Brows get most of the attention for being the feature that can transform your face, but long before we met Cara, humans were obsessed with all things lashes. They can put the finishing touch on your look, help you look awake when you logged in a sad four hours, and even make your eyes bigger than they actually are. However, getting a long, thick, but still natural-looking pair depends greatly on how much time you want to spend. Whether you have time for a treatment or need a 5-second quick fix, here’s how to get better lashes at every effort level.
Finding the right formula is no easy task when you can’t try them on and there’s about 15 different selections displayed on the drugstore wall. But if you’re going for a more defined yet natural lash effect, celebrity makeup artist Jamie Greenberg says you should concentrate on the shape of the brush, looking for one that allows you to pull through your lashes, like Chanel's Inimitable Mascara ($32; nordstrom.com).
The best way to apply the product of your choice? "Curl your lashes first. I love using a primer now a days. There are so many good ones,” says Greenberg. "Lastly, start with the brush at the root of your lashes—wiggle wiggle and pull up. You'll coat them individually, separate the lashes, and lengthen,” she notes.
As for her favorite formula, Greenberg adores Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara ($23; sephora.com) because it’s thick, inky, and makes lashes appear longer and fuller.
There's a reason celebrities often wear false lashes during shoots or on the red carpet. They, at times, can be even more transformative than mascara because they basically fake, or add to, your lash count. Putting them on? Well, yeah, that could take a few minutes. It's nothing you'd want to do if you have to run out the door in less than 15.
For a super natural look, celebrity makeup artist (Shay Mitchell's go-to man) Patrick Ta recommends KISS Lash Couture in Little Black Dress. To apply them, he says to first use a lash curler and then apply one coat of your regular mascara. "Apply KISS Lash Couture Strip Lash Adhesive to the lash band, allowing it to dry for 30 seconds before applying KISS Lash Couture in Little Black Dress to the natural lash line, starting at the outside corner," he recommends.
This requires effort in the fact that if you're not regular about your application, you're probably not going to see results. Most use a complex of nourishing ingredients and biotin to strengthen the lashes you already have and stimulate growth. And like we said before, it's not going to be an overnight thing, so you'll need a few weeks of patience. Over-the-counter formulas are available from brands like Peter Thomas Roth and Givenchy, while you can get a prescription-strength product like Latisse from a doctor, which helps increase the fullness, length, and pigment of your lashes.
Not into the waiting game? No worries. Another option is getting eyelash extensions. We wouldn't call them totally low-maintenance, as they can be expensive and regular altering your skin-care routine and some upkeep, but you won't have to apply mascara on a daily basis. You'll essentially wake up with fuller-looking lashes.
"Lash extensions have become an extremely popular treatment because it allows the client to achieve instant gratification," says Envious Lashes founder Clementina Richardson, who's celebrity clients include Mary J. Blige and Naomi Campbell. "Lash extensions enhance your features without the need of makeup especially around the eye and drastically help cut down your beauty routine."
On a scale of 1-10, Richardson says the upkeep is about an eight. "This is because natural lashes grow in and shed, so it's important to see your stylist every 2-3 weeks for a refill. At this time, all over grown extensions should be removed and replaced. Failure to remove overgrown lashes will result in breakage because the further away from the base the natural lash has grown, the more likely it is for the extensions to twist hence pulling off the natural lash," says Richardson.
When it comes to what extensions to choose, that all depends on the person, the look they are going for, their price point, and the shape of the eye. While it may speed up your morning makeup routine, you shouldn't use an oil-based cleanser, as that will weaked the adhesive. You'll want to talk to your stylist about what products are safe and what formulas will help condition and strengthen your natural lashes while the extensions are on. Richardson suggests applying this product, which is basically a conditioner for your lashes, to keep them strong and intact.
And while you're at it, you can check out a few of our favorite lash-enhancing products above.