beautiful eyelashes

The following message appeared, as a comment on the post on cleansers. It may well be smart-spam, but let’s just give it the benefit of the doubt in the meantime; if further messages appear, flogging magic potions to grow eyelashes, The Wrath of the Gingerrrama Shall Descend And Smite.
UPDATED (2011-07-28): now with a hilarious irrelevant spam-comment!

Here’s what I think.

Context of that comment aside: let’s just look at the question on its merits.

Ok, there is beauty and there is beauty. What do you think of the fact that many women ignore their eyelashes in their beauty preparations? They forget that the eyes speak volumes and having beautuful,long curly lashes enhances their facial beauty!

This is going to be a “yes but no but” answer…
What do I think of “the fact that many women ignore their eyelashes in their beauty preparations? […] their eyes speak volumes […] enhances their facial beauty”?

I. Immediate answer:

I don’t. I don’t think about it. I don’t care. This is trivial and inane. I don’t think this is a question of sufficient weight for me to devote much time and effort thinking about it–there’s more important, interesting, intellectually fulfilling things with which to occupy my brain on a continuing, repeating, returning, long-term basis.

II. Slightly more thought-out answer:

I don’t, because it’s none of my business. Just like it’s none of my business if (any/other/many/indeed, “all) women do things to their hair, wear whatever clothes or shoes they decide to, tattoo or pierce themselves or not, or indeed choose to walk down the street stark naked (with no makeup and dreadlocked hair) or walk down the street in a burqa. It’s a free country (well, this one I live in, anyway; mostly…).

The indisputable queen, empress, and goddess-incarnate of beautiful eyes: Siouxsie Sioux. Mind you, there are churls and philistines out there who disapprove of the punk aesthetic. Probably as they’ve never tried it themselves, and are blissfully unaware of the labour, skill, and talent required. But each to their own: so long as it doesn’t harm others, there’s no harm in it. I still disapprove of churlish intolerant silly philistines, though.

I would hope that like any other right-thinking human being I’ll feel happy and might even say something about it to the person concerned if I think they look fabulous. And will feel sorry for someone if they’re suffering: acne, sunburn, let alone injuries, illnesses, clear despair.

III. Much longer answer:

1. “the fact”: prove it.

2. if it’s a fact, it’s a fact. It’s not subject to people thinking and feeling about it. Sure, they might want to analyse, discuss, and so on. Different things. Just because this is about appearances and beauty and aesthetics, and to do with women, doesn’t mean that it’s not subject to the same epistemological standards (and indeed logical, reasoning ones more generally) as any other purported knowledge.

3. I would dispute the reasoning that women “ignore their eyelashes” BECAUSE they “forget” about the effect of their eyes. Unless, of course, you happen to have a statistically- and methodologically-sound dataset from a proper survey, that produced significant results–across a large enough population of test-subjects, with sufficient variation, test-controls, over a long enough time.

An alternative hypothesis re. what happens to eyelashes when one ignores them

4. Further disputing that “fact” and the reason therefor: from my random eclectic sample of people I talk to, the reason women omit mascara in the morning–or other parts of their “beauty preparations”–are usually the same as the reasons for which women omit other things in the morning, and indeed the reason men do too. Time and a rational order of priorities. What else gets forgotten?
Other makeup.
Often, having a proper wash.
Using a proper sunscreen (rather than a multi-purpose moisturiser: the same is true of other supposedly time-saving products): and heck, not getting skin-cancer is a bit more important than speaking volumes with one’s eyes.
Eating a proper breakfast.
Remembering to put your shoes on properly before leaving home for work.
Often all of the above, if the person in question is getting kids out the door to school…

The state to which the right-thinking woman ought to aspire

5. Yes: the eyes are the mirror of the soul and all that. But there’s more to life than that, and life’s more complicated for that. Blind people, people with very thick spectacles, and even some people in sunglasses–they can all be expressive, attractive, have facial beauty too. A voice can be beautiful–heard on the radio, or on an old recording, for example–irrespective of there being a face attached to it. And people (including their eyes and whole faces) can be beautiful without having eyelashes. Or eyebrows. Or hair. It might not be orthodox or usual, but it’s quite possible.

6. The eyes (or other parts of face, or expression) are only a mirror of the soul insofar as there’s a soul there in the first place. Theological and metaphysical debate aside: the same goes for “the eyes speak volumes.” Them eyes ain’t gonna say nothing if there’s nothing behind them, nothing to say; only vanity, vapidity, vacuity; let alone some active content of a negative sort–stupidity, ignorance, selfishness, meanness, cruelty.

7. Forgive me for being flat-footed and pedantic, but: Eyes don’t speak. Mouths, attached to vocal chords and tongues, speak. Eyes look. Or rather: they serve to collect and transmit data, via the optic nerve, to the brain. The active part of “seeing” is done by the brain.

