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Mascara is a cosmetic commonly used to enhance the shape of the eyes by darkening, thickening, lengthening and define the eyelashes. When it is coupled with eye shadow and eyeliner, mascara glamorizes the eyes.
Mascara can be traced back to ancient Egypt in the form of kohl, which was used to darken eyelashes, eyes, and eyebrows. Through Egypt’s influence, kohl usage persisted in the subsequent Babylonian, Greek and Roman empires.
Makeup was considered unsightly and uncouth in Western culture until the Victorian era. During the Victorian era, social opinion shifted radically towards the use of cosmetics, and women were known to spend a majority of their day occupied with beauty regimens. Great efforts were made to create the illusion of long, dark eyelashes by creating homemade mixtures of ash or lampblack and elderberry juice and applying it heated to the eyelashes. The product that people would recognize as mascara today was not created until the 19th century, when it was invented by a chemist named Eugene Rimmel.
Mascara has various formulations, but all of them contain the same basic components of pigments, oils, waxes, and preservatives. It comes in three main forms—liquid, cake, and cream—and neutral shades as well as bright pastel colors.
- Liquid Mascara – This version of mascara is the most commonly used and the one most of us reference when we talk about mascara. Liquid mascara usually comes in the form of a tube with an attachable wand applicator in the tube cap. It is the most popular and common form of mascara.
- Cake Mascara – Cake mascara is mascara in a compact powder form. This mascara is applied with a brush that looks very similar to an eyebrow brush and is often more expensive than liquid mascara.
- Cream Mascara – Cream mascara is mascara of a cream consistency put into a tube that comes with a separate wand applicator.
The key to selecting a good mascara is to find a specialized type for the specific effect you want to accomplish. The resins and waxes in a curling mascara lift and bend straight lashes, while a lengthening formula’s nylon fibers act as extensions on short ones. The brush also matters in determining the look of your lashes: if it's big and bushy, that's how your lashes will look. A brush with spiky plastic bristles separates the lashes to create a Twiggy-like effect.
For full lashes:
Use an eyelash curler before you apply mascara to help lift your lashes. Apply mascara to both the upper and lower lashes. Then, wiggle the brush of a volumizing mascara against the roots of the lashes and pull it through. Finally, swish your wand windshield-wiper style across your upper lashes to beef them up to give the eyes an elongated shape.
For length and definition:
Two coats of lengthening mascara—such as the Acymer Full Lifting Mascara—are a quick fix for a stubby fringe. Start by squeezing the wand in a paper towel. Apply to both eyes and let the mascara dry completely before your second swipe. Shimmy the brush into your lash line and swiftly pull it through the lashes to separate the lashes and make the eyes look bigger.