Lashing out

Mascara adds power to the wink

They flutter and flirt, winging the eye with delicate décor. Since the days of ancient queens, lashes have been laced with enhancement, adorned at one time for medicinal purposes as well as for women of the red-light persuasion. They’ve been the eye-popping hallmark for stars from Twiggy and Cher to J. Lo and Kim Kardashian – and for good reason. Lashes are showstoppers.

“Lashes are so feminine and sexy,” says Gretchen Bednar, Neiman Marcus cosmetics manager at The Westchester. “If you have long, beautiful, thick lashes, you could have no makeup on and still look glamorous. People just envy you.”

Though mascara rises to the top of the list of beauty must-haves, not just any wipe of the wand will do.

“We have a brand-new mascara that’s going like crazy by Chanel,” says Bednar, who for years has listened to customers dish on their choicest lash allies. This latest product, which builds on an already strong Chanel mascara legacy of longtime best-seller Inimitable, actually expands once applied for a maximum plump factor. The exclusive “Snowflakes” brush includes long and short bristles to coat every corner for lasting length.

There’s also the tried-and-true Lancome Définicils – its narrow wand especially suitable for those pesky barely there lashes or the waif-like lower level so easily forgotten. And try a month with Définicils Precious Cells Mascara, a 2011 winner of “Best Lengthening Mascara” in Allure magazine’s Best of Beauty awards, to see lashes strengthened for more fullness and less fallout.

For other trouble lashes – from brittle to blond – Bednar suggests the Estée Lauder Double Wear with the patented Lash-Xtender brush that uses polymers to lock product onto each individual lash.

“This wand is extremely narrow, but it gets right underneath the eyelashes to accentuate what you have and really bring those lashes to life,” she says. “It’s great if you don’t have a lot to work with and overall it’s a really easy everyday mascara.”

It’s also the choice of Bednar herself.

“My lashes are pretty thin and not very long, so I like a brush that’s a little bit thinner,” says Bednar. “The thick brush just kind of makes eyelashes wet.”

Women know – and beauty “don’t” lists show – that while the dew-kissed look may work for the complexion, water should leave the lashes alone. Just because the word mascara comes from the Italian word for “mask” doesn’t mean you should end up with drippy raccoon eyes for a romantic stroll in the rain. So Estée Lauder’s Double Wear has a patented Smudge-Shield, and Armani’s Eyes To Kill – also a big seller with its Microfill Technology – is available in waterproof as well.

In other lash law, Bednar says, adhere to the mascara life span of three months and don’t forget mascara’s partners in crime – curlers and primers. Look for the trio in product packs like Lancome’s.

“Lancome has a great primer that actually has a motor in it!” she says, imitating the buzz of the Oscillation Powerbooster. A few sweeps of your vibrating accomplice right before mascara application shows an even more voluptuous visage.

And also remember those encouraging lash growers that help stubborn strands reach their full potential. After daily use for two weeks, Chantecaille’s Longest Lash users reported 25 percent thicker and longer lashes thanks to its stimulating keratin formula. Though not a mascara, the NeuLash Enhancing Serum has earned countless devotees for its clinical cocktail of amino acids and Vitamin B-fortified formula, designed to grow lashes longer and fuller in 30 days.

If lashes demand a quick fix or a special event cropped up on the calendar and mascara just won’t cut it, hit a MAC store for the best selection of falsies on the market. First produced in the states by a wig maker when silent film director D.W. Griffith’s commissioned them for an actress, false eyelashes today range from natural enhancement to high drama. MAC’s are numbered one to 49.

“I recommend 36 LASH for someone that wants something natural but a little dramatic,” says a MAC representative of her flare-fashioned bestseller. “The 33 LASH is also really big with brides and bridesmaids who are looking for that boost of something extra.”

For those who fear falsies will send them strutting like Sesame Street’s Mr. Snuffleupagus, MAC also carries lash separates – short wisps of lash in varying length – letting users further customize their look. For the most natural appearance or full lash replacement in the case of medical conditions, try synthetic blends or natural hair lashes. Store associates even offer free applications and tutorials, breeding a brand new generation of showstoppers.


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