There was a time, before “Kardashian beauty” was a household term or YouTube tutorials informed our modern makeup techniques, that I wore false eyelashes all day, every day. I was going for a sort of French-New-Wave-meets-Japanese-anime look, and gluing wispy drugstore strips onto my upper lids became a prework, pre-party ritual that offered instant gratification. I felt more glamorous and adorable, like the features inhabiting my round face were outlined and emphasized like those of a cute cartoon. Eventually, though, the heavy caterpillar versions blinking on the contestants of The Bachelor, coupled with the rise of extreme semipermanent extensions, caused me to reevaluate my relationship with falsies. Plus, wearing them and carelessly peeling them off before bed each day was making my natural set shed away to an ultrafine fringe.
I avoided them for the Met gala, replacing the fuzzy accessories with strategic eyeliner and blue YSL mascara. I skipped them for my wedding and opted for a lash lift instead. Years passed, and then suddenly my too-cool-for-fake-eyelashes attitude shifted. And as if the fashion powers were feeling the same cloud lift, they started popping up on runways in iterations I hadn’t considered. At Gucci’s spring show, makeup artist Thomas de Kluyver glued strips onto eyebrows and under eyes for the kind of no-rules attitude with which the house has become synonymous. At Marc Jacobs, Pat “Mother” McGrath encircled eyes with exaggerated, spikey adaptations that felt a little bit ’60s. With my interest renewed, two questions surfaced: What are the best false eyelashes for at-home application? Are they worth the effort?