Let's Talk Lashes
I’m pretty over articles that simply tell me which mascaras to buy. Or in a more recent case, as the Man Repeller discussed, not wearing mascara at all, a la “I (Actually) Woke Up Like This: Bare Eyelashes Are Trending.” Yeah, okay. For many, especially us blondes, this trend isn’t something we’re ready for, or particularly care for. Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved and embraced a tastefully chunky lash. Coating my top lashes in layers of thick, black, Lancôme mascara was, and still is a daily ritual I look forward to. A sign of the “finishing touches” before long day of work, or a girl’s night out, a lash-obsessed gal knows, knows, that there is such a thing as having a Good Lash Day. And it can make or break your hour of previous grooming antics.
While make up artist Dick Page has written off thick mascara as one of our “little beauty crutches”, I’m fully willing embrace my mascara “crutch” over rocking a nude lash. The trend does have me thinking however, what does all that mascara wear and tear do to the longevity of these precious little hairs on our lids? Let’s discuss different methods, products, and then, best practices for keeping your lashes long, and strong – because we all want that, no? Let’s start with the method I tried most recently, lash tinting.
I’ve thought about getting my lashes tinting for a few years now. My lashes aren’t super faint, but they have almost an ombre to them (dark at the root, light at the ends.) I love the idea of not wear so much mascara during the day or at all while swimming. I started using a semi-permanent lash tint at night sent to me by Rimmel London. It’s proven to darken bare lashes in two weeks and give the appearance of instantly fuller and longer lashes. I loved this product for nightly use (before bed), but as my everyday mascara, it didn’t quite do what I wanted. So then I consulted the professionals at Elle Lash Bar here in Washington, DC and scheduled an appointment.
The lash tinting process was surprisingly quick and easy thanks to Paula at Elle Lash Bar. We started by removing my mascara and eye makeup. Paula then put Vasaline on my eyelids and under eyes to prevent the lash dye from staining my skin. She then put thin cotton pads under my eyes and tinted my lashes gently with a small brush and let the dye sit for six or so minutes. After, the dye was removed Paula give me some cooling eyedrops to help with the small burn from the tinting.
Overall, I highly recommend getting your lashes tinted, especially if they are blonde like mine. My lashes look so much longer now that they are darker and I love the results. Lash tinting typically costs around $35 - $60 depending on where you live and lasts about 4-6 weeks.
Lash extensions fascinate me. Every time I see them on a stranger or a friend, I feel like I want to ask them 100 rapid fire questions. Can I touch them? Do they itch? Are they like, suuuper expensive or just kinda expensive? Can you put mascara on them? What about showers and washing your face? Are they worth it? Are you forever addicted? So finally, thanks to this post, I asked a friend with lash extensions these exact questions. Here's what she said:
Tell me about your lashes. I won't ask to touch them but, I will probably stare at them this entire time.
Friend: "I got my lash extensions a long time ago - about two years to be exact. The process is actually really calming. I go to my lash lady, lay on the bed with chill music playing, close my eyes, and let the beautifying begin."
Can you explain the process?
Friend: "Each lash gets its own individual lash put over the top. My lash lady dips each individual extension in glue and bonds it to my natural lash. At the end, she goes through and feathers my lashes and checks for spots she missed. I like it because they're custom to me, and I can pick how long or thick I want them depending on my mood."
How long are you laying there for?
Friend: "Typically about an hour and a half give or take. She's pretty fast."
How long do they last?
Friend: "It depends on the month. In summer when I'm at the pool or working out more often, I need to get them filled in or redone more often. On average though about 5-6 weeks. I've learned not to touch or play with them. The first set I had done didn't last that long because I was constantly touching them. They also itched more. I'm better about that now."
So do they itch a lot? Is that the most annoying part about them?
Friend: "No, the price is the most annoying part! [laughs] I'd say, it's more mind over matter. But yes, they do itch sometimes."
You mentioned price. We all know they're expensive. If you don't mind me asking, how much do you pay for yours?
Friend: "Oh gosh. Well, my first set was around $300 with tip and my refills are typically around $40-$50 a visit. I know that's a steep price but look, I never buy mascara anymore. When I was, I was paying about $45 a tube and going through 14-16 of those a year, so you do the math. I also stopped coloring my hair when I started getting the lashes. It's all about budgeting your beauty."
Bottom line, will you ever go back to your natural lashes?
Friend: "Not likely, well, I'm not sure. Right now I see it as a small luxury that I like to do for myself. It makes me feel great and I love the compliments I get from them. And when people ask me if they're extensions, I tell them the truth. But if they just say, "Wow you have great lashes" I thank them and move on."
Castor Oil – There’s been a lot of hype about castor oil on brows, cuticles, lashes, you name it. But with trend comes skepticism. "Is Castor oil just the new oil pulling? Where it’s probably bullshit but does it really hurt to try it and see?” Valid. However, there have been some great testimonials here and here on its benefits. Castor oil is full of nutrients that can help to nourish the lashes and keep them from breaking.
