3D lashes or steel wool on a stick? | make up review

Writ­ing this review and think­ing back on my expe­ri­ence today, I start to think about how sci­ence fic­tion hor­ror movies pre­pared me for what I went through a few hours ago, and yet I fell vic­tim to human fol­ly any­way. How do you make some­thing that’s already 3‑dimensional even more 3D? You don’t. That’s called bend­ing the laws of sci­ence and real­i­ty and it results in hav­ing night­mare fueled flash­backs to the X‑Files arc involv­ing the Black Oil virus.

A week ago, I was (re)gifted me a mas­cara duo that a friend had been coerced into buy­ing, even after hav­ing test­ed the make up and find­ing that it was­n’t her thing. That’s where the evil real­ly begins, I sup­pose. This stuff whee­dles its way into your life whether you want it to or not, and that, most def­i­nite­ly, is not the way that one is sup­posed to acquire make up. Make up is meant to make us feel good and look good, it’s an out­let of fun and exper­i­men­ta­tion, and we choose the brands, the colours, the prod­ucts, that we are drawn toward. If some­one tries to force cos­met­ics on you, you should prob­a­bly run.

Still, I accept­ed the gift because, well, free make up is free fuck­ing make up. I also assumed, as did my friend, that her expe­ri­ence had sim­ply been because she has very sen­si­tive skin to begin with. She knew she would prob­a­bly nev­er use it, and she knows that I enjoy make up. It was win/​win, we thought. I added the mas­cara to my col­lec­tion, and made a note to try it next time I was going out. Oh, how thank­ful I am that I got bored before my next errand run. While orga­niz­ing the van­i­ty-esque half of my work desk, I decid­ed that today was as good a day as any. After all, I knew this mas­cara had a cer­tain tech­nique that I would need to per­fect at some point, so try­ing it before going out in pub­lic was prob­a­bly a good idea.

We’ll call this prod­uct... uh... let’s call it UnKom­pairable Feel­ingHit 4D Mate­r­i­al Mas­cara.

If your social media accounts are as obnox­ious­ly ad-filled as mine tend to be, you’ve like­ly seen this stuff being shucked out by some­one who fell into the Pyra­mid Scheme that is the foun­da­tion (oh dear gods please tell me they don’t also make foun­da­tion, what a ter­ri­fy­ing thought) of this cos­met­ics com­pa­ny. From what I’ve dis­cov­ered, this is the only way to pur­chase this prod­uct: by being pulled into its vir­tu­al cult. It’s ridicu­lous­ly over­priced — and this is com­ing from a girl will­ing to drop 50$ on 4 lip­sticks all in near­ly-iden­ti­cal shades — and has a con­vo­lut­ed con­cept. Meant to volu­mize, thick­en, and mois­tur­ize(!) lash­es, this mas­cara isn’t for begin­ners no mat­ter what you’ve been told. Actu­al­ly, it may even be mar­ket­ed towards gamers, because you have to com­pete with some seri­ous quick-time events to make sure you put this stuff on right.

Now, I won’t deny that as an avid make up junkie who gets glammed up some­times just to stay home in my paja­mas and play sudoku on my phone, a lot of the trends I see usu­al­ly strike some inter­est in me. This mas­cara had nev­er real­ly caught my eye (OH HAD I BUT KNOWN), but I was pret­ty excit­ed to get in on this for all the #self­ie­gains.

Try­ing a new mas­cara, I want­ed to see the full effect of what I was going to be get­ting with this mir­a­cle prod­uct, so I got out that medieval look­ing tor­ture device you lov­ing­ly hold dear if you have lash­es as arrow-straight as mine: the eye-lash curler. I’ve nev­er been able to do it with­out pinch­ing myself at least once, and there’s always that chance you acci­den­tal­ly crimp your lash­es in a per­fect 90 degree angle (I once curled them so far back they high-fived my eye­brows every time I blinked too hard) or pull a few out if there’s even a hint of mas­cara already on your lash­es or the curler. This would be the eas­i­est part of my night.

Prepped, I set about find­ing some videos online of how to prop­er­ly per­form this rit­u­al that I now believe is occult in nature, giv­en the tor­ment I went through and the allu­sion to demon­ic spi­der legs left scat­tered over my eye­lids when I was done. After watch­ing sev­er­al and feel­ing cer­tain I knew what I was doing, I rewatched one of the more detailed videos, and braced myself.

