The first time I used a plastic-bristled mascara wand a year and a half ago, I jabbed myself in the eye. I'm not sure what about the instrument proved so difficult for me, but the experience left me with watery eyes and a distrust of these new, unwieldy wands. A few days later, I gave it another go. With caution, I applied two coats of Max Factor Lash Perfection in Deep Blue. The plastic wand effortlessly combed and amplified my skimpy lashes, evenly coating them without clumping. It easily reached the base and outer corners, and eliminated my usual need to reach for the eyelash comb. The result was literally eye-opening. Plastic mascara wands were the wave of the future.
Last week, while waiting at the drugstore for a prescription, I decided to pick up a tube of L'Oreal Voluminous in the new Carbon Black formulation. Voluminous was my favorite mascara in high school, and I thought it was worth a re-visit. The formula was just as I'd remembered, rich, volumizing and clump-free, but I couldn't get over how different the traditional wand felt on my lashes. Although the product glided on, I never felt like I was getting enough of it between my lashes. Voluminous definitely added volume, but it didn't enhance and define my lashes to my new standards.
So, as a testament of my devotion to plastic-bristled mascara wands, I present my three all-time favorites:
Chanel Inimitable: Inimitable lifts, volumizes and separates (I feel like I'm talking about a bra) without clumping. The buildable formula stands up to multiple coats, perfect for those of us who like to spackle on the layers to a spidery finish. It leaves lashes full and glossy, and depending on how much you use, the effect can be natural or dramatic. Usually, I have to force myself to remember to throw out mascara after the recommended six-month shelf life, but I went through my first purchase of Inimitable in three months. That's the fastest I've ever finished a tube of mascara.
Max Factor Volume Couture: Max Factor's follow-up to Lash Perfection, this volumizing formula works wonders on wussy lashes. The drugstore pricing doesn't hurt either. My only complaint is that Max Factor is not carried in Target or in any of my local drugstores, so to pick up this mascara I either have to suck it up and go to Wal-Mart (which I try to avoid at all costs) or place an order through drugstore.com. If you don't feel like splurging on Chanel, Volume Couture is a great alternative to Inimitable. A little ironic.
Lancôme Fatale: Fatale's wand isn't made up of the same plastic bristles as my two previous mentions. Instead, the wand is a three-sided comb. Its unique design deposits loads of mascara, creating fat, inky lashes that extend for days. When used with an eyelash curler, the result can rival false eyelashes. Seriously, I have to forgo sunglasses when I wear Fatale, as it often results in that super annoying lash/lens scraping. When applying, I rotate the comb three times per eye. This deposits three intense coats, which can make your eyelashes resemble the long, synthetic lashes that you find on plastic baby dolls (I know that sounds creepy, but I mean it in the best way possible). The wand is a little tricky at first, but the final results are worth some trial and error. This is my favorite mascara for evening, but I'll wear it during the day if I'm rocking liquid liner. Definitely the best mascara on the market for a cat eye.
images: lancôme, chanel, max factor