REVIEW: Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

Despite its name, the Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara has performed surprisingly well and has quickly become ‘one of my go-to’ mascaras. While nothing will replace my trusty Japanese mascaras, I find that this mascara works great on top of a layer of a Japanese mascara that I’m in the mood for that day.

This mascara “contains a film-forming polymer for smudge-proof all day wear,” and claims to thicken the lashes, keep the curl in place, and volumize beyond belief. The “unique peptides” create the deepest, intense black color and is marketed for more than just the false-lash-effect. The more layers you add, the more spidery your lashes get — but, that also means you get a lot of volume and thickness as well. For me, just 2 coats is enough.

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The Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara is “an intensely black, volumizing mascara with an hourglass-shaped brush that separates, coats, and curls each lash to voluptuous perfection.” The shape of the brush is “inspired by the curves of a woman’s body” and is “hourglass-shaped…with extra stiff bristles to maximize the performance of this carbon black, collagen-fueled formula.” The bristles on the brush are thick and compact, but transfer a lot of pigment and formula onto the lashes.

Apply one coat for lashes that are full and defined; two coats for lashes that are even more luscious, curled, and dramatic; and, three coats to help you achieve the “most intense, black, multidimensional lashes possible.”

This mascara can get clumpy and messy looking if you get carried away. For most, 1-2 coats is probably enough — even though it depends on what kind of look you’re going for! I’ve used this mascara alone, and it works pretty decent on Asian lashes. While it volumizes and thickens the lashes, the curl power is pretty weak. It weighs down my lashes easily so the curl tends to fall. That’s why I like to apply my Japanese mascara of choice and add the Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara on top for the volumizing and thickening effect.

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This is a good mascara, but isn’t life-changing and isn’t totally a necessity. Seeing as how I still rely on my Japanese mascara for length and curl, the Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara is just an added step for volume that I can’t get with other mascaras — which is why I’m loving it right now. The removal process is decent but takes a bit more effort. However, if you use a separate eye makeup remover in conjunction with a cleansing oil, it should be no problem. I recommend this mascara if what you’re looking for is intense volume, and you’ve already got a fantastic set of natural lashes on your lids.

If you’ve got stubborn, sparse, and straight lashes, this mascara can only do so much; and, you’ll probably get more out of mascaras like the Urban Decay Cannonball Ultra Waterproof Mascara, the Shiseido Majolica Majorca Lash Expander Edge Meister Mascara, the Fasio Ultra Curl Lock Volume Mascara, the Fasio Hyper-Stay Mascara Magne-Plus Curl Long, and the Kiss Me Heroine Volume and Curl Mascara. To read about my favorite mascaras bases, read my post called All About Mascara Bases for more info and product suggestions.

Retails for $23.00 USD.

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NARS Duo Eyeshadow in “Cordura”

Finding new gems is the best part of collecting and testing out makeup. And, as you know, I’m a big fan of NARS eyeshadows in general. In the past, I’ve written posts about the NARS Guy Bourdin Holiday Collection Limited Edition Cinematic Eye Shadow in “Mississippi Mermaid” and the NARS Single Eye Shadow in “Blondie” — and they’re still well used in my collection.

This post will focus on the NARS Duo Eyeshadow in “Cordura” because of MakeupByTiffanyD as usual. Her newest video called My Favorite Soft & Simple Smokey Eye Makeup Tutorial was my most recent obsession this week; and, I was on the hunt for the duo she featured in the video. I tracked mine down at Nordstrom since it was sold out at Sephora.

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“Cordura” is a duo that features both a warm shimmery brown shade and a dark shimmery brown shade. The complementary shades work well to bring a modern take on the smokey eye. While you can build it up to be dark and smokey, you can also layer the colors thinly to get a gradient and more natural look for the day. This “long-wearing, crease-resistant formula is uniquely paired in dazzling and creative color combinations” that have been expertly coordinated. The colors are rich in pigment, smooth and buttery, and are long-lasting even without primer.

