I recently booked myself in for a lash lift and, as I emerged with curlier, fluttery eye-valances, I wondered why I don’t do this more often.
Lash lifting offers a more lasting curl than mascara for those of us with determinedly straight strands, but costs much less than individual lash extensions, which are wonderful for a special occasion, but not sustainable for anyone but the super-rich in terms of both time and money – a full set of extensions can take hours.
A lift can be customised to your eye shape (I can’t live with too steep an incline because the bend makes eyeliner application maddeningly fiddly). It wears off slowly and with no ill effect on the natural lashes, whereas badly applied or heavy extensions cause the real hairs beneath to become sparse over time.
My own lash technician, Teresa Smith of I Love Lash (London-based, but lash perms are available all over, starting at about £25 depending on location), offers two different brands – LVL and Elleebana – both of which retain their curl for a good six to eight weeks. Mascara can be worn on top as usual, but the effects are so good that I find myself less inclined to bother.
If it’s length rather than curl you lack, you may have considered lash growth serums. Once monopolised by Revitalash, the market now offers myriad options, and the number of questions I’m asked about these products has soared. I mostly recommend Lash Force Eyelash Growth Serumby British salon brand NYK1 (£44.95). It’s expensive, as they all are, but the tube is at least double the size of most, gives a couple of months’ use and, most importantly, it actually works.
Whichever lash serum you choose, what will define its success is diligent use, which is why I rarely use one myself (vitamin supplements are struggle enough). Most serums must be applied each morning and evening for at least four to five weeks: you paint it on to the lash line much as you might apply liquid liner, only a little more firmly, pressing the brush into the roots.
If that sounds like a faff – well, it sort of is – you might find it helpful to store the serum next to your toothbrush so you don’t forget.
And if you’ve just been through chemotherapy (and you must wait until it’s completed before starting with the serum), then such fripperies will feel like a picnic.