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March 4, 2010

Here are a few things you need to know about me if we’re going to be friends:

I do not wear falsies. Never have, never will. If you do, I’m totally cool with that–more power to you, baby.
At this point, based on the pic at left (yes, that’s my eye), you have probably determined that this article is not about fake…um, ya know…well don’t make me SAY it. We’re talking about eyelashes here, people. (Save your comments about concealer for my dark circles for another day–I have small children. Be kind.)
There is hardly a day that goes by when someone doesn’t ask me if I am wearing false eyelashes. Inherent in that compliment is the assumption that my lashes couldn’t possibly be as long as they are naturally. As you can see in the pic, I am clearly wearing mascara–not heaping, clumping amounts (ick), which helps, of course. But seriously, false eyelashes? No. Never. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
My lashes are so long that I have to–wait for it–have them trimmed. Yea, you can hate me now (see, the ends get so long they start to curve and bend instead of going up–it just looks weird–trust me). However, I do have a few tools in my arsenal that help me achieve the look you see above. If you want your lashes to look like mine, then read along and follow my simple, easy steps that will have total strangers asking if you, too, are wearing falsies. (If you do stick em in your bra, however, you are on your own.)

Let’s start at night. I do use Latisse which is the only FDA-approved prescription growth treatment for eyelash growth. It’s completely and totally worth the $120 price tag. It comes with a set of individual sterile brushes to last you throughout the three-month treatment period. My lashes, admittedly already long but not as thick or dark as I’d like, have grown crazy long with this amazing product. Plus, it’s sooo simple. ONE DROP on the tip of the provided brush, apply along the top lash line like eyeliner and boom, done. Off to bed with ya. It does not sting. My eyecolor (naturally the green you see in the pic) has not darkened at all. One final note–I have tried other OTC lash growth products and here’s my advice: save your money. Latisse is by far the strongest, most effective product for your lashes.
Despite Brooke Shields “smell the fart” picture (a la Joey’s–from “friends”–acting method) in the ads, there’s really nothing about this product that I don’t like. Well, except that it costs so damn much, of course.

This step is really crucial and most women (or dudes) have never even heard of it–or they’ve heard of it and are afraid of it or think it’s unnecessary. Well, get over yourselves–buy and use this product. A lash primer is like the difference between eating a slice of cake plain or with frosting–and who doesn’t love frosting (or at least the look of it)?
Personally, I love the primer by Smashbox because it has a bit of a tacky, sticky feel which, though it sounds kind of yucky, is perfect to make your eyelashes hold a curl (see #3) and for your mascara (see #4) to adhere to. If you are looking for a paraben-free product, try Tarte. Their product is also excellent. Both retail for under $20.
If you don’t already use this thing that looks like a torture device from medieval times, you probably look at an eyelash curler and think, what the hell is the point? Big mistake. An eyelash curler will open up your eyes in a major way–your eyes will pop like never before. This is absolutely crucial, at least for me. My lashes are pretty wild. They tend to grow kind of every which way, especially out straight; if I didn’t have my eyelash curler, I would be lost, lost, lost.
Even more important than just buying an eyelash curler is choosing the right one. That decision is an easy one because I’m making it for you right here and now: the Shu Uemura eyelash curler is just freakin amazing and nothing–NOTHING–even comes close. Makeup artists use it exclusively on models and it has repeatedly won award after award (Allure Best of, InStyle) and for good reason: it puts the perfect bend in your lashes but will never break them. I have no idea how they do it but I can honestly say that I have used it for years and I will never, ever use anything else. Click on the link and purchase it. You will love it! It does take a little getting used to if you A) have never used an eyelash curler or B) have used a different kind of curler–but have faith, your eyes will pop like never before. It will be the best nineteen bucks you’ve ever spent.
Gar (Any “Dodgeball” fans? Steve the Pirate? No? Okay, moving on). The bane of my existence. I would be embarrassed to tell you how much of my hard earned money I have spent “in search of” (cue Leonard Nimoy’s voice) the PERFECT mascara. In my opinion–and this is just me–it does not exist in a drugstore brand. I have tried every single one. Some come close–L’Oreal Voluminous is very good.) I currently have found two high end mascaras that I am–cautiously–over the moon about: DiorShow in waterproof black and Laura Mercier Thickening and Building mascara in black. Personally, I think both are just amazing. It’s a good idea to have one regular mascara and one waterproof–a girl never knows when she might have to get wet :). Neither will flake, they both go on very easily, and your lashes will look just incredible. Both retail for around $20. My niece (who, while a youngun at 26, is no neophyte when it comes to mascara, recommends Maybelline Turbo Lash).
Now, don’t just go swiping it on willy-nilly. Nuh-uh. Let’s put it all together shall we?
–apply primer first, swiping off any extra by wiping it on the rim of the tube only. Do not use a tissue or wipe; you want to avoid introducing foreign tissue fibers into the product itself, which will contaminate the product and it won’t work the way it is supposed to. Never wipe off the extra with a tissue! The majority of the primer should be applied at the base of your lashes because that is where you want your lashes to appear thickest. Apply sparingly but use enough to actually see the product.
–waiting a few minutes though while lashes are still slightly tacky or sticky, curl lashes with your brand spanking new eyelash curler. You can do this more than once if you need to in order to get those babies all nice and orderly. Yes, you can. It’s okay. Ga head. I’ll wait.
now you can apply your mascara. Take the wand and, using the same wiping technique mentioned above (wipe on rim, no tissue), apply the mascara first to the base of the lashes. Next, apply to the tips. Next, looking slightly down, apply to the tops of your lashes–yes, the tops. Finally, open your eye and do the whole length, or body, of your lash. And repeat. Don’t forget the bottom lashes.

