To say that my eyelashes are straight is a vast understatement.
In reality, it would be more realistic to say that they curve downwards to the point where they practically poke me in the eye every time I blink.
In combination with being curvaceously challenged, my eyelashes are incredibly thin and sparse. You could almost mistake me for not having any at all, if it wasn’t for the constant blinking and eye tearing as a result of the eye-gouging that I face every minute, of every day of my life.
It is a beauty problem I have inherited from a long line of thin-lashed women. For this reason I relied heavily on my most prized beauty tool: the eyelash curler.
It was my one and only saviour – besides my mascara – that helped me deal with the very real first world problem of being nearly bald on both eyes. The eyelash curler was a staple in my morning routine, which went something like this:
Apply the curler at an almost perpendicular angle to my eye, press until lashes are within an inch of their life.
Apply two coats of heavy mascara. Allow to dry.
Repeat step one, only this time with the added force of a professional arm wrestler.
This process would give my lashes enough curl until they resided to their regular position of gouging me in the eye. Approximately an hour, sometimes two. I continued this routine, in and out every day for several years.
It wasn’t until I was bridesmaid at a wedding and had my make-up professionally done that it was brought to my attention I may have a problem. I’d been having a detailed conversation with the make-up artist about the importance of having a good skincare routine.
We chatted away as she proceeded to apply foundation to my skin with a make-up brush. We continued to talk until she began on my eye make-up and I could feel her starring profusely at my eyes as she instructed me to look upwards.
“Darling,” she said, in the worried tone a mum would use when telling you you look horrible in that outfit. “Do you use an eyelash curler?”
I immediately wanted to say no. I scrambled my brain for every excuse I could think of and came up blank.
“Sometimes,” I mumbled under my breath, hoping she would drop the subject and move onto something else.
“Darling, you have eyelashes missing. You need to throw that curler in the bin. It’s doing more damage than good. You’ll end up with no lashes if you keep using it. Let them grow back and recover,” she told me sternly.
I nodded as she proceeded to finish my make-up.
For the rest of the day I looked at my eyes on any surface that gave a reflection. Doors, windows - I think I may have even stared deeply into a marble table just enough to get a good look at my eyes that were, yes, missing sections of lashes.
I realised that I did indeed, have a problem.