5 Eyelash Enhancement Secrets

By: Sara Elliott

Frame your eyes with enviable lashes for a polished look.
Frame your eyes with enviable lashes for a polished look.

The eyes may be the windows to the soul, but even the most beguiling and soulful gaze looks better when it's outfitted with a thick set of eyelashes. In the olden days, women applied kohl (lead sulfide), a little animal dung and honey to their lashes to make them look thicker, richer and darker. Lucky for us, the science of cosmetics has come a long way since the time of the pharaohs. Let's explore five ways you can achieve a beautiful blink with the perfect eyelash fringe. A few hairs in the right place can give your glances the drama they deserve.


5: Mascara

The fastest and easiest way to achieve longer, thicker lashes is by using mascara. This viscous lash coating is applied with a wand and works, well, like magic. It adds volume, length or curl to lashes. It's even available in a waterproof variety. All mascara isn't created equal, though. Some blends are better at making lashes look plumper, while others have shrinking agents that tug lashes into a curly shape as they dry. Check the labels carefully for terms like volumizing, curling and lengthening, and try a few brands to find out which formulation works best for you. These tips will help:

  • Waterproof mascara is an oil-based product and more difficult to remove than water soluble mascara. You may damage thin or delicate lashes trying to get it off.
  • The chemical formula is only part of the lash-lengthening equation. The shape of the wand applicator is important, too. If you want curl, choose a curvy wand tip. For volume, use a wand with a heavily bristled brush. Check a tester sample to get an idea of the wand design of a product before you buy it.
  • There are lots of mascaras around, and they can range widely in price. The experts are divided about whether or not you get a superior product if you pay more for it. When money is a consideration (and isn't it always?), start with the drug store brands and work your way up from there.


4: Eyelash Strips

If your natural lashes aren't thick enough or long enough, you can dispense with goopy, messy mascara and use false eyelashes instead. Strips are a fast, one stop shopping solution for skimpy eyelashes. They are actually thin, curved bands or bars that contain multiple single lashes. You glue the strips to your eyelids next to your real eyelashes. Eyelash strips are available in lots of designs and materials. Mink lashes are big these days, as are designs that are somewhat less dense and full than the ones you may be familiar with. Where eyelash strips are concerned, it can still be an embarrassment of riches, though. It's easy to overdo it and look like a 1930s movie vamp. That's why strips are often reserved for evening wear when striking makeup effects are considered dramatic rather than extreme.

One big trick to making the eyelash strip look work is in learning to apply strips close to your real lashes with as little glue as possible. That sounds simple, but it can be a challenge to add the glue, hold your lid closed and apply the strip in a few of deft steps. To make the process easier, it pays to have a steady hand (go light on the lattes), a freestanding makeup mirror, good lighting and lots of practice.


3: Single Lash Application

Where eyelash strips may be too much of a good thing, single lashes might be the perfect solution. The idea is simple: Just use a little adhesive to add individual lashes where you need them. You may have a tiny bald spot on your lid thanks to a minor makeup removal disaster, or just like a somewhat fuller look across your entire lid. If you've ever played with glue and construction paper, you know how hard it can be to get anything accomplished with sticky fingers. Single lashes aren't expensive, but applying them can be tricky, sticky and time consuming. Practice makes perfect here, too.

If you think you may be short of patience for this kind of project, some salons will perform the service for you. The procedure takes a couple of hours, but the results can be impressive and last up to two months -- and survive a dip in the pool while looking sensational. The price tag for the service: $250 and up for a full set of lashes.


2: Prescription Eyelash Enhancement

As with any prescription medication, there may be some side effects.
As with any prescription medication, there may be some side effects.

The official term for inadequate lashes is hypotrichosis, and science has come up with a way of dealing with the problem using a prescription medication applied directly to the eyelid. It's a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved treatment for inadequate (or not enough) lashes. LATISSE is available by prescription only. It's a nifty way to achieve improved eyelash coverage by coaxing your body into producing more and better lashes. It beats goop, glue and bother, right?

