A few weeks ago, I regaled you with my own personal odyssey: my search for a mascara to which I’m not allergic. Throughout this test of my very moral fiber, my patience was tried, my will nearly broken — and ultimately, I still have not found a brand of lash coating that doesn’t make me look like someone farted in my eye while I was asleep.

But! I’m not deterred, and it turned out that writing my story was the best thing I could have done, because you, readers, you beautiful, gentle souls, you gave me some suggestions about what to try so as to not further anger my delicate soul-windows. The first suggestion I decided to take was one that came from reader Abbie (thanks Abbie!), who offered up a recipe for a DIY version.

Abbie wrote that on her own eyes, she uses a mixture of one activated charcoal tablet, some beeswax and some coconut oil. Since I’m lazy, I found a recipe that’s similar but that manages to use one less ingredient: it just calls for activated charcoal, and aloe vera.

So! To get started, here’s what you need:

1. An old tube of mascara that you don’t use anymore
2. Activated charcoal capsules
3. Aloe Vera gel
4. Some kind of cup to mix them in (I used a shot glass, because do I really need that anymore? Sadly, no.)
5. A spoon
6. Cold Cream (optional)

Before you start mixing your mascara, you’re going to want to clean off your mascara wand. To do that, find an old, shitty mascara that you never use — for me, it was Wet N’ Wild — then begin washing off the wand in hot water:

Now, here’s the thing: because you’re using a piece of shit brand, it’s going to be hard to clean off the wand, the same way it’s hard to clean the product off your eyelashes. What worked for me was using cold cream right on the wand. It took about three tries, but finally I got it squeaky fucking clean.

OK! Next up  you want to go ahead and you want to make your mascara. Step one is to open a charcoal capsule and dump it into your glass. It looks like this:

Once that’s done, mix in an equal amount of aloe vera gel. I used a little more than 1/8 teaspoon. This is what it looks like when you’re done:

Kind of like mascara, right? All you have to do now is dip the wand into the mascara mixture and coat it completely. You’re going to have to really get in there — I had to press the wand up against the side of the shot glass and really turn it around a few times to get it thoroughly coated from top to bottom. Then, you apply….and…well…

It’s a little bit of a disappointment.

It’s nowhere near as thick as store-bought mascara, and I had to wage war with my outer lashes to get them coated. I don’t know why. It’s like they were Judas in this battle for my soul, turning their backs on me in my moment of need. Anyway, I know this is a grainy picture, but can you tell which eye I have make-up on?

It’s the left (your left). Now you see it, right???

Anyway, to be fair once I had wrangled my lashes into submission, they looked a little better. Here’s the final product, in which nothing at all has changed except that I have a little more mascara on:

This might be something I’d bust out on the day-to-day, but alas, here’s the really sad news. The mascara felt really nice on — it was super lightweight, and not sticky or clumpy at all, which is a departure from the store-bought shit — but after about 30 minutes, I had a telltale itch on my left lid. Usually that’s a sign of allergy setting in. THIS IS FUCKING BULLSHIT. I’m going to try it again tomorrow, though, because, you know, maybe that itch was a fluke.