As women, we are generally crazy about certain things. Some of us are more obsessed with our appearance than others, and I am no different. When it comes to my personal appearance, I am neurotic about a few things like brows, lashes and lip balm/gloss. I will not walk out of the house without putting on these things, even when I surf. The rest of me can look like hell, but I will still have my mascara on. And I am not the only one.
We, the female society, have truly become obsessed over the past five years with the hair that grows from our eyelids. Eyelashes are the biggest rage since the acrylic nails of the late 90s. I never really bought into the nail thing; they were just way too much maintenance for me. But, I have always been an eyelash girl. For years I have researched and tested multitudes of mascaras. Plus, I love false eyelashes and use them on all clients for their makeup applications and I have even tried several of the topical ointments that grow eyelashes. So, a few weeks ago, I found a new mascara that I fell in love with, and it got me thinking about why I am so crazy and particular about my lashes.
Eyelashes suggestively frame the eye, as well as protect them. The lashes give our eyes intention, an expression, and they transmit the meaning of our insight. If your eyes are the windows to your soul, then the lashes are the curtains. So, it is no wonder we like to decorate them. And we have, since the beginning of time. From Cleopatra through to the Victorian times, women have been doing things to enhance their faces, but specifically their eyes and eyelashes. False eyelashes became well known in 1919 by a makeup artist by the name of Max Factor. The rage continued through the Fifties with the Blonde Bombshells, and the Sixties during the Twiggy era, but even when the 90s hit and minimalist makeup took over, the use of false eyelashes never stopped. Now, celebrities will pay up to $10,000 for a pair of mink and diamond false eyelashes by Shu Uemura and lash bars are available in every urban centre.
So, how can you have great eyelashes without paying a fortune for them and their maintenance? Here is how . . .
Natural Lashes versus Permanent False Lash Extensions
This is all about your level of maintenance and your budget. If you have an extra hour and a half every two to 3 weeks and $100, then go for the permanent eyelash extensions. But, make sure you research the eyelash technician, their training and products, and ask for referrals. You don’t want to cheap out on this one, it is your eyes! However, and this is just my personal opinion, (I am sure I will get slagged by many eyelash technicians) the reality is that I think eyelash extensions put the “H” in high maintenance. Why? Because they look great when you get them done, but after two weeks, they start to fall out, become twisted and look like crap. So, unless you are militant about proper maintenance every two weeks, don’t bother. Plus, if you don’t look after them properly, get them redone on a regular basis, brush them and pick or pull at them, you will experience eyelash loss. We all know women who have loved their lashes until they had to take them off and were horrified to see they had lost most of their natural lashes. Factoid: when you lose or pull out one eyelash, it takes a minimum of two months for it to grow back.
- Your eyelashes are meant to enhance your eye shape, they are not meant to look like you have spider legs coming out of your face or that you are a living, breathing version of Betty Boop. In this case, bigger is not better. You want people to notice your great lashes, not ask you if they are fakes. If they are asking, then they look FAKE!
- They are highly addictive! Trust me on this one, my girlfriends and I had to have a serious eyelash intervention with one of our girlfriends. She was completely addicted to lash extensions and even when they started to fall out, she would not have them removed. It got to the point where we had to intervene and suggest she have them removed because it was disturbing to look at her with half her eyelashes missing. However, to this day she still swears that her eyelash extensions make her look five years younger!
Should you have a set of regular false eyelashes?
Absolutely. Find natural half strip or full strip lashes and practice putting them on. They are amazing for a hot date night or fun night out with the girls. Buy a good pair, have them cut and fitted to your eye and use minimal glue. Clean them after using so you can use them over again.
Personal note: If you are going to get your makeup professionally done, ask them for individual false eyelashes. These are the ones I use. Why? Because they look ultra-natural and I can build the lash as thick or as long as I want. Plus, they don’t look FAKE! Also, they are not heavy and you can wear them all day and night.
Finding the right mascara for you. Well, that is a huge adventure!
At Sephora alone, there are approximately 143 different types of mascara to choose from. So, how do you decide?
It’s all about the brush. Here are the basics about applicators.
- A straight brush is easy to use as it allows better access to small lashes and inner eyelid lashes.
- A curved brush is perfect for those looking for more curls and an extra lift to the lashes.
- A comb brush helps to separate the lashes, avoids clumping, and gives an even application. It also adds length and volume to the lashes.
- A big brush coats more mascara and gives more volume to the eyelashes. The wand has tightly spaced bristles that are perfect for extra thickness.
- A long brush is best for lengthening. It’s recommended for separating and defining lashes.
- A small brush is better for small lashes, or mature women whose lashes are sparse.
Then there are the formulas, here are the basics:
Short lashes = lengthening mascara
Straight lashes = curling mascara
All three = volumizing mascara
Personal tip: no matter how good the applicator or the formula, you must apply multiple coats to really get your lashes thick, long and full. Yup, 3 to 5 coats are what I personally apply . . . one coat is not going to cut it no matter what mascara you buy!
- Waterproof? Do you need it? Not really, unless you are sporty spice. But, if you use it then you have to take it off every night with makeup remover. Soap and water alone will not get it off. Another option is mascara with tubes; it’s waterproof, but you lose some of the other options.
- The colour: brown, black or blue/black? Nine times out of ten, I would say black, unless you are a ginger or natural blonde. But even still, if your lashes are blonde, you want them to be darker. Tip: blue/black is good if you smoke weed or are hung-over. But, using Visine or a concealer pencil on the waterline works better.
…the nitty gritty on the curtains!
This is one thing I will not cheap out on. I have tried, and you get what you pay for. Besides, it goes on your eyes, so maybe the extra ten bucks is worth it. Cheap out on your eye shadow instead. Ask for samples or buy the smaller tubes until you find an applicator brush that works for you, then try different brands/formulas that have the same type of brush. Also, REPLACE your mascara every six weeks – if it’s dry and flaky, it’s too old. And yes, even if you don’t use it every day, it’s garbage after six weeks. Why? Because it has been opened and the bacteria is in the tube, so it’s time to trash it. DON’T SHARE (even with your teenage daughter): all I can say is gross! If you want eye issues, this is the easiest way to get them. If you do share, clean your applicator with alcohol or chuck the mascara afterwards. And stick with it, because you will find one that works for you and when you do . . . look out baby, you will be batting those lashes all night long!
Top Five Mascaras
- Benefit Roller Lash (super curling, $24): This is my NEW favourite. I love it! It curls even the straightest of lashes, plus it lengthens and volumizes. Ask for directions on how to use it, as there are two sides to the brush.
- Benefit Bad Gal Lash (volumizing, $19): This is my tried and true. I always come back to this mascara. Why? Because it works for me. It has a big brush for great length and volume.
- Maybelline Great Lash (lengthening, $6): It’s been around forever for a reason. It’s in my kit and I use it a lot. Perfect for short/sparse lashes.
- Benefit They’re Real (lengthening, $24): This one is a close second to Bad Gal Lash in my opinion. Most people like it better as it has a comb brush, so if you have a medium to small eye, this one will give you tons of length and volume.
- Lancôme Definicils (high definition, lengthening, $32): This one can battle it out with Get Real. I find they are very similar as they both build length and volume. But this one is easier to wash off at the end of the day.