PERHAPS IN response to Tammy Faye Bakker's overplayed eyelashes, which became one of last year's humorous symbols of a scandal, lashes this season are dramatic in their subtlety. The no-makeup look is de rigueur . And since cosmetics-industry research shows that 44% of American women choose not to wear any mascara, this less-is-more thinking should be welcome news.
Long, dark, battable eyelashes have been the stuff of Victorian romances and 1940s movies, but for most women such luxurious fringe is pure fantasy. In fact, says Beverly Hills skin-care specialist Aida Grey, most women have pale, short lashes. In the past they've turned to multiple pairs of artificial lashes, a la Bakker, or heavy coats of black mascara. Now fashionable women are taking a fresh look at their own unadulterated lashes.
"Our market research shows that women don't wear traditional mascara for one of two reasons: Either they object to getting 'raccoon eyes' at four o'clock in the afternoon or they're allergic," explains Sharon LeVan, senior vice president of marketing at Max Factor.
Facts like these inspired an unpredictable and unprecedented new product: Factor's hypoallergenic No Color Mascara. Applied with a wand, the clear gel is designed to enhance natural lashes, to make them glisten and hold a slight curl. Max Factor claims that lashes look longer, darker and more defined, without a chance of smudging. News of No Color spread fast, LeVan says. "A six-month supply sold out in a matter of days all across America," she says.