Today I tried out some Ardell DuraLash Naturals Individual Lashes which I bought from Boots. I chose these because the flares are "knot-free" meaning that they don't have that weird black blob on the ends like other false lashes on the market - they taper to a flat point, and are thus more likely to look natural. I bought both the "short" and "medium" flares, plus a vial of Ardell LashTite Adhesive (in "clear") which is specifically for individual lashes.
These lashes are designed to stay put until your lashes naturally fall out. The glue is more like superglue than the rubbery white stuff you get with strip lashes... so your mistakes need to be few and minor! You can apparently remove the lashes with mineral oil.
Ok, before I talk about the application, I should tell you that these are the first false lashes I've ever used. I'm going to ignore the fact that I once shamefully failed to apply the Eyelure Girls Aloud "Kimberley" strip lashes. I couldn't even get just one side to stick on in the right place! And they looked ultra fake. Well, they were Girls Aloud branded after all...
And just to refresh your memory, here is a "before" photo of my usual and unremarkable eyelashes sans make-up:
I followed the instructions to the word (mostly):
Thoroughly clean your eyelashes and eyelids so they are free of oil and make-up. Pour a few drops of LashTite adhesive on a piece of foil. Using tweezers, gently lift an Individual lash from tray and dip end into adhesive. Starting at the center of the eyelid, apply lashes one at a time by placing the lash cluster on top of one of your own natural lashes with the end close to, but not touching, your eyelid. Support lash gently with fingertips until adhesive sets. Work towards the outer corner. Return to center and gradually work inward until lashes blend. Apply 10-15 lash clusters per eye. Individual lashes should be replaced as your own natural lashes shed (about 2-3 weeks).
I started on my right eye. I found it easier to pull the lashes from the tray with my fingers rather than with tweezers because the concentrated pressure from tweezers caused a few kinks here and there. The clusters have a bit of rubbery glue on the ends from being stuck to the tray... so I also had to use my fingers to rub off as much of that as possible so as not to affect the sticking power of the proper glue.
However, I used my Tweezerman slanted tweezers to do the lifting, dipping (in glue) and positioning. I also used the blunt end of the tweezers to lightly press each cluster onto my natural lashes. I found it best to lightly grip the clusters at the fluttery end like in this photo:
I was surprised how quickly I was able to stick the lash clusters in place on my right eye... there were no mishaps whatsoever! I used five "short" lashes from the centre of my eye, and then five "medium" lashes for the outer quarter of my eye. To see where I was going while applying each cluster (difficult because they blend so well with my natural lashes), I found it easiest to lift my eyelid up and look at my lashes from below. I reckon it only took about 10 minutes, which is hardly anything considering I'd never applied individual lashes before.
My left eye however, took about 3x longer to do because my hand-to-eye coordination got all confused in the mirror. I thus ended up with glue on my eyelid and down the length of some lashes. But I got there in the end with reasonably acceptable results (although nowhere near as neat and natural-looking as the right eye).
One tip is to pour just tiny drops at a time of the glue onto the foil, so that if it dries out while you're fiddling around, you can just pour another drop out, and less is wasted.
Once I was done, I cleaned off the dodgy bits of glue on my eyelid with a cotton bud wetted with oil-free eye make-up remover. I went a bit crazy with the glue on my left eye, and unfortunately the glue dries shiny and crispy, but there seems to be nothing I can do to rectify that!
Ok, here are the photos of the results. I haven't bothered to apply any lashes to the inner half of my eyes, and I haven't trimmed where there's a sudden jump in lash length, but I do plan to! I also haven't applied any eye make-up. You can click on the photos to zoom in if you want... you might see what I mean about the shiny glue (which isn't that noticeable unless you really look out for it... and presumably can be covered up with mascara).
The lashes feel really secure at the moment... but I don't know how they will fare with future eye make-up removal, face washing, sleeping etc. I will post an update once I've had enough time to find out!
By the way, I would feel comfortable wearing these lashes out without any eyeliner or mascara. Apart from a bit of shininess at the base of the lashes (where I was being clumsy), they look really natural with no obvious "joins" apart from where I haven't trimmed them.
Each pack of individual lashes was £5 and the glue £4.50.
Update (1 day later):
Two clusters from each eye came unstuck while I was washing my face last night (I guess they were the ones that had the least glue). However, when I woke up this morning (and after washing my face again), the remaining clusters were still intact and positioned correctly. I had to fill in the gaps with new clusters, which took about 5 minutes, and I was then happy to leave the house with no mascara. Not too bad a product at all!
Update (4 days later):
I'm still wearing these lashes... but on average two clusters (usually the short, inner ones) fall off every night while I'm washing my face, meaning I have to replace them in the morning. For convenience, I just dip the lash ends into the tilted bottle of glue rather than pouring glue onto foil. It still takes less time than trying to make my lashes look longer and fuller using mascara though, so I don't mind. It seems that the clusters fall off from insufficient glue, or where the glue has become weak, rather than from natural lash-shedding.
So far, one person has asked me if I've done something different to my lashes after noticing they looked very Bambi-esque - and she was surprised when I told her I was wearing fake lashes. So I'm relieved they look natural but still give noticeable oomph. I've been concerned about the glue becoming slightly white in places where it is flaking, so I've bought some Ardell LashTite Adhesive in "dark" which apparently doesn't dry white. It's very inky-looking in the bottle:
Update (5 days later):
Yesterday I had tried wearing mascara on the false lashes (to cover a bit of the white flakiness that had developed from the "clear" adhesive). But when I used eye make-up remover that night, more clusters than normal came unstuck. So then I thought it would be a good opportunity to remove all the false lashes to give my eyelashes a break. The clusters on my right eye came away pretty quickly with a bit of oil-based eye make-up remover (I didn't have any mineral oil). But when I moved onto my left eye, I realised how much glue I had used on that side. It took forever to remove the false lashes. I made a mental note to use the glue with a lighter touch in future. Without the falsies, my natural lashes look extra plain and short, so I don't think I'll last long before I stick them back on!