By Erin Williams


The question I get asked the most is “What’s your favorite mascara?” And it’s such a loaded question! It depends on what you’re wanting to get out of your “eyelash experience.” And there are a lot of different formulas out there so it can seem a bit daunting to find “the one.” So, I sat down with makeup artist Elisa Flowers, whose work you’ve seen all over Lucky, Teen People, Rolling Stone, VH1, and MTV, just to name a few venues, to see what her thoughts were on the subject.

To start with, I wanted to know how she felt about lash primers and if they were necessary or not in her book. “Primers are good because it’s conditioning the lashes if you’re having problems with dryness. And they also boost the performance of the mascara. With heavy duty waterproof mascaras, primer is good because it helps to get the actual mascara off at the end of the day.”

Check out Pout’s Wet Lash ( as a great base for lashes or as a treatment all on its own. Packed with conditioning Pro Vitamin B5, aloe vera, wheat and silk protein it helps hydrate lashes for all that damage we manage to inflict in the quest for longer lashes.

The next step is the curler. She Uemura’s is the favorite of every makeup artist I’ve ever worked with and with Elisa it was the same case. She also likes Alcone’s Preo Eyelash Curler ( because “some women have large eyes with hard to reach corners and it’s also great for spots you want to bump up.” For girls with stubbornly straight lashes “heated curlers are great! You can use your hair dryer to warm up your curler too – just ’til it’s warm to the touch.” Be careful though – easy to burn! Elisa recommends curling the lashes first, applying mascara, and then curling gently once more.

So now for the real dirt – what’s the best mascara? One item in almost every kit among all the ladies behind the scenes is Shu Uemura’s Drawing Mascara ( which features their precision Lift-Up Brush and gives a soft and glossy look to the lashes. Another mascara that is natural but buildable is Chantecaille’s new Mascara Noir. It took six years for Sylvie Chantecaille to find a formula she was happy with and it’s full of yummy ingredients. Rosewater is both antibacterial and moisturizing while Vitamin E and Green Tea fortify lashes. Both Shu Uemura and Chantecaille’s give a clean look that’s perfect for close ups and close encounters alike.

For more pizazz try Kevyn Aucoin’s Volume Mascara formula which thickens, lengthens, and separates for serious lashes ( Like a lot of new mascaras it helps if you take the wand out and wipe down the brush with a napkin (tissues can leave residue) to help “break in” the applicator. Often there’s too much product on the wand and you have to work with it a bit. But once you have done that, the flake- and smudge-proof formula will be a favorite in your drawer.

If you’re a waterproof fan there are a couple of cult faves. Blinc’s Kiss Me Mascara, (, was the world’s first mascara to employ the use of tiny water-resistant tubes that form around lashes and can only be removed with water and slight pressure. It is meant not to smudge, flake, or run, even if you’re working out, crying, or rubbing your eyes. I didn’t believe it either. So I took a shower with it on. And it stayed. It only came off once I applied pressure to each lash and then a little spider leg looking tube of mascara was left on my finger. I got so excited that I had to call my boyfriend into the bathroom – he looked at my fingers, rolled his eyes, and went back to online poker. Not a fan of mascara, I guess. The technology, which is now being utilized by numerous other companies, allows for gentle removal without removers or lots of rubbing. Definitely a plus!

For high glam waterproof eyes pick up Dior’s best-selling Dior Show Waterproof Mascara, aptly named since it was inspired by runway shows ( This formula is an all-star for good reason – it lengthens, volumizes, and curls to make you the envy of all the other girls in the powder room. Dior’s brushes make all the difference. The dense wand allows you to get total coverage from root to tip and fulfills its promise to stay on all the way through “Sleepless in Seattle”. “I think waterproof is a great idea,” says our lashed out maven Miss Flowers, “it’s perfect for the beach, gym, or a sad movie. For windy days you can try just applying it on top of your regular mascara that way it will come off easier. I don’t think that you should use it all the time though since it can be difficult to remove.”

And we get to the remover. My personal favorite is Clinique’s Rinse Off Eye Makeup Solvent, but Elisa loves Lancome’s Bi-facil Double-Action Eye Makeup Remover and Makeup Forever’s Eye Makeup Remover. She suggests washing your face first, and then, applying the remover with your finger over the lashes to keep from rubbing too much. Because “rubbing breaks down the collagen in your skin.” Finally, rinse with a wash cloth. For stubborn formulas, try saturating a cotton pad with remover and holding it on your eye for about 30 seconds before you swipe any residue away – that way you can break down the mascara with less irritation to your eye area.

Elisa’s only real concern about mascara mishaps was with color – “Ladies! Please do not use colored mascara during the day! It tends to look childish if it isn’t done well. Have it for evening events and fun outfits because otherwise, it isn’t helping to bring out the color of your eyes, it’s stealing focus. If you’re concerned about black being too harsh, try brown/black for a softer option in a natural formula.”

So I’m expecting to see you girls sporting some hot looking lashes this summer with no smudges and none of those sad little flakes under the eye – I know they drive you crazy too. Work it out ladies!

For more information on Elisa Flowers go to

Originally published June 2005



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