Sally Hansen Gel Manicure Starter Kit

My poor nails. They look a hot mess dot com. I’m not apologetic about it either because you it beez that way sometimes. A few days after Elle was born I cut off all of my nails, removed the nail polish and haven’t really had the chance to do any nail pampering. Which kinda makes me sad but dude, baby girl requires lots of time.

Buuuut, I had a little help with my Mom and sister and since I’d rather not waste a good product like this gel manicure starter kit on my nubs, I figured my sister would be a fantastic model.

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Have y’all seen these in stores yet? Sally Hansen released these back in November 2012 and nail polish lovers have been goin’ crazy. These kits come at a good time. You know, with the whole gel nail thing sweeping the nail world.

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Priced at $69.99, you would think this kit is like ridiculously expensive, but nah…it works out to be priced well. Think about it: a gel  manicure generally starts at a good $25 but with this, you can do TEN manicures and Sally Hansen says that they’ll last 2 weeks at a time. Not bad, dude. Not bad at all.

What comes in the set…

•Cleanser Pads
• Base Coat
• Color (choice of three shades)
• Top Coat
• Remover
• LED Light
• Application Accessories: Cuticle stick, buffer and alcohol cleaning pad

As of now the sets come in 3 different colors. I’m hopin’ they will sell the gel nail colors individually. 3 colors is a great start but I’d be more likely to use this regularly if I had a good 20+ nail polish colors to choose from.

The best thing about the kit – the fact that it comes with a LED light.

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These things can be pretty pricey alone so it’s great that it comes with the kit. Plus, you can use it over and over again with all gel nail polishes. Instructions are easy peasy too…

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The key is to apply thin coats of each polish. A thicker coat may result in the gel polishes lifting in a matter of days.

My sister’s nails before:

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Her nails after:

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Impressive, right? The shine is impeccable and while I didn’t apply the polish as perfectly as I would have liked to, the outcome was still nice. 3-4 days later and her nails are still shiny with minimal chipping. 2 of  the gel nails ended up completely coming off but we think that may be attributed to poor application. Still. Not bad at all.

While not ideal for crazy polish fanatics like me, these are great for guys and gals who don’t want to do their nails all the time. I can’t wait to try this out on my toes. While I’ll polish my nails regularly, I don’t even want to tell you how often I change my toe nail polish. HA!

Price: $69.99 or less
Availability: Drugstores, Target and Walmart. I see it for $64 at Walmart.com.

Whatcha think? Are you a gel nail lover or would you rather rock traditional nail polish?

Beauty in Mommyhood – Elle Is 1 Month Old!

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Wow. My little baby girl is already a month old. I’m all kinds of emotional about it. I’m so excited that she’s growing and thriving and becoming even more amazing each day. But I’m sad because well, she’s almost a big girl. Kind of.

I know folx are like, “Come on, B. She’s only a month old.” But I feel like I was just pregnant yesterday. I never understand why parents got so weepy over their kids going to kindergarten but yeah, now I get it. Speaking of ‘Dumb Things Those Who Aren’t Parents Say’, I was that non-parent that talked a lot of trash about what I WOULDN’T do when I had kids. I’d say stuff like…

“I would never co-sleep. That’s so unsafe.”
“Breastfeeding is the ONLY option for me. I will never give my baby formula.”
“I’m letting my baby cry it out. Otherwise they’ll get spoiled if I ALWAYS pick them up.”

Lies. Lies. Lies.

I proudly co-sleep. Due to latching issues, I had to give Elle formula three times. And I have yet to let her ‘cry it out’. Parenthood does turn you into a different person. I’ve been caught staring at her while she sleeps. Because I just don’t understand what I’ve done in this life to get granted the opportunity to be her mommy. Why did God select me?

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The first few weeks after her birth were emotional and rough. It’s true what people say – you really do get used to being sleep deprived. Elle is a great baby in that she actually sleeps through the night. She wakes up to eat and goes right back to sleep. However, she seems to only really want to go back to sleep while laying on someone’s chest. Which I wouldn’t mind if it weren’t so uncomfortable to me. Neither Esposo and I sleep well with her sleeping on our chests but we succumb to it because some sleep is better than no sleep. And Elle the Belle is a cranky something sleeping in her cradle.

My Mom and sister’s help the first 2 weeks were invaluable. And so were the love and support from my friends. I tried so hard to do everything by myself but it was impossible. I NEEDED the help.

