The Magic of Mascara

For years, I’ve read in magazines and newspapers about all the different kinds of mascara out in the market. By now, it’s probably the worst-kept secret of any makeup maven out there. What populates the literature are reviews for high-end brands of this cosmetic that usually boast French-sounding names. And while I haven’t tried them all, I’d like to offer my own point-of-view as to the evolution of mascara and my favorite kind.

FYI, it was Maybelline that started the whole thing. This guy was inspired to make the very first mascara upon seeing his sister use coal and Vaseline to plump up her lashes. So this brand is always the first thing that comes to my mind when the subject of mascara is mentioned. I’ve been a fan of their products since Full n’ Soft, which is what I used to learn the proper application technique.

I just had to get myself a tube after seeing  the ads with Sarah Michelle Gellar’s gorgeous eyes. True to its promise, the formula resulted in soft lashes. As for overall effect, I’d give it a 3 out of 5. It was good for its time.

After that, I tried and loved Volum’ Express Turbo Boost Waterproof. I ache for long, lush lashes and Volum’ Express delivered. On a spectrum of achieving either fuller or longer lashes, I would opt for longer. This kind happens to offer a bit of both. I give it 4 out of 5.

My Technique: I swipe the wand along the lashes repeatedly without stopping or waiting for it to dry first. The formula builds up on itself and it becomes thicker. The same repeating motion also allows the fibers to stretch out and extend, so you get the length.

By the way, beginners should start out with a washable formula. I learned that the hard way. But once mastery is achieved, grab some waterproof formulas ASAP. It’s incredible and stays on the whole day, so you worry less about the running and “raccoon eyes”.  Also, if you’re a person who tends to rub your eyes, you’re about to learn some control when you see how icky and smooshed together they can get when you touch them.

The upside is the definition you get from a few swipes of mascara. It’s become a staple of my makeup habits, so I feel incomplete if I leave the house without it. Need convincing? I have some photos to prove the difference it makes:

Before

After

Before

After

For these shots, I used Maybelline’s Volum’ Express The Falsies Waterproof Mascara in Very Black. I only did a light coat here to keep it natural-looking but to still demonstrate the difference. Usually, I opt for a thicker, more dramatic look.

Truth be told, I’ve been using this long before it became locally available. I used to ask people who went abroad to get it for me. It has all the same effects of  Turbo Boost, but better. It takes half the amount of swipes to achieve the same dramatic effect that I demand from Turbo Boost.

I’m not one to wear false lashes, even at parties, so this is the closest I can get.

At Php490+, I’m perfectly happy with this mascara. I give it a complete 5 out of 5 because it totally exceeded my expectations. The first time I tried it, I was amazed by how falsie-like it looked. (Truth in advertising!)

Maybelline has a rap in the States for being an inexpensive drugstore brand, but you can’t go wrong with this mascara. I’ve read in countless magazines that some Hollywood celebrities still think of this as their go-to brand, even with all the high-end choices within reach.

It’s worth every penny, plus, it’s cheaper, less painful, and low maintenance compared to getting eyelash extensions. 🙂

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Battle of the Oil Blotters

Having combination skin is manageable. I mean, I still hate that I tend to get a shiny T-Zone in about an hour after I’ve finished applying makeup, but the invention of oil blotting paper has helped a great deal. If you only needed to take the essentials in a small purse, make sure there’s space for that. You’ll be particularly thankful for them when you’ve been sitting in a plane for hours and have no time or space for a full-fledged retouch.

Some of you may think that these things are overrated. Why purchase another item that will take space in your bag when you can just dab on a thin layer of powder to get rid of the shine? It’s a rookie mistake: Facial Oil + Powder = A Cakey look. I’ve seen it so many times. Please invest in blotters.

I’ve used several brands to date, and I still get apprehensive when it’s time to pick up a new pack. If I wanted to try a new brand out, there’s always trepidation when it comes to speculating how effective the product will turn out to be.

I stay away from the overly cheap ones, like this one I got from some random department store for Php25 or Php50: It’s nothing but a glorified cookie sheet cut up into small rectangles that barely absorbs any oil.

The most commonly used brand would probably be Clean & Clear, which has been out in the market since I was in my early teens. It’s immensely basic and is sold in every drugstore, grocery, or department store in the country. These thin blue sheets do the job, hands down. Let it be your go-t0, if the other products are unavailable. (Perhaps around Php120)

When you get used to oil blotters and consider yourself something of a connoisseur (funny as that sounds), then it’s time to move up and explore the the more specific details that differentiate each brand.

The Face Shop offers their own oil blotters that look identical to Clean & Clear’s. They cost around Php50 – Php60 when I was able to get some from Korea. It’s probably twice the price in Manila. I found it had a softer feel to the face than Clean & Clear, which mean less of that scraping feeling and less of the makeup coming off onto the sheet.

Next up is “Lehcaresor” Papier Poudre, a booklet of powdered paper that you literally have to tear off to use. I bought mine from Rustan’s Department Store. As I mentioned above, layering powder on top of oil is a bad idea. (It sounds like a recipe for dough.) But do try this if  you don’t have an oily face or if you have already blotted the oil away. It functions as a handy-sized alternative to taking your chunky powder compact with you. Perfect for your party clutch or if you already have another mirrored compact to retouch with. Plus, the powder is finely ground, so it goes on smoothly.

Rachel and Rose

I suggest Rose for those with fairer skin and Rachel for those with morena skin.

Inside Rose

Right now, I’m using Kleenex. It’s super-absorbent like the packaging promises and is pretty soft. Upon a slight touch to the skin, the oil is immediately transferred to the paper. It’s also cheaper than Clean & Clear, though contains less sheets inside.

I’d have to say that my top picks are Kleenex and The Face Shop for softer and gentler sheets that get the job done.

Hope this entry helps those who are looking for the best brand of blotters out there. 🙂

*Clean & Clear blotter photos are from the Clean & Clear official website.

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