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Sun, Jan 11, 2009
Urban, The Straits Times
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Good vibes
by Karen Tee

Get ready for the latest innovation in the world of make-up: battery-operated vibrating mascaras.

Half a year after Estee Lauder and Lancome each released a vibrating mascara in the United States and Europe, these lash-coating wonders are finally heading here.

So hotly anticipated is this new generation of mascaras that Lancome will start a pre-launch sale of the Oscillation today, ahead of its official launch in April.

The $68 mascara is available at Lancome's Takashimaya Department Store counter till Sunday and at Tangs Orchard from Jan 16 to 18, while stocks last.

Estee Lauder's TurboLash, $50, will make its debut on Feb 6 at all its counters here.

Both brands are hoping to replicate their runaway success overseas.

The night before TurboLash was rolled out officially in New York City on July 17, online stocks of about 1,000 mascaras sold out, Elana Drell Szyfer, Estee Lauder's senior vice-president for marketing, told The New York Times in an Aug 7 report.

When Lancome launched Oscillation across the United States on July 31, 45,000 pieces were snapped up within the week.

Besides all that high-tech gadgetry - TurboLash produces 7,500 vibrations per minute and Oscillation does 7,000 - driving the demand, the promise of perfect lashes is the main draw.

According to both brands, the vibrations serve to better separate lashes and coat even the tiniest hairs more evenly.

Instead of having to jiggle the wand in a zig-zag motion as how most mascaras are applied, one smooth stroke is all it takes.

One key difference between the two mascaras is that Lancome's version comes with a button that you press to activate the 'micro-oscillations', while Estee Lauder's starts 'micro-pulsing' once you unscrew the cap and does not stop till you insert the wand back.

Do not worry about poking your eyes - the vibrations are so gentle you are in full control.

Our verdict: With just a bit of practice, these nifty devices are a cinch to use. Plus, they deliver on their promise to lengthen, volumise and separate lashes all at once.

Urban did an e-mail interview with the Paris-based creator of Oscillation and sifted through press material from Estee Lauder for the answers to our burning questions on these high-tech beauty gadgets.


Jean-Louis Gueret, packaging prospective cosmetic manager for Lancome, and Jamie Ong, senior product manager for Lancome Singapore, explain the magic behind the moving wand

What was the inspiration behind the vibrating mascara?

Gueret: My objective for over 30 years has been to enhance eye beauty.

After years of research, I concluded that lashes which are evenly coated create the most impact.

This inspired me to come up with a revolutionary battery-operated wand with an oscillating motion to give users a consistent result.

What makes Oscillation different from regular mascaras?

Gueret: For the first time, we have succeeded in eliminating the random effects that come with manual mascara application. This guarantees a perfect lash finish.

Ong: The oscillations of the battery-operated wand mimic the effect of professional lash make-up artistry, ensuring that lashes are always evenly coated without having to use the zig-zag motion.

This gives lashes length, definition and volume, whether it is a make-up artist or a novice mascara user applying it.

How is the brush design different from that of usual mascaras?

Gueret: The brush is a flexible applicator made of a special polymer that resonates with a frequency.

Only the unique combination of our formula, brush and micro-oscillation system can result in long, thick and luscious lashes.

How is the formula different from Lancome's other mascaras?

Gueret: Our make-up research labs have developed a new formula that stems from our innovation - Ultrafine Dispersion. This technology works in synergy with the micro-oscillations of the wand to ensure that the mascara glides over lashes easily with no trace of clumping or risk of over-application.

This ensures lashes are swathed in an even, perfectly smooth film.

Ong: The Asian version of the mascara has a smudge-resistant formula to ensure that it stays put in warm, humid weather.


George Kress, Estee Lauder Company's vice-president of corporate package innovations, and Paul Marotta, who is in make-up research and development, reveal the inspiration and science of their new mascara

What was the inspiration behind the vibrating mascara?

Kress: I am always looking to other industries for inspiration and ideas.

One afternoon, I saw a store display for a new vibrating razor and something clicked in my head. I started to think about how it might be interesting to apply this concept of electronic vibration to mascara.

What makes TurboLash different from regular mascaras?

Marotta: Thanks to the subtle motion of the brush, TurboLash mascara delivers volume, length, separation, definition and curl, all in one easy application.

How is the brush design different from that of usual mascaras?

Marotta: When the lashes are separated, the perception of lash volume decreases. So to get the volume we wanted, we needed a brush that could hold more formula and deliver an even and smooth application from lash root to tip.

We developed and tested nearly 200 brush designs to get the right one.

How is the formula different from Estee Lauder's other mascaras?

Marotta: TurboLash's unique rapid-release gel formula was designed to work in sync with the micro-pulses of the brush. The combination of jellified water, olive oil and paraffin waxes deliver an effortless application while mica, a chemical compound and ultra-tiny capsules called microspheres were used to help give smooth lashes and easy volume.

This article was first published in Urban, The Straits Times on Jan 9, 2009.

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