I should have known this was going to leave me need­ing med­ical care when I looked at the first half of this con­coc­tion and real­ized it was called Trans­plant­i­ng Gel. Trans­plant­i­ng WHAT?! What are we tak­ing and where are we putting it? I briefly won­dered if eye­lash­es were on the check­list when you agreed to be an organ donor. I felt under­whelmed how­ev­er (don’t wor­ry, past me, this will change very soon) when I saw that the gel is basi­cal­ly just mas­cara itself. Apply­ing it, it looked and felt iden­ti­cal to any drug­store mas­cara I’d used before, and watch­ing in the mir­ror, I expect­ed to see some­thing fab­u­lous hap­pen as soon as it touched my lash­es. After all, I was appar­ent­ly get­ting myself ready for cos­met­ic surgery! My already 3D eye­lash­es were about to get the 3DD treatment!

But, I had to hur­ry! This was stressed by most of the videos I had watched,  and was appar­ent­ly best han­dled by hav­ing the sec­ond half of the mas­cara ready to go — to the point that some even seemed to dou­ble-fist the prod­ucts like what they were about to do was pos­si­bly ille­gal in some states. Now, I had seen what step two involved, but that had­n’t pre­pared me for expe­ri­enc­ing it in person.

How to prop­er­ly describe this strange, fuzzy tool... It looks like a mas­cara wand, as it right­ly should, but. But it looks like a mas­cara wand you would find under your couch after your cat had run away with it weeks ago. Imag­ine clean­ing out the lint catch­er in your dry­er with a lint roller. Bet­ter yet, imag­ine a q‑tip made out of steel wool. This is what I believe they used for a pro­to­type, and the idea just kin­da, stuck.

While the gel is still wet and tacky on your lash­es, your job now is to take the fiber wand, and drag — drag, I feel, is the only appro­pri­ate verb to use here, as what you are doing is not tech­ni­cal­ly apply­ing a sec­ond coat, but try­ing to trans­fer the fibers onto your lash­es. And as tech­nique showed in the videos, you need to do this as much as you can as quick­ly as you can, and real­ly bulk up those lash­es. Super­glu­ing a cot­ton ball to your eye­lid might pos­si­bly have the same effect (NOTE: DO NOT SUPERGLUE A COTTON BALL TO YOUR EYELID). I’m sure, by now, you can under­stand the con­cept. This all sounds rather easy, if a lit­tle over the top. But here’s the thing they don’t tell you.

That shit. Gets. Every­where. What you’re doing, essen­tial­ly, is dump­ing a bunch of tiny lit­tle black fibers onto your eye­lash­es and pray­ing to the gods they’ll stick. And you’re doing this upside down, if you real­ly think about it. You coat your lash­es from root to tip, by brush­ing them on the bot­tom. You’re try­ing to throw spaghet­ti on the ceil­ing of your face to see if it’s al dente. You can’t trust grav­i­ty, my man. And I did­n’t. And I still paid the price.

I want to make some­thing clear. Every­one pokes them­selves in the eye with a mas­cara wand now and then. It’s a fact. It hap­pens. We do it and it hurts and you pray you haven’t just ruined a look that took two hours to per­fect, and you move on. What hap­pened next has noth­ing to do with human error on my part. The wand nev­er once came near my eye­ball. These Cursed Wands of the Dark Arts that even He Who Shall Not Be Named would be ter­ri­fied to wield, bare­ly hold onto the fibers they car­ry. Bits of this fluff eas­i­ly falls off. It cov­ers you head to toe if you’re not care­ful. A but­ter­fly fart­ing in the next room could make fibers fall off of this wand. These lit­tle dust­ings of black wrath are ready and will­ing to leave their prison and you have just been declared war­den and unlocked all of the cells on death row.

As they’re sup­posed to do, these fibers, these fuzzy bits, these — let’s face it, facial pubic hairs at this point — build up as they get dragged along your eye­lash­es, but they appar­ent­ly have bet­ter things to do. Like clump them­selves up into a decent­ly sized ball and fall right onto your eye­ball. All it takes is one star­tled blink, and it’s like your scle­ra was the hippest par­ty in the neigh­bour­hood and then some­one fuck­ing shout­ed, “IT’S THE PO PO!” because these fuck­ers scat­ter like drunk high school­ers out past cur­few. Your tear duct becomes the safe house. Your low­er lid becomes a trench for these sol­diers of gueril­la war­fare to hide and attack.

top left: it’s in my eye­ball! it’s invad­ing! | top right: it’s try­ing to get to my brain!
bot­tom left: it’s. fuck­ing. every­where. | bot­tom right: per­fec­tion got noth­in’ on me.

