AS they say, it's all in the eyes.
But for women, it's actually all in the eyeliner.
Lipstick, foundation, blusher, mascara and eyeshadow don't even come close to its transformative powers.
In our arsenal of weapons of mass (male) destruction, this is the biggie no female should live without.
I stopped applying pencil and liquid eyeliner since my university days because I got lazy and realised makeup skills aren't my forte - two practical reasons that saw me reducing my daily cosmetic palette to just lipstick.
I've always lusted after the smoky, kohl-lined look sported by heroic chic models in fashion magazines, but never dared try it on myself for fear of turning out like Kungfu Panda.
Then, last November, two seemingly unrelated events collided and gave birth to my eyeliner re-awakening.
I happened to buy Revlon's Bedroom Eyes range of powder liner in 'Sultry Sapphire' (a fancy term for black) because I had shopping vouchers to use up.
And I happened to feel like dressing up like a rock chick for Linkin Park's Singapore concert.
The result? A surprisingly easy DIY job that looked professionally applied, and a nu-metal groupie with instant attitude.
As you can tell, I swear by this idiot-proof product because achieving the right amount of blending, shading and smudging is now as easy as painting your own fingernails.
My husband thinks it's sexy and my friends are suddenly asking for application tips.
However, such a strong look should be reserved for special occasions, which I'll get to later.
Before you think this is becoming a beauty column, female movie characters also know how to harness the underrated power of thick black eyeliner.
Like when they want to be alluringly irresistible to the opposite sex or want to get into the pants of that hot guy.
In the super-slick movie 21, the fact-based story about a group of MIT whiz kids who used their card-counting expertise in blackjack to break the bank in Las Vegas casinos, Kate Bosworth is all blonde sweetness as the math genius and campus hottie whom team-member Jim Sturgess has a crush on.
The first time she seduces him, she uncharacteristically unleashes her inner stripper by giving him a lap dance after a night of profits.
With loads of eyeliner lathered on for good measure, of course.
It makes a special guest-starring appearance again later in the movie. And this time, she manages to lure him back to her suite for a soft-focus sex scene.
Bland Bosworth has never been involved in a movie romance that wasn't tepid, but at least whoever was responsible for her vampish makeover showed a bit of passion.
Eyeliner also brings out the bad girl in you.
Just look at Anne 'The Princess Diaries' Hathaway, who managed to go from gawky girl-next-door to convincingly sultry spy in Get Smart with a dab of you-know-what.
It's probably something Charlize Theron's makeup artist subscribes to as well in Hancock (right).
Even though the new action blockbuster is primarily about Will Smith's unlikeable, reluctant superhero, I found myself caring more about Theron's character.
She plays a suburban homemaker wife whose double identity and mysterious shared history with Hancock is revealed when the story takes a surprise twist.
And once that happens, Theron goes from nude-faced, spaghetti-cooking soccer mum to femme fatale with a dark side who actually gets to kick Hancock's all-powerful butt all over the streets of Los Angeles.
True enough, you'll see that her eyeliner really adds that extra, er, punch.
And to borrow 21's gambling parlance, nowadays you don't even need a steady hand to have a winning one at playing the makeup game.