Aero-boost technology, thermal-sensitive polymers, moldtrusion brushes – it sounds like we’re talking about the components of a NASA space shuttle instead of the mascaras coming soon to a beauty counter near you. Yes, mascara has gone 2.0, with a new generation of high-performance products that define, plump and curl lashes. Here’s your guide to the best new breakthroughs.

Tube tech
“Waterproof mascara, as we know it, will be replaced by hybrid formulas that fall somewhere between waterproof and traditional,” says Janet Pardo, senior vice-president of product development at Clinique. First seen in the cult favourite Kiss Me Mascara from Blinc, “tubular” technology – which coats each lash in a tiny, water-resistant tube – is hitting the mainstream in new formulas from Clinique, Estée Lauder and CARGO. Called a “thermal-sensitive polymer,” the elastic, claylike material reacts to heat (but not sweat or sebum), sets on application (by binding around the lashes like a glove) and lasts longer than traditional mascara formulas (because it doesn’t dry out). “You can wear this mascara all day without it smudging or flaking off,” says Liz Martin, executive director of global makeup product development at Estée Lauder. And unlike most waterproof formulas – which practically require a blowtorch to get off your lashes – removal is easy: Warm water breaks down the formula, causing the tubes to slide off. “[There’s] no tugging and no damage,” says Pardo. “It’s effortless.”

Gloss up
Fashion designer Thierry Mugler is known for his futuristic creations, so it’s no surprise that his first beauty line, Dare the Metamorphosis, features a mascara unlike any other. Housed in a sleek, ultra-modern case, Cils Vinyle is described as “gloss for your lashes” and delivers an over-the-top wet, shiny look. “It’s a revolutionary, free-flowing texture,” says Mai Hua, a colour designer for Thierry Mugler Beauty. “It coats the lashes with an incredibly sexy latex gloss.” Thanks to three types of resins, the high-shine formula is also long-lasting.

Charge account
Remember those high-school science lessons on protons and electrons? Smashbox applied the same principle – that opposites attract – in its new Bionic Mascara. “This mascara is cationic, which means the positively charged formula adheres to the negative charge on your lashes,” says Sylvie Rouaix, vice-president of global product development for Smashbox.

The result? A long-wearing formula that strengthens and lengthens lashes and boosts volume.So we’re not film or television stars, but that doesn’t mean we can’t steal a few of their tricks. CARGO’s blu_ray Mascara was designed to stand up to high-definition (HD) film and super-zoom digital cameras – both of which demand flawless, light-weight makeup. “In HD filming, the camera picks up every imperfection,” says Hana Zalzal, president and founder of CARGO Cosmetics. “It’s essential to have well-defined, clump-free lashes.” A cocktail of vitamins (A, B, C and E) makes for an ultra-conditioning, clump-free base, while the comb applicator separates lashes for a full but natural look.

Lash out
If “Bigger is better” is your mantra, Rimmel London will deliver in the form of thick, full, Bambi-like lashes. A new formula debuting this spring features patented “aero-boost” technology, which can increase lash volume up to five times thanks to ultra-light, spherical particles. “These spheres are considerably lighter than classic mascara fillers, such as talc, and enhance the formula by adding texture without weight,” says Alan Farer, vice-president of R&D Colour for Coty Inc. “Combined with a patented combination of water- and oil-soluble ingredients, it provides a major volume boost.”

“Everyone has been using the same twisted wire brush for ages,” says Sarah Vickery, a senior scientist for P&G Beauty. Now, brushes are going high-tech, with designs that enable precise definition. CoverGirl uses “moldtrusion” technology – a technique that uses a mould to create soft, flexible plastic bristles – in several of its formulas, including LashBlast. Similarly, Chanel’s Inimitable Mascara features a cylindrical brush made of elastomer, a pliable plastic. The benefits? Fewer clumps and better definition thanks to superfine bristles that can reach even the shortest lashes. Guerlain’s latest offering – the double-ended Le 2 de Guerlain – works similarly: The large brush distributes formula along the lashes, while the small brush allows for precise application. “This technology is a crossover from the dental industry,” says Olivier Echaudemaison, creative director for Guerlain. “It catches the tiniest lashes and creates perfect definition.” But if it’s curl you’re after, Maybelline New York’s PowerCurve wand is shaped to the natural contour of your lash line for curl that lasts up to 12 hours. “The brush provides the leverage needed to lift and curl with each stroke,” says Debra Coleman-Nally, director of technical communications for Maybelline research and development, “and, because the formula has a ‘quick-set system,’ the curl is completely locked in place.”