In My Makeup Kit: False Lashes

false lashes

Lately I’ve been getting into lashes. Not a single shoot I’ve been on recently has been lash–free. Whether it’s Ellen Von Unwerth show girl lashes (courtesy of Shu Uemura), or flirty demi-lashes to elongate a smoky eye (thank you Ardell), I’ve been pulling out my lash bag time and time again. And it made me start thinking – I’ve never posted about lashes before. Time to start!

I have a few brands I like to look at when I buy false lashes, and Lord knows I seem to do that on a regular basis. You never know when you might need some Swarowski trimmed lashes, some Viktor and Rolf bottle-green marabou numbers or my latest acquisition, neon green handpainted and woven ones from the latest, incredible Shu Uemura collection called Ethnacolor Scope. You’d be amazed how often the opportunity presents itself!

Over the years I have been collecting lashes from all over the world and thankfully they’re now a lot easier to find than they used to be. Before you’d have to go to theatrical shops like Screenface or Charles Fox in London, Paris Berlin in Paris or ACMUSE in Sydney to find interesting lashes. Don’t get me wrong! These theatrical shops still are a veritable treasure trove for false lash fiends and should not be neglected in the quest for the perfect lash. But now you can also get great lashes at your local drugstore or chemist, and at every price point which is important when you’re experimenting.

Shu Uemura have a fabulous service called the Tokyo Lash Bar where you can choose a set of lashes and they will fit them for you, and explain how to do it which is a wonderful way to get started.

Choosing a pair of lashes can be daunting at first as they all look the same, but different – and understanding how they will make your eyes look at first can seem an impossible task. This is why I recommend trying a few cheaper options from the chemist until you find a style that you like. Generally the thicker and denser the lash, the more “fake” it will look. Wispy, feathery lashes tend to look more like a lush set of real lashes, so it depends what your makeup style is. Strip or half lashes are great for a night out, and for undetectable day time lush lashes, cluster lashes are my favourite (I like Ardell and MAC cluster lashes). As always, Pixiwoos and Lisa Eldridge on YouTube are a good place to look on the web if you’re curious to see a few pairs in actions first. Pixiwoos in particular use lashes A LOT.

A good eyelash glue is a must – my favourite (which I’ve posted about before) is Duo Lash Adhesive, available from theatrical shops or MAC. Another good option for those who are allergic to latex is Illamasqua’s non-latex glue, which has a free mini-bottle of glue with every pair of lashes.

Brands to try:

DrugstoreArdell are the world leaders in lashes. Pamela Anderson has been wearing them (since birth probably), and if anyone knows a good fake lash it’s Pammy Anderson! Speaking to her makeup artist awhile ago she told me Pam doesn’t go anywhere without at least two full sets – that’s a lot of lash action.

High-End – Lots to choose from. MAC do a lovely selection of false lashes, and I have yet to meet one of their lashes that I don’t like. Illamasqua also do beautiful lashes and some very interesting, dramatic styles you can’t find anywhere else. Their Creative Director Alex Box is a Lash Queen, and many’s the time I’ve helped her create a bespoke lash out of her special bag of tricks!

Shu Uemura make the most phenomenal and spectacular fantasy lashes with a special collection every year. This year I love their Tutu Laceflare lashes, but they also do beautiful more basic lashes as well. They aren’t cheap but with lashes this gorgeous who needs new clothes? In fact if your lashes look amazeballs, you don’t need any other adornment at all. Just a wink and a smile.


(Not So) Secret Weapon – Shu Uemura Eyelash Curlers

Shu Uemura eyelash curler

I almost feel stupid for writing this as a Secret Weapon, and I’ve had it on my list to write about ever since I started blogging really. How can something so blindingly obvious be a Secret Weapon?

Then I realized about 70% of my private clients had either never used an eyelash curler, or hadn’t done so for years, and I thought what’s obvious to a makeup artist is not always so obvious to everyone else. (Although if I had 50 cents for every time a makeup artist called it their Number 1 beautifying tip, I’d have, well, more money than I do now. But sometimes the reason things are cliché is because they are true!)

