The Secret To Beautiful Eyes IV: Expert Tips For Longer Lashes
The search for longer, fuller-looking eyelashes is something of a beauty Holy Grail, but there is a lot of confusing, contradictory advice out there.
So Cosmetics à la Carte Founder Lynne Sanders and Consultant Ophthalmic and Oculoplastic Surgeon, Dr Elizabeth Hawkes have partnered again to share their beauty and medical expertise for beautiful, healthy eyelashes.
How to make your lashes look longer
The most straightforward way to enhance your lashes, making you look fresher, more alert and more defined, is with mascara.
Since we lose eyelashes and they become lighter as we age, applying mascara also has a rejuvenating effect on our appearance.
But not all mascaras are created equal. A lot depends on the formula and the choice of brush (or wand).
How to choose a mascara
A modern mascara formula such as Cosmetics à la Carte’s multi-award-winning Intense Volume Mascara should not flake or drop and should enhance the lashes’ natural curl even without the use of a lash curler.
“Mascaras can be made in all colours, but you only really need black”, explains Lynne Sanders: “Not only does it suit everyone, it also makes your eyes look brighter in contrast. If you’re looking to create a natural no-makeup effect, then simply apply one coat to keep things subtle.”
In terms of brush design, Lynne Sanders prefers a densely packed, bristled brush: “This type of brush helps separate the lashes and cover every lash with mascara, meaning just one coat will have an instant result. Also, this means you can apply several layers and increase the drama of your look without clogging.”
Though often marketed as an important additional step to coat the lashes before applying mascara, Lynne and the team have never yet tried a lash primer that was worth the investment.
From a medical perspective, Dr Elizabeth Hawkes advises against using waterproof mascara. Although tempting for its staying power, “it’s very difficult to take off and, as a result, it often causes broken eyelashes.”
Moreover, to reduce the risk of an eye infection, Dr Hawkes also tells us to change our mascara regularly - every 3-6 months - and never share it with anyone else.
Lash-friendly makeup tips
“By intensifying the definition, it gives the impression that lashes are thicker and fuller, opening up your eyes,” says Lynne.
“Extend your eyeliner to your lower lash line for a more statement evening effect – but keep to the outer half of the eye to keep your look fresh and open.”
Importantly, both experts caution against applying eyeliner pencil inside your waterline – often referred to as ‘tightlining’. Dr Hawkes tells us that this technique “can block the small meibomian glands which release a fine film of oil onto the surface of the eyes and keep them hydrated. Blocking them can help bring on uncomfortably dry eyes.”
What about lash extensions?
Lash extensions are often marketed as a semi-permanent route to lovely, long lashes. While very effective for the odd occasion, Dr Hawkes believes they should be used sparingly.
She says: “Eyelash extensions can apply extra stress on your lashes and cause them to fall out. Since lashes do a vital job in protecting the eyes by deflecting dust and debris, and controlling the airflow around the cornea, losing them can put you at greater risk of eye infections. Always take a break from wearing lash extensions.”
False lashes, offered as part of Cosmetics à la Carte Event Makeup service are preferable because “they are worn for a shorter length of time and use a milder form of adhesive.”
Is lash perming safe?
Lash perming - and the related process of lash lifting - is applying a chemical treatment to curl lashes permanently, or at least until the treated hairs naturally get replaced. The idea of waking up with naturally more curled eyelashes without applying mascara is very tempting for many.
But it can also put your eye and eyelash health at risk. As Dr Hawkes explains: "the chemicals used on the eyelashes for a lash perm break down the protein in your lash hair, and can cause the lashes to change in appearance and texture and even fall out". Even if the procedure goes well, she warns that "if you keep applying a perm to your lashes, it can dry your lashes out."
Above all, Dr Hawkes urges us to always have the treatment done by a qualified technician and advises "against using an at home kit as it can be especially damaging if you get the chemicals in your eyes."
Can I make my lashes grow?
Lash serums are often marketed as a miracle cure for longer lashes - but Dr Hawkes explains that there are some considerations and serious potential side effects we should bear in mind:
“One of the most popular ingredients used in lash serums are compounds called prostaglandins and their analogues, which were originally developed for the treatment of glaucoma but repurposed when it was realised that they also made lashes grow longer.
While these compounds do work, they can also cause hyperpigmentation of the skin of the eyelid, darkening of the iris and atrophy of the fatty cushion around the eye. Never buy any lash serum over the counter without consulting with a specialist.”
Prevention is better than cure
In the end, Dr Hawkes believes it’s safer to protect the lashes you have with a diet rich in proteins, leafy greens, and healthy fats to support hair growth and careful, gentle and thorough removal of makeup and pollution at the end of each day:
“All traces should be removed in order to prevent broken lashes, irritation, corneal abrasions and infections.”
She recommends an oil-free makeup remover such as Cosmetics à la Carte Total Lift Off so that the protective tear film is not disrupted, and then follow this safe and effective two-step removal technique – which will also reduce any strain or tugging on the delicate skin of the eyelid:
“Soak a make-up pad in your chosen make-up remover and then hold the pad against the closed eye for a few seconds. This allows the formula to gently break up the mascara so that when you wipe the pad away, it wipes the mascara away with it and doesn’t pull off any delicate eyelashes. Keep repeating the process until your eyelashes are clean.”
“After cleaning, take time to practise lid hygiene to keep the meibomian glands clear. Soak a clean cotton pad in boiled, cooled water. Place this over your eyelid, slowly massaging downwards towards the upper lash line. Take a second clean pad, and massage upwards towards the lower lash line. This second step is particularly important if you already have dry eyes, blepharitis, or are prone to styes.”