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beauty lessons:

lessons on 
lashes

A quartet of experts break down the art of accentuating eyelashes.

Written By ERICA LOPEZ

SHARON TATE IN EYE OF THE DEVIL / MGM / PHOTOFEST

During a dinner party in her honor, Sophia Loren abruptly encountered Jayne Mansfield’s cleavage in a plunging slip dress. The candid moment was captured in a now-iconic photograph (granting us the original side-eye), and it proves just how much can be communicated with only a glance. And said glance is amplified manifold by lashes. Indeed, even flirting would not be the same without their copious batting. 

Accentuating the eyelashes can be achieved in myriad ways, and with varying levels of commitment—whether with a swipe of mascara, a tint job, or full extensions. To demystify the ins and outs of eyelash embellishment, The Violet Files turned to the experts. Makeup artist and mascara devotee Kate Lee (who tends to the fluttering fringe of Elle Fanning and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) speaks on behalf of the classic cosmetic, while lash artists Arianna Montazem (of Arianna Montazem salon), Gloria Ting (of Beverly Hills Lashes), and Sarah Maxwell (VIOLET GREY’s latest lash-artist-in-residence) tackle extensions, lifts, and tints.

Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your EYES.

— SOPHIA LOREN

SOPHIA LOREN AND JANE MANSFIELD, 1957 / Popperfoto / Getty Images

MASCARA

Mascara enhances the eyes by defining the individual lash hairs with colored pigment, adding thickness and length. Liquid formulas are the most common, packaged in a tube and administered to the lashes with a wand—usually a variety of brush or comb made of rubber or plastic. How should you choose? “It really depends on what you’ve been blessed with and what you’ll need to add to achieve your desired look,” says makeup artist Kate Lee.

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"CHANEL INIMITABLE mascara IS MY FAVORITE BECAUSE IT KEEPS THE
INTEGRITY OF THE LASH AND LOOKS SO NATURAL.” – KATE LEE

Lengthening:

In order to create length, these formulas often include nylon or rayon fibers that adhere to the lashes until washed off. 

Volumizing:

“For those with very fine or short lashes, use something that is going to build depth,” says Lee. But be advised: these formulas tend to be more dense. If not applied properly, the end result can look clumpy. Lee suggests having a clean spool brush on hand to comb through lash hairs that have too much buildup. It is important to do this before the mascara has dried, she says, “otherwise it is a recipe for the mascara flakes dropping onto the cheeks.”

Waterproof:

This formula is the obvious choice when there is a chance the eyes may get wet, or for those with particularly oily eyelids. This formula is less likely to smudge, but it can also be more difficult to remove (read on for Lee’s removal strategy). Because these types are formulated with ingredients that rebuff water, like dodecane, Lee stresses that it is important to replace waterproof mascara frequently, as it will expire more quickly. 

How to Apply (all types):

Before doing anything else, make sure your lashes are completely clean. “If there is even a little mascara left over from the night before, you risk fracturing the lash root with the curler,” cautions Lee. Use an oil-free makeup remover that leaves no residue (she recommends Klorane’s with soothing cornflower). 

To get the best application, you’ll need good light and a mirror. “Position the mirror so you are looking down into it,” Lee says of her method. Swipe first in the spot where you want the most emphasis, she instructs, as “wherever your first swipe goes is where the majority of the product will be.” Continue to work with the wand until no product remains. Repeat on the other eye.

LEFT: TWIGGY, 1967 / PHOTO BY WILLIAM VANDERSON / FOX PHOTOS / HULTON ARCHIVE / GETTY IMAGES
RIGHT: DIANA ROSS IN MAHOGANY / SILVER SCREEN COLLECTION / GETTY IMAGES

FALSE LASHES

Whether a strip or a cluster, false eyelashes are made of silk, mink, or synthetic or human hair. They are attached to the eyelid at the lashline with a bonding adhesive (Lee prefers DUO) that lasts one to two days. If properly cleaned and stored, strip lashes can be reused up to 25 times.

How to Apply (all types): 

First, dispense some glue onto the back of your hand. Using tweezers (Violet recommends Rubis Straight Tip eyelash tweezers), dip the strip or cluster of lashes into the glue. Wait five to seven seconds before placing onto the eyelid, allowing time for the glue to become tacky and stick easily. “Once dry, use Utowa’s comb to blend falsies with the natural lashes,” adds Lee.

Note: One size does not fit all. Trim eyelash strips as needed to fit your eye shape. 

LASH TINTS

This method uses a semi-permanent vegetable dye to boldly define lashes without mascara for approximately four weeks. The dye fades naturally with the lash cycle. 

The Process:

A lash technician will apply a protective cream to the skin surrounding the eye to prevent the skin from becoming stained. The eyes are gently taped down, isolating the upper lashline, and the dye is applied with a fine brush. The dye typically takes 10 to 15 minutes to set completely. Once it has dried, the excess is wiped away.

There’s no EXCUSE

for sloppy

mascara.

KATE LEE, MAKEUP ARTIST

LASH EXTENSIONS

Extensions are individually applied semi-permanent lashes made of silk, mink, or synthetic or human hair. They are affixed using a specially designed adhesive that can (after 24 hours) withstand water. A full set typically lasts between three and four weeks and requires a refill service approximately midway through that time. “At least 40 percent of the extensions should be intact when you go in for a refill,” says VIOLET GREY resident lash artist Sarah Maxwell.

The Process:

Application is painless and can take up to three hours for a full set of lashes (refills are about one hour). Eyelids are gently taped down during the application process to allow the artist to isolate individual hairs and apply them in a one-to-one ratio. “One extension to every one lash,” advises lash artist Arianna Montazem.