I had to do a lot of touch­ing of parts I’d rather not touch, to get my eye­sight back. This is, of course, a worst case sce­nario, but I real­ly can’t see (HA!) this not hap­pen­ing every time you choose to use this mas­cara. This attack of 3D fiber fuzz did­n’t just con­tain itself to my eye, though. Some­thing very sim­i­lar to eye­shad­ow fall­out hap­pened, but it hap­pened every­where, and it was sticky from the trans­plant­i­ng gel and itchy because it was secret­ly Pink Pan­ther Insu­la­tion dyed black. It became clear, that if this were to become a habit, I would need to learn to do my lash­es first, and then have a show­er so I could do the rest of my make up on the blank can­vas of my face.

There was one sav­ing grace in my time of need. I’m cer­tain this stuff is water­proof. Hav­ing been cre­at­ed in the bow­els of Hell, con­sid­er­ing it’s obvi­ous­ly soot scraped off the walls of the Under­world, I can safe­ly assume only Holy water is going to make this mas­cara bleed. You sign a pact when you wear this shit. Instead of blood on the dot­ted line, you’re stab­bing your­self in the eye­ball with a pipeclean­er. Had it not been water­proof, the bril­lo pad that I had just shoved into my eye may have con­tin­ued down the rest of my face in a wash of tears and exfo­li­at­ed my cheek so thor­ough­ly that May­belline would have cho­sen Fred­dy Krueger over me for their next campaign.

After reach­ing back into the depths of my own orbital cav­i­ty with a clean q‑tip to get the last of the ene­my off of my eye­ball, and lit­er­al­ly sweep­ing from one cor­ner to the oth­er to lift globs off of my pupil, you would think I was fin­ished with the task and could now at least enjoy the spoils of war. No. I am but a low­ly pawn and I will be lucky if I get the scraps that the dogs won’t eat. Now is the time for salt on the wounds, peo­ple, because now you have to go over your lash­es with the trans­plant­i­ng gel again, and now I know why they call it that. Because what they want you to do, is trans­plant the last lit­tle bits of cling­ing iron shav­ings off of your lash­es and into your eye again, as going over your lash­es only dis­turbs the fibers that did not ini­tial­ly stick.

And then, oh, and then. You don’t just get to walk away at this point, either. That would be admit­ting defeat, and a girl who has put half an hour into one eye of mas­cara does not walk away, ladies and gen­tle­men. She does what she came to do, on a Tues­day night at home with noth­ing but bore­dom and curios­i­ty to keep her com­pa­ny. She takes up her eye­lash comb, and she does what the girls in the videos refer to as “tidy­ing up” or “fluff­ing” or what­ev­er oth­er com­fort­ing term is going to make her think she can still come out of this with her dignity.

I no longer have dignity.

Like a fran­tic and stressed moth­er pulling knots from her child’s hair sec­onds before the school bus arrives, I fought to coax my mat­ted lash­es apart from one anoth­er, promis­ing them ice cream when it was all over, telling them they could watch all the car­toons they want­ed if they would just coop­er­ate. It did­n’t work. Despite all my best efforts, my metaphor­i­cal child went to school wear­ing three lop­sided pig­tails, and I looked into the mir­ror in despair at the chunks of uneven, near­ly fifth-dimen­sion­al once-were-eye­lash­es-but-now-were-clear­ly-the-spikes-Ivan-the-Ter­ri­ble-used-to-land­scape that sur­round­ed my blood­shot and sore eye.

If the 80’s have made a come­back, and brought spiky spi­der-leg lash­es with them, then maybe I can sur­vive in this world. If the next trend is to look like Alice Coop­er and Twig­gy had a lovechild that grew up and took make up tips from Alex DeLarge and his droogs, then you can find me on the runway.

 left: a cer­tain unique mas­cara | right: my trust­ed rim­mel scan­daleyes show off mascara



2 thoughts on “3D lashes or steel wool on a stick? | make up review

  1. OMG Im so sor­ry friend but I am so hap­py in a weird way that it was­n’t just me that had some issues with this stuff .... thanks for say­ing all the things and more that I expe­ri­enced you are awe­some ..... I’m pret­ty sure there should be a sup­port group for the hor­ror that peo­ple feel try­ing to use this stuff LOL

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