We know you want fuller, more fluttery eyelashes. How? Because we do, too. “My perspective is that they make us look younger and that’s all there is to it,” says Montclair-based dermatologist Jeanine Downie, MD, noting that the thick lashes of our youth start thinning in our late 30s—ironically the only part of our bodies that thins out when we’re pushing 40. Here’s everything you need to know about enhancing your lashes, as told by the experts.
Faux eyelashes allows us to rock a notice-me eye without the commitment or expense of longer-lasting options. Silky mink fibers or synthetics come attached to a flexible band that’s glued to your natural lashes. They come in both natural and over-the-top styles, and can be contoured to enhance all eye shapes, says makeup artist Ashlee Kleinschmidt, owner of Muah Makeup & Lash Bar in Westwood. “We can pick up someone’s style and comfort level right away,” she says, adding that, “it’s going to feel funky for 10 minutes or so,” but then you’ll bat ’em like a pro. Fake lashes need to be removed gently with waterproof makeup remover or coconut oil.
Cost: $10+ for synthetics, $25+ for mink.
How long do they last: Until bedtime.
Bottom line: A fun and affordable way to experiment with a bold new look.
Boosters and serums turn short, sparse eyelashes long and lush. Some boast vitamins, peptides, oils and other nurturing ingredients to coax hairs into growing long and strong. GrandeLash is a favorite among experts, along with Rodan & Fields’ popular Lash Boost. Latisse is the only FDA-approved prescription that creates longer, thicker and darker lashes, says Downie—but hairs can grow a bit wild, lids can slightly darken, eye color can change and it can cause hair growth in places it drips.
Cost: Latisse costs $400 for a year’s supply; serums vary, but average around $150.
How long does it last: As long as you use it. If you stop, your lashes will return to normal in a few months.
Bottom line: Perfect for those who prefer in-home treatment; boosters and serums also complement other enhancements.
The luxe look favored by celebrities, faux synthetic, silk or mink hairs in assorted lengths and thicknesses are glued to each lash (at least 70 per eye) to create feathery, fluffy lashes. The effect is striking, says celebrity esthetician and owner of The Beauty Buster in Westfield Lora Condon. “You just wake up and look good,” she says. The downside? Extensions are expensive and a commitment: Fills are required every 2-3 weeks to replace fallen eyelashes. Be warned: Poorly applied extensions can damage the original lashes and cause infections and irritation.
Cost: $100-$300 for the first set; fills $50+.
How long do they last: 2-3 weeks.
Bottom line: If you want it all—darker, thicker, longer and curlier—and have the time and money, extensions will take your lashes from meh to OMG.
Lash lifts (some call them perms) are the ultimate in “I woke up like this” beauty. According to master lash artist Suzette Zuena, owner of LH Spa and Rejuvenation in Livingston, chemically-dampened lashes (think keratin) are meticulously pushed back around specially designed pads or rods to create either a lifted or curled look. “We perfectly place every individual lash because however you place them is how they’re going to come out,” she says. “You’ll look more awake, hide that hooded eye and cut down on time in the morning.” They may even stay a bit lifted on their own after two treatments.
Cost: Around $150.
How long does it last: About two months.
Bottom line: Less dramatic than extensions, but you’ll still enjoy open, lifted lashes that don’t require upkeep.
How do you find your soul mascara? While some formulas are definitely more premium than others, it often comes down to the wand. A thin wand lengthens; a curved wand curls; a big, thick wand adds volume; a tapered wand lets you coat every last lash; S-shapes fight clumping, and hourglass shapes distribute evenly. The play between the wand and formula is where the magic happens. To apply like a pro, “use a lash curler to gently pump a few times on the lash line. Then apply a primer. Then mascara,” says Kleinschmidt.
Cost: Anywhere from $8 to upwards of $60.
How long does it last: Until it smears down your face or you gently wash it off.
Bottom line: Quick, convenient and affordable, mascara is the go-to for most of us lusting after better lashes. Taking it off, however, is the worst.