Brace yourself, because what we're about to tell you will shock you. Ready? Mascara didn't always come in a tube...
In the late 1800's and early 1900's, chemist Eugene Rimmel (yes, of that London look) and T.L. Williams, who would go on to found Maybelline, both developed their own petroleum-and-coal formulas, which came in "cake" form. You would wet a brush then rub it against the hard, compressed pigment before applying it to lashes. If it sounds messy, that's because it was and why the chemistry and packaging of mascara eventually evolved to today's creamy elixirs housed in a tubes with built-in wand caps.
But don't make the mistake of writing cake mascara off as irrelevant. It's in the midst of a revival thanks to cosmetic historian Gabriela Hernandez and her luxe vintage makeup line Bésame Cosmetics. The brand's Cake Mascara just hit Sephora.com, and get this, is already sold out.
So trust that if women are going the extra mile for this decidedly more convoluted formula as opposed to the easy, apply-and-go tubes of today, there must be something to it by way of to-die-for lashes. Here, a few reasons it could be a game-changer for your beauty regimen, whether you want to tap into your inner pin-up or just enhance your everyday basics.
1. It's more hygienic. Real talk: Have you ever thought about what's going on inside your mascara tube re: germs and build-up? Double dipping your brush is contaminating the product by way of bacteria and lots of it. While it's not going to kill you (as evidenced by 99.9% of the female population), it's probably not the best for your eye health. And let's not forget, white eyeballs are important.
2. It's less clumpy. Not trying to gross you out here (we promise!), but seriously, double dipping your brush over and over and over again, plus having it marinate in the tube when it's not in use means that there's probably a ton of build-up on the brush's bristles and that's a recipe for a clumpy application. Because you're consistently cleaning your brush in between applications, you won't have this issue with cake mascara. And your lashes will be longer, lusher, and voluminous because of it.
3. It's easy to reapply and layer. Dry cake mascara is water activated, which ultimately makes the pigment more fluid upon application. Because of this, it's easy to touch up or layer on through the day, whereas doing the same with the popular thick and waxy formulas after they've hardened can get funky. Patience and practice is key as you want to make sure you've mixed up a smooth, even solution and are eventually applying it in nimble fashion.
4. It works as eyeliner, too. Again, because of the just-add-water effect, it makes for a great carbon black eyeliner and substitute for a pot of gel liner. This, especially if you're one for a cat eye, as the buildable formula makes it easy to create depth, and with the right brush, you'll have precision down pat.
5. You can also fill in your brows with it. Well, if they're dark to begin with at least! So you don't end up on the wrong side of the Instagram brow trend, do so with the cake's dry powder, a beveled-tip brow brush, and a light hand. You can also give them a soft tint treatment by running a spoolie through them.
Bésame Cosmetics Cake Mascara, $25; sephora.com.
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