Coconut Oil - Similar to castor oil, many have raved about the benefits of coconut oil for lash conditioning and strengthening. No surprise here, considering coconut oil filled with a wide range of natural fatty acids, like lauric, caprylic, myristic, and capric acid, which are all medium fatty acids and are critical for good cell growth in the body.
Here's a great eyelash growth serum that we found that combines the two:
1 teaspoon castor oil
1 teaspoon emu oil (optional, can use extra castor oil instead)
1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
2 capsules Vitamin E oil (optional)
Lash perming is a great solution for those who spend countless minutes curling their lashes to get that uplifted look. Why do this? Well, uplifted lashes look longer than straight ones, giving you the large doe-eyed look so many women love. Eyelash perming curls and lifts your lashes and typically lasts about a month and half. Of course, the tricky part about lashes is, they fall out. Therefore, as the permed lashes fall out and are replaced by straighter ones, the effect of the perms disappears and requires additional treatments. This could turn into an expensive regimen, but hey, what isn’t? We’ve also heard rave reviews and have seen amazing before and after before and after photos from clients at Elle Lash Bar. If you’re looking for something less permanent, we’ve heard rave reviews about this Shu Uemura eyelash curler, which has been around since 1931.
Lash Growth Enhancers
Think of these growth serums and enhancers as eyelash steroids. Not everyone's doing it, but if they are, they probably aren't telling you. Here are a few that I've heard great things about and are using myself.
Revitalash - Revitalash is sold at Nordstrom and is dermatologist reviewed. Those who use it say its non-irritating and easy to apply. Results are typically seen by week 4-6. Revitalash has been called the "training wheels" for anyone who is considering Latisse.
Amalie Beauty Wink Lash Oil - This Wink lash oil is packed with those great fatty acids that may stimulate lash growth. In spite of it being an oil, it's light and thin in texture and won't clog up your lids. One user said that she noticed results in just 2 weeks and that her lashes appeared to be darker as well.
Rapidlash Enhancing Serum - There are a lot of really great reviews of Rapidlash out there, especially on youtube. It needs to be applied just once a day and has been proven to show results in as little as 4 weeks.
So here's what I'm using....
Rodan + Fields Lash Boost - So you may have remembered my post on starting to use Rodan + Fields products recently, and yep, I'm still loving it. Something my skincare godmother, Mary Utsey recommended was Lash Boost for stronger, longer lashes. I suppose I could file this under the "Lash Conditioning" category as well, but I've seen such great results that it feels more like an enhancement really. Lash Boost launched in October and I've been using it ever since. Have I noticed a difference? Yes, 100% and others around me have too. I can't tell you how many times I get asked where I get my lash extensions done and I LOVE being able to say, "Nope, these puppies are mine!" At $150 a tube, it may seem like a bit of a splurge, but if you're anything like me, and clearly you are if you're reading this post, you want to invest in your lashes and see them grow heathy and strong. Bonus: Mention Libby Living Colorfully with any Rodan + Fields purchase through Mary and receive $20 off your order!
Primer - Before discussing mascara we need to address the importance of lash primers. Just like painting a room, a primer for your lashes is essential to build up the best shape, length, and thickness before applying your mascara. The best part - using a primer can actually save you money. Why? Think about it. You spend around $12 on a primer, use 3-4 coats before your (typically) more expensive mascara. Rather than loading up on mascara, the primer is used as a less expensive base for the main event. Bonus: A lot of primers have conditioners in them, so it's a lash win/win. Here are a few favorites. Some people even use baby powder applied with a cotton swab before mascara application for a fuller look. THIS is the primer I cannot live without (pictured above!)
Mascara - Ask most women what cosmetic item they can't leave the house without and most will say mascara. The lash-defining product was first named after Eugene Rimmel, a French cosmetics inventor and was created first in the 1830's. Here are some other fun facts and tips you might have not known about mascara.
1. Ever wonder why you instinctively open your mouth when applying mascara? It's because it's actually easier not to blink when your mouth is open.
2. The FDA reports that the most common makeup related injury is gouging your eye with the mascara wand. Day ruined.
3. Mascara on your lashes overnight dries them out and can lead to breakage. Make sure to take it all off before bed to keep those lashes strong! This is easily my favorite oil cleanser and makeup remover.
4. Of all the makeup on the market, mascara has the shortest lifespan (about 3-5 months.)
5. To keep your mascara lasting longer and prevent it from drying out, place a few drops of contact or eye drop solution in the tube every so often to thin out the texture and prevent clumps.
A very special thanks to Paula at Elle Lash Bar for answering all of my lash questions and for the complimentary lash tinting. If you're in Washington, DC and are looking for lash extensions, lash perming or tinting, make sure to call the experts at Elle Lash Bar.
Photos via: Kara Schab of Right Foot Creative