Physically, after a week or so I felt just fine. Due to Elle being born early, we had to do a lot of running around with her to and from doctor’s appointments. My body had no choice but to bounce back quickly. My appetite is out of control. I am foreverrrrr starving and snacking around the clock.

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Breastfeeding is not going well. I feel like I’m on an episode of True Life: You Thought Breastfeeding Was Going To Be Easy. I should have known better. There’s a reason why there are so many support groups for breastfeeding women. It IS that difficult. A baby doesn’t always just latch on a boob and go to town. There are so many situations that make it difficult for mom and baby. In Elle’s case, the lactation consultant said she may have some oral motor issues. Latching her brings tears to my eyes but I try daily because I am confident that one day she will do it. I’m going to a La Leche League meeting soon and have joined several “Exclusive Pumpers” groups because you soooo need support during a time like this. In the meantime, I’ve been pumping every 2 hours (every 3 hours at night) to ensure that I have enough milk to feed Elle via bottle. It’s exhausting.

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Pumping and bottle preparation is time consuming. I have to pump, prepare the bottle, clean pumping equipment, feed baby and repeat. And I’m screwed if she’s starving WHILE I’m pumping because then I have to feed her while I pump. And if I leave the house, I HAVE to be back within 2 hours or else my boobs become engorged and painful. Everyday I want to quit but my dedication to giving Elle the BEST is what keeps me going. How this will work when I have to go back to work is beyond me. I’ve been freezing my expressed milk so that she can continue to have my milk even when I can’t pump as much. The breastfeeding thing put me in a depressive hole for weeks. I felt like a horrible mother for not being able to do it and I hated that it couldn’t be easier for me. Each day gets better. I wish I would have done more research about breastfeeding during my pregnancy. I just knew I wouldn’t have any problems and had I been more informed, I would not have been so stressed out. But you can’t have it all, right? I had a great pregnancy and great labor and delivery. To be honest, I would have traded a longer labor for an easier breastfeeding experience but ah well…

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So yeah, we’re truckin’ along. I am not looking forward to going back to work. Work from home mom? Um yeah. Would love to. At least for a year. It’s isn’t an option for us so having to drop her off at daycare is going to kill my soul. But let’s stick with the important things. Elle is healthy, happy , adorable and she’s got so many people that adore her. Esposo and I are doing the best we can as first time parents and we couldn’t be more happier to have her in our lives.

Elle Stats:

Weight – Around 7 lbs
Cool Tricks – Opens mouth wide when you kiss her chin, holds head, attempts to hold bottle, smiles/laughs while sleeping.
Favorite Spots – On Mommy or Daddy’s chest, in a baby carrier, her Boppy and bouncy chair.

The QVC-exclusive Tarte Journey To Natural Beauty collection

Confession. I have messed around and become just a wee bit obsessed with QVC. I’ve made a good 3 purchases in the past month and that is soooo unlike me. Pregnancy insomnia has turned into newborn sleep deprivation and I’m just not in my right mind, y’all. And it doesn’t help when my favorite beauty brands have these QVC-exclusive deals.

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Like this one from Tarte. This journey to natural beauty 6-piece collection is so ridiculously swoon-worthy that it don’t make no sense. Sometimes when things are so awesome, you have to drop the formalities of proper grammar ‘n stuff. Available TODAY only, this darling collection contains the following…

The NEW Lights, Camera, Flashes Statement mascara (retail price – $23)

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I am beyond excited about trying this out. The last Tarte mascara I tried rocked my freaking world so I’ve got high hopes for this one. Oh. And it says it’ll increase lash volume by 752%. That’s a lofty promise but dang, I’d be okay with like 492%. Ya know?

Airbrush Finish Bamboo Foundation (retail price – $32)

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Ma’am and Sirs – if you have never tried a Tarte brush, you need to hop to it. I will likely be using this brush for all over powder because it is just so so soft.

Amazonian clay 12-hour blush in Fearless (retail price – $26)

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Well, we all know how I feel about those Amazonian clay blushes. Obsessed isn’t even the word. Fearless is the newest shade on the block and this warm pink looks like it will compliment all skin complexions beautifully. See…

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It’s got a nice pop of golden shimmer too.

