You know those people that say mascara is the one beauty product they could never live without? I am NOT one of those people. Look, I’ve always understood the appeal. Who doesn’t want long and lush lashes? In fact, as someone with short and stubby lashes, that’s ALL I want. But at what cost?

For me, it was at the cost of relentless flaking that left panda rings around my eyes. And as a woman of color whose always dealt with hereditary dark circles, mascaras that flaked or transferred only drew more attention to them. The problem persisted no matter which variety I tried, from drugstore to designer or from conventional to waterproof; they all left rings around my eyes within just a few hours after application. Consequently, I just gave up on all of it for a year or two. No mascara — just a swipe of liner and that was it, except for a few special occasions.

Luckily, I scored a sample of the Lancôme CILS BOOSTER XL Super-Enhancing Mascara Base ($25) with my Sephora VIB membership, and all of that changed. The lash primer glides on (and almost never clumps), thanks to conditioning ingredients like vitamin E and microfibers, and doesn’t feel brittle as it starts to dry, which is MAJOR. It adds instant separation and length, basically, doing all of the hard work BEFORE you even apply a swipe of mascara.

Just as the primer starts to dry, I’ll wriggle my Kevyn Aucoin Volume Mascara ($28) from root to tip. Just one coat will do the trick. Seriously — one coat. The result is insanely lush (never crunchy) and separated lashes. Best of all, it doesn’t flake, transfer, rub, or EVER make its way to the under-eye area. (Insert all of the praise hand emojis here.) It stays put from morning to night. Period.

When bedtime rolls around, the formula melts off with any eye makeup remover or oil-based cleanser. And when I say “melts,” I mean it effortlessly slips right off without tugging out a single lash as a casualty. I gotta admit, there is nothing more satisfying than not seeing a single lash on my cotton pad after washing my mascara off.

Thanks to this Lancôme primer, I’ve 100 percent become a mascara person.

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