Shu Uemura's famed Lash Curler ($20; shuuemura-usa.com) and I go way back. This curler was my favorite before I even started working in the beauty industry, so it's no surprise that it's one of the products among the elite group of Best Beauty Buys All-Stars. The year was 2000---catalogs from Delia's and Alloy arrived in my parents' mailbox monthly, I had "Say My Name" by Destiny's Child on constant repeat, and my Caboodle kit held over 50 shades of frosty blue shadow. Overall, life was pretty good, until I got my school pictures back and found that the drugstore lash curler I was using just wasn't cutting it. My eyes looked completely washed out against the glittery pastel color I blended up to my browbone, and sans curl, the many coats of mascara I applied had given my lashes that dreaded spider-leg appearance. Things turned around after I accompanied my mother to the department store and discovered the magic that is Shu Uemura's lash curler.
The curved shape of Shu Uemura's tool hugged my lash line, allowing me to get thisclose to the roots, but the soft silicone pads ensured no pinching would be involved. Before trying it out, I always envied the length of my brother's lashes, but once the curler became a permanent part of my makeup bag, I discovered that my own lashes were pretty long as well, they just needed a little help standing up. One or two pumps followed by a coat of mascara kept the curl in place until I washed my face at the end of the day, and unlike the tool I had previously been using, the silicone pad was much more durable and didn't require regular changes. Frosty blue eye shadow is no longer my aesthetic---I later learned that warm golds were more flattering against my skin tone---but the Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler? Like Rose in Titanic, I'll never let go.