The very NEW Amazonian butter lipstick (retail price – $24)

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Oh geez, this is wonderful and I’m hoping tarte releases a ton of these in various colors. I thought I loved those Amazonian lipsticks and I do, but this creamy lipstick follows the balm meets lipstick concept and you’re left with pigmented but super moisturized lips. Yassss! And the shade Plummy Rose isn’t too bad.

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Brow Architect Shaper, Liner & Definer (retail price – $25)

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A 3-in-1 product for brows? Um…wow. Way to go, Tarte!

Amazonian Clay 12-hour full coverage foundation (retail price – $38)

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Stay tuned for a full review of this baby but considering THIS comes in the set and the retail value is more than half of the price of the entire collection, well…that pretty much means you NEED to get this QVC-exclusive. Just sayin’…

This entire collection of fabulousness comes toted in a gorgeous travel-friendly bag. This really is one of the best Tarte QVC-exclusive collections I’ve seen in quite some time.

Lé Deets:
Availability – Available on QVC on Tuesday, February 5, 2013 ONLY
Cost – $59.94
Pre-order Item # – A233578
February 5th Item # – A231029

This will likely sell out so if you feel like you can’t live without this collection (totally understandable yo), get to pre-orderin’.

Any Tarte lovers in the house? How wonderful is that butter lipstick? ZOMGGGG.

Mascara Monday: Pop Beauty Peak Performance mascara

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Ooooh yesssss. Finally. A NEW kind of mascara. I am always looking for innovative mascaras and they are so hard to find. I mean, I get the whole “Don’t fix what ain’t broke concept” but when you review dozens of mascaras a year, you kinda want something new every now and then. Enter THIS kid…

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Price: $20 at Ulta and Ulta.com.
Packaging (brush wand): 3 out of 5
Overall: 3.5 out of 5

What It Claims: “Mascara with advanced lash comb separates, coats, lifts & fans out every lash, resulting in immense lash volume & dramatically maximized eyes.Lash-protecting formula conditions & nourishes lashes. Hygienic twist-up wand prevents bacteria build up & formula dry out, ensuring fresh new mascara every time.” (source)

The Truth: There are very few lash comb mascaras on the market and I was so excited to try this one out.

What I Loved About It: It is fantastic for separating and lengthening those lashes.

What I Didn’t Like: It has a bit of learning curve and takes some time to get used to. Also, this isn’t the kind of mascara I’d use if I were in a rush.

Overall: If you’ve strolled Ulta Beauty stores enough times, you may have run into the brand Pop Beauty. This is my first time trying one of their products and it’s a plum shame because they have a lot of really groovy products. So yeah – you should definitely look forward to seeing more reviews of this brand. But first things first – let’s talk about this super cool mascara.

The wand – er, comb thingie…

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Unlike traditional mascaras, this kid is toting a lash comb. Someone out there is jumping for joy. Lash combs are pretty awesome – especially for those who have all over the place lashes like myself. Lash combs have the ability to tame the craziness and help lashes elongate in the same direction. Of course this can be achieved with a regular mascara wand but I find the comb to be more effective because you have more control. According to Pop Beauty, the lash comb not only separates lashes but lifts and fans out every lash which is supposed to result in more volume.

Formula-wise, this mascara has a nice consistency. I didn’t find it to be overly heavy when applying it it does a darn good job with lasting for hours at a time with zero smudging and flaking.

Now as far as getting more volume with this baby, wellllll…I’m not sure about all of that. If anything, I think it’s a great mascara to prep your lashes. I found it much more effective when I used it in conjunction with another mascara that had a fluffy brush. The lash comb helped separate lashes and the fluffy brush helped with volume. In fact, two coats of this stuff made my lashes just a wee bit clumpy. Well…not clumpy but my lashes seemed to stick together a bit and once that happened there was no tweaking it.

Ah well – despite it not resulting in the volume that I was expecting, I still think this is a must have mascara for those with smaller and super frazzled lashes. If anything, you can use it BEFORE your favorite mascara and end up getting the results you want. So see…not all is lost. Plus, the lengthening it provides is pretty cool!

 

Bare Lashes



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Lashes after 2 coats


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Do I recommend it?: Yep! It’s only $20 so it’s not the cheapest mascara but if you are desperate to tame your lashes, I think you’ll like this kid.

 

Any lash comb lovers in the house? And what else should I try from that awesome Pop Beauty?