I’d always recommend NARS eyeshadows and their range of products in general. However, this duo is special for its versatility and unique brown shades. In a world of neutrals, it’s hard to find unique brown shades when all I own are good brown shades. The browns in this duo are more golden-brown and give the perfect amount of depth and dimension to the lids.

Retails for $35.00 USD.

All About Mascara Bases

Today’s post is all about mascara bases because it’s the single most important part of my eyelash routine every morning. While you all know about my loyal allegiance to Japanese mascaras, a lifting and curl-holding primer/mascara base can make or break your curl. I’ve tried various fancy mascara primers and non-fancy primers, and for the most part, all have failed for me. Since I have typical Asian lashes, a heavy or wet formula will do nothing for my sparse, straight lashes. Also, for me, it doesn’t matter how great the mascara is if the curl has drooped.

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My two favorite primers are the Kanebo KATE Lash Maximizer Eyelash Plus Fiber Mascara Base and the well-known Shiseido Nourishing Mascara Base. Both condition my lashes — prepping them for hardcore Japanese mascaras; and, most importantly, both bases will hold the curl through rain, shine, wind, tears, and humidity.

Kanebo KATE Lash Maximizer Eyelash Plus Fiber Mascara Base
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The Kanebo KATE Lash Maximizer Eyelash Plus Fiber Mascara Base is not readily available, so you’ll have to resort to eBay to find it. Also, since it’s a Japanese brand, it’s almost a no-brainer that it’s built and designed for upholding the lash curl for Asians. As you can see, there are fibers attached to the formula and there’s lots of it. The primer itself is a white-ish color that will disappear once you’ve applied black mascara over it. The fibers are well-attached and won’t drop onto your face throughout the day like some fiber bases/mascaras. For me, the fibers don’t really add that much length to my lashes, but the formula is insane so it’s difficult to remove at the end of the day.

Shiseido Nourishing Mascara Base
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The Shiseido Nourishing Mascara Base is my all-time favorite and I’ve been devoted to it for nearly a decade. The base does it all — it enhances lashes with volume, length, and curl with NO fibers. One tube lasts a long time — about 6 months before it starts to smell funny. The gray-ish color of the primer disappears once you’ve applied mascara, and has performed well without issues for such a long time for me. Even when I explore and experiment with other mascara primers, I always have multiple back-ups of this so I will never be without it. The best part of this is that it’s not a struggle to remove it at the end of the day.

I recommend both these primers, but the Shiseido base is readily available and most reliable. I’d recommend the Kanebo KATE primer second; but, it depends on what you prefer — do you prefer fibers or not? I know that some people don’t like the complexity of incorporating fibers in their lash routine — I’ve heard horror stories of the fibers getting into the eyes, messing up contact lenses, and leaving a “hairy mess” on cheeks. I haven’t had a problem with any of that with the the Kanebo KATE base. In the summer, I reviewed the Shiseido Majolica Majorca Lash Bone Black Fiber , and I’d say that it’s comparable to the Kanebo KATE Lash Maximizer Eyelash Plus Fiber Mascara Base. It’s the same concept; the same idea; both include fibers. However, it’s not really a favorite of mine — albeit it works well and holds the lash curl. If you’ve struggled in the past with droopy and straight lashes, then I suggest one of these primers to help fix the problem. When using these kinds of products, it’s best to have an appropriate eye makeup remover — such as a cleansing oil, cleansing balm, or a bi-facil eye makeup remover. Really, the oilier the better. What are some of your recommendations?

Natural Eye Look of the Day feat. Laura Mercier Artist’s Palette for Eyes

Posting Face of the Day’s is always fun, but I neglect featuring the eyes because I find that it’s usually the same during the week. Because I work in a professional, academic setting most days, it’s really not an appropriate time to be experimenting with makeup/makeup looks. Since my work environment is limiting to my makeup creativity, I find that it’s important to have good quality neutral palettes so that you can have some choices. As with everyone else in the blogosphere, I’m still getting good use out of my Laura Mercier Artist’s Palette for Eyes and wanted to feature it in my “Natural Eye Look of the Day.”

