For close to a century, we've been angling to have lashes so long they graze our cheeks. How else do you explain an industry thick with bejeweled falsies, salon extensions and miracle growers? And while A-listers like Bette Davis, Edie Sedgwick, Cher, Twiggy and Jennifer Lopez have gone to great lengths to put eye batting on the map, these over-the-counter eyelash-enhancing innovations may just get us there once and for all.
The goods: Revlon Grow Luscious Mascara & Lash Enhancer in Blackest Black; Elizabeth Arden's Ceramide Lash Extending Treatment Mascara; Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Color Lash Enhancing Mascara (in stores in March); Lancôme CILS Booster XL Super-Enhancing Mascara Base; and FusionBeauty StimuLashFusion Lash Enhancing Mascara.
The description: Mascara that compliments your eyelashes' natural growth cycle by improving the appearance of your fringe to look longer and thicker. "Lash extending mascaras make lashes longer and fuller, giving your eyes a younger more vibrant look," explains Jennifer Taylor, the national communication and education manager for Elizabeth Arden. Upon application, "they immediately volumize, lengthen and curl your lashes, while enhancing long-term lash health with continued use. Typically, you can see three times the lash volume in just 15 days."
The cost: From $12 to $35, available at drug, beauty and/or department stores.
The promise: To simultaneously strengthen, lengthen and thicken your eyelashes, while nourishing them.
The reality: They visibly lengthen eyelashes without clumping, which is a plus. The formulations are creamy and easy to apply, which does make them feel more hydrating than other mascaras even if we can't prove it.
Non-prescription growth enhancers
The goods: Shu Uemura Lash Builder; Elizabeth Arden Prevage Clinical Lash + Brow Enhancing Serum; Revita.EPS Eyelash Growth Stimulator; RapidLash Eyelash Renewal Serum; Talika Lipocils Gel; Peter Thomas Roth Lashes To Die For; and Rimmel Lash Accelerator Serum.
The description: These serum-like formulations typically contain a cocktail of botanicals, amino acids, peptides and vitamins that you paint along your top and bottom lashlines the same way you would apply your favourite liquid eyeliner.
The cost: From $15 to $150 at drug, beauty and department stores.
The promise: To make your fringe, longer, fuller, darker and thicker, while conditioning your lashes to avoid brittleness and breakage - all within two to six weeks, on average. "Lash-building serums support natural growth to powerfully make lashes visibly longer, thicker and fuller," explains Kakuyasu Uchiide, the international artistic director for Shu Uemura. "And women want that. They know that their eyes play a very important role in individual expression. So it doesn't matter whether you have makeup on or not, long beautiful lashes will enhance the eyes and attract attention."
The reality: Yes, your lashes get darker, longer and in some cases, thicker, too. But you have to be committed and swipe it on every single day for the minimum two-week period. This is not an option for lazy girls and ongoing maintenance is a must.
Eye-makeup remover and enhancer
The description: Gentle elixirs comprised of peptides, essential oils, botanicals and keratin stimulants that easily wipe away your eye shadow, mascara and eyeliner without tugging or pulling. "The cleansing oils are great for removing all makeup," affirms Uchiide. "And for removing the glue from fake eyelashes."
The cost: From $12 to $100, at drug, beauty and department stores.
The promise: To strengthen your eyelashes, while nourishing and protecting them.
The reality: A dab on a cotton pad does the trick and whisks eye makeup away without any unwanted eyelash shedding - always a good thing. And while eyelashes and skin feel softer and smoother it's hard to say if the lashes are more hydrated or not. Only time will tell.
The description: Heated, this manual tool looks like a mini toothbrush and is brushed over the lashes. Not heated, this manual tool looks like a pair of scissors, but without the sharp blades and clamps your top eyelashes at their base and bends them outwards. Both are used to add lift and curl. "Opening, lengthening and defining the eyelashes are key to enhancing the eyes," says Uchiide. "Using an eyelash curler, traces a beautiful arch."
The cost: From $6 to $35, at drug, beauty and department stores.
The promise: To curl your eyelashes outwards, opening up your eyes.
The reality: Pokey straight lashes get lift and curl. Be careful using a traditional-style curler, though. It's easy to pinch and squeeze when clamping and to pull out your hard-earned lashes when unclamping.
The goods: Alongside mani/pedis and bikini waxes, high-end and specialty salons and spas offer lash extensions on their service menus.
The description: Singles (individual lashes), Clusters, Strip (a full row) and Bottom Lash Extensions can all be added to your natural fringe to add length and fullness, make your eyes appear bigger and minimize the need to apply makeup. "Long, beautiful eyelashes enhance the beauty of the eyes," affirms Taylor. "They feel thicker, longer and are captivating."
The cost: From approximately $75 for about 25 to 35 lashes per eye to $300 for a full set of 60 to 80 lashes per eye, available at spas.
The promise: To give your eyes more va-va-voom.
The reality: They work. The lashes can be as long and as thickly placed as you like - all are applied to your own lashes with a medical-grade glue. They last about three months and should be touched up every three to five weeks. The best part: you can still apply a growth serum while you're wearing the extensions.
The description: Singles, Partial, Strip, Natural (not synthetic), Accent (partial lashes that are embellished with colour or accessories), Fantasy (bejeweled, feathers, fur, different shapes) and Premium (high-end Fantasy) lashes are all temporary and can be glued into your lashline to create fullness, add volume and/or add glitzy glamour to your look. "We have individual lashes for a more natural look (to fill the natural lashline), mini eyelashes to apply at the outside corner of the eyes and the full eyelashes," says Uchiide. "We also offer a wide variety of more dramatic ones, which become a great fashion statement for the eyes."
The cost: From $5.99 to $175, at drug, beauty and department stores.
The promise: To give your eyes a temporary makeover.
The reality: You can have rhinestone encrusted, blue glitter, jaggedy points, fur and feathers and everything in between - at least for one night. Take good care of your falsies and they can be worn again and again.
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