Eyelash curlers make your lashes, and by extension, your eyes, look awesome. They open the eye and make them look bigger since you don’t have all that droopy eye fringe hanging in the way. They make your lashes look longer and give them a beautiful, flirty shape, ready to be mascara-ed. If you look tired they wake you up, and if you’re on the older side of the equation – well let’s face it we can use all the help we can get, and anything that lifts your features has to be a good thing, doesn’t it?

There are lots of eyelash curlers on the market, but I just can’t go past Shu Uemura’s. I have used it for my whole career, and I carry back-ups since they always seem to go “missing” (aka STOLEN by some light-fingered, stick-lashed nasty person). The Shu curlers are the best as they are designed for Asian eyes, so they can get into the smallest corners of the lashes. They are the perfect shape, never tugging or pulling, and as Asian lashes tend to be quite straight they deliver serious curling action without weird crimping or bends.

And they are workhorses! My own personal pair – which miraculously never seems to go “missing”, I have had for about 8 years now. It curls like a dream every time, and never breaks, despite being dumped unceremoniously in my makeup bag every day without fail.

Every makeup artist I know carries lash curlers, and there is a reason for this people – they make you prettier. You can’t go past the Shu original – it’s the best.

Video – Pat McGrath Does Major Lashes!

So it appears that uber-makeup artist Pat McGrath is an avid Makeup Mole reader! Not really (or if she is I don’t know about it), but great minds do think alike – look who posted a How-to Video on Maximal Lashes! Watch Pat recreate her now infamous major lashes, called “Spider Lashes” which I really like the sound of. What this lady doesn’t know about makeup, isn’t worth knowing. Watch, and learn.

Trend – Maximal Lashes


Eyelashes Valentino Gucci

One of the best looks from the recent Autumn/Winter 2011 catwalks was courtesy of the ever-inventive supremo head honcho patron saint of makeup artists, Pat McGrath. I call it Maximal Lashes.

Big doe-eyed dolly lashes like Twiggy on acid with her eyes hairsprayed. It’s the opposite of what we’re told lashes should look like – neat, ladylike, elegant and flirtatious – these new dudes are downright trash mama Valley of the Dolls lashes, completely 70’s and subversive, and that’s why we love ‘em.

Seen at major shows like Gucci and again at Valentino, this felt totally new and unexpected.  Trust Pat to pull a new (old!) trick out of the bag.

For this look you just need a heavy-duty mascara and the patience to put on about 50 coats. And the clumpier the better!

I like to prep first with an undercoat – either Lancôme Cils Booster XL or MAC Prep and Prime are two good choices. Then go hell for leather, piling on multiple coats both top and bottom until you have the desired spidery effect.

The best mascaras for this look are ones you can build without it getting too crunchy straight away. Favourites of mine for this look include Diorshow, Lancome Hypnose, CoverGirl Lashblast (which I’ve seen supermodel Lily Donaldson use to great effect on a shoot before), and Becca The Ultimate Mascara. This is brilliant as it has a tubing formula allowing you to get serious length AND heft, so you can clump at will.

False lashes are optional, although I prefer the look with just your real lashes – it looks cooler that way, not trying too hard. And with lashes this gorgeous, all you need is great skin, a juicy mouth and a smile.

So get clumping!


Bag It: NARS Larger than Life Volumizing Mascara

NARS Larger than Life Volumizing MascaraWay back in the mists of time I wrote one of my first posts for MM, and it was telling the world how crap I thought NARS’ old mascara was. (There was also something about Huey Lewis and the News in there, but Lord knows what that has to do with mascara, crap or otherwise).

However I am thrilled to report that after extensive testing, NARS new Larger than Life Volumizing mascara is proving itself to be a winner. The brush is a bit bigger than normal but not jumbo oversized like Diorshow mascara or Benefit’s Bad Girl Lash, and the main thing I like about it is that it doesn’t get goopy or overload the lash. Thus you can build a few coats with it still looking lovely and fluffy, and it really is quite volumizing.

One thing I would say is that sucker is staying on once it’s on! Make sure you have a good remover because it has the staying properties of a waterproof mazzie, without the crunchiness – which if you live in a hot climate or like a badass, long last mascara, this is for you.

In the mascara stakes Monsieur NARS, you have well and truly redeemed yourself.