In our column That One Product, we tell the story of how your favorite beauty brand’s cult-classic products came to be—and why we can't stop buying them.

By Erin Lukas
Oct 11, 2018 @ 9:00 am
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When it comes to mascaras, there is no gray area. They're either clumpy and smudgy, or life-changing, everyone-asks-if-you have-lash-extensions-good. Too Faced's Better Than Sex Mascara falls into the latter category — the five-year-old product is currently the best-selling prestige mascara in the country. In fact, according to the brand, a tube of it sells every 7.4 seconds. 

"I wanted to create a holy grail mascara for every woman out there who’s been searching for the perfect mascara that delivers volume, separation, length, curl, and rich, fluffy, black lashes," says Jerrod Blandino, co-founder and chief creative officer of Too Faced. "Before Better Than Sex, you could get a couple of those things in a mascara, but never all of those things in one tube. I gave myself the freedom to experiment, play and dream without time limits, launch dates, or the pressure of needing it to happen."

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Considering it took three years and over 100 variations before landing on the formula everyone knows and loves, it's a good thing that Blandino wasn't tied to a launch date. "The science of a mascara is the most difficult thing to do within the color cosmetics industry," he explains. "There are so many variables that will make or break it, from ingredients, waxes, the temperature of the water going into the batch, time of year and weather, the brush, the bottle, the glue that holds everything together, the metal, the plastics, essentially every component that makes it what it is."

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According to Blandino, the fact that Too Faced went outside of the typical mascara ingredients to find things that take it to the next level, is what makes Better Than Sex so wonderful, and a product that can't be replicated. Well, and the fact that it's name would make your grandma clutch her pearls. Incidentally, the origins of the mascara's X-rated name is ironically G-rated.

"We had been playing and testing for so long and we had finally found a formula that we were all loving, but hadn’t unlocked it with the right brush," says Blandino. "The UPS man came in and dropped off a box full of brushes. My team and I rolled our eyes thinking, 'ok, another trial and error is about to happen.' We chose a couple brushes, nothing great happened, and then we plucked THE ONE out of the box, dipped it in the tube, swirled it around, and when my product development manager applied it, everybody’s jaws dropped, gasps were heard, and I screamed, 'Oh shit! It’s better than sex!'

Whether or not the mascara is hyperbolic is up for you to decide. Too Faced's Better Than Sex Mascara is available for $24 at sephora.com