The Panel: Lashings
About this time last year, The Panel gave a slew of new mascaras a go. The fact that there is a whole new lot to cast an eye over this year is testimony to how we can't get enough of lash make-up. Perhaps the time of year has something to do with it; we all want to alter or improve our look, but with minimal effort and outlay.
The fact that so many new mascaras appear on such a regular basis, however, suggests that it's an item we buy in volume, and repeatedly, and that it's something with which we're never fully satisfied, constantly seeking the holy grail.
Of course, this could be because the mascara ads often portray an effect that it's not possible to achieve with human lashes and a lick of make-up, but it's also because, with an even half-decent mascara and scant application expertise, this is the cosmetic that can make you look better and brighter. And without making you feel poorer. Still, if you try out too many, the ultimate cost can be pretty high, so in order to steer you away from the expensive dud, or the 10 cheaper ones, here are the best of the new mascaras we tried.
Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara, €14, Clinique counters nationwide
By a mile the best of the new mascaras that we tried, both because it's unique and because it properly delivers on what it promises. The price reflects that this is a tiny bottle with an equally tiny wand, the latter of which catches often-titchy bottom lashes and doesn't smudge the mascara everywhere. "This was like discovering my bottom lashes for the first time," said one panellist, "I'm generally scared of messing them up, but the brush is so small, it's foolproof, and the effect warrants shelling out for what is essentially a companion mascara."
Best Easy Impact
Max Factor Xperience Volumising Mascara, €14.99, available nationwide
This proved a popular mascara, providing a high impact that wasn't strictly for night-time. It gives the advertised improvement in length and volume, but without being thick or sticky or -- whisper it -- slutty. A mousse-effect formula, it has nice lightness, and doesn't get clogged after a few uses. "I'm cursed with straight lashes and found this great," one panellist said. "It lifts and separates and is nicely black."
Mac False Lashes, €23, Brown Thomas; BT2
Many of this season's new launches are aimed at those who want the look of false lashes, yet a lot of the mascaras fall short of giving that long and yet super-dense spider-leg effect. This, however, was closest. Mac call it a mega-multiplication formula, but we prefer their idea of the "look alive" eye. "Definitely eye-opening and elongating," said a panellist. "Also, it bulks out the lashes without being clumpy, which is usually too much to ask."
Best Dense Drama
Bobbi Brown Lash Glamour Extreme Lengthening Mascara, €24.50, Brown Thomas; House of Fraser, Dundrum Town Centre, D16; Arnotts, D1
Good and black, shiny, volumising and, while not especially lengthening, it had a good overall effect. What we noticed in particular was that the lash line looked really black and dense after using it, and it gave eyeliner extra oomph. "Truthfully, I found this more thickening than lengthening, but I'd have no argument with that," one panellist said. "Strong on black drama, it definitely delivers."
Best Non-Black Beauty
Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Mascara, €27, Estee Lauder counters nationwide
Deep, rich and even, with a big brush and a satisfyingly intense effect, the Extreme Violet shade stands out as a particularly pleasing one. There are quite a few coloured mascaras around this season, but many of them are so subtle you'd wonder why they bothered. "Nearly lilac on the brush, you'd think it would make you look consumptive," said one panellist, "but you actually get a black-violet lash. Lovely, and not at all electric-blue Princess Di."
Pictured, clockwise from top left: Bobbi Brown Lash Glamour Extreme Lengthening Mascara; Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Mascara; Mac False Lashes; Max Factor Xperience Volumising Mascara; Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara
Sunday Indo Life Magazine