By Christine Valentin
Senior Stylist/Makeup Artist at [salon]718

But first, a little history…

Mascara can be dated all the way back from ancient Egyptian times. Records from around 4000 BC refer to a substance called kohl that was used to darken eyelashes, eyes, and eyebrows. Kohl was used to mask the eyes, believed to ward off evil spirits and protect the soul, and used by both men and women. Often composed of galena, malachite, and charcoal or soot, crocodile stool, honey, and water was added to keep the kohl from running. Clearly we’ve come a long way from crocodile stool to keep us from looking like a raccoon by the third hour!

However, the product that people would recognize as mascara today did not develop until the 19th century.

A chemist named Eugene Rimmel developed a cosmetic using the newly invented petroleum jelly. The name Rimmel became synonymous with the substance and still translates to “mascara” in the Portuguese, Spanish, Greek, Turkish, Romanian, and Persian languages today. Oceans away, but at roughly the same time, in 1913, a man named T. L. Williams created a very similar substance for his sister Maybel. Not long after, in 1917, T. L. Williams started a mail­order business from the product that grew to become the company Maybelline. But ultimately, we have Mrs. Helena Rubinstein to thank. It wasn’t until 1957, that Rubinstein created a formula that evolved mascara from a hard cake into a lotion­based cream. She packaged the new mascara in a tube to be sold with a brush. The cream was squeezed onto the brush and then applied to lashes. Although still messy, it was a step toward the modern mascara product. Thanks to the constant efforts of those with a passion for makeup, a grooved rod was patented and designed to pick up the same amount of mascara for each use. The grooved rod was later altered to a tool similar to the ones we use today. These changes led mascara to be even easier to use, increasing its popularity.

Whether you’re a minimalist or makeup junkie, every woman I’ve ever known has had this one staple in their makeup bag. Some mascaras lengthen, some define, some curl, some do all of the above! Mascara has a magical way of opening up the entire face and making you look put together even on the worst of days or most upset of mornings.

Through the years, I’ve tried hundreds, with no exaggeration, HUNDREDS of mascaras. And through trying the worst, I’ve compiled a list of my absolute faves.

Maybelline Great Lash: $5 ­- $7


An ode to the pioneer, I have to say this was my first favorite mascara. Packaged in its classic pink tube with a green top, it’s been a cult favorite since it was first released. And while black will always have its use, Maybelline was the first to release mascara in different colors such as black/brown, and electric blue. With a price point of $5 to ­$7, you really can’t go wrong.

You can find this classic in any drugstore, such as Walgreens.

Urban Decay Perversion: $22


Creator Wende Zomnir released this mascara in 2015. Perversion has a creamy, full-­bodied texture that’s not too dry, and not too wet. This allows just the right amount of “pull” so the product glides through lashes. The result: incredible control for insane lashes. The formula never gets brittle or clumpy. Perversion Mascara contains Hairdensyl, a complex blend of proteins and amino acids—including marine glycogen, known to stimulate lash growth. Honey extract provides deep nourishment, sea idrolized elastine stimulates the hair follicle, and marine collagen protects. The twisted trim on the high ­tech, volumizing brush latches on to each lash to separate and define. It pulls through lashes smoothly and lays down a generous amount of product. No need to wiggle the wand or maneuver it at all different angles! The best part is that if you order directly from their website, you can set up an auto-ship plan so you never have to be without this amazing mascara!

Subversion: $20


With a huge applicator brush, Subversion adds weight to your lashes and gives your mascara something to grab onto. The brush coats lashes from root to tip—to make them amazingly thicker, longer and stronger. Subversion builds dramatically better­looking lashes with a light, creamy formula that feels extremely conditioning—like a mask for your lashes, thanks to protective panthenol and conditioning vitamin E. It’s also paraben­ and fragrance ­free.

Purchase these gems directly from Urban Decay online!

Too Faced Better Than Sex: $22


All you need is one application of this collagen infused formula. It has a specially shaped brush which gives you full, defined and stretched lashes. However, apply three coats and you’ll believe in magic. The formula contains a film­forming Polymer for smudge proof, all day wear. Natural extracts like Acacia Senegal Tree Extract nourish, thicken and lock curl in place. All this and it’s vegan friendly! In consumer and clinical studies: 1,944% more volume* 100% saw longer lashes** 100% saw dramatic volume** 93% saw base ­to ­tip curl** 8 out of 10 say it’s the best mascara they’ve ever used** 3.4 out of 10 say great lashes are better than sex** 3.1 out of 10 agree that this mascara is so good, it’s better than sex** *results observed in a clinical study. **results observed in a consumer study.

Get yours at TooFaced’s website!

Makeup Forever Lash fibers: $21


Lash Fibers are the perfect way to add length and volume to your lashes and serve as a great base for mascara. This magic in a tube contains actual fibers that are meant to be built on top of your real lashes. The best part is that it will never flake or crumble. Apply 2 coats with a slight back and forth wiggle to add the most volume. Then apply your favorite mascara while the primer is still wet.

Snag one for yourself at Makeup Forever’s online store!


Smashbox Full Exposure: $24


Created in a photography studio in L.A., this mascara boasts an over sized tapered brush and fiber rich formula to create incredible volume, serious lift, and contains olive oil to nourish and soften lashes. No clumps, no flakes, just glossy beautiful lashes. These glossy fibers sculpt lashes up and out. Full exposure also now comes available in a waterproof version which is just as good, if not better! What’s better than not looking like you got punched in the face at the end of a hot summer day!?

You can order this goody at smashbox.com!

Diorshow Maximizer Lash Plumping Serum: $28.50


A mascara base from Dior that gives lashes up to twice the volume. Straight from backstage fashion shows, this mascara base combines the immediate enhancing effect of mascara with the benefits of daily lash­care. Lashes are left intensely curled, thickened, lengthened, and primed to heighten the effect of mascara for a better hold. Its enhancing formula is infused with hyaluronic acid with plumping properties in addition to Dior’s proprietary Lash Maximizer™ ingredient to help lashes look their best.

Find Diorshow Maximizer at Sephora online or in departments stores.

I suggest applying two coats of primer, and then apply your mascara of choice while the primer is still wet ­ using a wiggle and teasing motion for added drama. Applying mascara while the primer is still wet allows you time to re work your lashes and build. I’m a huge fan of waterproof versions but you might find the non­waterproof formulas a little easier to remove. Ponds cold cream is my go­-to waterproof makeup remover. It dissolves long wear makeup in 30 seconds or less…and if removed with a Clarisonic, never leaves a residue on your skin. There you have it! And for those of you that are new to this game changer , I highly suggest you try it. Once you’ve seen your lashes with primer, you’ll NEVER go without it again!

Let us know which mascara of these is your favorite! We can’t wait to hear what you think!