Under the microscope...Lancôme Oscillation (£26, currently exclusive to Selfridges, www.selfridges.co.uk; nationwide from November)
In theory: When word spread about the launch of vibrating mascaras, predictable sniggering ensued. Beauty aficionados, however, were delighted by the technological revamp of a make-up bag essential. The most effective traditional application method is what's technically termed as "wiggling the brush from side to side" as you coat the lashes. Lancôme's battery-operated wand oscillates 7,000 times a minute to do the wiggling for you so that "lashes are extended, reshaped, and infinitely multiplied".
In practice: To activate the vibration you need to hold down a small, stiff button at the end of the wand. Now, Dr Feelgood might be particularly weak of wrist, butI sense a potential RSI risk for beauty addicts here. Luckily, the oscillation is tiny and there doesn't appear to be any chance of taking someone's eye out.
Observations: This did indeed deliver good coverage without the dreaded clumps. However, the formula of the mascara itself was a little on the thin side, so results were disappointingly undramatic. This was, however, the first time I have ever seen a man vaguely interested in my make-up routine.
Analysis: If you are a practised "wiggler" such as myself, it's hard to kick the habit, so I wasn't sure whether this worked well because of my expertise or technology. Either way, there's no point inventing a super-duper brush if the mascara itself is underwhelming. It does make a fantastic portable talking point, though.
Prescription: Other than dedicated cosmetics addicts, who will love the novelty value, this is a good investment for the seriously cack-handed or terminally lazy make-up wearer who likes a natural look.
Further experiments: Estée Lauder's TurboLash, £28, has a thicker consistency, and while it doesn't vibrate, Givenchy's Phenomen'Eyes, £17.50, comes with a wand that can be worked right in to the roots (both at Harrods, www.harrods.com).
Scores: 1 star placebo, 2 stars sticking plaster, 3 stars over-the-counter remedy, 4 stars should be available on the NHS, 5 stars miracle cure