For Your Eyes Only: 4 Ways to Achieve Dramatic Lashes

Of all of the frivolous beauty products and treatments on the market right now, nothing speaks to the inner recesses of my soul like a huge old, hefty blast of lashes. I'd like lashes like Adele's at the Oscars, please, and I want them every day. I don't even care!

When you're looking for ridiculous eye fringe, you have a few options:

1. Just Apply Mascara
The first option is to just naturally have banging lashes, and buy the best mascara on the market. This'll cost you approximately $10-$30 a month. I mean, if that's you, we're all set here, you can stop reading. Congrats!

Related: Top 25 drugstore beauty buys under $10

2. Use Lash Serum
The second option is to make your natural lashes banging. This is where a good lash serum comes in. I've reviewed them in the past and long story short, yes! They work! It takes approximately three months for the magic to work but once they're grooving, you're grooving. Materials needed: one tube of $100 Lilash, which will last you an entire year. I'm only just now running out. Nat The Fat Rat Approved TM.

Here are my lashes on serum and some good mascara:

3. Apply Drugstore Fake Lashes
The third option is to apply fake lashes every day using strip lashes you buy at the drugstore (materials needed: lashes, lash glue, approximately two minutes every morning, at a cost of $20 or so every month).

With practice, you can get them on in the morning in under a minute flat. Drugstore falsies speeds up my morning routine by three or four minutes (I am an excruciatingly slow and methodical mascara apply-er) but actually adds two whole products to my arsenal. (Lashes and glue, plus I still use eyeliner and a quick swipe of mascara when wearing falsies (because they both help with adhesion), so actually the total number of products is four.) Plus there is the upkeep of the lashes. You need somewhere safe to put them at night so they won't get dusty, or knocked off the shelf, or swept away in a gust of wind when the bathroom door is shut too forcefully. (You can safely and hygienically wear the same set of falsies for about a week, if you're careful.) Plus the time it takes to go to to the drugstore, select your lashes, trim them to fit, etc. So, lots of time investment, but in short bursts.

Here's how my lashes looked with the falsies:

4. Have Your Lashes Professionally Lengthened
The last option is you can have fake lashes applied for you once a month with professional help (materials needed: a professional, two hours to kill with your eyes shut, approximately $100).

On Sunday, I had my lashes professionally lengthened. A good friend of mine does house visits (which was ideal, because no way was a salon in NYC going to allow me to
video tape the process…), so she came over one day with a pack of mink C-curl extensions in black and a few hours later, taduh! Lashes for miles. Check out the end result:

Extensions can take anywhere from an hour for a refill, to four hours for a full set (yes four hours!). They will cost anywhere from $40 for a refill to $250 for a full set. So, lots of time and money up front. BUT. I am down to three products in the morning (tinted moisturizer, concealer, blush). I am down to five minutes to get ready in the morning. Also there is the matter of trying very hard not to smash the lashes, or get them too wet in the shower. I've started washing my face before I hop in the shower, and toweling dry extremely carefully, which has added emotional maintenance time to my evening routine? But isn't that probably better for my skin over all?

I've had my extensions in for a week (total number of lashes lost: one!) and I will tell you this: They look just the same as the real good drugstore lashes. The only sure difference is in the cost of upkeep and the matter of when your time investment happens.

So what's the best choice for you?

Well, this one really comes down to your lifestyle and your budget. I will say, as far as looks are concerned, the extensions are better -- but not by a wide margin. I will also say, as far as time goes, the extensions win this one, because as much as a chunk of hours up front is a pain, the streamlining of my morning is a huge, huge triumph. And I'll lastly say, if the cost of extensions is a barrier, then don't sweat it. You're really not missing out on much. Those drugstore lashes, when you buy the right ones apply with a steady hand, are dang good enough. For me, the extensions win. But only barely.

- By Natalie Holbrook
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