8. This is not about a woman’s eyes seeing, or somehow communicating something interior to the exterior world. (Most of which communication, by the way, is NOT done by the eyes: it’s done by facial muscles.) It’s about the seeing and perceiving of that woman by someone else.

Bambi eyelashes: remember what happened to the main female in the film, Bambi’s mother?

9. Rather than beauty being interior, and what is seen being the exterior expression of that interiority–think the bloom on mothers-to-be (yes, hormones, but hey–the bloom’s still there). You’re either beautiful inside or you’re not. If true inner beauty can be cultivated, it’s going to be by doing good deeds, contemplating, educating oneself. It’s not going to count if you want to be beautiful inside to as to seem beautiful with regard to what people see on the outside. Otherwise you’re not being beautiful, you’re being vain; and back to item 6 above again.

10. That worries me. The implication is that beauty being something exterior and over which one has no control, as it’s through others’ perception and judgement. This is deeply worrying as misogynyist: a woman has no true worth, worth of her own; only worth through others’ perception and valuing of her. And the most important thing to a woman should be how others perceive her. She has a moral duty to make herself worth as much as possible, in the eyes of others.

Unlike a non-woman, who defines themself, and their worth, through their acts, deeds, thoughts: through direct, deliberate agency. They are subjects. A woman, defined by an other’s gaze, can only ever be an object. Two different categories of value (and goodness).

The original statement is far from innocuous. It’s a step away from incitement to rape. Rape being the highest form of flattery–within the ethical and aesthetic system that lies behind the original statement. Folks: for future reference (and see 7 above again): ENGAGE BRAIN BEFORE OPERATING MOUTH.

11. I also note–see 4 above again–that women are not the only people who do something in the beautification stakes to themselves, and not the only ones who sometimes skip steps; usually for very simple practical reasons, sometimes for ideological ones. Other primates groom themselves too, and each other (bonobos, for instance). And non-women, aka men, do too.

12. There’s also a logical flaw around the use of the word “beauty” which results in the whole statement being logically false. Content (as gone into above) aside.  I won’t bore you with the tedious details. Because this is a blog about beautification and in praise of folly. Not that that means I’m going to be praising folly such as falsity and wrongness.

Eyelashes (and their purpose…) and gender: (a) neither has enhanced lashes? (b) only the female has, as is right and proper and appropriate, enhanced her lashes? (c) both have had their lashes enhanced? Further: don’t they BOTH look gorgeous? Who says women are the only ones who “ought” to have beautiful eyelashes?

IV. From a cosmetic point of view–as this is, after all, amongst other things a blog about beautification:


(1) style of eyelashes varies from one culture to another–not all consider “beautiful” to be identical with, or even to include, “long” and “curly.” Some might go for “thick/lush’dense”; some might go for “fine, fluttery.”

(2) speaking as a life-long wearing of spectacles*: I don’t want my lashes to be too long anyway, as they get stuck on my glasses.
*(no, I’m NOT going for laser surgery–I’m too myopic for it–and I don’t wear contacts all the time, as for some of my work it’s useful to wear glasses so as to be able to take them off to look at things up close)

(3) there are other ways to enhance the eyes / produce effects that draw attention to the eyes: eyeliner–at least tightlining, also full-on cat’s eye–done well will make eyes stand out from further away. For talks, presentations, any form of public speaking: clever cunning use of dark and light (shadows, eyeliner) around the eye are much more effective, in terms of creating optical illusions for viewers positioned at some distance. And the most impressive lashes known to man are, of course, false ones.

(4) speaking as a redhead, with the usual redhead pale-ginger lashes: my lashes being long and curly makes no difference–compared to BEING A DIFFERENT COLOUR.
Dear Isaac: assuming that all eyelashes are already visible at all dark implies that you, my good man, are a xenophobe. I refer you back to the last sentence of III.10 above.

(5) as ever in any practical critical exercise: context is all. The commentator’s URL contains the words “grow eyelashes.” I leave it to you, gentle reader, to put two and two together here.

But I’ll also add some other recent correspondence–this person has been anonymized, of course–which brings in that lash-growth stuff:

organic […] please recommend waterproof mascara smudgeproof plan to work at night 12 hours in Trauma Emergency ED. EVERYTHING SMUDGES BAAD!

1. The best solution is:
—get lashes tinted.
That is, if you’re wearing mascara primarily because your lashes are pale, so as to make them look kinda normal.

2. If your lashes aren’t pale, but already dark: skip mascara but do this:
the upper lash-line. Gives a lash-thickening effect, without mascara at all. See snickersforsnuggles (c/o her notepad) for further details.

3. Next best: tubing mascaras. Rec:
—Clinique Lash Power,
—Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined
work well, and are cruelty-free.