For Maxwell, communication with her clients is key. “Sometimes a client’s idea of a full, heavy lash is different than an artist’s interpretation,” she explains. She recommends providing the artist with a photo for inspiration. Lash artist Gloria Ting adds, “When extensions are too long or too thick for the natural lash, or if the lashes are not properly isolated during application, it can cause premature fallout.” Consult your lash artist on the best fit for you; this will spare your lashes from becoming weak and thin after the extensions are removed.

As for making extensions last? “That depends 50 percent on the quality of the artist and 50 percent on the care post application,” says Maxwell. After 24 hours, wash your face (and lashes) gently every morning and night to keep the extensions clean. Steer clear of oil-based products and avoid rubbing the eyes while you have extensions. You can use makeup and lash serums, but they will undoubtedly shorten the duration of the treatment. “I also recommend brushing the extensions with a clean spool brush twice a day to keep the lashes from looking unruly,” says Montazem.

Side Effects:

Lash extensions typically have no side effects, but be sure to consider any pre-existing allergies or sensitivities to the materials and adhesives used during the application. “I have clients whose eyes tend to flutter constantly during the application process, which means their eyes have some temporary redness afterward,” says Montazem. She recommends avoiding caffiene prior to an appointment to help ease jitters, noting, “The majority of my clients fall right to sleep and wake up to flawless lashes.”

Montazem, Ting, and Maxwell are unanimous: the idea that extensions cause your natural lashes to fall out is completely false. Maxwell adds, “Fallout happens naturally all the time, but goes mostly unnoticed because the hair is so small.” Extensions will shed along with the natural lash cycle, which is 30 to 60 days. Trying to remove extensions yourself, however, can cause damage to the lash. Always have them removed professionally to avoid pulling out live hairs.

LEFT: JANE BIRKIN, 1968 / PHOTO BY JEAN-PIERRE BONNOTTE / GAMME-RAPHO VIA GETTY IMAGES
RIGHT: SOPHIA LOREN, 1966 / RDA / HULTON ARCHIVE / GETTY IMAGES

LASH LIFTS

An alternative to extensions (with similar eye-opening results) is the lash lift—a semi-permanent curling treatment for the upper lashes. The process takes about one hour and lasts up to eight weeks. “When applied properly, lifts are much healthier for your lashes than manually curling them,” says Ting, “because the solution contains agents like castor oil, grape-seed oil and aloe vera, which are nourishing for the lashes.” As with extensions, Maxwell recommends avoiding oil-based skincare products, which can affect the curl. 

The Process:

Shields are taped underneath the eye, on top of the lower lashes, to protect them during the lash lift treatment. Silicone molds are then placed on closed eyelids. The size of the mold depends on the level of lift and curl that you desire. Next, lashes are combed backward onto the mold (which will set the shape), and perming treatment is applied to the roots. After approximately 10 minutes, the treatment is removed and a neutralizer is applied. To release the lashes from the mold, a conditioning lotion is applied while the lash artist gently combs the hairs loose. No removal is necessary: after approximately eight weeks, the lashes will fall back into their natural shape.

Side Effects:

Like extensions, lifts generally do not have any major side effects (barring any pre-existing sensitivities to the products used). Discuss any allergies with your lash artist prior to treatment.

GROWTH SERUMS

Also known as lash conditioners, these products are designed to increase the length, density, and overall health of your natural lashes. Ingredients vary by brand, and they usually contain a combination of seed extracts, minerals, and other chemicals.

Prescription:

Latisse is the original eyelash growth serum, approved by the FDA for eyelash growth and formulated with bimatoprost, the active ingredient of a popular glaucoma medication. Noticeable eyelash growth occurs within 16 weeks of consistent use. The most common side effects of Latisse include darkening of the iris (which is likely permanent) and the eyelids. Still, doctors highly recommend the treatment for those with inadequate lashes.

Over-the-Counter:

“Use the Chanel Nourishing Mascara Base to condition the lashes and enhance their volume, length, and curl,” suggests Lee, who prepped for her wedding using the treatment. For best results, apply a coat before bed and wake to hydrated, strengthened lashes.

THE CURLER

Curling lashes is the best way to really open the eye, and it helps create a more uniform look. “Usually a few lashes will sit lower than the rest, so by curling them you create a cleaner line,” says Lee. 

To get the best curl, use Lee’s method of looking down into a mirror (see aforementioned mascara application). “At this angle, you have full access to your lashes as you coax them into the device.” From there, Lee recommends gentle squeezes throughout the lengths of the lashes for a natural bend. “There is nothing worse than seeing a sharp right angle in the lashes,” she cautions.

FAKING FULLNESS

Lee recommends tightlining for lusher-looking lashes. “The best eyeliner for this is Chanel’s waterproof stylo in Noir Intense because it won’t smudge or drop to the lower lashline,” she says. Apply the liner by pushing it into the upper lashline, directly at the root. “Wait a few seconds before putting your mascara on to ensure the liner has set completely,” Lee advises.

REMOVAL

“Douse two cotton pads with makeup remover, close your eyes, and hold the soaked cotton to the eyes,” suggests Lee. “This allows the makeup remover to really emulsify and break down the mascara.” After approximately one minute, gently swipe the mascara away. To remove waterproof formulas, Lee recommends this method using Chanel’s bi-phase makeup remover: “It fully dissolves the mascara and takes it all off.”

FAUX PAS TO AVOID

“There is no excuse for sloppy mascara,” says Lee, who recommends having clean cotton swabs and Bioderma on hand for easy cleanups. 

COLORED MASCARA?

Shades of blue, plum, brown, and even dark green mascara can intensify the iris. Lee encourages experimentation in this category. “I don’t believe in any rules about eye color,” she says. “Trial and error is the only way to know what suits you. Get out and try a couple!”