I’ve worn false eyelashes exactly twice in my life: my wedding day, and the beauty trial before it, after some serious coaxing from my stylist. “Your fiancé will love these,” she cajoled, a delicate spray of whispies at the ready in one hand. “I promise.”
Honestly, I don’t think he even noticed, but I sure did. Surrounded by a long, plush layer of extra hair, my eyes looked Anime-large, yet surprisingly natural. This, I was told, was thanks to the use of individual extensions, rather than babydoll-like strips. The tip of each one is painstakingly dipped in adhesive, and attached right above one’s waterline— sounds tricky to do on your own, right?
Perhaps not, I try to convince myself while watching pro makeup artist Lisa Eldridge’s straightforward application tutorial on YouTube (which you can watch above). “Nothing adds a sprinkling of playful looking magic to the eyes like individual fake eyelashes,” she says. Playful looking magic! While not quite sure what that is, I’m certain my life would be better with more of it. So I whip out a set of falsies and glue (from Ardell, and Duo, respectively, just like the video recommends), take a deep breath and get started.
Things go wrong immediately. While Eldridge seems to effortlessly place each piece with tweezers, mine get stuck to the metal, then my fingers, and migrate to the wrong part of my lid. “If you drop them on and they twist, don’t panic. Just lift them off and reposition.” How about if I drop them and they get stuck on my furry toilet seat cover? Should I panic then?
By the time I’m halfway through, I’ve picked up a few tricks: wash your hands frequently to avoid stickiness; evenly space each bunch to prevent clumping; and if you make a mistake, wait a minute or so before fixing it. That extra drying time allows you to make tiny adjustments without anything detaching. It's a slow process though, and I’m meeting a friend for drinks in less than 30 minutes.
“Once they’re completely dry, you can leave them natural like that,” Lisa says as I finish things up. “In which case they just look very feathery and light.” As I peer at my gummy handiwork in the mirror, I realize this is not an option for me. “You can also add a bit more mascara.” Mascara then! I aggressively use my curler first to set things in place, before adding two coats and some liner. What a difference this makes: all the extensions are finally pointed in the correct direction, adding the kind of lush fullness I’ve only seen on Latisse commercials.
A few hours (and cocktails) later, I’m starting to wonder if these DIY extensions shouldn’t become a more regular part of my routine, since even if I never quite get the process down, I can just mask my errors with product. Not a bad tradeoff for a set of big, fluffy Brigitte Bardot lashes.