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



so it’s been a while!

let’s do a quick recap of what’s been going on for the last month or two:


1. i don’t remem­ber what sil­ly thing hap­pened, but noses were scratched and lips were pout­ed. /​/​ 2. i picked up embroi­dery and needle­point again for the first time since i was 12.


3. i drew an ele­phant (pho­to was a w.i.p.) for a friend. /​/​ 4. i spent a week with my ‘step-sis­ter’ and her daugh­ter, and rekin­dled my love for blue’s clues.


5. i cut up three decks of cards to cre­ate bob­bins for all the embroi­dery floss i’ve col­lect­ed. /​/​ 6. sin­clair tried to take a self­ie.


7. i had a girl’s night with my mom­ma and went to an ‘acoustic only’ live show at a club in town and lis­tened to some great artists. /​/​ 8. i chan­neled my inner lisa frank.


9. at my kid brother’s 22nd birth­day din­ner, he and my mom­ma played a game of knuck­les... she lost. /​/​ 10. my lat­est fin­ished embroi­dery project was inspired by the lyrics of ‘jesus jesus christ’ by brand new.

(for a good laugh, you’ve got­ta click that pho­to of my mom­ma to see it full-size) so that’s a vague look at what i’ve been up to late­ly, some flash­es of my life that may go through my head if that’s tru­ly what hap­pens when you die and if that’s the case? for the most part, feb­ru­ary and march of 2015 are two decent months to reflect back on.


you’re the tops and that’s that (meet sinclair)

(props to any­one who knows what the title of this post is ref­er­enc­ing)

This is Sin­clair. He is the ugli­est thing I’ve ever fall­en in love with.” — I wrote on Jan­u­ary 23rd, 2015, on my way home with a card­board box fid­get­ing on my lap, a tiny nose now and then peek­ing out to sneeze at the sit­u­a­tion. It’s weird to think that, come tomor­row, he’ll have only been home with me for three weeks. Hope­ful­ly, he’ll have many more years to come.

I won’t lie; a part of Sinclair’s charm is that he was an impulse adop­tion. I had been left to wan­der on my own for about a half hour, which you would think, “How much trou­ble can a 25 year old with about $80 in her pock­et real­ly get into?” Well. I prac­ti­cal­ly bee-lined my way to the pet store to see if there were any pup­pies there to cud­dle with for a while, or maybe a fer­ret or two. There were not, but I had time to kill, and I can spend a lot of time just look­ing at all the lit­tle crea­tures. I don’t care much for rab­bits, or ham­sters. I’ll side-eye the lizards and snakes, and I’ll gath­er up all my courage to glance at the scor­pi­ons and taran­tu­las and toads (ugh, I hate toads!). I do absolute­ly adore hedge­hogs (and even had one, the infa­mous San­cho Pan­za, a grumpy lit­tle thing that I had to rehome because I didn’t have the time or means to look after him any­more). But, to cut things short, I spent the most of my time look­ing at the rats.

Now, pre­vi­ous­ly, I hat­ed the things. Beady-eyed, long-toothed, sharp-clawed, with those long, creepy tails! Ugh! I thought they were the worst. And then I vis­it­ed my mom for a week­end, and she had recent­ly adopt­ed one, named Lady (or, as I liked to call her, Fid­dy-Fid­dy, because she was hood­ed). My first night, I bare­ly got any sleep, hav­ing been stuck in the same room as her in her lit­tle cage that I was absolute­ly cer­tain she would sneak her way out of and bite me to death. I want­ed noth­ing to do with her. I had ham­sters as a child, and the nov­el­ty of small fuzzy crea­tures is entire­ly lost on you when you get bit­ten every time you try to touch them. I thought the same about Lady. Until my broth­er took her out of her cage, and dropped her right into my lap.

Love. Absolute awe.

After Lady, there came Dash(board) and Lit­tle One, who are still kick­ing around. They’re down­stairs togeth­er as I type this, my mom’s girls and sweet things. Dash­board got her name thus­ly from get­ting out of the box the day we picked her up, and hid­ing in the dash­board of my mom’s truck for the entire dri­ve back to the house. We’re lucky she made it. And I was hap­py to move back home and be around the two of them more often, as well as my pup­py Lexi, of course (she’ll get her own post one day). Still, I real­ly want­ed a pet of my own, I was just wait­ing for the right time... or so I thought.

Back at the pet shop, I crouched down to get a look at the rats they had. A pile of fuzzy hood­ed males, maybe half the size of my fist each, all cud­dled up togeth­er to keep warm while they napped. Okay, cute— but! Wait! What is that thing!? That mass of wrin­kles back there, sit­ting on top of three lit­tle rats?! I need to see this thing!! OH GODS IT MOVED.sinclair-1 As soon as I saw him, twice the size as any of the oth­ers, and the only one of his breed in the whole store, I fell in love. It was instan­ta­neous. He was hideous and all I want­ed to do was hold him! It took me ten sec­onds to make up my mind, just as long as it took for the girl work­ing there to make her way to the back of the store. “That ugly lit­tle guy, I need to take him home now!”

