Is Mascara Over?

Just listen.

You know those blobby cartoon creatures that snap back into place even after they've been blown up or shot through with a surface-to-air missile? That's kind of like mascara. No matter how thorough a removal job you may think you've done, it somehow regenerates overnight like B.O.B. from Monsters vs. Aliens, and you wake up to find new flakes embedded in your eye crinkles. In approximately two out of 10 cases, they settle in just the right Rochas Spring 2015-like formation and you flounce out with the smugness of a woman who woke up looking editorial; the rest of the time, it's A Clockwork Orange.

Besides that, I don't really have a problem with mascara. I wore it every day for three years straight, and it was a good run, until recently, when I just...stopped. It had a lot to do with Joseph Altuzarra and Alexander Wang and Dick Page, but it had more to do with feels. And vibes. (Yes, the universe sends me those types of signals.) 

See, the kind of beauty I'm interested in has been moving toward a reductionist approach (#nerdalert), meaning that instead of eyes and lips and cheeks and a shimmery inner-corner highlight, it's all about taking away. That could look like a stroke of electric-blue liner that's not really a cat eye. A stamped-on mouth the same shade of orangey-red as an old-school subway seat. Blush applied nowhere near the apple of the cheek. What's appealing about this new pared-down-ness is that it's based on the idea of minimum effort for maximum impact: If I'm going to take the time to mess with products, it better do something noticeable to my face, right?

And oh, what no mascara, arguably the ultimate in minimalist maquillage, does for your features. Makeup artist (and we do mean artist) James Kaliardos once said, "It's more sexy and more open: It lets you in and lets the viewer into your face," which is a totally bang-on selling point. Here's why: However counter-intuitive it may sound, dark, smoky definition can actually close the eye area, while a bare lash allows light in. Simple. It's childlike but Phoebe Philo-level chic, Renaissance-y but ultra modern at the same time.

It makes you look different too—not just from other girls, but from the self you've probably known since your mom let you pick up that first tube of Great Lash. Most of us choose mascara as the gateway beauty drug, but just because we've always done it, doesn't mean we can't change.

You should also check out:

Game Over: I Found Literally the Best Mascara Ever

Makeup How-To: The No-Makeup Makeup Eye

7 Makeup Looks You Can Do with Your Eyes Closed

Chelsea Peng
Assistant Editor

Chelsea Peng is a writer and editor who was formerly the assistant editor at She's also worked for The Strategist and Refinery29, and is a graduate of Northwestern University. On her tombstone, she would like a GIF of herself that's better than the one that already exists on the Internet and a free fro-yo machine. Besides frozen dairy products, she's into pirates, carbs, Balzac, and snacking so hard she has to go lie down.