You wouldn't dream of leaving moldy food in the fridge, but many women don't think twice about continuing to use cosmetic products beyond their expiration date.
Mascara, for example, is good for only three to six months once opened, meaning the product that you count on to look beautiful may be harboring bacteria past its good-til date. This week I've rounded up the best — and worst — new mascaras so that money spent on lashes that wow isn't wasted on mascaras that flake, clump and run instead.
Maybelline XXL Pro Volume: I previously raved about a pricey — but worth it — mascara and primer duo from Kanebo, and now I've discovered the bargain bin alternative for drugstore divas. Maybelline's new XXL Pro Volume Mascara, available in washable and waterproof formulas, promises to amp up volume thanks to a dual sided applicator that builds lashes with a primer like product and then adds color with the mascara itself. The microfiber base coat delivers on its promise to increase volume while the topcoat serves up intense color that is oh-so-buildable. Best of all, this affordable mascara actually lasts. Grab a tube for $7.29 at Target.
Givenchy's Phenomen'Eyes Mascara: They say "revolutionary," I say "ridiculous," and you'll say "thank you" when you heed my advice and avoid wasting $29 on this disappointing mascara.
Napoleon Perdis Glamorista Mascara: It wasn't love at first sight; the hard, skinny brush really isn't my "type." But I decided to flirt with a mascara outside of my comfort zone. Thanks to a fabulous multi-faced wand that plumps and lengthens as well as working on short lower lashes or long upper lashes, I quickly became committed to Glamorista. The formula is ultra buildable, meaning you can apply coat after coat of the black stuff without sticking or clumping. Get it for $15 at Target.com
CoverGirl Exact Eyelights Mascara: Clearly we women are confused about our makeup. That is the only thing that explains why we — and by "we" I mean "me" — would fall for the old makeup-that-enhances-your-eye-color trick. Not surprisingly, this mascara didn't deliver on its promise to "brighten" my brown eyes, but it did serve up a side of flaking with a touch of glitter that may be mildly irritating to sensitive eyes. Leave this gimmicky mascara at the counter and remember what Momma taught you: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Sue Devitt's Amplifying Mascara: When I think of the Sue Devitt Studio collection, I think of vibrant hues, such as the "blue waters" and "green isles" of Devitt's Destination Eye Palettes. So I wasn't sure what to expect from the black-as-night Amplifying Mascara, housed in a nondescript tube with the name Sue Devitt in simple script on the side. It's not cheap — $28 at suedevittbeauty.com — but worth every penny. The mascara is designed to take the place of false lashes, serving up length and thickness, thanks to a proprietary formula featuring beeswax, and a special brush that the Devitt website says lengthens and lifts lashes at the root (which it does). Strangely, after a few uses, my lashes appear nourished, soft and malleable yet surprisingly long and luxe with nary a flake in sight.
— Carolyn Brundage is the founder of tampabay.prettycity.com. Need beauty advice? [firstname.lastname@example.org]