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As you can see, things are pretty simple. I used a little bit of “Plum Smoke” as a base color all over my lids and added “Truffle” to the outer crease. After some blending, I applied “Espresso Bean” along my lashline (upper and lower) for some depth and definition. Then, I curled my lashes, applied the Shiseido Nourishing Mascara Base, and glopped on some Fasio Hyper-Stay Mascara.

For the brows, again, simple. I used the Benefit Gimme Brow and filled in sparse areas with MAC’s “Coquette” eyeshadow with the Louise Young LY31 Angled Sable Brow Brush.

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Here’s a better look at the palette and a corresponding blog post if you’re interested in more information. It’s worth the money, for sure. I hope this has given you more information regarding my eye routine. I like to keep things simple, so my eye routine takes roughly 10 minutes. I think if you have products that are reliable, then it really isn’t a struggle to come up with a look in the mornings. :)

Laura Mercier Sateen Eye Colour in “Rose”

I’m a big Laura Mercier fan and that’s been no surprise on this blog. I own two other eyeshadows but I was intrigued by the “Sateen Eye Colour” range, so of course, I had to give this a try. The Laura Mercier Sateen Eye Colours are “a lightweight eye shadow with a creamy powder texture that provides an immediate release of intense luminous colour with superior blending for a long-wearing, crease-resistant application.” The range of these eyeshadows help to create “a harmonious blend of pigment and pearl,” and the “unique blendability and silky application imparts a supple film of comfort on the skin.”

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The shade “Rose” is a barely-there color, even though in the pan, it looks like it could be something. I like the formula because it’s shimmery without being gritty in texture; and not glittery regarding the finish. However, the shade is so light that you have to really pack it on to kind of see the rosey-pink shade. I’m very fair and wear pretty much the lightest shade in foundation all across the board, and getting the shade “Rose” to look like something was difficult. I keep this shade around because it looks pretty when I wear it OVER other neutral shades in my collection, and looks pretty when applied onto the inner corners of my eyes. The formula is beautiful and I really like the texture of the eyeshadows, so the other shades are worth checking out.

Made in USA.
Retails for $23.00 USD.

REVIEW: Urban Decay Cannonball Ultra Waterproof Mascara

It’s very rare that I try non-Japanese mascaras — and, it’s simply because I need a hardcore mascara that will hold my curl way, way up. Pretty much all American mascaras won’t hold my lash-curl the way I like, and nothing annoys me more than droopy (yet heavily-mascara’ed) lashes that smudge. I decided to try the Urban Decay Cannonball Ultra Waterproof Mascara after seeing it featured in From Head To Toe’s YouTube video called “Mascara 101: Tips for Short, Straight Lashes.” I’m sorry, but American waterproof formulas are not as crazy as the Japanese ones, so I was wary when I purchased the Cannonball mascara.

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Now, even though this is an Urban Decay mascara and it can be assumed that this is standard American waterproof mascara, the Urban Decay Cannonball Ultra Waterproof Mascara is made in Japan. So, maybe I’m cheating a bit. LOL. It is described as a “lightweight, waterproof, gel-formula mascara,” and claims to have been “rigorously field-tested in the ocean as well as the sweat-drenched gym.” Like standard Japanese mascaras, Sephora’s website states that this “exclusive Japanese formula refuses to budge,” and that the “special microcrystalline wax works with the dense, fuzzy brush to increase seductive length and volume, without ever flaking off and compromising your lashes’ natural feathery texture.”

On that note, I’d agree that the mascara’s formula is lighteweight and decently waterproof (although not as hardcore as the Kiss Me Heroine Volume and Curl Mascara, the Shiseido Majolica Majorca Lash Expander Edge Meister Mascara, or the Fasio Hyper-Stay Mascara Magne-Plus Curl Long). The formula of Cannonball is gel-like and is a little gloopy upon the first application. But a little gloop never hurt because it helps sparse lashes look beefed up with some volume. This mascara is indeed long-lasting, smudge-proof, and does hold my lash curl to my liking. So, in this sense, the Cannonball Ultra Waterproof Mascara does pass my initial test to a certain extent.

