Beauty Spotlight: Mascaras

With an overcrowded market and gimmicks being thrown onto mascara wands left, right and centre, Aoife Valentine brings you some of the best of what’s out there right nowL’Oreal Volume Million Lashes (Diamantissime)€16.79L’Oreal Volume Million Lashes comes in a number of forms. While it exists in a number of different shades designed to compliment various eye colours, it also appeared over Christmas in Diamantissime, and the new flavour of the day is called ‘Excess’. The formulation for each of them seems largely similar aside from Diamantissime containing flecks of glitter. The brushes are fairly similar, with the Excess wand being a little longer and slightly thinner.L’Oreal promises that it will not only volumise but ‘millionize your lashes’, offering a fanned out effect, and that it delivers. The tiny bristles on the brush catch every lash, with the wand being flexible enough for you to get into the inner corners of your eyes, all resulting in tons of volume. It lengthens to boot, and the creamy formula means your lashes aren’t left stiff. The only issue is the anti-clump wiper they’ve installed in the tube does essentially nothing, and if you attempt to apply more than one coat, everything gets clumpy and messy. There’s little need for multiple layers anyway, as one does the trick.No 7 Extreme Length Extend€16.95No 7 is a brand that’s easy to associate with your mother, but mascaras are usually one thing they do really well, no matter what age you are. It promises the usual: longer lashes and greater volume, and doesn’t have any real gimmicks in terms of the wand.The brush is extremely bendy, with hundreds of tiny, tiny green plastic bristles, which grip to your lashes, giving you a really full look if you wiggle the brush as you sweep from root to tip.  No 7 claims that this mascara has something its predecessor didn’t: aero capsule formulation, meaning its packed with hollow shaped fibres which stick to your lashes to make them look longer, and it also seems to result in clumping being a rare occurrence.The brush separates lashes out so much while gently dragging them, that they can begin to look a bit sparse, so it’s often necessary to apply a couple of coats to achieve a more volumised look, though one coat is enough to make a significant difference for daytime wear.Lancome Hypnose€27.00Lancome’s Hypnose mascara is one you’re probably more than familiar with. Having been around a number of years now, this is one that you’ll buy again and again. While a little more expensive than some of Boots’ offerings, it pays to go high end on some things, and this mascara shows it.This goes on thick without managing to be a gloopy mess like some others that try to volumise with thick formulas. It feels luxurious and glossy, and despite how heavy the formula is, it still manages to apply smoothly and leave your eyelashes perfectly separated.While it promises six times the volume of your bare lashes, that may be a slight exaggeration, but it builds well, allowing you to layer and layer without clumping until the desired effect has been reached. It’s perfect for night-time, properly lengthening and volumising but also delivering on the ‘extreme black’ colour promises other mascaras cannot achieve.Rimmel Volume Flash Scandaleyes€8.65Rimmel are forever promising to volumise lashes and while their offerings are often clumpy affairs, one that seems to have escaped that formula is their Volume Flash Scandaleyes mascara. Quite different from the other picks on this page, this has a huge, oversized, bristled brush and it catches piles of lashes you never even knew you had.While some jumbo-brushed mascaras can make it very tricky to apply without finding little splashes of black along your lashline, especially as you move closer to the corner of your eye, this one has a tapered end which pretty much entirely solves that problem.This will take a few coats before you get any proper drama so it’s not quite delivering Rimmel’s typically exaggerated promises, but it does lift, lengthen and volumise all in one go, and gives you a sort of fluttery look. A handy one to have in your arsenal, but it does dry up a little quickly.L’Oreal False Lash Flutter€16.99L’Oreal are usually very solid when it comes to mascaras. Definitely not on the cheap end of the scale, nor are they high-end, their mid-price point makes them affordable but also a usually a good shout.This is one gimmicky brush which makes the cut. It’s quite unique. Wing-shaped, it curves upwards with three rows of quite evenly spaced out plastic bristles, narrowing in towards the end with more tightly packed bristles. While it comes with a slight learning curve, once you’ve begun using it regularly, it becomes hard to believe that no one thought of it before. It’s shaped very similarly to an eyeline, which makes it far more effective at coating small and corner lashes, than even the most flexible of straight wands.The colour is quite nice for day-wear, as it’s not as an extreme or glossy black as many of the others. It starts to clump a bit if you try to apply more than two coats, but otherwise it applies really smoothly, offering notably increased length and volume, but nothing hugely dramatic. It sort of caters more to daytime and fluttery lashes, than full on drama.