Lash flash! Introducing the mascaras that make your eyelashes grow  

From lash-regenerating mascaras to can't-believe-they're-not-real extensions, eyelashes are a big focus for the beauty world right now

Lashes feature

You see the world differently through lash extensions – and that’s not just thanks to the faint black dots visible at the periphery of your vision where they are glued to your existing lashes. Eye contact with all who surround you increases: not least because, purely out of curiosity, you can’t help checking if men and women have noticed your recent mini-enhancements. A commonly cited perception from the newly lashed is that the world is suddenly full of people with mostly short, somewhat stubby lashes.

Of course, extensions are not for ever – unless you are a lifetime devotee of the new treatments that can last from two to six weeks. Until recently, most of us settled for the lashes we were born with; only the daring and  diva-like delved into the world of fake eyelashes. But that is set to change. The UK mascara market – which is currently worth around £200 million annually – has been in competitive overload for the past few years, what with mascara innovations (battery operated mascara wands, anyone?), new promises and glossy adverts starring the likes of Kate Moss. But a new generation of mascaras that are make-up and a lash treatment in one are due to make luscious lashes available to all.

Sure, there are plenty of mascaras on the market, but these new products are emerging from laboratories and promising the earth. The kind of science we’ve previously seen in anti-ageing creams is now being channelled into lashes.
Lancôme, for one, had 3,000 researchers working on its new Hypnôse Precious Cells mascara, which promises ‘a visibly denser-looking fringe, lashes appear longer, as though regenerated’ after just 28 days. (Currently Lancôme sells one of its Hypnôse range of mascaras every minute in the UK alone; this latest one with bells on looks set to increase that figure significantly.) Other new products promising to enhance our lashes use words such as ‘lengthening’, ‘volumising’, ‘conditioning’, ‘curling’, ‘magnification’, ‘visibly denser’, ‘nano dispersion of vitamins’, ‘soothing’ and ‘hydration’. Something for everyone, it would seem.

‘Women love lashes because they give you instantly bigger, sexier eyes. They’re a simple way to add drama and impact without a lot of fuss’

One of the most exciting new US launches is RapidLash. Boots has secured the UK exclusive rights for this nourishing, lash-plumping mascara and serum that people are raving about – so much so that it has its own Facebook page. It will be available here in mid July, but you can join the waiting list via the Boots website now. And surely it’s just a matter of time before Latisse, the prescription-only lash-lengthening product from Allergan (the people who gave us Botox), is available in the UK. A friend who managed to get hold of some from the States now has abundant long lashes.

L’Oréal Paris has launched Renewal Lash Serum, a fortifying boost for lashes. And praise from YOU columnist Mimi Spencer for Cargo Lash Activator’s astonishing results helped sales in Boots to go through the roof. (A sure sign that promising lush, long lashes touches a nerve, and that being told you have stubby eyelashes just might be as welcome as being told you’ve got frizzy hair.) So, it’s no surprise that five per cent of all Selfridges’ sales now come from lash products.

Who have we to thank for all this? How did lashes become a beauty industry focus? Was it the new generation of superwomen with the likes of Michelle Obama (who wore false lashes on her trip to Europe), Lady Gaga – the Fluffy Tail feathered lash sets she wore were a sellout at the Shu Uemura Tokyo Lash Bar in Selfridges (along with the gold leaf ones), or even Katie Price, with the ones that look as though they have marabou feathers fixed to the ends?

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga takes false lashes to the max

Or could there be a sociological explanation for the increased emphasis on our eyes? As Anton at the Tokyo Lash Bar says (without raising one of his perfectly arched brows), ‘Eyes are the window to the soul.’ Perhaps it’s the roller coaster of the global recession that has prompted us to focus more on each other’s eyes. Or is it just that
make-up is back in a big way?

Top make-up artist Pat McGrath says: ‘Women love longer lashes because they give you instantly bigger, sexier eyes. They’re a simple way to add drama and impact without a lot of fuss.’

Whatever interpretation rings most true, telling women that they lose their lashes with age will be news to many, and the availability of a restorative treatment in a mascara-like product is motivation indeed to buy. No wonder this new generation of lash-loving mascaras is set to be very big business. 

Another big beauty trend is eyelash extensions, with more and more lash bars opening up on high streets offering natural-looking lashes along with crazy coloured, diamanté or feathery false lashes. At Blink, on the ground floor of Fenwick in London – the go-to place for eyebrow threading and, increasingly, lash extensions – founder Vanita Parti says: ‘With lash extensions, people won’t be able to tell what the difference is but the whole eye area immediately seems twinkling and softer. You can also ditch the make-up – no mascara is required. You can enhance your eyes without anyone ever knowing.’ Blink has recently seen a 50 per cent increase in demand for lash extensions, and is creating a moisturising and stimulating lash treatment containing bamboo and lavender oils, plus a night-time mascara with apricot kernel oil.

Across town in Marylebone, ‘super facialist’ Vaishaly Patel is being asked to do lash extensions more and more. She explains that ‘they are better and more natural-looking than stick-on false eyelashes. They’re feminine and flirty, open your eyes instantly, make the whites of your eyes appear whiter and make you look wide awake.’
With longer lashes, your eyes are doing the talking. And for those who’ve never given their lash length a second thought, prepare to be tempted.



  • LANCOME HYPNOSE PRECIOUS CELLS MASCARA, £22, promises longer, denser lashes after 28 days. Available nationwide.
  • THE ORGANIC PHARMACY ORGANIC GLAM MASCARA, £19.95, was five years in production and contains lash-conditioning aloe vera and beeswax. From
  • L’OREAL PARIS RENEWAL LASH SERUM, £10.99, is a combined serum and mascara that gives lashes a fortifying boost. Available nationwide.
  • RAPIDLASH mascara/serum, £39.99, will be available in the UK in Boots from mid July — join the waiting list at


  • SHU UEMURA TOKYO LASH BAR, from £12.50 with complimentary application, at Selfridges, tel: 0800 123400.
  • GET LASHED has just launched an exclusive false lash range at Boots, prices
    from £4.95,


  • VAISHALY EYELASH EXTENSIONS, from £95 for a half set, tel: 020 7224 6088,
  • ’W’ LASH EXTENSIONS, £65, are luxuriously voluminous, from the Powder Lounge Express Brow and Lash Bar at Topshop, London W1, tel: 0845 224 4179, and Debenhams, W1, tel: 020 7518 7727.


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