The best mascara to buy…and something funny happened to me

A lady come up to me at the park today and said “Are you “Fred’s grandmother? Is that Fred?” pointing at my five year old. She was a bit confused obviously and I shook my head numbly, completely SHOCKED off my tits that anyone thought I could be a child’s grandmother.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE grandmothers and in theory I could easily be a grandmother, given my advanced years. It’s just that I just don’t think ‘grandmotherhood’ is my place in the world right now. The whole thing made me feel weird. I didn’t like it. Normally I am in complete denial about ageing. Well not denial but I feel young and I don’t think it matters how old you are and I don’t think there is any point thinking or worrying and bothering with the numbers. You get older. Absolutely nothing you can do about it. Life goes on. Get on with it. But this gave me a jolt, my stomach did a flop flop. I wondered for a minute or two how long I might have left, about what it would feel like to be… old. I felt my mortality loom.

And then I decided those kind of thoughts are best left where I normally leave them. Back in a nice dark corner of my mind, locked in a box, in a musty cupboard that is nailed shut. Si-oh-nara baby.

Good story though.

And now, because frankly I’d rather talk about makeup ‘n shit, I’m moving on to the confusing world of mascara.

What’s the difference between all those mascaras?

I’ve had a few people tell me they freak when they go into Big W and see rows and rows and mascaras and wonder what the hell that’s about and which one to buy. The thing is that most of them are the same. They are just there to ensure the brand takes up as much space as possible on the shelves.

There’s so much blahblah about lengthening and thickening and volumising etc. Mascara isn’t magic. It can’t make your lashes longer or thicker. It can make them appear longer because most of us have light coloured tips on our lashes, especially in summer. And by applying a coating of gunk, they will look thicker. And if you buy waterproof you’ll probably get build up so they’ll look thicker (I personally don’t use waterproof, I like to be able to remove my mascara).

What’s the best mascara to buy?

My professional opinion is that you need to consider three things.

What’s your budget?
There are so many mascaras on the market that you will definitely find something great in your price range. And most brands have basically the same product in a few different price points, with slightly different branding so try a few out!

Are you allergic or sensitive?
If you are, you need to research very carefully. I’m not comfortable recommending anything for sensitive eyes because I don’t know enough about the contents of mascara.

What sort of brush do you find easiest to use?
If you have short lashes a skinny brush will be easier to handle. If you like a lot of mascara, you need a fatter brush.

I have pulled together a bunch of my favourites. I’ve used all of these over the years and the ones I’ve chosen all have quite plain ‘average’ brushes, nothing fancy or overcomplicated. I like a very simple easy to handle wand. I also like a good thick coating of mascara. I like my lashes to look thick and a bit spidery and clumpy. My current favourite is the L’Oreal Butterfly Wings. I don’t know WHY it works, but it does and I often get comments when I wear it.


A final note. DON’T KEEP YOUR MASCARA FOR EVER. The experts recommend up to six months. I’ve been known to keep mine a lot longer, but you’re playing with grossness. The bacteria that can build up in that little tube is highly disturbing so you’re best off just chucking it and getting a new one. No-one wants a bad case of pink-eye.

Good luck, I hope you see something that you think you could like!


Written By

Gillian is a marketing savant and brand strategist with over 20 years of experience in above and below the line marketing, digital strategy and creative direction. She is an exceptional people person who loves to collaborate with clients every step of the way to achieve the best possible outcome. Gillian is also a successful makeup-artist and make-up obsessive who loves to share her tricks of the trade and help women to look good and feel great.


  • Oh gosh, I don’t even know what to say about that grandma comment! I guess that back in the day people might become parents in their 20s and grandparents in their 40s – but get with the times random lady.
    Onto mascara. The big decider for me with mascara is animal testing. I am not vegan and I am not against animal testing of pharmaceuticals where appropriate; but I cannot condone shoving mascara in a rabbits eye to see what happens. It bloody hurts.

  • I tried the swan neck grandiose and kaboom- wowza. Will be buying it overseas.
    I’ve heard mirenesse is good too

  • Grandma? More like grand BABE!
    I am OBSESSED with mascara. I think it stems from being hopeless at applying fake lashes and not having very many lower lashes.
    I always have at least 3 on the go. I layer 2 different types on top and use a different one on my lower lashes.
    Currently: Benefit They’re Real! and L’Oreal Volume Million Lashes for top and L’Oreal False Lash Butterfly Wings for bottom.

    • hahahahaaaaaaa you comment made me LOL really hard. you are so awesome my friend. My hubby Waxy said I was a grand MILF hahahahaha GROSS. Anyway, I do sometimes layer as well, I might try your combo, sounds like a good one! MWAH x

  • I feel for you Gillian! Years ago I had my littlest in a stroller at a park and a stranger came up and asked if I was the grandmother. I was so shocked that it kept nagging me for weeks afterwards. Was my skin wrinkly? Were my hair or cloths too old ladyish? Some people have no idea. Currently I am using the fab Diorshow Iconic Overcurl which is fairly overpriced here but I grabbed as a cheapie on an overseas holiday earlier this year.

    • Gosh it’s appalling isn’t it Karen! I can’t believe anyone would even ask. If in doubt DON’T would be my mantra about this sort of stuff. Like the whole asking someone when they are due thing. Just don’t do it! Ooo that mascara looks awesome. I might need to try that one out…. #mascaraaddict hahahhaha x

  • Mascara is my desert island product. I’m loving benefit they’re real at the moment and tarte light camera action mascara from Sephora. I go back and forth between those two. And finish with model co heated curler.
    As for the grandma comment… that is completely cray! Glad you’ve put in that dark corner! Xx

  • I usually buy whatever is on special and have been known to keep it way too long, if the truth be known! I am definitely going to give butterfly wings a go, the name is enough to make me want to try it! See no idea!

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