Photo: Marie Dalgar/Instagram
For years, Ms Masa Cui struggled to find a mascara that could lengthen her short and sparse eyelashes in an instant.
So she decided to take matters into her own hands and create her own grafting mascara.
Little did she know it would go on to be a hit among women in China.
The 44-year-old founder of Chinese cosmetics brand Marie Dalgar - which will be launched in Singapore next month - told us in an e-mail interview: "Every 15 seconds, we sell one of our grafted mascaras. Today, we have over 16,000 stores and counters across China."
Come Oct 11, star products boasting holographic glow like the Marie Dalgar Color Studio It's Holo Eyeshadow Palette ($58), It's Holo Highlighter ($49) and It's Holo Lipstick Kit ($49) will be available at Sephora stores islandwide and online.
There are eight different mascaras in the Marie Dalgar line, with functions from curling to lifting to lengthening.
It uses eyelash grafting technology to coat the eyelashes with a thick, long fibre to enhance the thickness and length of one's natural eyelashes.
On why she thinks her mascaras are bestsellers, Ms Cui said as Chinese women have flat faces, single eyelids and short eyelashes, they need a product that gives depth to eyes.
She added: "Curled eyelashes can make the eyes look deeper so they are more inclined to use mascara that can lengthen and curl their eyelashes."
Even though Ms Cui took the leap into the beauty industry in 2006 after working as a mechanical engineer for 11 years, perceptions about Chinese products can be an obstacle.
She said: "The biggest challenge would be making everyone more confident about the 'Made in China' label today. Times are changing and (I hope) everyone will recognise the changing enterprises in China.
"The most important thing is that we insist on branding from the perspective of people. Making products requires extreme sensitivity, especially in the make-up industry.
"You are not meeting the demand but creating demand, so you must observe the market more deeply than the consumer."
When asked about the differences between make-up trends in China and Singapore, she said: "Singapore women are more daring as they have more variety in their cosmetics and will do their make-up every day.
"Chinese women tend to have more functional make-up, but they are increasingly willing to try."
With Marie Dalgar in its 12th year in business, Ms Cui is determined to continue creating cosmetics for make-up newbies and professionals alike.
She said: "Marie Dalgar has always insisted on technology-driven innovation and innovation-driven business development.
"But at the same time, we must understand our brand better than consumers to let the experience hit the hearts of people."
This article was first published on The New Paper.