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However, the formula does dry out my lashes — and when you don’t have a lot of lashes to begin with, every piece of it counts. I’d suggest wearing a base underneath this mascara, just to help your lashes out a bit. Also, even though my lashes were held up by this mascara, it didn’t stay up as curled as I would like. I supplemented the mascara with the Shiseido Majolica Majorca Lash Bone Black Fiber mascara base to help the performance and longevity.

So, yes, while the Cannonball Ultra Waterproof Mascara does perform better than most Western waterproof mascaras, Japanese mascaras are still number one in my book. And, while the Cannonball Ultra Waterproof Mascara did pass initial tests, it still needed the help of a hardcore base like the Shiseido’s Majolica Majorca Lash Bone Black Fiber mascara base. In the end, I feel that it’s great for everyone, simply because this mascara worked on my sparse, thin, Asian lashes, LOL.

Made in Japan.
Filled in China.
Retails for $20.00 USD.
Color: Black only

REVIEW: Kiss Me Heroine Volume and Curl Mascara

Since experimenting outside of my trusty Majorica Majorca Lash Expander Frame Plus mascara, I’ve tried and reviewed various Japanese mascaras on this blog. I do it rarely because I’m notoriously picky about mascara because I’ve been cursed with short, sparse, Asian lashes! For me, it’s important that I get LIFT and CURL before I get length and volume. Most Western mascaras will make my lashes droop and fall down after curling – no matter how fancy the mascara is. Before applying any mascara, I always use the Shiseido mascara base – which has worked wonders and has protected my lashes from harsh, drying, waterproof formulas.

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My newest obsession is the Kiss Me Heroine Volume and Curl Mascara that I recently picked up at an Asian grocery chain. Honestly, ordering it on eBay probably would’ve been a cheaper option, but I wanted it right then and there rather than waiting for it to come in the mail! :) I opted for the volume and curl option rather than the lengthen and curl. In my experience, Japanese mascaras that have “lengthen and curl” in its title will do just that and nothing more. I always have to layer on another mascara for more oomph.

The Kiss Me Heroine Volume and Curl Mascara is great and has temporarily replaced my current Japanese mascara – the Fasio Curl Lock Mascara. The wand of the Kiss Me mascara is tapered and much more manageable because it’s thin and small – albeit it does not spare any bristles. For Asians, when you don’t have a lot of actual lashes to work with, attempting to maneuver a big, fat, dense brush is frustrating because it will only end up transferring product onto the lids and beyond. The concentrated brush is the best feature of this mascara.

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The formula is what makes this mascara – obviously. The glossy black finish is pretty but not in an obnoxious way. It holds the curl immensely through rain or shine, and doesn’t smudge or flake off throughout the day. Occasionally, I will still layer a mascara on top if I feel like it, but the volume this mascara provides is still good – although it can get clumpy if you’re not careful. The formula is initially wet on application but dries quickly – I assume to capture the angle of the curl, lol.

Like ALL curl-holding Japanese mascaras, this is difficult to remove. I believe Kiss Me sells a separate remover for this high-power mascara, but if you’re unable to get a hold of one (like me), I suggest using Lancome Bi-Facil or the Neutrogena Eye Makeup Remover and following it with a cleansing oil.

I highly recommend this, especially if you need a mascara that holds the curl. If there isn’t an Asian market around you and your store doesn’t carry beauty products, I suggest hunting it down via eBay because there’s some reliable sellers who carry this product!

Made in Japan.

Fasio Curl Lock (Long) Mascara Review + Eyebrow Update

Since branching away from my trusty Majolica Majorca Lash Expander Frame Plus mascara, I’ve been testing out and experimenting with other Japanese mascaras. Based on excellent reviews, I purchased the Fasio Curl Lock mascara on eBay.

The reflective packaging is weighted and feels sturdy, strong, and very high quality. It reminds me of the Armani Eyes to Kill mascara (although I didn’t like that mascara for my Asian lashes). It does get fingerprinty and gets quite dirty being tossed around in my makeup bag, but my OCD-self has learned to just wipe it off and move on! :)

This mascara performs so well that I think my search for a holy-grail mascara is over. It’s everything I loved about my previous favorite (Majolica Majorca Lash Expander Frame Plus mascara) but with an easier application. The less-fibrous brush wand delivers exactly the correct amount of product onto my lashes and stays put. The name “curl lock” is very appropriate in this sense.

