It's a tale as old as time: that persistent societal message that as time ticks on we must invest in "anti-aging" products that support our withering husk bodies from crumbling like dust in the wind. (Sarcasm and exaggerated language intended, obviously.) At 42, I'm no stranger to both this messaging and these kinds of products, and I've tried to find a healthy balance between using what works while also finding gratitude for the gift that is aging. But still, I was surprised to discover that there's a world of mascara and lash care products geared toward our middle-aged lashes! Who knew? (Answer: not me.)
But your eyelashes, like the hair on your head, can thin as you age, so it only seems logical to at least explore the idea of beefing up my mascara game to nourish my lashes as well as make them look extension-long and thick. I spent three weeks testing out four different lash products geared toward doing just that, and was both surprised and delighted at the results. Read on to find out how each one fared.
Kosas The Big Clean Mascara
What: Kosas is known for being cruelty-free and focused on creating products without using controversial ingredients like parabens, phthalates, and sulfates. Their mascara utilizes "haircare serum" to pack a powerful one-two punch of nourishing ingredients inside of a pretty fantastic mascara. Ingredients include castor oil (which I've put on my lashes on its own for growth), and biotinoyl tripeptide-1 — a combo of collagen and biotin — which is found in lots of hair growth products.
IMHO: A lush, delicious mascara — especially for volumizing. Easy to wash off, non-irritating. I'd add it to my daily repertoire for sure.
Perfect for: Someone who wants something easy for everyday, with the added serum boost for nourishment.
To shop: $26; kosas.com
BareMinerals Strength & Length Serum-Infused Mascara
What: BareMinerals is an OG in the "clean beauty" space — and this is a lovely mascara with added peptides for strengthening. But the real thing that makes this mascara so great is its innovative flat wand, which according to the brand, was inspired by paddle hair brushes. The first time I opened the mascara I was deeply confused by the brush, but with some practice I became a big fan.
IMHO: A real lengthening powerhouse thanks to their magical paddle brush (it was less effective with volume). I did notice some smudging by the end of the day but this did not irritate my sensitive, contact-wearing eyes.
Perfect for: Everyday use with a focus on strengthening while lengthening.
To shop: $22; ulta.com
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RevitaLash Volumizing Mascara and Volumizing Primer
What: RevitaLash is well known for making products that support hair growth and health. This double-wanded beauty comes with their Volumizing Primer on one end, which has peptides for strength and plant extracts for moisture. And it's not clear in color like one may expect, instead their primer comes in an Indigo Blue shade, which the brand claims intensifies the color of the mascara. On the other side is their deep-black mascara, which is formulated with biotin, for growth.
IMHO: I'd never tried a mascara primer before, and I loved this stuff. The primer really did seem to prep my lashes for the mascara, and this stuff did not smudge – even when water splashed on my face. In fact, it endured an entire day spent with my family at Disneyland. This too delivered more in the lengthening department than it did in filling out my lashes.
Perfect for: Someone who doesn't mind a two-step application, wants long-lasting coverage, and extra lash protection and care.
To shop: $35; amazon.com
Talika Lipocils Expert
What: An eyelash conditioning cream that promises enhanced pigmentation, curl, and growth with 28 days of use. Lipocils has a storied history; it was created in 1948 by a French nurse, Danielle Roches, who formulated a balm for her patients suffering from burns to the eyes and discovered it stimulated lash and brow growth.
IMHO: I was not able to use this product for the recommended 28 days (twice a day), so I can't speak to its long term effectiveness. But I fell in love with it on day one and ended our time together genuinely impressed. It lengthens lashes and provides a nice overall lift that lasted throughout my workday, similar to a clear mascara. I did notice a slight change in pigmentation after a week. I'll definitely be picking this back up. The biggest drawback is the hefty price tag.
Perfect for: Someone who doesn't want the hassle of wearing a mascara but is interested in enhancing their natural lash color and length over time.
The New Age is a column about beauty over 40, written by women who are over 40. Revolutionary, when you think about it! Kate Spencer and Doree Shafrir are the hosts of Forever35 Podcast. Doree's memoir, THANKS FOR WAITING: THE JOY & WEIRDNESS OF BEING A LATE BLOOMER, is out now, and Kate's rom-com, IN A NEW YORK MINUTE, will be published in March. Learn more at doree-shafrir.com and katespencerwrites.com.