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Why I'm a Lancome Girl--Best Waterproof Mascaras
“Mom, I’m out of mascara.”
Every three months or so, my teenage daughter makes this announcement with the expectation that I will, once again, pick up a tube of Lancome Hypnose Waterproof in Black for her (and another for me). And I always do. Yes, it’s a hassle to drive to the mall for it, and no, it’s not inexpensive, but I figure it’s my fault that she’s a Lancome girl when it comes to mascara—just like her mom.
Let’s backtrack a bit. I started wearing contact lenses when I was ten years old. My eyesight had deteriorated to the point that creating glasses for me involved cutting the bottoms off old Coca-Cola bottles (well, not quite—but pretty close), resulting in a fish-eye effect where everything was weirdly distorted. My new ophthalmologist recommended hard contact lenses for me to my parents, and soon I was looking at the world with 20/10 vision.
The hard lenses were pretty comfortable, but the least little particulate matter resulted in a flood of tears that often washed the lens out with the irritant. As I approached the age of makeup-wearing, I was warned to look for waterproof mascaras with no lash-building features or ingredients—the fibers in these could flake into my eyes and cause damage to both my lenses and my corneas. Yikes.
At first, I tried the drugstore mascaras. None of these stand out in my memory as outstanding, although I did succumb to the Maybelline Great Lash fervor, despite the fact that at that time Maybelline had not yet developed the waterproof version of the product. Preppy was in, and nothing could be preppier than that adorable pink and green tube, right? Well, the tube may have been the right colors, but I quickly learned that there is nothing preppy about mascara running down one’s face like Tammy Faye Bakker in the midst of a Satanic rebuke.
One day when I was sixteen, my mom decided to splurge on an Estee Lauder makeover for me. We spent two hours at the now-defunct Scarborough’s department store in Northcross Mall while the saleslady showed me skincare products and makeup techniques. My mom bought it all, including the navy blue tube of navy waterproof mascara--“to bring out your blue eyes”, the saleslady said. It didn’t bring out my blue eyes so much as it brought out a lot of questions about why I had blue eyelashes, but I still wore it for years, until I decided that I wanted a more natural-looking mascara that didn’t take ten minutes to remove every night.
By now I was in college and on a budget, so I waited until Joe Brand, another defunct department store at Northcross Mall, advertised a Lancome makeover special with a New York makeup artist. I went in one evening, and was immediately impressed when the artist asked me what kind of skincare I used. When I told him Estee Lauder, he said, “Keep using that—your skin looks great. Let’s talk about makeup.” He showed me all the latest colors from the newest line, then asked me about mascara. “You’ll love this—it’s waterproof, stays on really well, and is easy to remove at night”, he said as he showed me a tube of Lancome Aquacils in Black.
I was hooked. This mascara was magic. People started asking me if I was wearing false eyelashes—I wasn’t, but the Aquacils tinted and thickened my long, blond lashes to a beautiful but believable degree. From that moment on, I never even thought about switching mascaras. I was officially a Lancome girl.
Well, except for the two weeks after the debut of Maybelline’s Great Lash Waterproof. Lancome being more expensive and all, I thought the new Great Lash was worth a try—after all, the regular formula was so beloved that the waterproof must be just as wonderful, right? Wrong. It was okay, I guess, but it wasn’t my magical Aquacils. Back I went, never to leave again…
Until the day that Lancome announced that they were discontinuing Aquacils. Panic! How could they do this? DON’T THEY UNDERSTAND HOW IMPORTANT AQUACILS ARE TO MY PEACE OF MIND? The kind lady at the Lancome counter (who had become adept at soothing near-hysterical Aquacils devotees) explained that Lancome had decided to develop waterproof versions of all of their mascaras, of which there were already more than a few. Lengthening, lengthening and thickening, defining, ultra-defining—you name it, Lancome had a mascara that could make your eyelashes look incredible in every possible way. And now, I could choose a waterproof version of any of these varieties. Pretty sweet.
I used Lancome Definicils for a long time and loved it. It enhanced my lashes without being obvious—perfect for both my administrative career and subsequent stay-at-home mom status. After a while, though, I wanted something a little more sophisticated. Enter Lancome Hypnose, which I’ve been using ever since. Dramatic, but not overly so, Hypnose gives me a polished, elegant look even on days when I’m running carpools in t-shirts and jeans.
My daughter started wearing both contact lenses and makeup at about the same time. Much has changed since my early days of contact wearing—we’re both wearing soft lenses now and the formulas for mascaras have improved to allow anyone to wear lengthening, thickening mascaras with less fear of flaking. She started with Hypnose and hasn’t used anything else—and doesn’t want to.
I must make a confession, however. When I went to purchase two tubes of Hypnose last week, I was asked whether I wanted regular Hypnose, or Hypnose Drama, which is purportedly more, well, dramatic. Because my daughter is about to appear in a theater production, I bought a tube of each and after seeing the results of Hypnose Drama on her already dark lush lashes, I may just have to try it for myself. One thing is for certain, though. When it comes to waterproof mascara, I'll always be a Lancome girl.