A few months ago, my aunt reached for my hands and gently told me that I need to wear eye makeup every day.
“I’ve noticed that sometimes you wear eye makeup but most of the time you don’t. I think that it is well worth the effort.”
1. What the fuck?
2. What’s with the handholding? Was that supposed to soften the blow? It’s not like she was telling me I have cancer. Just that I look like shit on the 95% of days when I don’t wear eye makeup.
My first response was denial. I loved sharing the story with friends, so we could all toss our heads back in rollicking laughter. “Ha ha ha ha ha! What is she talking about? Doesn’t she know you have three kids and work? And you’re only in your early thirties! Jus jealous, amirite?”
But then it happened again. I recounted the story to my mother-in-law (who is wonderful, by the way), expecting the same “Ha ha, that’s bitchy” response. And at first that’s what she said, in her nice and supportive way. Followed by a pause.
“I do think that it looks really nice on you,” she said. “Sometimes you look tired without it.”
Which brings me to the next response: anger. Look tired? Gee, why would that be? OF COURSE I’M FUCKING TIRED. I have an infant, two pre-schoolers, a dissertation to write, a husband who works 60+ hours a week, and lots of time-wasting Internet reading to deal with. Isn’t recommending eye make-up BLAMING THE VICTIM, here? Fuck 60-something women and their slavish devotion to potions, crèmes, and chemically derived painter’s spackle! I’ll just be over here au natural, keeping it real, showing true beauty, providing a healthy and self-confident example for my daughters, or whatever you want to call it.
The anger started to fade when I decided that I didn’t really care about being self-righteous more than I cared about not looking tired and run-down. With this acceptance is the realization that when I look more pulled together, I feel more pulled together. It really doesn’t take that long, and if I’m honest with myself, I certainly have time to do a brief makeup routine. I’m just lazy.
Since the Day of Truth, when I accepted my own need to apply eye makeup, I’ve discovered two things.
1. Once you become a person who wears makeup everyday, you need to wear makeup everyday. When I was an occasional makeup wearer, days when I slathered a bit on were pleasant surprises. “You clean up well!” a potential date once remarked to me (I’m not even going into that phrase). When people are used to seeing you in makeup, however, days when you don’t get a chance to put it on are “You Look Tired” days.
2. You really don’t need a lot to make a positive difference. I reserve the right to qualify this as I age, but for now, one eyeshadow applied with my fingers, two coats of mascara, and tinted lip balm are all I need to look “Not Tired.”
Mascara is the most important of these products, as I have fair coloring and light colored eyelashes. Unfortunately, we all know that mascara can kind of suck. You put it on and it looks great for a couple of hours… until the flaking settles in. After a 10-hour day, there is more mascara on towels, couch pillows, and my under eyes than there is on my lashes. Waterproof mascara helps a little bit with melting on hot days, but it just prolongs the period of black smudge transmission to include my sheets as well, as eye makeup remover leaves an oily slime on my face that I find disturbing.
I read enough beauty magazines to know the general maxim is that cheap drug store brand mascara’s are great and that there is no reason to spend more than $8 for a tube. And that’s what I’ve done, typically buying Almay, Cover girl, or Maybelline. They’ve all been fine, making my lashes temporarily look thick and long, and then over the course of hours leaching from my face. The only mascara I’ve hated was the Sei Bella Melaleuca brand. (Incidentally, I really hope that Charlie writes a Melaleuca expose at some point).
I did wonder if there is something better out there, which is why I recently (gulp) plopped down $17 for a tube of Blinc’s Tubes Mascara.
Blinc describes their mascara as forming semi-magical water-resistant “tubes” around the lashes. That sounds about as believable as leprechauns, right? It makes more sense to think about Blinc as a liquid that turns to solid when exposed to air. Heat, water, or tears can’t change the solidified “tubes” back into a liquid- thus they stay on all day without flaking or smudging. Blinc mascara is supposed to be ideal for contact lens wearers (check) and those with sensitive eyes (check again). To remove, just gently rub your eyes with warm water, and the “tubes” slide off.
So how does the product measure up? Should I be spending the equivalent of lunch out for my family of five on a tube of mascara? The answer is a qualified yes. Blinc does many things better than every other mascara I’ve tried. It stays on the eyes during the day and is easy to remove. Several hours after applying, it looks almost the same as when I applied it.
Unfortunately, Blinc doesn’t create the volume that other mascara’s do. Lashes definitely look longer and separated, but they aren’t thickened. The website calls the effect “spidery” but I think it looks a little bit like this:
A “lash primer” is available for an additional $20, which is supposed to help with volumizing. The mascara is a little messier than I’m used to, as every time I’ve put it on I’ve had some black smudge marks to clean up. It’s easy enough to do with a moistened Q-tip, but may be more annoying for those who have just finished applying other eye makeup. It makes my eyes feel a little itchy, but so do other mascaras.
Although I think the price is pretty high, the prominent role of mascara in my beauty regime (which is otherwise non-existent) makes me feel like a superior product is worth it. And Blinc is superior, in many ways. As soon as “extra-wide volumizing tubes” are available, it’ll be about perfect.
What drives you nuts about mascara? Any great ones to try?