Dilemma of the Week: Makeup Situation: Pale Lashes

My eyelashes and eyebrows are blonde and my natural hair color is auburn. I've tried black and brown mascara to define my lashes, but they just overwhelm me, like I have monster lashes. Do you have any suggestions?

Since your lashes are naturally pale, any color at all is going to look startling at first, because it's so radically different from what you're accustomed to. You may want to experiment with softer, subtler shades. But more importantly, make sure you use a fine, almost delicate application. I've learned a light touch works best with paler hair and complexions (unless it's a vampy or campy look you're going for). To follow are tips for an application that will give you definition and subtlety.

  • If your lashes don't curl naturally, press them with a lash curler. I'm always astounded by how a little crimping opens up and defines the eyes.
  • Swipe your mascara wand with a tissue to get most of the "goo" off the brush, then, with just the trace that's left, delicately apply to your lashes.
  • Look for formulas that say "tint" or "glossy" on the label, as opposed to "thickening" or "lash building."
  • Choose mascaras that feature fine brushes or comb applicators, which will help in giving a more delicate application.
  • Although they're extremely sharp and you have to be careful when using them, I'm addicted to those little metal lash separators to rake through lashes immediately after mascara application while lashes are still moist. Comb away from eyes in an upward and outward direction.
  • Experiment with shades such as taupe, eggplant, aborigine and light brown, which won't contrast as dramatically with fairer colorations like yours.
  • Try applying just to the tips of the lashes to start and then going over that with a clear mascara to diffuse the color. Or dip your clear mascara wand into your colored mascara tube for a more diluted tone.

In closing, remember: Aim for a feathery, fine enhancement, which will delicately heighten the look of the eyes, adding definition without overwhelming your face.

Recommended Products

Product Name: Neutrogena Lash Tint
Love this! It's not mascara, but a tint that's so light and fine you don't even need makeup remover to take it off '- just water '- and there are absolutely no clumps!
Price: $7.59
Available: Drugstores nationwide

Product Name: Stila Major Lash Mascara
This is a gel formula that adds pigment and shine to subtly define lashes.
Price: $9.50
Available: Sephora.com

Product Name: LORAC Mascara
A really gentle mascara enriched with pro-vitamin B5, which conditions and lengthens lashes with featherlike results.
Price: $17.50
Available: Sephora.com

Product Name: Benefit Plush Mascara
Benefit's mascara promises to give lashes an innocent "girl next door" appeal. I love the eggplant shade, which gives a chic, trendy interest to the eyes.
Price: $16
Available: BenefitCosmetics.com

Product Name: Professional Clear Natural Mascara
You can gently accentuate lashes with a clear mascara alone, or mix it with your colored mascara to diffuse the color.
Price: $10
Available: Sephora.com

Product Name: Tweezerman Lash Comb
This comb has sharp metal teeth to separate and give a refined look to lashes, and it folds efficiently into the handle so you won't get pricked later!
Price: $6
Available: Tweezerman.com

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