When Brando first saw himself in the dailies for A Streetcar Named Desire—all tight shirts and bulging biceps—he was delighted. He told the costumer it was how he’d always wanted to look. Turns out, the costumer had pre-washed and re-sewn his t-shirts, jeans, and tank tops for that sweaty, shrunken, sexy look. This is customization at its most game-changing—the pathway of innovation, and the hallmark of luxury.
I would imagine we've all gotten creative for the sake of having something a little more made-to-measure. Take mascara, for instance. How many of us have found a formula we love that unfortunately comes with a brush we hate (and vice versa)? And so, in the secret laboratory of your bathroom, you try to Frankenstein together this unearthly, unfitting hybrid product—the brush from one and formula from another—for some DIY satisfaction.
Of course, the results of these haphazard experiments are not always stable or reproducible. Which brings us to the Buxom Mascara Bar, Build-A-Bear for your lashes. It’s a wonderland of customization: create your own dream mascara, with seven wands to choose from—silicones and bristles, huge spools and tiny twists. Do you like wielding a giant hoary brush or a sleek hi-tech lash-mace? Go ahead, choose your own adventure.
The nice constant among all these variable wands is the mascara formula itself. You know how sometimes by the end of the day it looks like you’ve rimmed your eyes with a light pink lipliner because of the harshness of your mascara? None of that here. No irritation at all. When you run your fingers over your lashes (after they dry), your lashes still feel like eyelashes, not fried plastic cricket legs. Even washing it off is a painless, stainless process. And the color’s a true black—a Batman-requested black, a Gareth Pugh overcoat black. And now you don’t have to reject the formula because you don’t like the brush. All you need to do is pick the right wand, Harry. Or maybe let it pick you.
So let’s review the selection. The Itty Bitty, Curl & Contour, Strong & Long, and Big & Bushy wands are all bristle brushes, those old friends. The Itty Bitty is invaluable for getting right up to the eyelid and wiggling around for lash-line volume. Curl & Contour is surprising natural and girly with one coat, and delivers doll-like curl in two, no spoolie post-game required. Strong & Long delivers a spiky natural look, giving you those alternating dew-drop lashes of a young Jane Birkin. And then there’s Big & Bushy, the Papa Bear of brushes. You almost have to unhinge your eyelids to get this wand all the way in there. Not for the faint of heart or the small of eye. But if you can tame the beast, it’s a thing of beauty—lush, long, soft lashes are yours. Like Disney-chipmunk-lashes or beautiful-toddler-lashes—they’re what I think of as maxi-natural.
Let’s shift wand categories. Thick & Defined and Full & Fabulous are both flexible and rubbery, the first narrower and the second, well, fuller. Both deliver a heavier dose of product than their bristly counterparts. So the difference in size really comes down to what feels better to your eye shape. And both make killer eyebrow brushes.
That leaves one more wand: the Lush & Lifted, a mashup of the two major categories of silicone and bristle. A freak of nature and a marvel of science, it’s hybrid technology at its most beautiful. One side is all bristle for natural-looking plumping and length. Rotate the brush and you’ve got a mini comb on the underside for Adriana Lima-style lashes anytime. You can tone it down or play it up. This is ultimately the wand that chose me.
Here’s the thing: these brushes are sort of a replica gallery of Mascara’s Greatest Hits. Look closely, and I’m sure you’ll see your tried-and-true Maybelline brush or your splurgy Chanel one, maybe even your natural-looking Clinique standby. That’s the best part—Buxom doesn’t claim here to have One New Game-Changing Brush. Rather, it trusts and respects the fact that you’ve probably already got a favorite type, and you’re likely going to get that one (or a slight variant) over and over again. So go with your instinct. And rest in the safety of knowing that if you want to switch up brushes, the formula will still be the same. No Frankensteining necessary.
Photographed by Tom Newton.