We love lashes—meaning natural lashes, enhanced in such a way that they look feminine and elegant. Both defined, yet still refined. False lashes—and ultra-volumizing undercoats, primers and products which make real lashes look huge, stiff and frankly fake—not so much, thank-you.
The glamorous rulers of ancient Egypt, both male and female, loved their eye makeup! But at various points throughout history, makeup in general and eye makeup in particular has fallen in and out of favor. A huge shift came in the first decade of the 20th century, when Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein were inspired by the dramatic eye makeup worn onstage by Russian ballet dancers. Heavy eye makeup, like that worn by the first cinema actresses, still suggested a bit of scandal in the early 1900s.
The first modern mascara was actually men’s hair dye (then called “mascaro”) which was cleverly repurposed for women to use on their lashes. The mascara was pressed into a cake and applied with a damp, stiff-bristled brush circa 1920. And we still think it’s one of the best ways to wear mascara – buildable, but easy to control and never “too much”—although Theda Bara, one of our favorites, definitely laid it on thick.
In the 1920s, Max Factor added a new twist as well: “Cosmetique”, a meltable crayon the makeup mogul invented for another screen siren, Clara Bow. Factor called the technique “Eye-Lash Beading”. Using the product required slicing off a bit of the waxy stick, melting it, then dipping an orange stick in the hot wax and stroking it upward on the lashes from base to tip. Unfortunately, the hot studio lights often melted the product on the lash, so the quest for the wearable lash continued!
In the late 1920s, creamy waterproof mascara in a tube, applied with a small brush, became popular. In the 1930s, Maybelline re-introduced cake mascara in an iconic red box with a small brush included—a product which was a drugstore standard well into the 1960s.
A real breakthrough came in 1958 when Helena Rubinstein introduced MascaraMatic, a liquid mascara in a pen-like tube. The applicators ranged from a grooved metal tip to the more familiar bristle brush—the predecessors of the most common mascaras worn today.
What works best for you is really determined by the length and placement of your natural lashes, and what you want to achieve. Many mascaras on the market today claim that their product mimics the extreme effect of a false lash. We love this look for the stage, but real life is lived close-up, so our mascaras produce more subtle definition.
Our Black Cake Mascara, inspired by the 1920s, is timeless—brushes and applicators sold separately. Applies in thin, perfect coats, to layer without clumping. This long-lasting cake may also be used as eyeliner (use a superfine pointed brush with water), and may be brushed into brows for more drama.
Our 1930s Mascara, a black liquid in a golden tube, applies with a hairless wand for flawless separation, for a precise, well-groomed lash.
Our Cream Mascara, a 1940s-inspired squeeze-tube and brush combo set, creates a glossy, sassy lash.
Women who “never wear makeup” often tell us that our mascaras changed their whole attitude toward cosmetics! We always say, a woman doesn’t need much to look and feel glamorous. You can’t go wrong with a LBD, a strand of pearls, a light application of a favorite fragrance, a red lip—and classic black lashes.
The 1940s Cream Mascara is my absolute favorite! It doesn’t dry out my lashes, it stays put through my oily skin, and I feel very feminine when applying. I may be 22 years old, but I definitely am an old soul when it comes to this beauty! Love you Besame Cosmetics.
I’m so tickled to have the cake mascara back. While I miss the old applicator wand from earlier packaging, it’s an amazing product. The only other question now is whether you will be adding any eye shadow to your line.