When all is said and done, if you find a few lashes are stuck together, the safest way to “unstick” them is to use a very fine eyelash comb that you can purchase at a beauty supply store. The kind sold at the drugstore, I have found, are not fine enough. Personally, I just use the tip of my Tweezerman tweezers, but that takes a steady hand. Or you can do the needle thing, like Julia Roberts did in that political movie with the stupid title.
Once you become proficient, this entire process will take about five minutes, max.
I personally think all women should wear black mascara. If you don’t normally wear any makeup and are not comfortable with that, then start with a black/brown. Listen, lashes are usually dark anyway, unless you are very light, and even then, the point of makeup is to accentuate what you’ve got. Go with it.

This seems like such a basic tip but many women just don’t think of it. Buy yourself a small, round magnifying mirror, available in basic, inexpensive models at your local drugstore, or with cool doodads (lights, etc.) at the beauty supply store. Especially important when doing fine work such as this; even more important if you can’t see what you’re doing without the magnification.
So there you have it. Adventures in Eyelashes is something I live (almost) every day. I hope it’s something you can now live too.
To take all this fun stuff off, click here to see my article about my fave eye makeup remover:

If you liked this article, please pass me along to your friends (wait…oh, you know what I mean). You can follow me here or find me on Twitter at rachelintheoc; you can also click on the logo up there ^ on the left <<<<

  1. I'm in BABY! I started using Latissa about a month ago. Nothing so far, but if you say stick it out, I will STICK IT OUT. I am a big fan of Laura Mercier products, and MAC. My mascara is Chanel, but I can't remember which one. I wrote down the name of your eyelash curler, cuz Honey, when you are my age, those friggin lashes point DOWN – like other things, but wait . . . we weren't discussing those here! Thx for having me look at this. It is right up my alley!!! xxxx @TheDeeView

  2. Does Latissa help with number of eyelashes? I have LONG, LONG eyelahes, but not that many. I want more.

    Thank you.

    Nice post. (I'm coming over from J's blog.)

  3. Hi Terre:) To answer your question, yes Latisse will increase the thickness (or volume) of your lashes. It is a prostaglandin-containing product, which simply means it stimulates cells to grow. Whether that is longer or thicker depends on what you have to work with in the first place.

    For me, my lashes are already very long but I wanted to increase the volume. This particular product has the highest concentration of prostaglandins on the market, has been used in other forms for years (it was initially a glaucoma drug and patients noticed their eyelashes grew when they used it).

    Hope that answers some questions.


  4. Wow! You have clearly given this much thought. I don't believe I've ever given any part of my daily routine that much attention. Ever. I'm pretty sure I would not have the energy to do all that.

    I have lashes that are both long and thick, but I have never in my life used mascara. I have occassionally curled them, but they never seem to look any different to me when I do.

    Maybe I should come visit you and you can do a little makeover for me. I'm sure I could use it.

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