The eye of the beholder

There is nothing better than a PR agency that can read minds. I received a parcel from L’Oréal the other day with products that fuel my latest obsession. Eye make-up. In fact, I’ve actually kept this post back because I’ve been so busy trying out the products and everytime I use them, I love them a little more.

First up is the One by One Volum’ Express Mascara by Maybelline in Satin Black. Maybelline knows mascara. Every make-up artist I’ve ever spoken to still swears by the famous pink tube with a green lid and if you keep your eyes peeled, you’ll start to realise just how prevalent this cult product is. So when I first tried the mascara, I knew I was in for something special – I just didn’t realise how impressed I would be. The wand is designed so that is literally separates the individual lashes, giving you this wide-eyed effect. I’ve tried hundreds of mascaras and can honestly say I have never used one that works this well. There is no clumping or smudging and you only need to apply a coat or two to acquire that long, curled lash look we all long for. Plus, the packaging is bright pink with a cute tied-corset design at the top! Have I mentioned how much I love packaging?


When it comes to reading my mind, there was another mascara in the parcel that has stolen my heart, for obvious reasons. It’s purple. I love purple. My cellphone and handbag are purple. Half my house is kitted out in purple. I separate my washing into darks, lights and purples. So when I pulled the wand out of the tube and saw the mascara (an Yves Saint Laurent Volume Effect Faux Cils) was purple, my heart did a little dance. I haven’t used a coloured mascara since I was in my early teens so you can understand I was a little apprehensive at first. 

I feel a little rush of excitement when I catch my reflection in the mirror. It’s just subtle enough that if I point it out to my friends (which of course I promptly do), they can see it, but if I don’t say anything and you look at me quickly, you won’t realise that I have indigo-tipped lashes. I love this aspect of it. It reminds me of the time I had my eyebrows shaped and dyed and my poor boyfriend at the time almost drove himself insane trying to guess what was different about me – “It’s your hair, isn’t it?”. In my opinion, the best beauty buys are the ones that make someone look at you and think “there’s something different about her” but without being so obvious that they can immediately put it down to something specific. This product is definitely going into my night-time look make-up kit!

I have this ongoing debate with my younger sister. I always wear mascara and she refuses to leave the house without eyeliner. I know some girls feel naked without a lashing (pun intended) or three of their favourite mascara so to me, not wearing mascara is like forgetting to put a bra on. Eyeliner is the thing I use to differentiate my day look from an evening look. More recently, I have been playing around with liquid liners. Yes, I have almost perfected my technique so that I don’t end up looking like a raccoon who has been attacked by a crazy artist. So when I opened up the little box that said YSL Eyeliner Effect Faux Cils and came across a little pot of black gel, I was intrigued. I have tried eyeliner from a jar before, with very little success. You need a great product, a fabulous brush and a very steady hand to apply this effectively. 

Using my only Smashbox make-up brush (the rest of mine are MAC, of course), I first tried it out on my top eyelid in very much the same way I would apply a liquid liner. The result? A line that may not have been as sharp as a liquid but rather gave a more smudged effect. I quickly tried it on my bottom lashes and realised that this is the ideal product for a smoky eye. It gives that softer, shaded look rather than a definitive line and once you put it on, stays put. It doesn’t bleed like some liquid liners and you don’t have to count for three minutes with your gaze lowered to prevent unnecessary smudging (yes, this is one of my liquid liner techniques).

I’m having so much fun playing with different looks using these products, in different combinations and with my armory of eyeshadows, that I really just want to encourage you to try something new. I’m not going to be all pretentious and drone on about learning new make-up techniques and expanding your product horizons. It’s really about something much simpler than that, and something you’ve probably been doing since you were a little girl. Playing with make-up. Have fun with it. You don’t need to go out and show off your artistic talents, just know that you had a good hour or so recapturing the joy you felt when you first combined baby blue eyeshadow with a ballet pink lipstick and thought this is what make-up is about. Don’t deny it. I know I’m not the only one who has tried red lipstick on my cheeks and black eyeliner on my lips. Or am I?
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