If the eyes are the windows to our souls, eyelashes make the view a whole lot better – and these days, we are seeking ever more innovative ways to get them noticed.
It’s not a new trend. Back in 4,000BC, Cleopatra and her pals were lining their eyes with kohl and coating lashes with an early version of mascara. Recipes included burning almonds, using lead, and packing the formula with crocodile faeces and honey to make it stick. Fast-forward to 100BC, and ancient Romans used charred rose petals, date pits, ashes, and soot on their lashes, while ladies of the Renaissance made the most of crushed walnut shells. Even later, Victorian women blended ashes, elderberries and sticky soot from oil lamps.
Thankfully, for mascara addicts, things got a bit easier when the calendar flipped to 1917 and a man called Eugène Rimmel created the first commercial mascara. It came in a cake form, which women could scrape with their mascara brushes. His invention became so popular that rimmel translates to mascara in several languages today.
As the years went by, brands continued to innovate. Revlon was the first to introduce mascara in a tube in 1958, and the first coloured mascara two years later. In 1988, the first clear mascara was launched by Max Factor, while in the 2000s, tubular mascaras, vibrating mascaras, and a whole host of new lengthening, volumising and thickening formulae hit the shelves. Our lashes were reaching lengths they’d never reached before.
We’ve come a long way since then. In fact, it was recently reported that the average woman spends $3,770 (Dh13,848) on mascara in her lifetime (Mint.com). Cleopatra would be proud.
But lengthening our lashes hasn’t always been about mascara; we have other tools and tricks in our arsenal. Take false lashes, for example. They were originally invented for silent movies in 1916, but they didn’t gain popularity until the 1940s and 1950s, when make-up artist brothers David and Eric Aylott perfected false lashes for the likes of Marlene Dietrich, Elizabeth Taylor and Joan Collins.
In the 1960s, the brothers launched the lashes for the public through their brand Eylure. Women snapped them up, recreating the sooty-eyed look sported by everyone from Twiggy to Dusty Springfield.
Now, false lashes and extensions are enjoying a new moment in the spotlight, with sales in the US alone reported to be bringing in a whopping $44 million annually, making it one of the fastest-growing sectors of the beauty industry.
‘Strip lashes haven’t been this popular since the 1960s,’ says Karen Betts, founder of lash extensions brand Blink & Go. ‘And it seems the bigger the better.’
Faux lashes might give eyes the wow factor (if you have the steady hand and skill to apply them), but they are a one-night wonder. So when a longer-lasting and a more natural method of applying lashes one by one was born in Japan in 2006, lash lovers had a more permanent trend to covet. Eyelash extensions had arrived, and if you have the patience to sit down and wait for them to be individually applied (which sometimes takes three hours or more), they could stick around for three weeks or longer. With salons and spas across the UAE offering the service, it’s become as easy and convenient as getting a manicure.
But why bother extending your lashes when you can grow your own? You may have missed the boat for Christmas – most serums need at least a couple of months to work their magic – but it could be the perfect way to start 2016. Sales of lash growth serums are worth $1 million annually in the US alone and that figure is growing faster than the lashes on our lids.
So set aside the hunt for the perfect little black dress and heels, and focus on your lashes instead with our pick of treatments and products that will set your eyes and hearts aflutter.
A dash of mascara
Cosmetics brands continue to innovate when it comes to mascara, and some of this year’s top launches have impressed the beauty world with their formulae and packaging.
Rodial Glamolash Mascara XXL Dh170 This product has comes out well in reviews, with a full brush that reaches every single hair and a formula of synthetic beeswax and carnauba wax that volumises and extends lashes without clumps.
Nars Audacious Mascara Dh130 Definitely worth the purchase, with a staggering 200 moulded bristles on the brush, each with lengthening hooks on the end to grab and separate lashes to maximum proportions.
Max Factor Masterpiece Glamour Extensions 3-in-1 Mascara Dh186 If you remember the mascaras with one white end (to build lashes) and one black end (to extend them) from a few years ago, you are probably still haunted by the clumpy mess they created. Max Factor has solved the problem with the launch of this masterpiece. Inspired by the concept of those double-ended tubes, it has packed them into one, with tiny fibres that disperse on to lashes and make them thicker and longer. No clumps, but all of the volume.
Diorshow Mascara Dh170 Not a new launch, but certainly an icon in the mascara world, it has been used by make-up artists globally for the past decade. It’s infused with kohl and boasts a brush that glides smoothly, drawing out every lash. You won’t regret the purchase.
When it comes to false lashes, you don’t need to look far. Dubai-based blogger Huda Heidi Kattan has created her own range, which is available in Sephora stores across the UAE. Her inspiration? ‘I grew up in a beautiful family with some of the most gorgeous lashes known to man! For some reason, I ended up having absolutely none and became obsessed with them. By 14, I was a pro at applying false lashes. I still remember my first pair. I just loved the way they transformed my look.’
They can transform yours too, with highlights from this season’s collection including Lana (Dh88), Carmen (Dh73) and Scarlett (Dh88).
If you want your eyes to be even more dramatic, Pinky Goat is the brand to turn to. The soft, natural-looking, cruelty-free mink lashes are available in double and triple layers, so you can build them up for extreme volume. Take your pick from styles like Keona, Fulwa and Patricia (Dh44).
If applying strip lashes to your own eyes isn’t your forte, why not let the professionals take over? Sisters Beauty Lounge offers a plethora of lash treatments, including perfect extensions using individual lashes (full, semi-full, refills, or express lashes), from Dh220. Eyelash Perming Dh315, Eyelash Tint Dh60.
For the ultimate drama, try the Russian Layering Lashes (Dh750). The technique involves adhering synthetic, ultra-fine lashes on to a single natural lash, creating a fuller, high-impact look. You’ll be noticed at those festive parties for all the right reasons.
What could be better than applying the best mascaras or false lashes or having individual lashes painstakingly applied over hours? Having natural lashes that are longer, healthier, and thicker in the first place, of course.
With some seriously good growth serums on the market, it’s possible. But you do need to be regular in applications (miss a day and your lashes will notice!) and have patience, as it takes at least a month to see real results.
RapidLash (Dh300) gets consistently good reviews. Using polypeptides, vitamins, proteins and moisturising agents, it encourages the growth of strong, healthy and supple hair. Simply paint it across your lash line morning and night and you will see results in as little as 30 days.
If you have sensitive eyes LiLash Eye Lash Conditioning Serum (Dh350) claims to be ‘the world’s most purified eyelash serum’, fortifying and conditioning the follicles for exceptional growth – but without any irritating your eyes. Again, results take about a month, and when your lashes reach their full, natural potential, you’ll only need a flick of mascara in the morning to show them off.