Any beauty enthusiast who’s had a crush, seen A Star Is Born, or listened to a Phoebe Bridgers song knows that truly good makeup holds up through a monsoon of violent tears. They’ll also appreciate this dataset created by programmer, artist, and student Connie Ye, which identifies references to crying in Sephora reviews to point you to the weep-proof products you want.
The dataset lives on one of Ye’s websites, where users can refresh repeatedly to see dozens of makeup reviews that mention crying, sobbing, or tears. Reading them is a frequently funny and occasionally poignant experience: Some share an affecting amount of personal detail, making them read more like digital-age flash fiction than opinions about products. In fact, product names and usernames aren’t visible on Ye’s site, so that’s pretty much what they are.
“One day I was crying mad hard because there’s too many f boys in my life,” wrote one reviewer. “Guess what? My liner was still slaying and cutting people.”
“One day my ex made me cry and a couple of minutes later he noticed that all my eye makeup was still perfect,” wrote another. “That’s when I realized how good this stuff is. And that I should never speak to my ex again.”
Yet another reviewer describes their experience wearing an eyeliner through a full day of military deployment:
Went and ran 4 miles on a treadmill in 85 deg 100% humidity gym. I sweat like a horse by the way. Then the rowing machine for 1/2 hr in a space that can only be described as a steam oven. Then back in my room, I started feeling bad about the email I got earlier from my guy-finally accepting it’s not what I thought it was—and had a really good cry. I looked in the mirror after all this and my eyeliner was perfect. You decide.
Ye explained over Twitter DM that she got the idea for the project while taking a class about creating art from data. (The class is taught by Everest Pipkin, a visiting faculty member at Carnegie Mellon.)
“Something [Pipkin] mentioned that I was thinking about a lot was that when we make smaller datasets, we have the chance to draw from places that matter to us personally,” she explained. “And I had spent a lot of time in high school reading Sephora reviews because the products are really expensive and I wanted to make sure I wasn’t wasting my money.”
Ye scraped a total of 5018 reviews from 13 products, which she chose mostly by perusing Sephora’s eye product pages under the “waterproof” filter. 105 of those reviews included one of her crying-related keywords.
Ye chose which products to scrape reviews from mostly by perusing Sephora’s eye product pages under the “waterproof” filter. “They were just the best [sellers] for the most part, but I tried to have some variety in brand,” she said. “I also tried other products like primer and setting spray, but the only one that paid off for those was the setting spray.” She found that most pulled reviews that mentioned crying were for either mascara or eyeliner; however, primer and setting spray also made appearances.
Feeling deeply and abidingly moved is all well and good, but after reading a few glowing testimonials you’ll probably want to learn what these products actually are. Lucky you: Ye has also published the project’s raw data, which reveals that, among other products, Kat Von D’s Tattoo eyeliner and Too Faced’s Better Than sex mascara are especially effective in the face of tears. The latter makes particular sense: Crying is absolutely better than sex.