Real Girl Beauty

For every girl who's imagined herself as Lucky Magazine's "Lucky Girl." Or who's conquered her addiction to the bitchier-than-thou forums. Or who reacts every day to her Daily Candy email with the same: "Who can afford that?" Here are some heartfelt health and beauty tips from one Real Girl to another.

Monday, December 13, 2004

The Mascara Chronicles: Part I

Do you know how many mascaras Real Girl tried on this past Saturday afternoon? Eleven. That's right. Eleven mascaras. In five and a half hours. By the end of the day, the skin around my eyes was so abused by makeup remover, I could actually hear it screaming for help. ("Not the cotton ball again! Noooo!") I am still recovering, with the help of frozen chamomile tea bags. Because, by the way, those feel sooo good over your eyes. But you know what? It was worth it. I now have the perfect mascara in my happy little hands. However, Real Mom and I learned something this weekend--something I should have already known. As Real Mom said, "And I thought mascara was just mascara!" But no. Different occasions warrant different lash-building products. One for day, and one for night. One for elegance, and one for drama. Only a couple of the mascaras I tried offered nothing of merit, and so I have catalogued each one's different strengths and weaknesses for you, focusing on length, volume, clumping, texture, and price, in chronological order of what I tried on. With 11 products to report on, I've got to break it up into two parts. But I assure you, the saga will be worth it. At the end, you'll see the #1 glory mascara that's now nestled snugly in my make up essentials bag. It is not, by the way, the mascara pictured above, but was found by way of that mascara with the help of the divine Leslie, who looks like a young, blonde Annette Bening and is the most helpful salesperson ever. You will see why. But I've gotten ahead of myself...

The mission: Empirical research of 4 pages worth of beauty products (some of which you'll see in the future because YAY they're mine now!). The method: Scientific and controlled investigation (Read: No, I do not want to try that other product when I have asked about this one here. I'm talking to you, Saks Prescriptives Counter Lady With all the Mean Faces.) The preparation: No makeup whatsoever except for Brow Zings (of course!) and Aveda lip tint (duh!). The tools: Eye makeup remover, Baggie of cotton balls, Eyelash curler, and Little mirror for when the counter’s is in use. In other words, Real Girl was prepared. (Which, I’m sorry, begs commentary on the Boy Scout’s motto “Be Prepared.” Put ten guys in a room, and when you ask for what you need, not one will be prepared. Put ten girls in the room, however, and you will not only get what you need, but also instructions on how to use it and suggestions where to get it on sale.) The place: Fifth Avenue between 49th and 57th Streets, home to Saks Fifth Avenue, Henri Bendels, and Bergdorf Goodman. And at this time of year, every tourist in the entire world. No, really, every one. I know it’s Rockefeller Center, and yes isn't the tree beautiful. But work with me please--it’s called a side-walk, not a side-just-stand-there.

But why am I dawdling? There's so much ground to cover! So we're walking through the doors of Saks Fifth Avenue now. In other words, we've begun.

1. Clinique High Impact Mascara: Promises length and volume. This is a pretty darn good mascara, but it definitely lenthens more than it volumizes. Also appreciated were the low clumpng quotient, fairly smooth texture, and great value at $13.50. This product made the final three before it was fired and had to leave the island.

2. MAC Zoom Lash: Promises volume, length, curl, and water resistance. This product offered more volume than the Clinique above, but fell short in the length department. Still, clumping was no problem at all, and the texture was nice and silky, resulting in a beautiful, elegant lash. And at $9.50, the price was not to be beat! I am seriously thinking of buying this for my daytime mascara. But ye with short lashes beware.

3. MAC Fibre Rich Lash: Promises to lengthen and strenghten with added fibers (sorry, "fibres"). Which it does. But with its sticky texture, this product should be called Clumpy McClumpy Pants. Also, it's the mascara that made the MAC salesman shatter a glass pot of light blue nail polish all over the marble floor at Saks. Which people then stepped in and dragged even further. Real Girl and Real Mom felt so bad for him! We promised to testify that it wasn’t his fault. To which Mr. MAC Man girlishly slapped my arm and said “Oh, honey don’t worry. I’m the manager.” We felt better then.

4. Diorshow Mascara: Promises to make you look like a model. I had such high hopes for this mascara! I'd read great stuff in magazines, and I expected drama galore! But I'm surprised to say the Dior brand made the bottom of my list. Of all the non-waterproof mascaras, this one seemed most determined to paint my cheeks black. And though it did volumize (but not lengthen), the texture was so sticky, it felt almost like tar. Alas, this is not the mascara for Real Girl.

5. Whatever that other Dior mascara was that the salesman insisted I try: Ew. Nothing else. Just Ew.

And ok, Saks Lancome counter? I realize you are out of disposable wands, but no I will not use the wand in the sample. Way to spread infection around, Lancome. Note to Real Girl: Remember to try Lancome mascara at Bendels or Bergdorfs. You hear me? Remember!! Except you're going to forget, aren't you?

Tune in for Part II and find out! Still to come: the ecclectic Bendels and beautiful Bergdorfs. The best salesgirl in the world. A mascara for people who don't like mascara! And, finally, the all-around gold medal winner. Gosh, it's pretty.

With love,
From one Real Girl to another.