Through the eye of a needle (just like the way you put on your mascara)

After applying mascara, my mother would separate her eyelashes with the point of a needle.  I literally remember witnessing this practice as a child – and often.

“No – no!” she’d say, the needle poised a heartbeat away from her pupil.  “Don’t come near me!  Don’t knock into me!”

She no longer does this.  Perhaps she changed mascaras, or perhaps she got spooked at the thought of gouging out an eyeball.  As crazy as it sounds, though, I finally understand where she’s coming from with that needle.  Mascara clumps like a bi-otch, especially if it’s poor quality.

Now I have no idea of the quality of mascara my mother used during my childhood; perhaps it was just old.  But, no, it’s not possible that my mother would use old mascara.  Aside from “never share your eye makeup” and “keep the brushes clean,” “replace your products often” is one of my mom’s most touted makeup safety rules.  Oddly, “don’t separate your eyelashes with a needle” could never make that list.

For years, I’ve never had to worry about clumped mascara.  I wish I had appreciated those years while I was living them.

Let me give it to you straight – the mascara that Mother Nature provides is difficult to apply, has zero lasting power, and clumps like cray.  And that was the best solution I could come up with.  All of the mixes I tested simply consisted of a small amount of liquid mixed vigorously with a small amount of activated charcoal.  Here’s what I tried:

Blackberry and Activated Charcoal: This basically did nothing.  There’s no other way to say it.  The mixture wouldn’t even stick to my lashes.

Vitamin E Oil and Activated Charcoal: If you’re looking for something waterproof, this is your best bet.  It applied quite well, but it also clumped, didn’t seem to dry, and took forever to scrub off my face.  Water won’t budge this stuff – you need commercial-grade soap, and you can forget about having any eyelashes left.

Aloe Vera Gel and Activated Charcoal: The best of the three options and the mix I’m currently using.

The AVG + AC product is not so great.  Like I said, it’s tough to apply, it doesn’t last, and it clumps.  It also makes my lashes feel heavy (probably because I need to put so much on to make it show up), so it looks like I’m wearing nothing and feels like I’m wearing fakes.  Great combo.  And here’s another thing – sometimes, I look at myself in the mirror, and I see a shower of tiny black dots under my eyes.  No worries – I’m not diseased; it’s just my mascara flaking off.

On the plus side, it comes off easily, and it’s a quick mix in the morning (of course, not as quick as your store-bought mascara).  And – as if you need more incentive to try it – I haven’t gone blind yet.


10 thoughts on “Through the eye of a needle (just like the way you put on your mascara)

  1. Wow, and I thought shaving was a pain. Although I do remember the needle being used near the eyes, but didn’t know what it was for. I just knew it gave me a lot of extra time, after I was finished getting ready, to watch tv or sleep before we had to leave.

  2. I have also witnessed the needle method from your mother as well as her sister! I, however; never fell prey to such a rudiculous method. They make brushes for that!!
    I have tried many mascaras both Walmart (cheap) & Sephora (expensive). They all make promises – clump free, voluminous, lengthening, thickening etc that they NEVER keep.
    Keep up the hard work MNM, maybe you will stumble upon a new concoction. Do I sense coconut oil in your future???

    • Have you noticed, though, how the brush removes some of the mascara from your lashes? That’s precisely why the needle is necessary! lol

      While I do not believe coconut oil is in my future (eyelashes are still, technically, hair…), I think you’re on the right track with that thickening agent. I need something to make it solidify/dry onto my eyelashes. Even when my recipe was working at its best, it would dry into a powder that would flake off throughout the day. Not preferable!

  3. I admit it . I used the needle. But I was young (er ) and stupid (er ). So glad you have learned at least one lesson from your old mother that you are taking with you through life. And – for the record – it probably was cheap mascara – as I have never been one to buy expensive beauty products – and I’m sure it shows!!! As for my “lift and separate” routine now – I use a teeny tiny comb – especially made for the job. But it doesn’t work nearly as well as that old sewing needle. At my age however – with old shaky hands – it tends to be much safer. Carry on dear Maid –

    • I also cannot be bothered to buy expensive beauty products, which must be rather obvious now that I’m brewing makeup in the kitchen… In fact, I can barely be bothered to replace my makeup more than once every several years. Yes, I know, makeup products are probably virtual breeding grounds for bacteria that should be replaced every 6 months, right???

      As for that needle…I’d stick with the comb. I just hate imagining you gouging your eyes out.

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