From oh-so-natural looks to the epic long or the wacky feathered variety, gorgeous eyelashes are often paraded on Insta, showcased on the catwalk, and drooled over by the masses. But do you know why we are so drawn to luscious lashes? Well, here’s the science-y bit – luscious eyelashes are perceived as a sign of good health; apparently, many diseases and degenerative conditions cause eyelashes to fall out. I guess that’s certainly true when we think about intensive treatments and therapies. And, of course, lashes do have the function of protecting your eyes from dust, sand, and other airborne debris.
Anyway, hold that thought, because here are some fab ways you can enhance your lashes and keep them healthy too.
The classic option for thicker, longer lashes is good old-fashioned mascara. The market has many amazing mascara options at different price points from Maybelline to YSL, from under £5 to over £30. You can find different applicator wands that can work your lashes into the shape you want. Some promise length, others volume, others thickness, and others contain filaments that add length.
Here’s Wayne Goss’s take on applying the best mascara.
Lash serums nourish the lashes to create fuller, thicker, and longer lashes. Whilst some serums don’t work, some deliver wow results. Always read the label as with anything you put on or near your eyes. Many serums are made with natural ingredients and are designed to be hypoallergenic. It’s recommended that you apply it in the evening after cleansing your face and lashes, using the serum once a day for twelve weeks for the best results.
You can safely use lash serums and mascara as the serum is applied to the eyelids like a liner and not on the lashes themselves. There are many lash serum brands from e.l.f. for those on a budget to Elizabeth Arden, Clinique, Lancôme, to UKLash, ranging in price point from £8 to £50.
Here are some doctor-recommended lash serums.
Semipermanent eyelash extensions were popularised in the 90s to 00s and are now everywhere. Eyelash extensions are where a technician applies synthetic or natural fibres to the natural lash, creating a more dramatic, fuller eyelash look – so for every one lash you had, you might now have two to three more lashes!
It takes up to two hours for a technician to apply these lashes – and just like gel nails – you can get these topped up and infilled.
Many eyelash extensions are vegan nowadays, manufactured from synthetic fibres, but it’s best to check as some are made from fur farm produce and may contain hair from foxes, minks, and other furry friends. There are also Russian or XD lashes. There are J or C curl options, colour, and length variations too, but your lash tech will talk you through what’s best for you with the look you want to achieve.
Vet the place where you plan to get your extensions done – just as you would with any nail tech or salon (i.e. where you get Botox or other treatments).
When you have eyelash extensions, you have to skip oily products like face oils, oil-based makeup remover, and other products that can travel into the lashes. Lash extensions use quick-drying resin adhesives (cyanoacrylate) and oil eats that bond meaning bye-bye expensive lashes. It’s also best not to wear mascara with them.
They have to be removed by a pro since they can tear and break your lashes (which is painful) if you try and do it yourself (definitely not recommended). You’ll also have to re-learn how to wash your face! Despite requiring a little more upkeep, attention, and care, they are a hugely popular option and last up to four weeks between infills or new sets. They can ruin your natural lashes but they do not have to if you take proper care of your lashes. A full set generally costs around £90-135 or more and infills cost half that so it’s not a cheap option. Plus, they can often take one hour or more to apply, so you’ll need to set aside more time than for an express lunchtime salon visit.
Refinery29 shows the process of getting extensions here.
If you don’t want to splash out for eyelash extensions, but you want something a bit more dramatic than mascara, fake lashes are the way to go. Synthetic and mink (or other fur) lashes are generally attached to strips and then glued onto the lash line. It takes a bit of practice to get it just right, but they look great when applied properly. Check out YouTube for a myriad of tips and tricks on how to do this!
You can find fake lashes that look great at any price point from £6-15 per pair and when looked after properly, you can reuse them a few times – or you can splash out on more expensive lash kits for around £100. There are also options like magnetic lashes on the market, too.
Here’s Wayne Goss explaining how to apply long-lasting invisible fake lashes.
Lash lifting and tinting
If you want something that’s not as extreme as an eyelash extension but not as cumbersome as applying fake lashes regularly, a lash lift and tint might be the option for you. A lash lift is like a perm for your lashes and it’s the process in those videos you’ve probably seen where a technician combs the lashes over a silicon pad. Lash lifts and tints lift the lashes and shape them so they look longer and fuller. They can then be tinted darker. They are low maintenance and you don’t have to wear mascara. Your lashes will just return to normal after a month or two.
Whilst there are kits on the market for a DIY job, it’s recommended you see a professional if you want a lash lift since, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can put yourself at risk for infections, retinal burns, irritated skin, swelling, bald spots in the lashes, and worst case: blindness.
Lash lifts and tints cost around £50-75 and last anywhere from four to six weeks. You can’t wash your lashes for twenty-four hours after they’ve been permed so make sure you’re aware before going to your appointment.
Refinery29 strikes again, showing how lash lift and tinting works.