Mascara: Bat those lashes!
Years ago, I read the best beauty tip I've ever come across, and it has stuck with me to this day: If you can only do one thing before you go on a night out, you should make sure your hair is sorted. It was an epiphany.
Now (a lot) older and (not much) wiser, I still adhere to that advice, but with a little caveat -- it comes second to my real obsession.
Whether it's day or night, I never leave home without first applying my mascara. I'm not alone in my devotion. Scarlett Johansson (right) understands just how I feel.
The actress reckons: "If I don't have mascara on, then that means I really don't expect to be seen and I'm planning a day vegging out on the sofa."
I'm sure it's different for the lovely Scarlett, but no mascara has ever repaid my loyalty with unstinting service. Instead, I've suffered smudges, clumps and nasty black shadows. Yet I still go back for more.
I was so excited at the launch of Estee Lauder's Turbolash All Effects Motion Mascara (€38). Unscrew the cap and the wand immediately begins to buzz. Pulsing at 125 cycles per second, lashes are expertly coated in double-quick time and clumps are seriously discouraged. How could you not love this?
Clinique's Bottom Lash Mascara (€10), which is available in black and black/brown, was a true revelation for me.
Who'd have thought highlighting those often-forgotten hairs stuck at the bottom of our eyes would make such a difference?
This mascara really is perfect for mastering the wide-eyed look.
Its tiny brush packs a serious punch and gets right into those tricky corner lashes.
I'm also just loving the current trend for coloured mascara. Yes, the very thought of them might momentarily bring a 1980s' horror show to mind, but it's time to forget all those prejudices and let yourself be stunned (in a good way!) by the current crop of offerings.
Curl lashes once, holding for 10 seconds, and apply mascara in a zigzag motion, making sure the wand is clump-free.
Repeat as often as necessary to get the luscious look you're after.
Revlon Double Twist Mascara (€10.50)
It might actually be the perfect volumising tool for full-on flutter. Fantastic price, too.
Estee Lauder Double Wear Mascara (€24)
This loves hot and humid conditions, yet easily washes off with water.
La Roche-Posay Respectissime High Tolerance Densifying Volumizing Mascara (€17)
Great for those with sensitive eyes or contact-lens wearers. Its curved brush means it doesn't clump, lashes are separated and, best of all, it barely smudges.
Benefit BADgal Mascara in Plum (€22.50)
This is surprisingly wearable for daytime and really enhances the colour of blue and green eyes. It's worth making the effort to apply a black base coat first, though.
Maybelline's Colossal 100% Mascara (€9.99)
Rev up the oomph factor on lashes by coating them in the deepest, darkest black of this collagen-enriched formula.
Lancôme Hypnose Mascara (€25.50)
This will give a lovely natural look with just one coat, but it layers beautifully for a bold, more dramatic night-time look.
Clarins Wonder Waterproof Mascara in Wonder Black (€24)
A true black, this will survive soppy movies and cocktails by the pool. Make sure to use a lash comb when you're applying your second coat.