Well, maybe. Eyelash enhancement can be expensive: a four-week supply costs $120 or more, and the medication takes around 16 weeks to show full results. The effects aren't permanent, either. Using prescription eyelash enhancement may net you thick, luxurious lashes, but as soon as you stop applying the preparation, the effects will begin to reverse themselves. You'll eventually end up where you started -- with short, skinny or sparse lashes. Here's some more bad news: Prescription eyelash enhancement can darken the skin of the eyelid and increase the brown pigment in the colored part of the eye. It can also cause eye redness and itching. In some cases, it can cause hair growth in other parts of the body, too.


1: Surgical Eyelash Restoration and Enhancement

Your eyelashes do more than give you the big, doe-eyed look of a Mila Kunis. They help protect your eyes from airborne particulates. They also register tiny changes in air flow that can alert your eyes to approaching threats like bugs and trigger a protective blink at the appropriate time. That's our polite way of saying that eyelashes have a more important job to do than just make you look good.

Losing your eyelashes is no joke. It happens more frequently than you may think, too. Congenital disorders of the eye can result in poor lash development, and medical treatments like chemotherapy can cause lashes to fall out temporarily. High heat can singe lashes off, too. Some of these conditions are reversible, while others may require surgery to transplant hair from other parts of the body, like the scalp or the neck, to the eyelids. Until recently, eyelash restoration was considered a therapeutic rather than a cosmetic procedure. Its use as an eyelash enhancement process is becoming more widespread, though. Think of it as hair plugs for the eyelids. It's actually the only permanent solution to the problem of inadequate eyelashes. Before you start dialing your favorite plastic surgeon, remember that surgery always involves risks, so weigh the potential benefits carefully.


Lots More Information

Related Articles

  • Allergan. "Latisse." (6/12/12). http://www.allergan.com/products/medical_aesthetics/latisse.htm
  • Consumer Search. "Mascara: What to Look For." 2010. (6/12/12). http://www.consumersearch.com/mascara/important-features
  • Diva Village. "Eyelash Enhancement." (6/12/12). http://www.divavillage.com/article/id/67009/section_name/Beauty/title/Eyelash+Enhancement/pg/1
  • Endless Beauty. "Glamorous Eyelash Options." (6/12/12). http://endlessbeauty.com/articles/glamorous-eyelash-options
  • Eyebrows and Eyelash Zone. "Options to Avoid Eyelash dyeing." (6/12/12). http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=12&ved=0CJQBEBYwATgK&url=http%3A%2F%2Feyelasheszone.com%2Feyebrow-dyeing%2Foptions-avoid-eyelash-dyeing.html&ei=jtjcT6bUE4yg8gT68vXTCg&usg=AFQjCNEhSJoEFRJ6CnBxt8Mytm_soXrjCw&sig2=mLgSXCif2AOCHMJajT1ftA
  • Hitti, Miranda. "FDA OKs 1st Eyelash Drug Latisse." 12/26/08. (6/12/12). http://www.webmd.com/healthy-beauty/news/20081226/fda-oks-first-eyelash-drug-latisse
  • Luxury Lash Lounge. "Eyelash Extensions." (6/12/12). http://www.luxurylashlounge.com/eyelash-extensions-atlanta-ga/
  • Mapes, Diane. "In lust for lashes, few bat an eye at odd risks." MSNBC. 10/1/09. (6/12/12). http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32974056/ns/health-skin_and_beauty/t/lust-lashes-few-bat-eye-odd-risks/#.T93hf7Wqaqw
  • Molvar, Kari. "10 Fabulous Mascaras We Love." Harper's Bazaar. (6/12/12). http://www.harpersbazaar.com/beauty/makeup-articles/10-best-mascaras-of-all-time
  • Strong Magic. "Lash Extensions – A Small History Lesson." 6/4/11. (6/12/12). http://www.strongmagic.net/lash-extensions-a-small-history-lesson/
  • Taheshe. "History of False Eyelashes." 2005. (6/12/12). http://www.takeshe.com/index.php/About-False-Eyelashes/history-of-false-eyelashes.html
  • Walker, Bob. "Eyelash of the Beholder." The New York Times. 7/31/09. (6/12/12). http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/02/magazine/02fob-consumed-t.html?_r=1&scp=27&sq=mascara&st=cse
  • Xtreme Lashes. "Xtreme Lashes® Eyelash Extensions Procedure." (6/12/12). http://www.xtremelashes.com/eyelash_extensions_procedure.aspx