Charlotte Tilbury $29
Just like your skin, your lashes need love too. We turned to four experts who appreciate a long lush lash to educate us on how to keep your fringe in top shape.
We put a lot of stress on our lashes. Think: applying coats of mascara, pinching for the perfect curl, and (sometimes) aggressively removing eye makeup. With that said, there’s nothing quite like the look of a long, healthy set of eyelashes—whether faux or your own. Essentially, it gives the illusion of an eyelift, resulting in a youthful, brighter complexion. To demystify the many ways to care for your fringe, the Violet Files turned to makeup artists Kate Lee and Katey Denno; Faith Kim, founder of LASHFOOD; and Dr. Ellen Marmur, the New York–based dermatologist, to tackle nourishing tips and tricks, mascara best practices, and the pros and cons of eyelash extensions.
Lee, Denno, Kim, and Marmur all stress the importance of removing your mascara before bed, and of using a cream- or oil-based cleanser to help nourish your lashes. Kim notes that your makeup remover should be strong enough to remove waterproof mascara yet gentle enough not to cause lash breakage or premature fallout. “Debris can irritate your lashline roots and pores and cause infection, leading to possible lash loss,” says Denno. “Mascaras are generally well preserved, but don’t ever share yours!”
One important general rule: replace your mascara three months after opening. “The constant pump of the wand back into the product causes air and germs to get into the bottle, creating bacteria,” adds Marmur.
To that end, if the wand starts to dry up, Lee suggests washing it with antibacterial soap. This removes residue from the brush and gives you a shot at getting any remaining product, assuming it hasn’t dried out. “Another good practice is to smell your mascara,” notes Lee. “You can tell when it’s off because it smells like alcohol.”
CURL, CLEAN, REPLACE, REPEAT
“With daily use, lash curler pads should be changed every six months, and lash curlers should be thrown away every year,” says Denno. “The delicate structure of an eyelash curler begins to change and become less precise over time, which results in a less perfect curl. Pads deteriorate and can crack or tear, which generally leads to damaged lashes.” Marmur suggests cleaning the tool with alcohol wipes or oil to avoid getting a stye or an eye infection.
“Keep an eye on your lash curler and make sure the rubber is not becoming fractured,” adds Lee. “I’ve seen people cut off their entire eyelash in one squeeze because of broken rubber. Also, keep your eyelash curler very clean—product buildup can cause your lashes to become very brittle.”
SHOP ALL HEALTHY LASH ESSENTIALS
Kevyn Aucoin $28
Charlotte Tilbury $32
Koh Gen Do $47
Yves Saint Laurent $29
Erno Laszlo $58
Koh Gen Do $59
Surratt Beauty $34
Serge Lutens $65
Koh Gen Do $57
NOURISHING TRICKS OF THE TRADE
Denno is a big proponent of conditioning your lashes a few times a week with a 100 percent organic oil like castor, jojoba, olive, or argan. But she advises staying away from essential oils around the eye area, as they can lead to infection.
Similarly, at night Kim likes to use the LASHFOOD Phyto-Medic Lash Enhancer to strengthen, nourish, and repair lashes. “I opt in for our Collagen Lash Primer with our mascara to boost volume,” she says. “But I also use it at night as a leave-on nourishing mask for my lashes. Just think of your lashes like your hair. The more you do to them (tint, perm, extensions), the more you need to condition.”
THE 411 ON LASH EXTENSIONS
“Lash extensions are the ultimate lazy-girl beauty hack,” says Kim. “For anyone who is constantly on the go, the convenience of having lash extensions and always being ‘ready’ will be the best beauty investment you’ll ever make.” She notes that you should get your extensions filled every two to three weeks. “The key is isolation so each extension sheds naturally with each natural lash,” she adds. “Remember, you get what you pay for—some lash stylists use YouTube to learn how to apply lash extensions. Make sure yours is certified through JB LASHES or other reputable eyelash extension brands.”
Similiarly, Lee recommends having your lashes tinted before getting your extensions so there are no gaps. Tinting also hides a lighter lash base. “I don’t like eyelash extensions long term,” she says. “When you keep filling extensions so they aren’t patchy, you run into problems. Your lash health definitely suffers, no matter what anybody says. Do them for a special event, refill them once or twice, and tint in between. I’ve seen people with barely any lashes left.”
Kim suggests using a plant-based, fortifying lash serum like LASHFOOD Phyto-Medic Lash Enhancer if you have lash extensions. Plant-based formulas focus not only on the length of natural lashes, but also health and thickness. Stronger, healthier lashes equal long-lasting lash extensions. “There should be no pain when getting lash extensions,” says Marmur. “If you experience any discomfort or tearing, notify your technician right away.”