CGN’s Insider Report: Mascara’s Magic Secrets

Posted October 5, 2013 by Katherine Toll in Building Your Brand

Woman Eye

So, you think you know your mascara formulas, huh?

Me too. After all, I worked for Lancome Cosmetics for many years, and that brand takes its mascaras seriously! I was a Regional Trainer with them when they launched Definicils mascara (in the early 90’s) and 20-some years later that product still wins In Style and Allure’s top badge of honor each year.

But, when I tripped over Into The Gloss’s article, A Mascara Expert Sets the Record Straight, I considered myself schooled. One of their readers happens to develop mascara wands and formulas for a living, so she shared her knowledge with them.

Career Girls, Class is in session!

  • Did you know? A mascara’s performance depends on three different things which must work together. ITG says,

Creating a breakthrough mascara isn’t easy; you can’t just marry any old brush and formula. Mascara development can take years. It’s really the perfect storm of three things working in synergy: the brush, the wiper, and the formula.

  • Did you know? The actual mascara formula isn’t all that.In fact,

The truth is that mascara formulas have changed very little in the past 50 years. It’s basically wax, pigments, and film formers. . . . in fact, many brands “share” a formula, but the effects can be drastically different due to the brush, wiper, and bottleMAC’s Haute & Naughty is a perfect example of this. It’s one formula and one brush, but you get two different lash effects with a simple switch of the wiper and stem.

  • Did you know? The wiper makes a big difference in how the mascara lays down on the lash.

The wiper is the plastic ring inside the mascara tube’s mouth. It’s absolutely crucial to the mascara’s performance because it determines how much excess formula is wiped off versus how much is retained on the brush and therefore deposited onto your lash.

  • Did you know? The actual mascara brush is where brands typically invest a lot of money; both in the design and attorney’s fees.

Traditional mascara brushes are known as either fiber brushes or twisted wire brushes. Nylon fibers are twisted around a wire, then given a quick haircut to get the desired shape—conical, waved, tapered, etc. The exact number and type of nylon fibers, along with the specific way they’re twisted and trimmed, are usually trade secrets. (Author’s note: i.e., patents required)  Plastic-molded brushes have become more popular recently because they allow for greater design control. For instance, you can create larger grooves that act as ‘reservoir zones’ for holding extra formula.

 Knowledge is power, Career Girls, so pass it on!

Read the full ITG article here. And, a special thanks to Cindy Lin, who shared her knowledge with ITG

About the Author

Katherine Toll

Katherine (Kathi) Toll possesses more than 20 years of management and consulting experience within the retail and beauty industry. Her industry experience combined with her special brand of irreverence fuels her mission to find the ‘must-have’ beauty products for Career Girls of all ages. She aspires to remind women the airbrushed perfection of the beauty industry must be tempered with a healthy dose of humor. Kathi holds a general management certification from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, along with an undergraduate degree from Northwestern’s School of Communications.