As part of my Ask Adele Anything Agony Aunt section, Elana asked on
“I need some advice on mascara. No matter which new brand I use, the mascara always clumps my eyelashes together. How do you achieve that beautiful lush and natural looking eyelashes without the clumps!? Any particular brand or method of applying?”
I have decided to dedicate a full post to Mascara. My need to know tips and tricks on how to achieve beautifully defined luscious lashes with your favourite mascara.
Women have always been obsessed with their appearance, especially their eyes. Although mascara and false eye lashes was used before the 1960′s, in my mind Twiggi has made over the top eye lashes super hot. Not only did she have exaggerated top lashes, but also exaggerated bottom lashes, known as the twiggies. To me, she has made it acceptable and fashionable to experiment and have fun with lashes.
To me mascara is one of the most important elements of makeup. It defines your eye, opens it up and makes your eyes appear more alive and youthful. I will never leave the house without mascara on. The saying “less is more” definitely do not apply to mascara.
Mascara comes in various formulations, each giving a different result. Choose the formul that helps you achieve the look you want.
- Thickening mascara coats each individual lash from root to tip with particles that add bulk to the lashes and help them appear thick and full. The idea is to increase each individual lash size.
- Lengthening mascara contains plastic polymers that cling to the tips of the lashes, making them appear longer. These lengthening particles attach themselves to the end tips of your lasshes to add length.
- Defining mascara coats each individual lash and keeps them separated and defined. This type of mascara usually does not contain bulk adding or lengthening particles. The formulation is usually not as thick and tacky as the thickening and lenghtening types. This type of mascara has the most natural appearance.
The mascara wand is just as important as the mascara formulation. The different shapes and sizes of the bristles on the various wands creates different effects. Mascara tubes come with a built in wand, normally paired and suited to go with its furmulation. However when you are not satisfied with the built in wand, you can buy disposable wands from most cosmetic counters, such as MAC.
- A wand with long, fat, full, thick, dense bristles will help thicken and lengthen your lashes.
- A wand with short, dense spiralled bristles helps define your lashes. It is less dense as the full thick fat wand, which means it takes less product and allows you to coat each lash with a thin coat from root to tip.
- Bristles tapering from short at the tip to longer in the middle defines, thickens and lengthens lashes. It enables you to perform detailed defining work with the tip, while giving volume and length from the thicker middle.
- A wand with widely spaced rubber bristles defines and separates, giving a thin even coat on each lash.
- A wand shaped like a comb defines and separates each lash. It provides a thin coat of product while combing and separating each lash. This particular wand practically elimminates clumping and can also prevent lashes from sticking together.
- There are also combination wands available.
- Start by curling your eyelashes using a crimp style curler. This opens up the eye and gives you a big eyed youthful bambi look. Never use this tool on mascaraed lashes as it will break the hair. If you are using a heated curler, use it after you've applied your mascara as the heated mascara sets the curl in place. If you are not a huge fan of eyelash curling, you can use your fingers to push the hair upwards after you have applied mascara, just before it is dry.
- Roll your mascara wand in the tube, then pull it out. Never pump your mascara wand into the tube as this creates air bubbles inside the tube, which in turn dries out the mascara and will have a clumping effect. Now the next part is quite important to avoid clumping, but it is a waist of product. You have to weigh the product wastage against perfect clump free lashes, and decide for yourself which is more important. After the wand is pulled out of the tube, gently roll/wipe the wand on paper towel to remove excess product. Remember to also dab the tip of the wand. Most of the time it is the excess product clumping in your lashes.
- Apply your first coat of mascara starting as close to the base of the lash as possible. Some prefer a outwards and upwards sweep, whereas others prefer side to side wiggling followed by an upward and outward sweep. Just as long as you coat each and every hair from the outer to the inner corner from the base to the tip.
- Separate the lashes with your wand as you go along by combing through them. Don't worry. You won't remove too much product. The idea is to layer it on for a fuller effect. When clumping has occurred, use a clean eyelash comb to comb through the lashes. This will remove the clump while at the same time separating them. This could become a bit messy.
- Do the same with as many layers as desired, waiting between each layer till almost dry. In my experience applying product over already dry mascara can have a clumping effect. Dried clumps can be combed out, but take care not to pull out hair. Another trick to remove dried mascara clumps is to dab your forefinger into a little Vaseline. Rub your thumb and forefinger together to spread the Vaseline. Now lightly place your thumb and forefinger over the clump and gently pull. The greasiness of the vaseline helps remove the product without pulling hair.
- If you smudged the mascara, it is easiest to remove when dry. Wet mascara tend to smear, making it more difficult to get rid of. After the smudge has dried, use a Q-tip to gently roll and sweep the product off of your skin. It should come off easily without leaving any marks behind. For a stubborn smudge, dab your Q-tip in makeup remover.
- I always do my lower lashes, but some people prefer not to. When applying mascara to the lower lashes, as with the top, take care to apply from corner to corner, covering each hair.
