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How the Other Half Live: False eyelashes

September 11th 2013 / Christa D'Souza

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Christa D'Souza reluctantly tries a false lash treatment and finds she might be able to ditch mascara forever...

I must declare something right from the start. I HATE the idea of fake eyelashes. Fake eyelashes to me are on a par with boxy French manicures, weaves at the back of the head and marmalade tans. TOWIE, or what. That said, what is a girl to do if she’s got the stumpy excuses for lashes that I have?

All these soi-disant ‘million calorie’ mascaras out there on the market. These technological leaps and bounds the industry is SUPPOSED TO HAVE made. They just don’t do it for me. Eyelash curlers meanwhile, I don’t know about you, but aren’t they the most painful contraptions in the world? Especially those ones that only do segments at a time? Just looking at a pair instinctively makes me wince. And another thing: why is it that the people with the longest lashes are often male? Oh the unfairness of life, it can really get you down.

The fact of the matter is, though, long eyelashes make a HUGE difference. Make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury once told me this, so I know it to be true. But I don’t want them to look like fuzzy felt caterpillars. That’s not me, just like frosted lipstick and vajazzles aren’t me either. I want them to look, well, like a child’s eyelashes, I suppose, or my friend Caroline’s who are so long they actually touch her eyelids. I want them long and thick enough so that when people comment on them, I could, if I dared, apologetically shrug my shoulders and go: I know, God was good to me in that department… and people would believe me.

MORE GLOSS: Paperself lashes

Off I trot, then, to the extremely plush Urban Retreat Spa on the fifth floor of Harrods. My, er, lash technician has them on herself and they look good, but she does wear eye make-up which I generally don’t, and she is about a quarter of a century younger than me. The brand she’s going to apply are by Flutter who use a specific technique where they only ever “apply extensions to one single natural lash at a time”.

This seems to me not that revelatory. OBVIOUSLY they’re not going to look like the 99p ones on a plastic arc you used to be able to buy at Woolies. Isn't that how all fake eyelashes are applied in salons nowadays? This “signature” method, though, is different in that it does not interfere with the lashes’ normal growth cycle and won’t cause any damage to the natural lash. Now THAT’S important. The idea of this treatment making me end up with even less lashes than I already have… well that would not be a good thing at all.

Interestingly, she notes how my lashes aren’t that short, it is just that they stick straight out instead of curling up and therefore you cannot actually see them. She asks me what sort of look I’m going for and I tell her, not very helpfully, I want to look like me but with longer lashes. “Natural, then," she says. That’s the one, I say, trying to overlook the fact that the lashes themselves are very black and are very much not made of human hair (though why would I think they were?).

So then, the process starts and it might be a good idea to be a bit sleepy before you go on in because depending on how many eyelashes you have it can take up to two hours (they don’t do the bottom ones, because apparently that makes it look too dolly, even for a TOWIE; only the top). Try not to think of that screening scene in Clockwork Orange because that is exactly what it feels like having one’s lower lashes taped down. Rescue Remedy, that might help...

After what feels like a flight to New York I am done and she gives me a mirror. Wow. I hadn’t quite expected they’d be this black and this long and this… stiff. The bonus is I will not need to wear mascara. The downside is that I cannot use any oil based make-up remover. What? That’s like taking away my Starbucks from me. The other downside is I’m always going to have to get my eyebrows dyed to match.

So anyway, I don’t tell anyone I’ve got them and nobody comments on them. What they DO say is that I’m looking terribly well (not well in the bitchy sense, in the good sense that is). And they’re right, it does make a big difference. One forgets how sexy big fat lashes can be until you have them. My one tiny gripe is that she did not take them right to the corners, but that may be because I haven’t actually got any lashes of my own there.

Just over a week on and I haven’t noticed any falling out, although some surely must have. Apparently I have to keep going back every 3-4 weeks to get replacements. Apparently they have some clients who have been been wearing them on an on-going basis for six or more years. You have to figure, given that you have to have existing lashes in order to get the fake ones, it can’t be such a bad thing.

The Flutter eyelash treatment is available at Urban Retreat Harrods.

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