With over a decade’s worth of experience, self-confessed lash expert Giselle La Pompe-Moore shares her foolproof guide to navigating the fiddly world of false lashes.
Consider this the beauty equivalent of a witness statement, as I’m about to plead my case for the end of mascara and the beginning of a lifetime of false lash wearing. I’ve been wearing false lashes for over 10 years and while I usually balk at people who self-proclaim that they’re experts, I honestly deserve the title.
My false lash journey started in a hotel room in Manhattan way back in 2010, when I decided that my natural eyelashes (which have all the volume and length of a scraggy nose hair) were not conducive to me living my best life. So I switched out my 20-minute process of layering multiple mascaras and started layering strip lashes instead. I’ve never looked back.
They make my eyes look brighter and bigger and even when I’m not wearing much make-up, I always look “done”. But, most importantly, they save me a lot of time. Now it takes me less than a minute to apply my false lashes and I don’t even need a mirror.
And since my first discovery, I’ve put in a decade of hard labour, learning both the tricks and pitfalls, so you can bypass the shame of having to reapply your lifting lashes in a coﬀee shop, wake up to remnants of encrusted glue in the corner of your eyes or scratch your eyeballs with tweezers. You can thank me later.
Want in on the false lash revolution? Here’s my tried and tested guide, sharing everything you need to know.
I always apply my false lashes after I’ve ﬁnished my eye make-up, which consists of eyeshadow and liquid liner. Until you can nail the placement, you’ll need to pair liquid eyeliner with your lashes for the foreseeable future. It hides a multitude of application sins, so don’t skip it. You can then apply a thin coat of mascara to your natural lashes so they blend with the false ones.
Go for strip lashes instead of individual lashes as they’re always pretty limp-looking and take entirely too long to apply: you just don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. As you take your strip lashes out of the packaging, be careful not to damage them as I’ve had many lash casualties from ripping them out. Before you apply the glue, place the lashes over your lids to see if they’re the right size; you might need to use some small scissors to cut them if they’re too long (and always, always cut from the inner corner).
Once your lashes are ready to apply, you’ll need to squeeze some glue onto a clean surface and then dab a small amount to the spines of your lashes.
But first, let’s talk about glue, as getting the right one is make or break. Never use the small vial of glue that comes with the lashes. I tend not to trust anything that comes without a label and this is one instance where freebies will not work in your favour. Instead, get Duo Striplash Adhesive, £5.99. I use this exclusively and it’s never done me dirty. Once the glue is on the spine you want to wait at least 30 seconds for it to turn tacky.
On my very ﬁrst application attempts, I spent over an hour trying to use tweezers to get the job done. Everyone says to use tweezers. I say: don’t. With an eye, a strip of lashes and 10 ﬁngers, you don’t need to add tweezers to the mix; it’s too many uncontrollable variables to contend with. Instead, use your non-dominant hand to gently pull your eye closed from the outer corner, then place the lash as close to your lash line as possible. As you’ll have liquid liner on, it’s OK if it doesn’t stick all at once. If you have to manoeuvre it a bit, that’s ﬁne. Once it’s in place just press it down in sections. I usually apply my lashes in my bathroom mirror but a magnifying one will also help.
You can apply a little more mascara to the false lashes if you need to, as it can make them look more natural. Remember: lash application requires patience, so don’t give up if you make a mess out of it, it deﬁnitely took me some time to master.
Duo Striplash Adhesive available from Boots, £5.99
When people ask me how I can now manage to apply my lashes with one hand and my eyes open, the answer is always the same: just practise. Once I apply my lashes they last all day without any glue touch-ups, but of course always leave the house with eyelash glue and a cotton bud just in case.
I always re-use my lashes and all of the lashes I recommend below have lasted me well over a month. I gently peel excess glue from the spines after each use and clean them with micellar water or Eyelash Emporium Strip Lash Cleanser (£5.96) before leaving them to dry.
When you remove your lashes at the end of the day, don’t pull them oﬀ as you’ll end up taking your natural lashes out too. I use Garnier 2-in-1 Eye Make-Up Remover (£3.49), and press a cotton pad over my eyes for a few seconds, then you’ll be able to swipe off both lashes and make-up.
Eyelash Emporium Strip Lash Cleanser available at Superdrug, £5.96
Garnier 2-in-1 Eye Make-Up Remover available at Look Fantastic, £3.49
The best false lashes
Lashes are not made equally and I’ve tried nearly every brand on the market, so these are all the lashes that I recommend and, trust me, there’s something in here for everyone.
Best for: long-lasting lashes
My latest obsession, Lashify, is the DIY equivalent of lash extensions and my bank statements prove just how obsessed I am.
Start oﬀ with the Control Kit, then you can buy Gossamers (lashes) that best suit you. The range is pretty wide and while I stick with the Extreme and Fluﬀy ones, they have shorter and very natural looking styles, too. What makes Lashify unique is that you apply the Gossamers underneath your natural lashes (on the root and above the waterline) with a damage-free bond and then use a wand to fuse the lashes together.
It takes some time to master the placement, but with a lot of practise I’ve been able to get my lashes to last for five days, but some customers make it to two weeks. You can re-use the lashes, too, so it works out to be pretty cost-eﬀective.
Lashify Control Kit available at lashify.com, £108
Best for: soft and fluffy lashes
I usually end up having to apply at least a little mascara to most strip lashes as they tend to look too ‘fresh out of the packet’, but these are one of the only brands that I can just take out of the box and go. For soft and full lashes you can’t beat these and I wear the Esmeralda style most regularly.
Doll Beauty Esmeralda Lashes available at Beauty Bay, £10
Best for: voluminous lashes
I snap up handfuls of these whenever I see them, mainly in the style called Tulle. They manage to have the perfect balance of volume and length and mimic the appearance of lashes that are three times the price.
KISS Lash Couture Naked Drama in Tulle available at Superdrug, £7.99
Best for: natural-looking lashes
Eylure’s Dramatic 202 lashes will always have a place in my heart and my make-up bag as I wore them constantly for years. They can do no wrong when it comes to lashes and their Naturals and C-Lash collections are some of the best around for undetectable, true-to-life lashes.
Eylure False Lashes in Dramatic 202 available at Superdrug, £7.25
Best for: luxury lashes
Huda Beauty’s lashes are sturdy, well-made and incredibly glamorous but best of all there’s a style in here for everyone, including one named Giselle which is perfect for a subtle look, and no I’m not biased.
Huda Beauty Giselle Lashes #1 available at Cult Beauty, £14
Best for: your-lashes-but-better lashes
With a wide range of styles from wispy to full-on drama; the one constant is that MAC’s lashes never look out of place. They also come in shades of brown too, so everyone can get in on the action.
MAC Cosmetics False Lashes available at maccosmetic.co.uk, £12.50 each
Images: Giselle La Pompe-Moore / courtesy of brands.