The Great Mascara Test of New Year’s Eve 2014

Stick me on deserted island and I’d ask for a pile of books and some mascara. There is something to be said for flaunting thick, full, long lashes. Whether I am hiding behind them or using them to get shit done, mascara makes me feel as if I could rule the world. (Am I right, ladies?) I rely on mascara to liven my tired winter weather-beaten face. Even on days when my skin looks blotchy and my hair frizzy I can always rely on mascara to pull everything together.

In preparation for New Year’s Eve, a night when pre-midnight eye contact is of the utmost importance, I tested a few mascaras. I was looking for something that gave me lush, full lashes but that didn’t lose anything in the way of length. I wanted my lashes to look perfect but also natural, you know, perfectly natural or naturally perfect.

The following conclusions are the result of lots and lots of eyelash batting (thank you to all the men who pretended it was completely normal when I stared you down on Madison Avenue!)

Benefit They’re Real

The best mascara for the faux eyelash lover, They’re Real leaves you with thick, long, luscious lashes, even if a little reminiscent of spider’s legs. This mascara does beg the question of whether or not your eyelashes are real because the length it begets is so not natural.  It’s perfect for those who love high-impact, big-drama makeup. A go-to for going out on the town and for anyone weary of putting on actual fake lashes but vying for that over the top effect. I was asked twice the day I wore it if my lashes were real and I couldn’t have been more pleased to answer yes, yes they are. In fact, it says so right on the tube.

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

With one sweep of the hourglass wand one experiences something that is not in fact better than sex, but actually kind of close plush, full, curled lashes. With a few more sweeps of the slightly cumbersome brush you can achieve a full fringe of thick, dark, doe-eyed lashes similar to those of violet-eyed Elizabeth Taylor. Less dramatic than the aforementioned Benefit iteration this mascara is a good every day go-to – especially if you want to look like Elizabeth Taylor everyday. Better Than Sex is best used at bat as you feel like you are capable of anything while wielding such luscious lashes… like seducing the perfect man standing across the bar.

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Bobbi Brown Intensifying Long-Wear Mascara

The perfect balance between natural and why-yes-I-have-really-long-thick-perfect-lashes, thank you very much. It’s perfect for every day use but with continued application can easily take you from day to night. It delivers soft, touchable lashes that won’t leave you with raccoon eyes by dint of smeared flakes. It kept my fringe looking pert until I finally decided to take it off even if that may have been some 16 hours later.

Lancome Doll Eyes Mascara

This mascara seems best for those already endowed with thick, long lashes. Despite continued attempts at creating that wide-eyed, flirty, doll eye I was usually left with a fair amount of clumps that I would later pick at while staring at my computer. The mascara smudged under my eye half way through the day, giving me a particularly intense case of raccoon eye. Good if you’re going for that worn in look.

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Maybelline Great Lash Mascara

This mascara does nothing particularly amazing in the way of volume or curl but everything you could hope for in length. I imagine that this mascara is a cult favorite due to its unbelievable shelf life. I keep it around to fill that space between mascara purchases for when I’m too tired to stop at Sephora. Great Lash Mascara has always been there to hold me over until my next trip down the rabbit hole. This mascara is consistent and stable and sometimes, like with men, in the fickle world of mascaras there is nothing more that you could hope for. Though this may not be my sole New Years Eve come-kiss-me-now mascara I will probably throw it in my clutch for that 11:35 retouch… because it’s reliable and by that time in the night it just has to work.

How To Get The JLo Glow: An Expert’s Guidance

The JLo glow. You know what it looks like (to the left): a mixture of coming back from St. Tropez, meeting the love of your life, and finding a puppy under your pillow one morning.  And while we all can’t afford a team of makeup artists and airbrushing for every photo, we can certainly benefit from the expertise of BlackBook’s resident makeup artist: Leah Bennett, whose work has graced the runways of London, New York, and Australia’s Fashion Week. Here, Bennett guides us – piece by piece – on how to get this look without spending four hours and $400 on the endeavor. You’re in good hands.

1. Oil it up.
Winter winds dry away most of your skin’s natural oils, the same oils that lend to a glowy look throughout the day. Get them back naturally with the omega-3 and vitamin C-packed oil Tarte Maracuja ($46). The elixir instantly absorbs into the skin, plumping and repairing it.

2. Apply the foundation.
Whether you’re building a house or experimenting with a recipe, you’ve got to build a good foundation first. And when it comes to your skin, the same rules apply. Smooth MAC’s Face And Body Foundation ($27) along your cheekbones, forehead, nose, and chin. This foundation is water resistant and tinted, so it gives color and very light coverage. For even more of a glow, also apply MAC Strobe Cream ($18) with a foundation brush, which is infused with skin-loving iridescent particles and antioxidants.

3. Make it flawless.
Concealer does all the work your foundation doesn’t; it vanishes all those unwanted blemishes, red tones, and dark circles. Sweep under the eyes and around the nose and chin with the full-coverage MAC Studio Finish Concealer ($18). Pat and blend until the look appears natural, and make sure to do this in white light, which instantly reveals any mistakes.

4. Frame the face.
For the JLo Glow, the contouring must be kept subtle. You want to frame the face, not make it a statement. Keep it light with MAC Buff ($20) in gingerly, a subtle shade, and contour the cheekbones, nose, and forehead with a foundation brush.

5. Take a brow.
One of the strongest and most ignored features on the face, the brows shape the eyes, which are paramount for the glow. Use a matte eyeshadow, like the MAC Eye Shadow ($18) in charcoal brown, to frame and fill the brow. Sweep the brow as if you are lighting a match. Use an angled brush to control how heavy or soft you want the look.

6. Become a cat.
Getting that winged, cat look for your eyes is a feat, and takes lots of practice and hits and misses. But it’s possible. To begin, get as close as you can to your lash line, and apply a liquid eyeliner in either soft strokes, or in one long sweep. If you have a magnifying mirror, use it. To wing the eye out, follow the end of the lash line to the end of your eyebrow, and sweep up. Use a q-tip to clean up any mistakes, and add concealer to keep your under-eye area looking fresh. Add plenty of mascara to open and create fullness to the eyes. Dior’s Diorshow Mascara ($25) creates a cat-lash, as it keeps your lashes fanned and full.

7. Get bold.
Your last step: the lips. Lip stains are your best friend to turn to, as they don’t need to be reapplied throughout the night. Get bold (and a bargain) with Sephora’s Lip Stain ($12) in always red. For the ultimate pout, line the lips with Sephora’s Lip Liner ($5) in real red, another unbeatable deal.

Love what Leah Bennett has to say? So do we. Check out her official website here

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