4. Next best to that: traditional waterproof mascaras. These aren’t always smudgeproof, though (a lot of that depends on how oily your skin is, how creamy your eye-cream,…). Best I’ve used:
—Maybelline Volume Express (the older version),
—Maybelline Full & Soft,
—Beauty Without Cruelty.
All are cruelty-free. Another really good two (not marketed/hyped as w/p):
—Bobbi Brown No Smudge,
—Reviva Labs.

5. If I want to be as sure as possible one of these in 4. is w/p, I’ll add a coat of this:
—Clarins Double Fix’ Mascara.
It’s a clear polymer coating. Cruelty-free again.

Caveat: a lot depends on skin, skin chemistry, oil production, sweat composition. If you feel you’ve tried a million things and nothing works, I’d recommend items 1-3. If you go for 3. (tubing mascara)–actually, same is true of 4-5 too–make sure you apply to dry skin; apply eye-cream afterwards, after mascara has dried (10 min should be plenty–go have breakfast or something in between).

I don’t care if mascara is “organic” or not. I care that it’s cruelty-free, and not a rip-off, and does its job properly. For organic, I buy food (and, at least as important, as local as possible) and donate money straight to environmentalist charities… and indeed others, like the Red Cross, as there are more important things in life than mascara being organic. Indeed: as you know well yourself: working 12 hours in Trauma Emergency!!!

Thank you[…]

I use to get my eyelashes tinted in Poland and US…bad idea as you grow older…it will have an effect of how thick the fringe is….
believe me!

tubing mascara? i heard about it from sales clerk Nordstrom’s. Do you really have to pull on the lashes to get it out? So far waterproof is gone from lashes in am….I don’t even need to use a makeup remover.

will try the options you have mentioned with a receipt this time!

What do u think of Latisse?

In rapid reply:

1. Eyelash tinting is NOT a bad idea as you get older. That is false.
What is true is that SOME forms of last-tinting are bad for ALL AGES of lashes (and people attached to them). Others are not. Here are the differences between that “some” and those “others”:

(a) Choice of chemical to “bind” tint to lash. Older techniques use lye (the same stuff that’s use in Afro-Caribbean hair relaxers). Other include hydrogen perdoxide (note, not chlorine bleach, as one version of the urban myth claims…).
In more progressive, efficient, scientifically up-to-date (and faster) legislatures–such as the EU, and some individual member states ex. Germany–older methods have been banned, the esthetic industry regulated (inc. better training–inc. scientific–of practitioners), and more advanced gentle methods approved. Properly tested for compatibility with human eyes, etc.
In less advanced legislatures–such as the US and some individual states, ex. NJ–lash-tinting is at best frowned on, at worst (NJ) outlawed, based on methods used in the 1950s. Similar situation to sunscreen, re. the FDA not even looking at more recent research elsewhere.

(b) Choice of practitioner. Some are better than others: more hygienic, gentler, more sensible (ex. using Vaseline-soaked pads on all surrounding skin, so you don’t tint the tiny hairs there too). This is up to the consumer (and their local regulation of the esthetic industry).

I went to Clarins salons in Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, and the UK–I’ve tinted my lashes, from time to time or more frequently, since I was 14 and I’m now 38 (and I still have lush lashes). Here in Canada (Vancouver), I’ve been going to an independent spa. It was recommended by a work colleague, who’s in her early 60s and has had lashes tinted there for years.

2. Other things affect lashes, at any age:
(a) normal wear and tear–but they’re replaced every 3-6 weeks anyway
(b) rubbing your eyes
(c) makeup
(d) diet, sleep, etc.

3. Other things affect lashes, at a more advanced age–that is, once you hit the menopause:
(a) hormones
(b) and their consequences, side-effects, etc.
Hair on your head may thin too. This is perfectly normal, and part of the normal human ageing process. Hopefully one might also become/have become wise by that time, so one will have one’s mind on higher and more important things, all seen in a larger perspective.

Tubing mascara: not new. I’ve been using that since Blinc first appeared where I was in the US in, let’s see, maybe 2004/05? And it’s been in Japan and Korea (Kanebo, Blinc) for a good 10 years now…
Your sales clerk is misinformed / mistrained / wasn’t listening during that training session / doesn’t understand / is stupid / all of the above. *Sigh*.
You press on lashes. You don’t pull on them. And you do this to the accompaniment of warm water–just above body temperature, 37C. (See reviews: I KNOW I’ve written about removal at least a couple of times on there…)