Brush close-up here shows the slightly curved wand. It cradles your lashes – every little piece, even the short ones. Sometimes, I flip the wand and use the hump part of the curve to add on more product. Because this specific Fasio mascara is for length there is no clumpy volume (although I prefer that sometimes). I know that Fasio has a curl lock mascara that’s specifically for volume, but it wasn’t available on eBay for purchase.

Brush close-up again here. The actual bristles are tightly packed together which I think is good for lash separation. This prevents clumps and applies very cleanly onto the lashes. It’s very natural looking and doesn’t flake or smudge. This mascara is super waterproof by the way.

The performace of this mascara is superb and when I get a chance to try out the volume version, I most definitely will. Much like all Japanese mascaras, it’s very difficult to remove so be prepared to used a separate waterproof eye makeup remover and then follw up with a cleansing oil to remove every trace.

Here’s the Fasio Curl Lock mascara in action + check out the updated eyebrow color! As you can see, the curl is definitely help up well and the product has applied very cleanly onto the lashes. Also, volume is lacking a bit with this mascara, so on less-natural days, I layer on my L’Oreal Voluminous mascara to get the volume I want.

As for the eyebrow update, I’ve switched to MAC’s “Coquette” eyeshadow for my brows. Now that we’re heading into fall, the dark brown shade I was previously using (MAC’s “Charcoal Brown”) wasn’t cutting it for me anymore and I wanted a change. Surprisingly, “Coquette” works perfect for me – not too brown and not too gray. This works for me because my natural hair color is a dark chocolate color; so this is a good in-between eyebrow shade for me.

As always, I’ve applied the brow color with my MAC 266 angled brush which has always been a winner in my book.

What are your favorite mascaras? Have you tried any other Japanese mascaras? What are you using for your brows?

Current Favorites – What I’m Loving Lately

I’ve been loving a lot of my newly discovered products lately; but, some of the products mentioned in today’s posts are products that have remained staple items in my collection.

As always, face products are on a constant rotation. However, the Chantecaille Future Skin Oil-Free Gel Foundation is still in my #1 winner’s spot.

Normally in the mornings, my mind is debating which foundation to use, and much of this thought process is dependent upon what my day is going to be like/where I’m going to be. With the Future Skin foundation, it’s my trusty automatic go-to product – it’s my favorite right now and forever – unless that’s just too dramatic. :) It’s the perfect blend between the dewy look and semi-matte look. LOVE.

I’ve noticed that I’m still loving the wear-time of this foundation. It doesn’t wear off or melt away as I’ve previously read in reviews. Even with the growing humidity in Texas, I haven’t noticed any difficulties wearing this foundation. Also, my shade – “Alabaster” – is the best color match I’ve ever experienced in a foundation. I realize this is not the case for many since the color selection in Chantecaille’s range is so limited. I should remind you that the foundation is made in Japan, and perhaps I love this foundation because I’ve had a long, long love affair with Japanese foundations. Either way, if you get a chance to give this product a try – DO IT.

Along with the Future Skin foundation, I’m obsessed with my Chanel luminous bronzing powder in #907 Sable Beige, MAC blush in “Pink Tea,” and setting everything very lightly with the Laura Mercier mineral powder in “Soft Porcelain.” A few weeks ago, I skipped powdering my t-zone because I didn’t really need to. Unfortunately, the Texas heat is coming on strong now since we’re heading into the summer months with full force. ICK.

Lazy days – like Sundays – require minimal effort for getting ready. Because I reserve Sundays for my face mask and bubble bath routine, I try to allow my skin to take the day off from makeup. On days like this, I quickly dab on my Clé de Peau concealer in “Ivory” and dust a light layer of Laura Mercier mineral powder in “Soft Porcelain.” If I’m in the mood, I’ll add some blush to give my skin some life. But most of the time, I skip it because I’m feeling lazy.

