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A Desert-Island Makeup Item:
Mascara is one of the few makeup products I genuinely can’t live without. My own lashes are average at best in terms of length and volume, with a slight tendency to droop. Without mascara, I often look half-asleep. Usually, I gravitate towards dramatic, doll-like lashes, but lately I’ve been exploring more natural-looking alternatives as well.
Mascaras from Korean cosmetics brands are known for their staying power, lightweight formulas and ability to cater to Asian eye shapes. I’m therefore ashamed to say that I’ve never made space for them in my makeup routine. Planning to rectify the situation, I tried out KARADIUM’s On The Top Fiber Mascara and A’PIEU’s Skinny Dual Mascara Curl Fixer & Volume with great eagerness – both promise luscious, pitch-black lashes that can survive even an ugly cry. Let’s find out if they can indeed make my eyes pop while being utterly waterproof!
1. For the Off-Duty Drama Queen:
KARADIUM’s On The Top Fiber Mascara (Volumizing)
Background: This fiber mascara’s chief selling point is its ability to lengthen and volumize while still producing a natural finish. Coming in a sleek, matte black wand and formulated with synthetic fibers that cling to your lashes, it’s meant to work in the vein of eyelash extensions, albeit subtly and temporarily. My only concern upon hearing the word “fiber” is that clumping may occur.
Beauty Routine: I always apply mascara solely to my upper lashes, as my lower lashes are so sparse that the results are usually unsatisfactory. First, I gave my lashes a quick curl with my eyelash curler, and applied my usual liner, CLIO’s Waterproof Brush Liner Kill Black, for extra definition. Then I applied the first coating of mascara. Sweeping the large, spongy spoolie upwards in a zig-zag motion after lowering my eyes, I proceeded to apply a second coating. By the end of the routine, my lashes were thick, dark, well-defined and flared. It was a far cry from my usual super-volumizing mascaras that mimic falsies, but I have to say this goes well with a barely-there makeup look.
Initial Thoughts: While not as smudge-proof and waterproof as advertised (but then how many mascaras really are?), this is a great, well-rounded product I’d recommend to both mascara connoisseurs and amateurs. Long-lasting, user-friendly and – most important of all – with no tendency to clump, it added a touch of glam to my eyes without being ultra-vampy. Perfect for a regular school day or for the office!
2. For the Subtle Sophisticate:
A’PIEU’s Skinny Dual Mascara Curl Fixer & Volume
Background: A’PIEU’s Skinny Dual Mascara looks very different from KARADIUM’s, courtesy of its compact, dual-ended design and sleek, space-gray appearance. Combining a curl fixer with a volumizing mascara, it essentially offers two functions for the price of one. Like KARADIUM’s, it promises a natural-looking rather than a va-va-voom finish.
Beauty Routine: First, I used the curl fixer end, which comes with a skinny spoolie featuring barely perceptible bristles, to add extra lift to my already-curled lashes. Then I applied two coatings of mascara with the volumizing end, which comes with a thicker spoolie featuring prominent bristles. My lashes became more luscious instantly. One point to note: the spoolies are so slender that I had trouble manipulating them properly, to the extent that I accidentally poked myself in the eye!
Initial Thoughts: The formula felt lightweight, sitting comfortably on my lashes throughout the day with minimal clumping. Largely waterproof, it only came off with the help of an oil-based eye makeup remover. As for my lashes, they came out clearly defined, with added volume and definite curl, while still retaining a subtle look. My main quibble though is with its dual-ended design, which probably isn’t the best for those in a hurry! Since the words “volumizing” and “curl fixer” are only printed on the wand in Korean, I also anticipate some mix-ups.
Like most makeup junkies, I rotate through a selection of mascaras with subtly different emphases, such as lengthening, volumizing, curling, lash-defining and ultra-waterproof. These two wouldn’t be my top choices if you’re going for over-the-top, bad-gal glamor. But if you’re looking for a balance between easy breezy and ultra-dramatic, these mascaras do the job superbly by giving short, limp lashes a distinct perk-up.
I really want to call it a tie between the two mascaras, because both have slight drawbacks while being, on the whole, excellent candidates for my makeup bag. However, if push comes to shove, I’d hand the crown to KARADIUM’s On The Top Fiber Mascara. Even though it’s primarily volumizing, it also hits the target when it comes to lifting, lengthening and definition. Plus, I’m lazy so A’PIEU’s double wands seem a bit much for my morning routine.