He peed on me. I had him on my shoul­der for less than three sec­onds, and he drenched me. And still, I loved him and need­ed to call him my own. So, alone and deter­mined, though unsure what the reac­tion would be, I called my mom. In fact, I woke her up from a nap, and while she was still grog­gy, I sim­ply asked her, “Can I buy a rat?” and she gave me her bless­ing, and prob­a­bly went back to sleep.

Sin­clair is a hair­less rat. He’s now sev­en months old (rough­ly 18 in human years), and right now, he’s curled up in a navy blue leg warmer sleep­ing, because I rude­ly woke him up this morn­ing while chang­ing his water. He already answers to his name (which was inspired by a char­ac­ter from the video game Bioshock 2), and he loves yogurt drops and banana chips. Arguably, he’s soft­er than reg­u­lar rats, his skin almost has a vel­vet-like feel to it, and this spoiled lit­tle brat gets a mas­sage once a week with extra-vir­gin olive oil to keep his skin from dry­ing out or get­ting scratched up.

Even when he wakes me up in the mid­dle of the night chew­ing away at his food or lick­ing at his water bot­tle, all I can do is smile at him. When he sneezes (he has aller­gies, some­thing com­mon with hair­less rats, and some­thing I’m keep­ing a very close watch on), I sneeze back. He runs around on my bed (with a tow­el, because he’s yet to learn there is a time and place to poop and my bed is not it), and I tick­le his back and scritch above his nose, his favourite spot. I nev­er, nev­er, would have fig­ured myself a ‘rat per­son’ but here I am, with the ugli­est lit­tle sweet­heart ever. Here’s to many years of us keep­ing each oth­er com­pa­ny. sinclair-3


like an open book (part i)

donotmy 2nd mole­sk­ine, red with unlined pages

I’ve always kept some form of jour­nal, whether I real­ly meant to or not. I nev­er was one for diaries, per se, or the idea of writ­ing down my thoughts or the events of the day, but it nev­er felt right to not have some­thing near­by to jot down what­ev­er came to mind. There was a point where I car­ried at least three dif­fer­ent jour­nals in my purse at any time. Each one had a sep­a­rate pur­pose: there was one for writ­ing sto­ries, one for per­son­al moments, and anoth­er was a sort of catch-all. I still car­ry one or two with me when I go out, though they’re not always the same one (that’s an entire­ly dif­fer­ent post, though, the amount of emp­ty jour­nals I have...).

My par­ents bought me my first mole­sk­ine when I was 18, and I cried, like the lit­tle elitest hip­ster that I am some­times. They’re absolute­ly an over­hyped prod­uct, but I’ve yet to meet a writer who hasn’t used one, or want­ed to own one, or isn’t in love with the one they have, now in sham­bles and bare­ly held togeth­er by its elas­tic band. I kept my first one pris­tine for the longest time. It took four months before I actu­al­ly wrote in it, and for a long time I made sure not to dog-ear, rip, smudge, or waste a sin­gle page. It was an ordeal. Noth­ing that came to mind was ever good enough to write inside its pages. I had bare­ly writ­ten my name on the ‘if lost, return to’ page before my imag­i­na­tion had wan­dered. I pic­tured myself, decades from now, with book­shelves filled with my own jour­nals, all burst­ing at the seams and dat­ed, full of all my ideas, dreams, and thoughts. Not in a Kevin Spacey in Se7en way, mind you. But I want­ed shelves lined with my life and every­thing in it that had inspired me.

nananaa line from my chem­i­cal romance’s “plan­e­tary (go!)”

I even­tu­al­ly start­ed to do what I want­ed, and more impor­tant­ly, what I need­ed to, when it came to writ­ing in my jour­nals. Pages got ripped, whole lines would be scrib­bled out, I start­ed to write down my favourite words, lyrics, I played tic-tac-toe against myself (and lost), I learned that what I want­ed wasn’t per­fect words, but a visu­al rep­re­sen­ta­tion of myself. Some­thing tan­gi­ble that could scream out for me: this is who I am, this is who I want to be!

portrait1self por­trait from octo­ber 2014

Every time I reach for one of my jour­nals now, I don’t have any expec­ta­tions, no set idea for what needs to be writ­ten in it that day. Some­times I don’t even write any­thing down, I just flip through the pages for inspi­ra­tion. Even at 25 years old, jour­nals are still a learn­ing expe­ri­ence for me and I hope they always are.