A veteran magazine beauty editor/writer (and a member of the 40+ club), Genevieve Monsma created MediumBlonde to help Gen Xers and Baby Boomers age the way they want.


No. They're Not Real

No. They're Not Real

Victoria Secret models, drag queens and Kardashians share a common trait worth copying: They can rock falsies.

I’m talking about lashes, people. And while I’m not suggesting we all apply fake fringe every day, I do think, as we age (and our lashes become thinner), becoming adept at glueing on extra flutter (or finding a makeup artist to do it for you) is time well spent.

So when and why would you ever need or want falsies? Check out my head shot. Yep, falsies. A makeup artist applied a few individual lashes at the outer corners of my eyes, a small trick I promise makes a big difference in photos, especially professional ones you upload to, say, linkedin. I've also had them professionally applied for television appearances (The Today Show, CBS This Morning, and MTV, back in the day), on my wedding day, and when I wanted to look my absolute best for some benefit, party or work presentation. And I put on these partial lashes from Urban Decay by myself for a recent Halloween Party (I dressed as Celine Dion; the theme was Halloween in Vegas; just go with it).

The key to making lashes look naturally thicker, but not distractingly fake, is to err on the side of subtlety. Start with just a partial strip like I did for my Celine getup (partials are usually made for just the outer half or outer third of the eye)—or try two to three of individual clusters like these at the top outer corners. You can always add more, but it’s almost impossible to subtract without starting all over. Plus, if you want to attempt lash application yourself, individual clusters or partial strips are far easier to handle than a full strip, which typically requires trimming—and the steady hands of a surgeon—to get them on correctly.

If you decide to try the DIY route, here’s the order in which I apply: First, I put on eyelid primer and eyeshadow. Then I trace my top lashline with eyeliner. I like to use a formula that dries quickly and won’t smudge all over the place when I’m trying to lay down my lashes. Two that work well for me: Bobbi Brown Longwear Gel Eyeliner ($26; and Trish Mc Evoy 24 Hour Eyeshadow and Liner ($33; Then, I use tweezers to pick up the first partial strip and I carefully squirt on adhesive (most falsies come with adhesive, but double check before you buy. It's super annoying to be all set to apply...then realize you've got no glue.). I count to three, allowing the glue to dry a bit so it doesn’t run into my eye, and carefully place the strip on top of my lashes, gently pressing it down into place with a fingertip. You want that strip snuggledrightupinto your lashline. I wait another minute or two for the adhesive to set, then use an eyelash curler to crimp my natural lashes and falsies together so everyone’s headed in the same direction. I finish with two to three coats of mascara. Note: Makeup artists may tell you that you don’t need to apply mascara to falsies because they’re already dark. True. But I like to do it anyway because I think the mascara goo helps blend the false lashes into the natural ones.

Falsies, for me, are a one-time-wear proposition. Some women say they can keep them on for several days, but I think that's just an eye stye waiting to happen. To take off your lashes, you'll need an oil-based cleanser to dissolve the adhesive (do not just yank them off—unless you want to pull some real lashes off too). Try Simple Hydrating Cleansing Oil ($13; If you read about my battle with milia here, you know I like to make sure all oil has been removed from my eyelid before bed, so I would then follow with an oil-free cleansing wipe, such as Neutrogena Deep Clean Oil-Free Makeup Remover Wipes ($8;

A few final thoughts

If you wear reading glasses, applying false lashes yourself will be no small feat, as putting them on requires being able to see clearly up close, while also having full access to your eyes. What can help: Subbing in this magnifying mirror for your glasses.

Putting on lashes does require pretty steady hands. So check the caffeine (and alcohol) intake before attempting (I've personally noticed the impact of one latte too many). If your hands shake naturally, stop. Don’t make yourself nuts trying to master DIY fringe. Go to a local makeup studio or salon and have a pro put them on for you. You can also ask for an artist recommendation at a national chain like Sephora or Ulta—or even at a department store. Most have an artist employed on site.

If, after trying them, you like the look of falsies so much you don’t want to wash them off (like ever), consider extensions. As with with haircuts or color, you can customize your extensions service—requesting fringe at, say, just the outer corners. I did this, for a time when we lived in New York; lash guru Courtney Akai would apply a few individual lashes to just the outer third of my top lashes. I loved the look but ultimately gave it up because of the maintenance (for me, this meant hour-long touchups every three to four weeks). But, for you, it may be worth the investment. We all pick our own poisons. For more information on eyelash extensions, read this well-reported post on

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