About Me

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I'm a mom, a wife, a best friend. Sick with CFIDS/ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia since 1975 as a result of a nasty flu while still in grad school, it wasn't until the late '80's that I received a diagnosis. Until that flu I'd never really been ill before. With each year I get progressively worse and add to the bucket load of symptoms I'm living with. I've been blessed with an incredible family and best friend who've stayed with me through my struggles as we continue to find a way out of this monstrous illness and its complications. We've tried seemingly every approach to find my way back to health. Often I think our best weapon in this undesirable and unasked-for adventure has been laughter.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Scoop on Mascaras and Eyelashes

I've had a bit too much of the DD lately and so I thought I'd branch out into (or is that return to?) the living-with-our-illnesses-more-easily field.  As I've always said, we are not just our illnesses, the CFIDS/ME/CFS and/or fibromyalgia. 

And so I thought I'd do a few posts that contain helpful makeup tips. 

The holidays REALLY are the time of the year when we want to shine, as sparkles are all around us.   Furthermore, as we venture out for get-togethers, we run into friends and family we've not seen in a while.  We just want to look human, or presentable, for that matter.  With smartphones and large cameras with zoom lenses, pictures of ourselves will be taken on purpose or surreptitiously, thus further making us want to look our best, knowing the photography of today will show up each and every pore and wrinkle.  (I know: what a dilemma.  Look good and have have everyone say "you look great: you don't look sick," or go out looking like death warmed over!)

With that in mind, I thought that today I'd give a run-down on mascaras.

I'm not sure that there IS any mascara out there that doesn't cause my eyes to become at least a tiny bit red. However, most mascaras make my eyes very red, embarrassingly so since salespeople have actually asked me why my eyes are so red, assuming I'd been crying.   Sweet people, but nonetheless embarrassing.  The redness, of course, is a legacy of the dry eyes (and mouth) we who live with CFIDS/ME/CFS and fibromyalgia are prone to, in spades.

For years and years I've been on a hunt, to find a mascara that doesn't cause red eyes.  I can't say that I've been completely successful, but I do have a few mascaras which I've found to be pretty successful.  From my massive collection (you really don't want to see how big - it HAS been a quest) I've focused on finding mascaras which fit the following criteria:

  1.  Easy to apply (hand shakes, eyesight not the most reliable!)
  2. The formula must be volumizing - because of the hair scarcity problem those of us with the DD put up with (if your brows are thin, chances are that so too are your eyelashes.)
  3. Have good staying power
  4. Keep your eyes from turning red!!! (I mean, look at those freaky old pictures with red eyes that look like...well, I shudder to say what!).

I exclude water-proof mascara because they make eyes really red and end up hurting them for days afterwards.

So, here are my favorite five, saving the best for last:

  • Bare Minerals Flawless Definition Volumizing Mascara: shocker, as I thought that the company was only good for the powders. Easy to apply and no red eye.
  • Estée Lauder "Sumptuous" Bold Volume Lifting Mascara: A real surprise! There were samples in various makeup deals/collections and I thought that I'd end up throwing the samples away.  Well, I'll be derned... It works REALLY well.
  • DiorShow Mascara:  Best in show in many "top lists," this was the first time I realized that you CAN have it all in one mascara!
  • Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara: When my hands aren't too steady, for some reason I find I have better control with this mascara designed for your lower lashes. Yes, this mascara works well on the tiny lower lashes but it also works well on the tiny upper lashes.  However, I'll use this mascara on my entire upper lashes if I find that otherwise I'll be poking the mascara into my eyeball.  I also love the little tube - perfect for travel and emergency handbag kits as well.
  • Blinc Mascara ("Stop painting your lashes...TUBE them!"): I'm absolutely in love with this mascara. It doesn't budge after putting it on and I usually forget it's there - and isn't that the holy grail? - that you don't feel made up?  Furthermore, Blinc comes off quite easily when you want to wash it off: just a warm washcloth pressed on the eyes for a moment and the little tubes around each lash slide right off onto your washcloth.  Amazing!

There you go. I'll still be on the hunt for the perfect mascara, but these fill my needs pretty well.  Do you have any mascara you swear by?  Have you given up on mascara?  I'll wear eyeliner alone when my eyes/lashes are extra sensitive since the liner IS an improvement on the invisible eyes.  Let us know.

Finally, have you tried going the tinting of eyelashes route?  What do you think of it?  It's my favorite way to go because the tint is fantastic for about four to six weeks.  When I wear mascara and liner after tinting, my eyes pop.  The lashes also seem to get much added volume, having been plumped up by the tinting.  And it's marvelous that with tinting I don't scare little children, nor grown men if I happen to go out without my eyes done.  Now I just need to find someone locally to tint the lashes - it's great not to worry about doing my eyes when I'm in bed, unable to do anything.  We need to hold onto our dignity and self-esteem as much as possible.  Reactions?

At any rate, I hope everyone's doing their best, only better. Ciao and paka!


  1. Hi Irene -
    I've had luck with Define-a-Lash by Maybelline. It adds length and fullness plus it's relatively easy to take off. I've been through a lot of different mascaras, too. This one was recommended by my hairdresser. She is a blond/redhead whose eyelashes are almost white, but you'd never know it after she puts on the Maybelline mascara! Also, I have a friend who had her eyebrows and eyeliner tattooed several years ago. She's been very happy with the results.
    Take care - hope you have a good afternoon.

    1. Hi Martha! Sorry it took so long to reply but I'm fighting off the flu or some sort of bug. Funny, my daughter found a place that will do the brows and liner but I chickened out for the consultation this past weekend and the flu saved me! I need to do a bit more research but I'm very tempted - yet going so close to the eyes is scary. And there's the time factor: I need to see my endocrinologist, cardiologist and a bunch of others before I go that route. But I can't get it out of my head! ;). Thanks! xx