Eye makeup has remained basic but I’ve been “shopping my stash” lately. I’ve re-discovered my past favorite MAC eyeshadow in “Hypnotizing” and paired it with my long-time favorite shade in “Handwritten.” I still curl my lashes with my KOJI lash curler and use my Shiseido mascara base with my trusty majolica majorca expander frame plus mascara.

I’ve been skipping liner and anything else complicated. I have added something new – which is the MAC brow set. As a mascara for the brows, it’s easy to use this on days when you don’t want to meticulously draw in/pencil in/shade in your brows. A few quick swipes and you’re good to go – I use the shade “Beguile” which is a dark brown shade.

Favorite lip products as of late includes an oldie but goodie – the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector 01, which is a light pink shade that’s glossy and moisturizing (and non-sticky). When I’m wanting a bit of color on the lips, I’ve been reaching for my MAC lipstick in the shade “Lovelorn.”

What are your current products?

*Pictures taken using CANON POWERSHOT SD1300 IS DIGITAL ELPH (12.1 Megapixels)

Current Eye Routine

Ahh, yes, our eyes are the window into our soul. One of the things that makes my morning eye makeup routine a bit difficult is my lack of eyelashes. Unfortunately, Asians naturally have sparse, thin lashes that don’t curl and sometimes the lashes can’t curl. At the same time, many of us lack the Western double-lid crease – which makes eye shadow application difficult as well. I get asked all the time how to make Asian eyes appear to look brighter, bigger, and more attractive; and many Asians forego the mascara and lash drama all together because it’s not going to make a difference anyway. Eyes – no matter what your ethnic background is – are beautiful; and, my non-product-related advice is to accept your beautiful eyes just the way they are. Embrace your lack of eyelashes – but, do what you can to make the most of them.

Your Arsenal should always include an eyelash curler, even if your lashes are the typical-Asian lashes that can’t hold the curl. We’ll get to that part later. Curling your lashes, lifts them up allowing the eye to look more open. Because Asian lashes point downwards, I feel like sometimes it acts as a ‘curtain’ and shields the tops of the eyelid slightly – making them appear smaller.

After curling your lashes, use a waterroof mascara as a base and coat your lashes gently. At this point, it’s better to look into the mirror, with your head tilted up slightly while applying the mascara. When working with short lashes, the wand can hit the tops of your lid making little black dots appear. Waterproof mascara can be drying, but that’s kind of the whole point since it contains more wax than your average non-waterproof mascara. This allows the curl to hold a lot better since it was designed to withstand humidity and moisture. While that first layer is drying, move onto the rest of your routine (whatever that may be) while the mascara dries. I like to use the L’Oreal Voluminous False Lashes mascara.

Next, layer a volumizing mascara on top. Lately I’ve been using Benefit’s They’re Real mascara since it’s a thicker formula and is widely known to also hold a curl. At this stage, you may notice some slight clumping – but for us, Asians – it’s okay because the slight clumping can provide the illusion of visible lashes.

Another important step is highlight and contour the eyes so that they have some definition. Since Asian lids are quite flat, highlighting and contouring is essential to make the lids look less flat. I use MAC‘s shadestick in Butternutty to highlight the inner corner of my eyes (for a brightening effect); and I use Chanel‘s eyeshadow in Safari or MAC‘s mineralize eyeshadow in Twilight Falls to give my eyelids some depth and definition. In my opinion, sticking to a darker-taupe shade is key because it compliments the yellow/olive tones in Asian skin. It’s also less stark than black; and, less intense because many women resort to using a thick black line across the eye.

This may sound time-consuming, but really, after some practice – this “eye routine” takes about 5 minutes (if that). Using a good blending brush can also help fade contour/crease color out a bit, especially if you’re going for a more natural and subtle look. However, if you want to keep it really minimal, I highly suggest getting an eyelash curler and pairing it with a good, trusty waterproof mascara. Even if you skip everything else, your eye will look more open and wider just by getting your lashes up and out – and essentially, out of the way.

Another quickie post. Thanks for reading.
*Pictures taken on my Blackberry Bold.
*Click on images to enlarge.