Product Review: How Long Has It Been Since I Last Did This?

People, you need to know: I am the Queen, Undisputed, of Mascara.

I am asked routinely by perfect strangers in the grocery store if my lashes are actually mine.

They are the one truly, undeniably, irrevocably good feature I have. No matter how short my hair is or what my nose happens to be doing on a given day, my eyelashes are On Fucking Fleek, as the kids say, all the time. They don't fall out, they take dye easily, they're long and thick and look like false ones if I load up on mascara.

If I have one vanity, it's my eyelashes. They are the one immutably good thing about my face. My eyebrows go from Crazy Recluse to Mountain Man in a day; my cheekbones appear and disappear like blue sky in the Spring; my nose may or may not have a bump in the middle or on the end, depending on how much salt I've eaten in the last twenty-four hours. But eyelashes? I so have that shit covered.

Currently my eyelashes are longer than my hair. Really.

As a result of all this, I've become obsessed with mascara. See, when your lashes are long and thick but transparent, you depend on mascara to make them visible. Without mascara, I remind people uncomfortably of a white rabbit, like I'm about to be locked in a cage and have household cleaners tested on me. Without mascara (or dye in the summertime), my eyeballs blend seamlessly into my face at large, making me look like a washed-out X-Files alien.

I fucking live for some goddamned mascara, is what I'm sayin'.

And, today, I have reached a milestone: with the delivery of a one-hundred-point sample from Sephora, I have now tried every mascara currently available on the US market. I'm not exaggerating. I've spent something like a thousand bucks in the last two years on mascara: drugstore, mid-market, high-end. There is no grocery-store trip I take that doesn't end with a couple of tubes in my basket. I've used Maybelline, and Cover Girl, and NYX, and ELF, and NY, and Dior, and Lancome, and Clinique, and every other mascara you can name.

Yes. I have an Excel spreadsheet.

It's taken me a decade, but I am prepared now to offer you my winner of all winners, my mascara Holy Grail, the one makeup product that, if it is discontinued by the manufacturer, I will spend good foldin' cash money to buy a hundred tubes of offa eBay before it all goes dry.

That mascara is:

Ardency Inn Punker.

It comes in one color: black. It has a curved brush, which is a pain in the ass, but I'm willing to put up with it for the formula. It's wax-based, it dries incredibly fast, it does not clump even when you come to the end of the tube, It is not waterproof, but it is tear-and-sweat resistant. It does not smudge under your eyes, even if you have oily undereye skin like I do. It is safe for contact lens wearers and has never amplified my allergies. It makes lashes look great with one coat, amazing with two, and drag-queen-worthy with three.

You do not have to comb out between coats unless you want to.

And it works with false eyelashes.

My Asian coworkers love it because it dries fast enough that it doesn't dot up on their eyelids. My Indian coworkers love it because it gives them that natural-looking, yet-can-be-seen-from-space look that they love. My Hispanic colleagues love it because it's a true neutral black, not something with blue or red undertones. I love it because I take my makeup tips from drag queens and it makes me look amazing. I routinely put four coats on before work, combing between each (though I don't need to) and slay strangers with my full, soft, incredibly draggy eyelashes.

You can get it at Sephora or on Amazon, but it's twice as expensive on Amazon.

Dior Diorshow comes in a distant second, but you'll pay more for it.

Maybelline Full & Soft is a good drugstore replacement, but be prepared to reapply and reapply and reapply and reapply to get the same effect.

Ardency Inn Punker: if you wear mascara, go get you some.