Ooh La La LASHES!!!

Long, thick, dramatic eyelashes are the most important part of a finished makeup look. And all of us women have the same goal: to bat our lashes and leave people speechless. But let's face it... most of us were not born with to-die-for eyelashes. Good news: its 2011, so we have a lot of options. I'm about to educate you thoroughly on how to get amazing lashes, no matter what God gave you.

Choose a great mascara.
This is the most important, and most basic step in getting great lashes. EVERYONE needs a good mascara, so the first step is to decide on the look you're going for. Mascaras these days are so advanced, and there are so many options. Choosing the right mascara for your lashes is essential, and it does take practice. YSL Faux Cils Mascara is great for those who want a lot of drama, because it packs on volume and adds length. It comes in several colors, so if you want your eye color to pop, try one in a contrasting hue. If you are opting for a lot of separation and definition, YSL Singulier Mascara is great, because its rubberized comb-brush gives a lot of separation with zero clumping. There are also some great lengthening mascaras out there that have fibers in them, such as Jane Iredale Longest Lash Mascara. If you have problems with your mascara coming off easily, Becca Ultimate Lash Mascara is great because it creates a tube-like structure around your eyelashes that bond securely until it is removed with warm water and makeup remover.

Prime those peepers!
All mascaras, regardless of formula, work better with a primer. Primers are usually white in color, and they coat your lashes to give mascara a boost. Some primers have fibers in them to lengthen your lashes, such as Japonesque Fast Lash. Others help to maintain the health of your lashes using moisturizers and conditioners, like Jane Iredale Purelash.

After you've used your primer, its a perfect time to curl your eyelashes! There are so many lash curlers available, Tweezerman makes a great one with replaceable pads, and Japoneque even offers a heated lash curler! Clamp the lashes between the pads of curler GENTLY, once at the base and once at the ends to give them a natural bend. Now, get your mascara out. Apply it by wiggling the brush at the base of your lashes, then sweeping it upward. The wiggling motion adds volume, separates them, and gives them a tapered look. Apply 2-3 coats for added length and volume, and use a lash comb such as Tweezerman folding iLash comb to remove any clumps.

Even with primer, mascara is really just the beginning. If you want more, you've gotta fake it!  False Lashes, Lash Extensions, and even GROWING your own eyelashes are all very popular for lash extremists such as myself. There are pro's and cons to each of these options, of course, so being well-informed is important for choosing the best one for you.

Play with Falsies!
They come in hundreds of shapes, lengths, and sizes. False lashes are very temporary, as the application is only designed to last throughout the day, but they're a lot of fun, and yes, they are are reusable. The most subtle option is individual lash application. Jane Iredale carries a great individual lash kit that comes with multiple lengths and glue. To apply, use a tweezer to grab end of a lash piece, dip the base in the glue, and lay them on top of your lashes, right at the base. Start at the outer corners with the longest lashes, and gradually move inward, using the shorter ones toward the inner corners.

My personal favorites are strip eyelashes. They come in demi size, sectional pieces and full strips. Demi and sectional lashes are used on the outer corners only, and are great for smaller eyes. They add just enough drama without making small eyes look overdone. The sectional lashes are similar to the individuals, as you add them in pieces until you feel like you've achieved the look you want.

Full strip lashes are great for big eyes and a lot of drama...but there are plenty of natural-looking options. Japonesque carries my favorite natural strip lashes. When I wear them, people don't even realize the'yre fake!

Strip lashes have so many options ranging from the very natural to the very extreme; colors, feathers, and glitter are all fun to play with! However, they can be difficult to apply at first. It takes a bit of practice. Finish all of your eye makeup before applying, including eyeliner and a layer of mascara. Once you have all that finished, get your lashes ready! Run a small dot of glue along the entire base of the false lashes. Be sure to use glue that is designed for strip lashes, because the glue for individuals is stronger and less flexible, so it can flake off and can be painful to remove. Once you have the glue on the base of your lashes, let it dry for about 30 seconds. Tilt your head back slightly so that you are looking downward into the mirror and your lash-line is stretched out. Set the eyelashes on top of your real lashes and "nuzzle" them up to the base/lashline. Using your finger, push the lash tips upward and wiggle them slightly. This will push the base of the lashes down so that they are perfectly in line with your real lashes. Then, get a pointed object such as a toothpick, and use it to hold the corners down. You can use it to add a dab of extra glue to the corners as well. This should go without saying, but I've seen many women make this mistake: it's very important that the lashes on your left eye match your right eye. I use the space on my inner corners as a guideline. If there's about 1/4 inch between the end of the lash and the inner corner of my eye on the left eye, then there should be the same amount of space on the right eye. While the glue is still wet, you can move them around until you get them in the right spot. Once dry, I  like to add another layer of mascara, because it blends falsies in with my real lashes. VOILA!! You've got Party Perfect Peepers!

Lash Extensions
If you're looking for a longer lasting false lash look, extensions are a great option. They are semi-permanent, so they last as long as you keep them up. They are waterproof, do not require mascara, and look awesome! They must be done by a professional eyelash stylist, who applies individual eyelash pieces of various lengths to your real lashes, and bonds them with surgical strength glue. They are, however, VERY expensive, and you will need to keep going back to your lash stylist every 2-3 weeks for "fill-ins" for the pieces that fall off or grow out. Although they are beautiful, they can be damaging to your real lashes, so the upkeep is very important.

Grow your own!
This is one of the newest technologies on the market. When originally developed a few years ago, Latisse was quite a phenomenon. Using a medication that was designed to treat glaucoma patients with hair loss, it caused eyelashes to grow longer, thicker, and darker. The problems with Latisse is that it's only available with a prescription and can cause discoloration of the eyelids and eyes. Today there are newer, better lash growth products available such as LiLash, which offers the same active ingredient, in a gentler formula that is packed with lash conditioners. Lilash is available without a prescription and does not cause any eye discoloration. Simply apply it at the base of the lashes every night before bed. You can use it on your brows too, if they're need a little help. After about 2 weeks of use, I noticed my mascara started looking better. After 5 weeks, I no longer need to wear falsies every day! Full results are expected in 8-10 weeks, and with continued use, lash growth is practically infinite! Once you are satisfied with the length of your eyelashes, you don't have to use it daily anymore--just apply it once or twice a week to maintain the length. I am beyond impressed with the results I've seen from this product, and I recommend it for anyone who wants the best lashes they've ever had.

So ladies, now that you have the prettiest, fluttery, Drop-em-dead eyelashes you've ever had, all you have left to do is show them off at your holiday parties!! But be warned of the side effects: hundreds of compliments and excessive attention!

<3 C