The Lipstick League: Weekly Links, Volume 76

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Yay for another post from the The Lipstick League! We are a group of beauty bloggers, bound together by the desire to save the world with beauty, one post at a time!

Lipglossiping – brings out the brights with a lip colour so packed with pigment, you’ll be hard pressed not to pout with envy.

Gouldylox Reviews – I’m obsessed with this glorious waffle of creamy goodness.

Nouveau Cheap – Does the beautiful packaging of the new Flower by Drew Barrymore Color Play Créme Eyeshadows match what’s inside? Come see for yourself!

Prime Beauty – has a riddle for you. What’s pink and peach, heart shaped and imparts a glowy natural flush? Too Faced Sweethearts Perfect Flush Blush! Get the deets!

Phyrra – brings you a sneak peek of Jesse’s Girl Julie G Gumdrop Nail Polish!

we heart this – If you’re like us, you love a good haul post! And we’ve got one right here – check out Stef’s IMATS haul.

Beauty Junkies Unite – Check out the review & swatches for the five new Maybelline Color Tattoo Metal shades, Amber loves these cream eyeshadows because they’re great multi-taskers!

Clumps of Mascara – reminisces about the good ole’ college days and talks about that time she went to Philadelphia to volunteer for a week.

 

Question of the Week:

Is there anything in your beauty arsenal that
you like to bring out for springtime (that you don’t
use much during the colder months)?

 

B says, “Not really. I pretty much use what I like whenever. No matter the season! “

What about you? Anything you’ve been itchin’ to use?

 

Urban Decay’s The Fun Palette and The Feminine Palette

Oh hai more Urban Decay palettes.

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Hey you sexy thangs.

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I’ve been dabbling in these for quite some time but I am just NOW getting around to posting my review of ’em. Beauty blogger, fail. I know. And since these aren’t exactly the newest palettes on the block, chances are you’ve seen them before. And if you have, just pretend that you haven’t and ooh and ahh over these palettes with me, will ya? Oh, and both are limited edition so if you like either one or both, you better sang ’em with the quickness.

Let’s rock ‘n roll with The Fun Palette first.

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What Sephora says about The Fun Palette…

In a playful mood? Bring it out with the Fun Palette’s bright, bold hues, like Deep End, a bright teal shimmer that was a standout in the 15-Year Palette, and Freakshow, a deep royal purple pearl that was briefly available as a limited-edition Deluxe Eyeshadow. True to its name, this fun set comes in a bright, sparkly teal case decked out with a gold octopus design. (source)

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My first impressions about this palette? It’s well…fun! The shades are all vibrant and shimmery and perfect for day and night time looks. This is definitely a palette for the more adventurous makeup wearer. Oh, and that almond eyeshadow with subtle shimmer called Sellout? Well that’s just the BEST browbone color I’ve seen on this side of river. What river? I dunno. Some river.

Then there’s The Feminine Palette…

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What Sephora says about her…

For the days when you feel like playing up your girly side, there’s the Feminine Palette. Featuring a soft yet sultry mix of shimmering neutrals and smokier shadows, this set features a comeback by Skimp—a light, peachy pearl shade from the Book of Shadows IV Palette that was also briefly available as a limited-edition Eyeshadow. Each Eyeshadow features Urban Decay’s Pigment Infusion System™, the proprietary blend of ingredients that gives every shade its velvety texture, rich color, serious staying power, and blendability. The coordinating Lip Junkie Lipgloss gives lips that super shiny look without the gummy, gooey feel that many glosses have. (source)

Of the two, I think I like this one more. The shades are just as shimmery but I find that they are more work-safe and useful for the everyday makeup wearer. Plus, if you wanted to take the look from day to night, that bangin’ Gunmetal adds a nice touch of smokiness. This would be the palette that I tote along on vacays because I could quickly crank out looks without much thought.

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Both palettes are beautiiiiful from the inside and out. And I love the zipper!

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I wish more palettes were zip-able. You don’t have to worry about them coming undone in suitcases and purses and whatnot. Retailed at $38 a pop, I think these are reasonable little palettes for palette-lovers and Urban Decay fans alike.

Have y’all seen these UD palettes? Whatcha think?