Final words on mascara
Mascara is not an 'one product/formulation/brand fits all' . What works for me might not work for you. It all depends on what type of lashes you have and your desired end result. I for instance have medium length lashes, but I want thick full long lashes. The thicker fuller and longer the better. I am a huge MAC Cosmetics fan. But for some reason am not too crazy about their mascaras. Although their Zoom Lash mascara is not too bad, and I absolutely can not live without the Haute & Naughty Lash. Another one of my favourite mascaras is Max Factor's False Lash Effect Fusion. I love the wand, formulation and effect.
There are hundreds of brands out there, each with their own formulations, combinations and wands. My advice when choosing mascara: First decide on the look you want, then go to your favourite cosmetic counter and try them all out. Please make sure to use a disposable wand, as mascara is one of the top causes of eye infections.
Play around with different formulations and wands and have fun with your lushes lashes!
One of the most common questions I get asked almost on a weekly basis is:
“How do I choose the correct shade of eyeshadow to compliment my eye colour?”
Well, It’s actually not as complicated as you might think.
The most important thing when choosing eyeshadow & liner is your own eye colour. You want to select shades that will bring out the natural colour of your eye. You want your eye colour to pop and stand out, not for your eyeshadow to compete with your natural eye colour.
The 3 basic eye colours, in varying shades, are Blue, Green and Brown. There are also 2 other colours, which are Hazel and Grey. Hazel eyes is a combination of Green & Blue or Green & Brown. Grey eyes is a very pale shade of either Blue or Green.
Lots of people think/assume wrongly that choosing the same eyeshadow shade as your eye colour will bring out your eye colour. This is not true. Wearing the same shade of clothes sometimes do that, especially for blue and green eyes, but not eyeshadow. Wearing the same colour distracts/takes away from the eyeshadow colour and eye colour and gives a dull nondescript tone of ‘nothingness’.
First off, lets start with the colour wheel:
The rule of thumb is this: to best compliment your eye colour, choose the colour closest to your eye colour on the colour wheel. The exact opposite colour on the wheel will be your best complimenting colour. For example, for blue eyes, choose a warm shade of brown or golden shades. For green eyes coppery, warm browns or purple will make the green of your eyes look brighter and much more green. Whenever you pair two oposite colours, they intensify each other.
As already mentioned, stay far away from blue eyeshadow. If you want you eyes to pop and look mesmerising try earth-tones such as warm browns and golden, copper, golden khaki, rich raisin, browns with a slight purple base, taupe, slate coloured greys and charcoal. If you want to have a little fun outside of the earth-tones, try a rose colored eyeshadow. The coolness from the pink/purple eyeshadow will be a really nice contrast to your blue eyes.
Various shades of purple is the best colour for your green eyes. The contrast in color to your eyes will make them pop and seem more dramatic. If you want your eyes to stand out but look more natural, you may want to try warmer mocha brown shades or warm colors with slight orange or orange undertones. Basic eyeshadow colors for green eyes would be earth tones with slight hints of coppery bronze, taupe colors, mocha browns, deep burgundy and lavender/violet purple shades. Charcoal is also a great colour for you.
Brown eyes are the most versatile. You can basically experiment with a variety of colours and still enhance your natural eye colour. You can basically use any colour, as long as it does not make your eye look murky and dull. Play around with purple, green, navy, blue, gold, silver, copper, brown, mahogany, deep espresso, pewter, deep green,taupe, navy, etc. You will not be competing with your natural eye colour.
Hazel eyes are not in a single colour. Hazel eyes are a mixture of colours, either green brown or green blue. Choose the eye colour you want to enhance and refer to the corresponding colour category If you have green-brown hazel eyes (like myself), you can choose colours from the green or brown category.
This eye colour is basically a very bale blue or pale green, however the iris is surrounded by a dark ring. Surrounding the eye colour with rich, deep eyeshadow and eyeliner will make your eye pop and glow. Choose colours from the corresponding category to enhance/bring out the blue or green in your eyes.
Choosing a combination of monochromatic colours (the two colours on either side of your eye colour) will also ‘compliment’ your eye colour.
My last tim for applying eyeshadow…play around with colour. Never use just a single colour on your eye. The key is to use complimenting colours that work well together and blend then to form a ‘new’ colour. A single shade appears flat. By combining 2 or more colours you create depth. Even the loved Smokey Eye, when done beautifully & perfect, consists of a couple of monochromatic colours.Have fun playing around with colour. Don’t be scared. If you don’t like it, start over. One last tip…for colours too vibrant or bright for your liking, add a little brown or black and blend well. This will ‘dull out’ the colour. (All Images: Google Images, Info: Looking younger by Robert Jones)
I invite you to ask me anything…wel not anything. I do not know a thing about Quantum Physics for instance.
But anything Beauty, Fashion, Style, even food and other fun stuff related. I’m your…girl.
I will do my best to answer all your questions to the best of my ability. Or at least try and find an answer somewhere.
Here we go!