeup and went to class completely makeup-free.. I’d still wear makeup from time to time but because my lashes were brittle, broken off, and damaged it took me even longer to achieve the desired effect I was used to. So I started experimenting with other mascaras looking mainly for volume. There was so many to play around with!

I tried a double-ended mascara that had a white primer on one side and black mascara on the other from Bourjois. I tried another double-ended mascara from Maybelline. There was a mascara that had a comb (Ah-mazing!) instead of a brush from Rimmel but they discontinued it. A brand called Blinc came out with this high-tech mascara that formed a water-proof tube around each lash (it looked awful on me) but it was fun to try. I tried several asian brand mascaras, Fairy Drops, Missha, Majorca Majolica. Givenchy came out with a medieval weapon looking mascara. Lancome came out with a vibrating mascara. Every time one brand came out with a different type of mascara, crazy wand, or whathaveyou, shortly after, all the other brands put out their own versions of it. I tried MakeUpForEver (yuck), several by L’Oreal, Yves Saint Laurent, MAC, and so on. Each one had it’s own pros and cons, quirks, and technique as to how apply it best and it really was a fun experimenting with each and every one, especially since I discovered the joy of eye lashes curlers (Thank you, Shu Uemura!) and a fantastic eye makeup removing alternative to those awful ones that leave oily residue behind resulting in foggy vision!

Finally, I found my new favorite, Covergirl LashBlast mascara in the orange tubing. It was my new Diorshow and dare I say it even better than Diorshow. I’d apply it to one eye, move on to the next while the first one dries, then go back and apply another coat to both eyes. I’d use Lancome Oscillation mascara as a topper or a last step, because it darkened them considerably even though it was matte, it was jet black matte. I’d shaved down my mascara routine over the years to just under 15 minutes total but I’d also added more products (eyeliner, bronzer, etc…) so it still took awhile for me to get dressed up. As we grow older, our preferences grow and change with us. Before, I used to look for volume, and only volume, now I expect volume, and lift and top it all off with the Lancome mascara for definition.

Maybelline came out with a mascara called The Falsies Volum Express and it had a curved/spoon brush and after using it, I feel it did what both Covergirl and Lancome mascara had done for me, like a 2-in-1 so that became my new favorite. I loved the way it coated my lower lashes as well. It was perfection but as a mascara-addict I continued buying and trying different kinds of mascara which included yet another new one from Maybelline in a yellow tube with animal print. It was an extension of The Colossal (which I hated) but this one was called Cat Eyes (hence the animal print) and also had the curved brush which I’d come to grow fond of. After using an eyelash curler, I’d apply one coat to each lash, wait for it to dry, then flip the brush around and go back in for another coat, pushing the lashes upward. For extra oomph, I’d top it off with Lancome’s Oscillation mascara! It took about 5 minutes max. It’s also the combo I opted for on my wedding day!

Sadly, for whatever reason, I can no longer find Maybelline’s Cat Eyes mascara in K-town so I opt for ordering it online. In the meantime, my current favorite is another all in one mascara by Origins called Ginzing. It has Diorshow’s big brush, Maybelline’s formula, Lancome’s pitch black tint, and it lengthens and lifts. I also have to order Ginzing online, as it’s not available in Kuwait either. Once it’s finished, I’m excited to try, two new ones I’ve recently purchased from IT Cosmetics. Like I said, I’m addicted to mascara!

What’s your favorite mascara?

8 thoughts on “My Story: Mascara

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