WHEN WAS the last time anyone put some makeup on? That was the question friend and loyal MyLittleBird reader Nancy Gold posed to us last week. We put the query out on our Facebook page and received reader responses that ranged from “A little every day, just enough that passing a mirror doesn’t scare me” from Candy Sagon to “Today—WebEx meetings” from Inga Adams, and from our own Kathy Legg, “I think I’ve put on makeup once since this whole ordeal began. I may never bother with makeup again. I find I don’t miss it.”
Maybe not so coincidentally, last weekend a Wall Street Journal story reported on the reversals of fortune for cleaning supplies and makeup. Sales of cleaning products, soaps and vitamins from Clorox and Colgate Palmolive soared in the last three months. “Meantime, beauty giant Estée Lauder Cos. had its weakest quarter since the recession, with sales down 11%, to $3 billion. It swung to a $6 million loss as global shutdowns cut off consumers’ access to high-end beauty products, such as Clinique skin cream to [and] M.A.C. makeup.”
The conventional wisdom is that sales of lipstick—an inexpensive, feel-good buy—go up in a recession. But this is a pandemic and a recession on steroids. And when you’re required to wear a mask whenever you leave the house, wearing lipstick that not only won’t be seen but will get smeared beneath your facial cover doesn’t make sense. Aha, but that leaves the eyes to, er, focus on. Everyone can see those peepers. Below, 10 products to make sure your eyes have it.
FAR LEFT: You’ll have to judge whether it lives up to its name, but Too Faced’s Better Than Sex Mascara ($25, Ulta) is better than most other products that promise voluptuous lashes. My thin fringe needs a boost. It gets one from this hourglass-shaped brush with extra-stiff bristles that lift, coat and curl even the wispiest, hard-to-get-to lashes. One coat will probably do you unless you’re heading to a ball, which I’m guessing you’re probably not. NEAR LEFT: When I told the 12-year-old adorable Alexis (Kelly) I didn’t use an eyelash curler, she said, “Rookie mistake.” With that in mind I searched for my abandoned Shisheido Eyelash Curler ($22, Sephora) and used it before applying my mascara. The kid was right. Curling your lashes pre-mascara application makes a decided difference. Thanks to the curler’s flexible silicon rubber pads, I could use it without fear of irreparable eye damage. NEAR RIGHT: I confess I have been using Rodan + Fields Lash Boost ($155), an eyelash serum/conditioner, for an off-label use—on my brows. And they’ve never looked darker or fuller. Of course, I haven’t waxed or tweezed them in two months. Could it be my daily collagen powder intake? Nonetheless, I plan to place the definitely pricey product where it’s intended to go—on my lashes. FAR RIGHT: Beauty pros say brows frame your face and advise using brow pencils instead of gels for a more natural look. The fine tip of Jane Iredale’s Retractable Brow Pencil (available in 5 colors, $24, Dermstore) helps fill in those sparse spaces in the brows, while a spoolie brush on the other end of the pencil shapes and grooms them.
LEFT: Cle de Peau Beaute products get raves, and if I were to decide to wear color on my lids, I’d pick this Cream Eye Color Solo Eyeshadow ($45, Neiman Marcus) in this gorgeous slate blue that looks so dewy, as if it would just melt into the skin. CENTER: Puffy bags, fine lines, dark circles? Frownies Under Eye Gels (3 reusable sets, $19.99 Amazon) won’t erase all of that, but used for about 30 minutes, the area under your eyes will look brighter and tighter. The gel also feels cool and refreshing. RIGHT: I don’t claim to know how Bausch + Lomb’s Lumify Eye Drops ($14.99, Walgreens) does what it does, but when I put a drop in each eye in the morning, the red disappears.
ABOVE: What I like so much about this Charlotte Tilbury Rock ‘N Kohl Eyeliner Pencil (available in six colors, $27, Nordstrom) is that it glides on as smoothly as a liquid liner but instead of delivering a hard, defined line, you get a soft, rich kohl rimming your lids (psst: much more subtle than in the photo above).
LEFT: Pick from among five different colorways, including burgundy and solar glow, in M.A.C.’s pocket-sized Times Nine Eyeshadow Palette ($32, Nordstrom). Then amuse yourself by coming up with countless shade combinations. RIGHT: Drunk Elephant’s Shaba Complex Firming Eye Serum (.5 ounces, $60, Sephora) with a satiny feel can be applied under and around the eyes. The packaging is not only attractive, it also controls the amount you pump out for each use. Mine has lasted for months.