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For more years than I care to remember I have bought mascara. I've bought cheap mascara, expensive mascara, lengthening mascara, and thickening mascara but what I have never bought is the same mascara twice in a row. Actually that isn't quite true because I love coloured mascaras (i.e. any colour other than black or brown) and so if I find a colour I like I buy that over and over again until they discontinue it usually! However I always put coloured mascara over black or brown mascara to help intensify the colour and even then only on the tips. So it doesn't really matter to me if coloured mascara does what it says on the tin. But it does matter to me that a black or brown mascara does what it claims. And that is why I have never bought two of one brand twice in a row because frankly I have never found one that does what it claims to do (or at least not cause me a headache trying to get them to work properly). And another bug bear of mine is being able to find a mascara in the elusive brown/black colour which isn't too brown or too black.
So my latest quest has been for a mascara that really claims to do nothing extraordinary. All I want is a mascara which adds colour to my lashes. I don't want longer lashes. I don't want thicker lashes. I don't want curlier lashes. I don't want a mascara with a fancy shaped and bristled brush or a fancy formula. And to be honest I thought I was never going to find it. So when I ran out of my last mascara I just bought the nearest mascara to hand but I was never happy with it. That was until I ended up nosing around the Nars counter in Liberty a few months ago.
Nars cosmetics have for about the last 10 years provided my rebellious, eccentric side with its WOW factor. I love make up and I love to experiment with colour and techniques and Nars, the brain child of Francois Nars who has worked with designers like Karl Lagerfeld, Versace and Dolce & Gabbana, has provided the bright, vibrant colours which allow me to do that. On the face of it they might look like they are not for the faint hearted but the beauty with their products is the ability to layer and add to the colours so you go as subtle or as bold as you like. It was the last place though that I expected to buy my next mascara.
After buying a few other products the assistant asked me if I needed any basics. I remembered my need for mascara and asked what products they had. And my cynicism of all things mascara called me to ask "and what does it claim to do?" The assistant looked at me strangely and said "put colour on your eyelashes". I was overjoyed but a little taken aback. I sought reassurance. "So it doesn't lengthen or thicken or anything like that?" It was explained to me that the fact that you put a product on your lashes will automatically lengthen and thicken your lashes (well that is obvious - I'm not stupid!) but what it doesn't do is artificially enhance what you already have. I think the assistant thought I was disappointed but when I explained that this was exactly what I wanted she then proceeded to show me the brush and explain that the mascara has conditioning rose oil in its ingredients but that it is fragrance free. Having tried the product in store I purchased it for £16. I know this seems quite expensive but read on.
One thing you are guaranteed of with Nars products is that you get a lot of style for your money. All their products are housed in cases designed by Fabien Baron. They are black and almost soft and springy to touch. Some products give you a sense of opulence with gold casings - these give you a sense of simple chic style. And the mascara is housed in a long, sleek, square soft touch tube.
So the brush is very small and compact compared to some of the huge, many bristled, shaped brushes from other mascaras that claim to lengthen, curl and thicken your lashes (although the wand is of a standard length). There is no shaping in the brush at all - it's just straight. The bristles are very small compared to other brushes but are further apart than we are probably used to these days. This is great though because it separates my lashes so that they don't clump together and the mascara also glided on evenly. I didn't need to get my lash brush out to separate them or get rid of lumps. This was what annoyed me about so many of the mascaras that I have purchased previously. The number of times I had to brush out lumps and clumps and even remove and reapply. A mascara never seemed to last me very long. The fact that I didn't need to apply a second or even a third coat also meant that my lashes dried quickly. They are certainly dry within a minute - you just need to make sure you don't sneeze in that time! My lashes looked longer but more because they looked darker rather than they had extra liquid to extend them. They didn't look thicker and they didn't look curlier. They just looked lovely and natural. They felt soft and not as stiff as a board. I was over the moon.
But what of the colour? Well Nars do two colours of mascara - both in normal and waterproof formulas (the waterproof versions are £17 each). These are Black Orchid and Bamboo. I was a little surprised by this given the wonderfully bright eye shadows and liners that they do. Black Orchid is black (there's a surprise!) but Bamboo is a dark brown. Both shades have dense colour pigments so you get maximum impact with little stress. It also lasts all day so you don't have to reapply to get the same depth of colour. Bamboo isn't brown/black in the traditional sense but it is a far darker brown than in any other brown or even some of the brown/black mascara I have used. For me it is just a bit darker than my natural lashes so I get the definition of wearing mascara without it looking unnatural. I decided to buy the Bamboo shade on the first occasion and I have since bought another one and Black Orchid.
This mascara is also easy to remove. I don't use make up remover - I just use my cleansing oil which is just as effective. I found that the mascara doesn't leave any residue so there is no danger of panda eyes in the morning. I cannot vouch for the waterproof mascara but I should imagine that it would need a little more removing as with any waterproof product. One of the other advantages that I have found with this mascara is that it does last the full 3 months. You shouldn't keep using a mascara anyway after this time for hygiene reasons but I haven't used a product that lasts this long before. The brush also stays relatively clean - it doesn't clog up or need to be cleaned too often and it also doesn't get overloaded with product when you take it out of the tube. This means that the very fine lashes get as even a coating as well as the thicker more prominent ones.
For me this product does exactly what I want it to do. If you want huge long, thick, curly lashes then this isn't for you but if you just want a simple product that feels great and looks lovely and natural then I would certainly look out for it at your nearest Nars stockist (usually a SPACE.NK apothecary shop or larger departments stores like House of Fraser or Selfridges or Harvey Nichols) or you can buy it online from www.narscosmeticsonline.co.uk.
Accentuate your eye to create beautiful, fluttery lashes /