Since I started openly writing about trichotillomania on here, one of the most frequent questions I get asked is how to apply false lashes to bald lids. So many of you fellow trich sufferers want to know how to cover up evidence of baldness around the eye area but struggle to get the perfect eyeliner technique or to get those pesky falsies to stay. Now, I'm not an expert by any means (I'm constantly picking up new ideas and advice from other beauty bloggers and hair loss sufferers) but, having had the disorder for 19 years, have had quite a long time to experiment with the best make-up tricks to cover up those gaps. My go-to disguise is a natural set of false eyelashes, but how do you get them to stay with no hairs underneath? Well, here are my top tips...
Find The Perfect Style
I am incredibly fussy when it comes to false lashes. They can't be too long; they end up looking to garish and dramatic and lose that natural lash 'look' when you give them a haircut. They can't be too sparse; a lot of the natural ones are very gappy, meaning you notice your own lack of lashes whenever you look down. They can't be too heavy; heavier lashes will droop significantly if you have no real lashes to hold them up with. Most of all, they have to look natural.
Although I go on about it in every single false lash post, looking out for false lashes where the lashes criss-cross over each other near the strip hides any gaps underneath whilst giving that 'roughed' texture that real lashes have. Real lashes don't sit on your lids in perfect synthetic straight formation; getting a pair with a bit of texture will add to the natural-ness and allow you to pass them off as your own. Choosing some which have shorter lashes will mean that they also look natural; people wear false lashes to add length to their own, hence why many and very long. We just want them to look like our own so want a shorter length to usual.
My favourites include Kiss lashes (particularly 'Iconic') and Eylure naturals (especially no.31 and the Kimberley Walsh lashes, no.158). The Tanya Burr lashes are also quite good, as are the more natural and textured Nouveau Lashes collections.
A Lick of Mascara
If you do have a few lashes, it's always worth just applying a little bit of mascara to them. I know for many trich sufferers, mascara can make you pull at your lashes more, but if they are covered with false lashes then it shouldn't matter- if you pick at them you will pull the falsies off! Putting a coat of mascara on your lashes (no matter how sparse, short of gappy they are) will help give the false lashes something more to stick on to and hopefully keep them in place that little bit longer. If you have short lashes, I find sample-sized mascaras the best to use (you can read my post on why here), and you can find a list of my favourite brands for shorter, trich lashes in this post. It is worth mentioning that Benefit's Roller Lash is my ultimate number one mascara, no matter what at stage or length my lashes are!
It's All About The Glue
The glue you use will determine how long the false lashes will stay put. The little tube of glue which comes with the lashes is not always the best; although I used to really rate the glue which comes with Kiss, I now find it too messy, especially seeing how other brands have developed their formulas. Eylure have 'recently' reformulated their glue and I absolutely love it. You get a little tube in with the set of false lashes but if you keep hold of them they will last you a while. I find these little ones better than the big pots you can get from Eylure. If you apply a layer of glue to the strip of the lashes and also dot some along your own lash line, this will make the falsies stay a lot longer and make them feel far more secure. I have heard that the bigger pot of Nouveau Lashes glue is also really good (although I do not rate their little tubes). Trich website Pulling Thru swears by the Revlon eyelash glue; I know that Gweni from G Beauty followed this recommendation and has also fallen in love with the staying power it provides!
To Tweeze or Not To Tweeze?
I have personally never gotten along with using tweezers to apply my false lashes. Although nearly every make-up tutorial (and even the false lash brands themselves) recommend using tweezers to gently place the lashes onto your eyelids, I find this 'official' way far to fiddly and unproductive. I barely have time to apply my false lashes in the morning, let along faff around with holding the delicate lashes in a set of tweezers whilst trying to position them perfectly! I always pick up the lashes with my fingers and position them accordingly, placing the middle of the lashes down first before securing the inner corner and then the outer. Whilst this is fine if you have a few lashes to guide where they should go, I do find it sometimes a bit hapdash when I have bald eyelids. I always press down gently along the lash strip once they are on my eyelids just to make sure they are firmly glued down, but in doing this find that they lose a bit of their 'lift', leading to me brushing them upwards every now and then. Again, Gweni from G Beauty recommends the Nouveau Lashes lash applicator tweezers and swears by them for applying false lashes to bald lids. It's something I still need to try out!
Gel, Kohl or Liquid?
One thing that is never missing in my daily make-up routine with trichotillomania is eyeliner. Whether I wear false lashes or not, a bit of eyeliner is always present to cover up any baldness- I find it the most effective and fuss-free way to disguise the disorder! Although my go-to is a bold cat flick using liquid eyeliner, a subtle smudge of kohl is all you need to make it look like there are hairs there. Once you have applied your false lashes, they may look a bit 'obvious'; the strip might not be perfectly straight and you may be able to see the strip, making it clear you are wearing false ones- the point of wearing them is to make them look like your own lashes! As such, I always make sure I hide the visible strip by popping a bit of kohl liner on (for a super subtle look) or some nice winged liner using my trusty Collection Fast Stroke liquid eyeliner. Although this provides seamless results and a really bold look, you may prefer a pen-style eyeliner for creating cat flicks. When it comes to kohl eyeliner, I do not find that a specific brand is any better than the next; I use a £1 MUA one and it does the job perfectly! My false lash look isn't complete without eyeliner, and I really think that it just helps to cover those last little bits to help the lashes look like your own.
So there you go- a very long, bumper post with all my top tips for applying false lashes when you have hair loss! If you have any other recommendations you would like to share or want to ask any questions then leave a comment below!
This post features press samples.