Q&A: Scoring Show-Stopping Lashes

By Erin Donnelly

Brush for eyelashsQ. I’m totally fed up with my short and puny eyelashes. I feel like I’ve tried every mascara under the sun. Any suggestions for adding some oomph? 
A. Honey, I’ve been there. While my two-year-old nephew is blessed with heavenly thick lashes that practically touch his nose, I’ve had to make do with coat after coat of lengthening, thickening, volumizing mascaras, fake lashes, and even—yep—eyelash extensions. Fortunately, my beauty trials and tribulations work in your favor, as I’ve finally found some lash-enhancing secret weapons that actually work.
First, make sure your lashes are clean of any leftover reside or makeup. Use a gentle cleanser and a cotton swab to clean the area without causing lashes to break off.
If you aren’t using an eyelash curler, you’re missing out. (And yes, they do look a tad scary, but no, you’re not going to poke your eye out.) I like to give my curler (I swear by Shu Uemura’s version) a quick blast from the hair dryer to add some heat; just don’t overdo it and risk incinerating your eyelids—a couple of seconds is plenty of time. Next, give each set of (pre-mascara!) lashes three pumps, holding for about five seconds for each count.
If you want extra coverage and don’t mind another step in your beauty routine, you can follow up your lash curler with a lash primer like the Peep Show Madame Prep from Napoleon Perdis. A primer essentially coats the lashes with a clear body-building layer.
Now it’s mascara time. Lancome’s Definicils High Definition Lash by Lash Precision Length Mascara (for long, separated lashes) and Courbe Virtuose Divine Lasting Curves Mascara (for thick, voluptuous lashes) both work wonders, depending on the look you want to achieve. Other favorites: FusionBeauty’s LashFusion Lash Plump, which beefs up skimpy lashes thanks to a keratin protein complex, and the straight-from-the-runway Dior Diorshow Mascara. Apply two coats to the upper lashes, and use the wand to get close to the lash root without poking your eye out. For added definition, hold the wand vertically and give the bottom lashes a quick sweep.
If mascara alone doesn’t deliver the drama you crave, fake lashes, or falsies, should. Again, Shu Uemura is tops when it comes to false eyelashes, which range from the basic to the avant-garde (feathers, anyone?). Because applying falsies is an intricate process involving tiny delicate fibers and very sticky lash glue, you’re probably best-served by visiting a store location or lash bar in person to have them applied professionally. If you’re into DIY, though, try to get the lashes as close as possible to your lash line, or use individual lashes (Ardell makes some good ones) for a more natural look. 

And what of lash extensions? The process—which can run about $500 and takes about two hours, during which your eyes must stay closed—provides impressive results custom-made to your preferences. The downside, however, is the upkeep. Frequent (and pricey) touch-ups are required to keep lashes long and full. Failure to maintain that upkeep (guilty as charged!) can result, at least in my experience, in brittle lashes that are easily broken and seemingly skimpier than before. It’s an all-or-nothing thing, so either stick with it or skip it entirely.

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