Giving Back Is Awesome

 

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I miss college sometimes, y’all. I really do. I graduated from the University of South Florida in 2007 and while I spent most of my college career stressing over money or grades (pshhhtt, or both), I had a lot of fun too. And I’m not talkin’ drunken kind of fun. Girl no. When I wasn’t in class, working, hanging out with friends or trying to catch some Z’s, I was involved in some volunteer organization on campus. From the moment I stepped on campus until the day I graduated, I made it my duty to “help” in some way. I focused on different organizations each year but one of the most influential events that shaped me into the person I am today was that time I went to Philadelphia to volunteer at a school.

Alternative Spring Break is what they called it. Instead of jetting to Cancun, Mexico or taking up a weeklong stay on their sofas, college students involved in Alternative Spring Break jetted to another city and volunteered their vacations away. I joined a group of 15 fellow students and we bused our way from Tampa, Florida to Philadelphia. We bunked on the floors of a church in an area of North Philly called the Badlands. Each day we worked on various projects. From street clean-up to volunteering at the neighborhood school, we not only got to help out a community in need but we had a great time doing it.

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Coca-Cola is launching a Pay It Forward campaign that’s all about giving back and experiences like mine in Philly have totally convinced me to continue to pay it forward. Since that trip I’ve been volunteering as much as a I can through various organizations.

Because a great mentor can make all the difference, Coca-Cola has teamed up with Magic Johnson, Common and Debra Lee of BET Networks to give four young people the apprenticeship experience of a lifetime. Visit MCR.com/PayItForward to nominate an aspiring youth and help pay it forward to the next generation. You’ll also be automatically entered for a chance to win $5,000 for
each nomination you make (up to five nominations per person).

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Coca-Cola via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Coca-Cola.

 

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Mascara Monday: Hard Candy Flat to Fab Lash Building mascara

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Soooo, I’m just a wee embarrassed at how few Hard Candy mascaras I’ve reviewed. There is really no excuse for this because not only do they have quite a bit to choose from but they are freakin’ cheap too. Ahhhh well. Better late than never, I suppose.

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Price: $7 at Walmart and Walmart.com.
Packaging (brush wand): 4 out of 5
Overall: 3.5 out of 5

What It Claims: “Flat, lifeless lashes need a lift? Create dramatic volume and curl with Hard Candy Flat To Fab Lash Building Mascara. Lashes will immediately be taken from flat to flab with this long wear instant curling and volumizing mascara.” (source)

The Truth: I’ll tell you one thing…Hard  Candy knows how to make some eye popping mascara wands.

What I Loved About It: Yeah, I’m still head over heels in love with this packaging yo. And the lengthening is pretty nice.

What I Didn’t Like: It had the potential to be an awesome mascara but it fell short somewhere.

Overall: Well hellllloooo Hard Candy. I get so many emails to review their mascaras and I just forget to do so. I don’t do much shopping in Walmart and to my knowledge, that is about the only place where you can physically purchase their mascaras. But I’m on my A-game and got a few of their mascaras to review so I’m on it now! Let’s rap about the wand…

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Preggo brain (which has morphed into mommy brain) has me forgetting what popular mascara has a wand like this. I’ll give an e-star to anyone who can figure it out. We’ve definitely seen wands like this before and as funky and unique as they look, I don’t find that they are particularly useful with applying the mascara. Which isn’t a good or bad thing. Good news is you can still effectively go from root to tip with this wand without many problems. Surprisingly, the tip of the wand did a great job at getting those inner corners. Usually wands like this have big nasty globs of mascara at the end but nope, this one was great at only distributing a bit of mascara at the top of the wand. Woot!

Performance-wise, the mascara says that it’s going to give us curl and volume. Well, you know how I feel about mascaras that say they can help with curl. I believe the only way to see true curl in your lashes is to actually curl your lashes first. That is, if you aren’t one of those lucky kids who was already born with naturally curly lashes. So yeah, volume…the volume is just so so. Not good. Not bad. Not groundbreaking. Not horrible. This was a bit of a surprise because the formula was nice and thick. I applied 3 coats and by the 3rd coat, I still wasn’t impressed. I had a bit of lengthening and it was pretty impressive.

But what did impress me about this mascara was its ability to hold up throughout the day with zero flaking and smudging. Yasssss. That’ll win me every time. So yeah…so so volume and length but longevity rocks!

 

Bare Lashes



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Lashes after 3 coats


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Do I recommend it?: Meh. I’ve seen better Hard Candy mascaras but if you’re big on lengthening mascaras, this one isn’t too bad.

Have you tried any Hard Candy mascaras?