Q:

What makes an effective mascara?

A:

Quick Answer

While preferences vary, most women want mascara to emphasize their eyelashes by making them longer, thicker and/or curled. Cosmetics companies use a combination of mascara formula and brush to deliver these attributes.

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Full Answer

The basic ingredients of mascara are pigments for coloration, waxes for thickening and preservatives to make the mascara last in the tube. Some mascaras include solvents to make them water-proof so they don't run. Other mascaras include short, synthetic fibers to add length to the eyelashes.

The formation of the brush impacts the delivery of the mascara, so that's another key element in an effective cosmetic. Companies utilize one of two types of brushes. The traditional brush is made of bristles, while a newer style is molded as one piece.

The shape of the brush also affects its effectiveness. For example, curved brushed help curl the lashes up, making them appear longer. Brushes designed to actually lengthen the lashes are straight. Thick brushes with dense bristles deliver volume. Brushes with little balls on the end help users get to the tiniest lashes.

Some mascaras require a two-step application process, especially to deliver lengthening ingredients. With these mascaras, women start with a base coat and then brush on tiny fibers. They seal the mascara with another base coat. Other mascaras start with a thickening base that's covered with a black pigment in the second layer.

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