When mascara was introduced in 1913 it was in cake form, with a small brush for swiping over the wetted cake to apply to the lashes. This was neither sanitary nor particularly effective. Regardless, women loved it and mascara has become the cosmetic that half of all women today claim they cannot do without.
Over the years, developments in formulations, custom cosmetics packaging and wands have made mascara safer and easier to use. Cosmetics companies are always looking to improve upon the experience, however. Recently the focus has been on wand and brush design seeking to eliminate clumping and maximize length and fullness.
HAVE A BALL
The traditional mascara brush, composed of rows of fibers, is perfect for applying product on the lashes with one sweep. Where it is less capable is when you want to apply more mascara to a few lashes for definition. Some products are offering wands with a ball of longer fibers at the tip. After using the broad side of the wand to coat lashes, the ball tip is used to define individual hairs.
Other brushes take the ball concept a step further. Instead of brush fibers, the entire wand of one product is composed of injected plastic bristles forming a spiky ball. Another arranges the spikes into three spheres to provide maximum contrast of short and long application surfaces.
The small lashes in the corner of the eyes can be hard to reach without risking a poke in the eye. Mascaras are now available with a traditional brush topped with a tiny version on top. The bristles are shorter and hold less product to coat small lashes without clumping or poking.
Other wands are combining a precision end tool with a less conventional wand. A grooved plastic wand with no bristles creates incredible volume at the base of lashes. The retractable precision brush at the tip can then be used to define and separate.
Brushes with more widely spaced bristles tend to deliver a thicker coat of mascara resulting in fuller looking lashes. Those with more densely packed bristles are better for lengthening and separating lashes. But what if you want lush lashes sometimes and long others? Convertible brushes offer both. When the wand is extended, the bristles deliver more product and thicker lashes. Compressing the wand moves them closer together so they can grab and separate more lashes.
GET IN SHAPE
A combination of long and short bristles works well for application to all lashes. Adding a creative shape to the design can help both types of bristles do their jobs better. Corkscrew brushes, resembling the double helix of a DNA strand, space the bristles so the long ones can grab and stretch longer lashes while the shorter ones carry enough mascara to make lashes look fuller. Because of the twisted shape, both types of bristles can reach lashes.
Though it may seem cutesy, the heart shaped brush seen on some mascaras is for more than just fun. Wider near the base and tapering to the tip, each part of the brush is effective for reaching a different area of the lashes.
Whatever benefits a mascara claims to deliver, there is a brush to enhance the effect. Going forward, innovations in beauty products design and cosmetics packaging will provide new and unique ways to apply, and market, mascara.