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ISO: Eyelashes

Do you share Lucy's qualms about the beauty industry?

Like many women, my eyelashes are less than perfect. They’re so short, I have to use a magnifying glass to apply mascara, and even then, half of it ends up on my eyelids. Of course, the beauty industry has a solution for everything, or so I’d hoped.

I bought mascara after mascara because of their claims to give me long, lush lashes. Commercials promised that their product would lengthen and others would add volume, and still more claimed to do both.

Upon closer inspection and in the smallest print possible, you can barely see a disclaimer. Usually, it’s something like “results not typical,” followed by an even smaller admission that the model’s extra long eyelashes didn’t come from mascara. They came in the form of false eyelashes.

Ever the optimist (and having been raised in the TV generation), I trotted to the store like a trained circus monkey and bought one after the other. While they didn’t live up to their claims, at least they coated my tiny little lashes and made them somewhat visible to the naked eye. Still, I wasn’t willing to give up on my quest for long lash bliss.

You can imagine, then, how thrilled I was when I saw that a make-up artist was coming on a local talk show to demonstrate how to make dramatic lashes. I grabbed a pen and paper and patiently waited until her segment came on.

Her first “trick” was to use something called an eyelash curler. She curled her model’s lashes, and then applied a coat of mascara. While the mascara was still wet, she sprinkled some loose talcum powder on her lashes, followed by another coat of mascara. The model looked into the camera and boy, did she have some awesome lashes.

Circus music played in my head as I went to the store to buy a curler and some powder.

Now, there may have been some warnings about proper usage of the curler, but I was just too excited to try it. I held the contraption up to my eye and pressed down – firmly.

Turns out, you’re supposed to check for placement before you apply any pressure. Since I hadn’t, part of my tender eyelid found its way into the little jaws of death.

I now understand what people mean when they say they saw stars; I was seeing constellations.

I ditched the little torture device. It took about a week for the eyelid to heal, but then I was back at it.

I decided to try the talcum powder trick. I put mascara on, then lowered my lashes to my hand that held a pile of talc. Unfortunately, I got a little too close to the powder. The talc got into my eye, and instinctively, I began blinking like a caution light in a construction zone. This caused the mascara to get under my eyes and on the top of my lids. When I could finally see again, I looked in the mirror, only to see a deranged raccoon looking back at me.

Thinking I’d learned from my mistake, the next day I tried again. Thankfully, I was smart enough to keep the talcum from getting in my eye. Unfortunately, being inexperienced, the powder turned to massive, mascara-laden clumps. I looked like there were hairy tarantulas attacking my face. I tried to use a lash comb, which helped a little. But sadly, most of the talcum covered mascara landed in my eyes.

After a few days, I could finally put my contacts in.

A few weeks later, I spotted a beauty supply store, and decided to take a look around. There was a whole section entirely devoted to false eyelashes; I was mesmerized. I had no idea that there were so many different brands and types. Some were labeled “natural”, “dramatic” and one that said “demi.” Having no experience with them, I grabbed a dramatic pair.

Here’s a handy tip; be careful which fake lashes you buy or you’ll stand out like a drag queen in church.

I got them home and, for once, read the directions. I flexed and applied the glue that came with them to the lashes. I tried to get them as close to my eyelash line as I could, but not being used to having gigantic lashes coming at me, they ended up in the middle of my eyelid. I pulled them off, but there was still glue on my eyelid, which temporarily glued my eye wide open.

In other attempts I managed to get the glue on my lower lid, and glued my eye shut. It took a lot of Vaseline before I was comfortable prying them apart.

Sadly, despite all my best efforts, it seems I’m doomed to walk the streets with tiny little lashes. And when I watch television commercials advertising revolutionary mascara, I have a mantra going through my head that no mascara will make me look like I’m wearing false eyelashes.

Wait a minute – hello! I just saw a commercial about a break-through mascara that has tiny fibers that will adhere to your lashes and make them ten times longer!

Queue the circus music.

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