On tubing mascaras: they’re not all the same.
—Blinc is harder to work with, as it dries very fast.
—Clinique Lash Power I really liked. NB, it’s a tint-style mascara: don’t apply multiple coats (see my review for further).
—Clinique also have a bottom-lash mascara, in a small tube, which is the Lash Power but with a teeny brush. Many people like it, and use it just for bottom lashes: people like you who’ve had issues with mascara slipping off. I didn’t like it, because I was already using the Lash Power for the same purpose. But Clinique sometimes have deals with the two of them together, which is worthwhile.
—Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined is very like Lash Power, possibly slightly better (see reviews)
—Estee Lauder have one, not tried, I thought the price was a bit silly
—Imju Fiberwig is another: probably the most readily-available of the East Asian tubers, on the Noth American market
—Kanebo 38 C is the grandaddy of them all; can’t/won’t comment further than that, as I won’t use it for ethical reasons (I only buy and use cruelty-free cosmetics)

Latisse and suchlike: I am not interested, and don’t need it.
Also, I personally think it’s completely ridiculous, irrational, and foolish to pay lots of money for something that might or might not work on me. Using it has been known to work on some people, but why it works on some and not others has not been properly explained, nor has the mechanism of how it works on them and not others. If it works, it takes at least a full cycle of lash-growth to start showing results. And it hasn’t been on the market and in use for long enough for data to have been collected (plus, hello, there’s no coherent post-use data-collection process going on anyway…) on after-effects, side-effects, environmental bioaccumulation and effects.

Castor oil is another, and cheaper, option. For days/nights when not wearing mascara.

Another option–to keep mascara on lashes–is using a primer underneath first. There are several on the market; the best ones are formulated for the East Asian market and tropical-humid climate (or indeed made by Japanese and Korean companies).There’s reviews of quite a few of them on MUA (do a search for “primer” within mascaras).
I’d also recommend having a look at Haruka’s off-MUA blog, for info on all cosmetics East Asian:

V. And finally…

Hypothesis: women work on appearances to impress, and rise in the esteem of, other women–rather than to score with men (or, indeed, other women); though excessive attention to this, and time-wasting on it, is used and abused to reinforce The Patriarchy and quash keep woman in her place. Here, though, is an unusual power-relation situation:

Lady Gaga is presented to The Queen (phase 1)

On HM’s territory, eyes down, no eye-contact, object looked at by subject.

The Queen and Lady Gaga (phase 2): the encounter

Making an impression with eye makeup: Queen Bees both, mano a mano as equivalents though across a cultural divide, that handshake and eye-contact bridging the gap between different worlds (once LG has arisen from previous position). Volumes could be written on what’s happening with both gazes, and on HM’s makeup. Do feel free to add comments below…

One comment

  1. gingerama

    (2011-07-28) And lo! the good Mr Spa Parts took six whole days–as long as it took, according to some accounts, to create the earth–to come up with the following response (screenshot, no active links):

    I nearly didn’t post this. I felt sorry for Mr Spa Parts, and his unfortunate condition. I wonder what it’s like to have spa parts instead of genitalia. Maybe he was posting in sympathy for the pale of lash, as fellow afflicted freakish creatures who have to tamper with what nature gave them, or indeed add on or substitute other stuff, cyborg-style, in order to fit in and function in today’s world.
    Then I thought, well, maybe he’s being poetic. After all, as genital metaphors go, these are quite good: “filters, pumps,…”
    I should also point out the, ahem, fuller and more fulsome version, in all its close-up detail: “Filter Elements – Housings & Parts – Chemicals – Spa Pillows, Overlays – Pumps – Heaters & Heater Straps – Temp & Pressure Switches – Filter Lids – Pentair / Waterway Jets – Plumbing – Air Controls – Skirting Parts.”
    Not to mention the Kama Sutra-esque naming of his moves and the cornucopian menu of his available services: “Pump Parts, Unions, & Split Nuts – Transformers – Fuses – LED’s, Fiber Optics & Lights – Diverter Assembly – Small Waterfalls – Weir Assemblies – Suctions – Ozonators & Ozone Fitting – Spa Theater & Stereo Systems – Hardware and Connectors [this might be par of his anatomy, come to think of it–not sure] – H2X Swim Spa Parts.”
    As a bonus, there’s “Accessories.” I guess this is where I really should give the man his proper title, not the shorthand “Mr” but the full “Master” …
    I have no idea what “Balboa Equipment” is, so gentlemen readers are politely requested to forgive my ignorance and maybe explain. I’m all ears. Not really, as there’s also a tongue hanging out, and tongues aren’t ears, so it wouldn’t be true to say I’m all ears.

    But then I thought: no, this is spam. I solicited comments in response to two questions:
    1. what’s happening with the gazes (The Queen & Lady Gaga)?
    2. HM’s makeup?
    Mr SP has not replied to either question. Or indeed responded to the post in general, or to any other part of it. Nope: he’s advertising his sexual services; while he’s at it, bigging up his equipment; might look like an unseemly display / exhibitionism in any other context, but here it’s appropriate and, if you’ll forgive the pun–but heck, you’ve forgiven all the others up to now–de rigueur.
    Which is all very nice and tempting, but irrelevant in this here present context. Sorry, Mr Spa Parts…

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