To the uninitiated, it looks more like an instrument of torture than anything else, but in fact the eye-lash curler is an indispensable tool when it comes to eye beauty.
It's one of the basics of any professional make-up artist's bag of tricks, and can produce spectacular results. Comparing one eye with curled lashes with the other as yet uncurled will convince any doubters: the lashes curl away making them look longer, and the eyes themselves look bigger and more wide-awake.
Here are a few tricks to help you get the most out of this handy little gadget:
- Once you get the knack, it's really easy to use an eye-lash curler, but remember that careless use or over-use can weaken or break the lashes. Always check that the curler pads are in perfect condition; they will need to be changed every couple of months.
- Eye lashes can be delicate so it's important to nourish and moisturise them so they are less brittle and less likely to break. This can be done by occasionally applying a fine coating of vaseline or olive oil at night, or simply using a little of your usual facial moisturiser on your lashes. The aim is to make your lashes more supple, but don't overdo it.
- Over-use of a lash-curler can weaken the lashes, particularly if they are delicate or fine, so keep it for special occasions.
- Always use the curler on clean lashes, never after you have applied mascara. Make sure there are no traces of make-up, as this makes the lashes more liable to break.
- Open the curler and, with your eyes wide open, place the upper lashes of one eye between the two rubber pads. Try and get as close to the eye-lid as possible without actually trapping the skin – you'll get better at it with practice. Squeeze the curler closed and hold for at least five seconds. When you are more familiar with it, you can hold for up to 30 seconds.
- When you open the curler, take care not to tear at the lashes. (This is why it's important that the curler pads are in good condition and your lashes are clean: you don't want to pull the lashes out!)
- Don't bother to try and curl the lower lashes.
- How long your lashes stay curled will depend on the strength and type of lash. The stronger the lash, the more difficult it is to control, so the effect will last less time.
- If you use coloured mascara, curling your lashes will make the colour more visible.
- If your lashes are naturally dark, you may find that using an eye-lash curler is enough to brighten your look without the need for mascara.