There are few things I hate more than waking up in the morning, bleary eyed and disoriented, and stumbling into the bathroom to stare down my naked, makeup-free face.
Now, I enjoy putting on makeup as much as anyone else who also happens to enjoy it. But one of my complaints about doing so during the work week, at such an early hour, is that it all seems for naught. I follow a pretty strict regimen, but an hour-long commute complete with train-switching and bus-catching can take its toll on all my hard work before I even set foot in the office.
One area that I never have issues with, however, is my eyelashes. I’ve been told since I was thirteen by everyone from dental assistants to bus drivers that I have good lashes. They’re long enough to almost touch my eyebrows, and they curve upward instead of sticking straight without the help of a curler. What all these fools don’t know is that without the help of mascara, my eyelashes are actually thin, sparse, and not very dark—albeit long enough to put in a ponytail.
I discovered Lancome Hypnose mascara when I was working in a Thai restaurant in the mall the summer before my freshman year of college. Virginia in the summer is humid and swampy, and combined with working eight-hour shifts running in and out of a hot kitchen, my eye-makeup routine wasn’t holding up. My mascara would often begin to flake midday, and reapplying to fill in the bare patches would create a spidery mess. I tried all kinds of different formulas, but found fault with each one. In my experience, mascaras are too thick and clumpy, too dry (also resulting in clumps when layered overzealously) or too liquidy—coating and separating the lashes, but not adding any volume.
One day as I gazed out over the parking lot contemplating what the staff meal might be, my manager approached me without introduction and demanded to know what kind of mascara I used. It was a weird question, but she was a very direct and weird person, so I promptly told her. (I can’t recall now what my answer was—most likely whatever was sitting in the bottom of my purse). “You have nice lashes,” she said seriously, “but you should use different mascara. You know Lancome? Go buy the Hypnose. During your break.”
So I did. I walked to Macy’s during my lunch break and forked over $27 in wadded- up tips. I’m not really sure why I felt the need to heed this woman’s demands that I change what I put on my face, especially given the fact that I was skeptical of her own beauty habits (she wore purple contacts and a face-full of mask-like foundation). I guess it was because I was 18 and real adults could still tell me to do stuff back then.
My skepticism was immediately erased. I know we’re talking about mascara here, but I have been a convert since that fateful day. Hypnose’s formula is rich, creamy, and substantive, not unlike oil paint. The shape of the brush is kind of rectangular (weird, ok, but stick with me) so I use an edge to push mascara into the base of my eyelashes, and then fan it out using a flat side of the brush. Two coats and I’m set for the day, without clumps, flaking or smudging. I’m pretty sure this is the only absolute must-have item in my makeup bag, so I’m ordering you to go and buy it, as a wise restaurant manager once did to me.