"The day I ripped all my lashes out with an eyelash curler."

Image: Valentina 

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.

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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:

Step 1

Apply the curler at an almost perpendicular angle to my eye, press until lashes are within an inch of their life.

Step 2

Apply two coats of heavy mascara. Allow to dry.

Step 3

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.

“I tried an Instyler. Minutes later I could smell my hair burning.”

“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.

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I tucked the curler away in a draw and gave it up. Cold turkey. “Valentina. You can do this,” I told myself.

In the months that followed I obeyed the make-up artist, certain I had kicked the habit. Gone, never to return. I heard the make-up artist’s voice in my head every time I did my make-up in the morning.

“You have eyelashes missing…”

“Throw that curler in the bin…”

“Damage… damage… damage…”

That is, until that day. The day realised I had a toxic relationship with my most cherished beauty tool.

I proceeded with my regular make-up routine. I stared into the mirror, as my stubbly eyelashes looked back. Almost mockingly.

My eyes darted to the drawer where I had stashed my curler months prior. And like the green orb of light in Sleeping Beauty, urging Aurora to prick the spinning wheel, I could feel my curler beckoning me to come closer.

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I gave in and yanked open the drawler like a woman possessed and before I knew it my curler was in the same familiar position. Perpendicular to my eye as I started, pushing, pushing, pushing. I was at the point where I was about to release my grip until the unthinkable happened.

My fingers rotated outwards and my eyelash curler had betrayed me. Starting from the side of my eye closest to my nose my eyelashes began to be pulled out of my eye, almost in slow motion until I was left completely bald.


Not. A. Single. Lash.

I held the curler in my hand, staring at it. Looking at the entire row of my eyelashes that now resided in the prongs of the eyelash curler. I yelled every profanity that would come to my mouth as I pressed my face against my mirror and analysed more closely.

The pores were my eyelashes once where began to blister up, bright red as a surge of pain like no other came over my eye.

After that day, I waited about a month and a half for my eyelashes to return to their pre-plucked state. It took about two weeks for little black dots to appear, then they steadily began to grow back.

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It’s been nearly a year and a half since my last curl and I feel like I’m in a good place. After recounting my story to my therapist (otherwise known as my beautician) she recommended I have my eyelashes permed.

I didn’t even know that was a thing, but now I’m thankful that it is.

While I know my lashes will never be of a Kim Kardashian status, they now stay curled up for about three months between treatments.

I’m sharing my story because I want all of the other thin-lashed women out there to know they’re not alone. Ladies, it’s time to put your eyelash curlers down and accept ourselves for who we are.

And if that fails, like it did for me, head to your beautician and invest in a perming treatment. Stat.

What's your beauty horror story? Let us know in the comments below.