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"Are your eyelashes real?"
Getting asked that question in 2019 isn't unusual, but I was confused when I had to answer it in the early '90s. I didn't understand why adults were fawning over my eyelashes. It would be another decade before I even began experimenting with makeup — I was just born with long, dark eyelashes.
Unfortunately, like my smooth skin, my baby lashes are long gone. I eventually found a fiber lash mascara that works so well it looks like I have extensions, but perhaps the real magic wand in my makeup bag is my new eyelash curler. Without a doubt, it's brought my lash game up a level.
Maybe it's her, maybe it's Japonesque?
I've never heard of Japonesque before, but what really sold me on buying an eyelash curler from an unknown brand was the number of reviews. The Japonesque Go Curl Eyelash Curler, an Amazon's Choice product, has more than 1,000 reviews and an average 4-star rating. Of course, the $13 price tag was also attractive.
As a travel writer, I spend about nine months of the year living out of a suitcase, so it was important for me to have a compact curler. This little guy is about half as big as a traditional eyelash curler. It's slightly smaller than my favorite Mac lipstick, which I can comfortably carry in the front pocket of my skinny jeans.
Furthermore, the lever portion of this curler folds into the base. There's also built-in storage for the silicone pad replacement. (One replacement is included and future replacements are free for life!)
The results are dramatic. In all my years of writing for a living, I don't think I've ever written that sentence, but it's what comes to mind when I have to sum up how well this curler lifts my lashes.
In fact, it almost curls them too much — if that's possible. For example, if you curl before applying mascara, it makes applying mascara to the top of the lashes a little tricky. Sometimes my lashes curl up to touch right under my brows, which sometimes leaves a trail of mascara.
But those "problems" — combined with the cost of this $13 curler and the $100 I spend a year on mascara — are all small prices to pay for lashes that look like they cost 10 times as much. I may have to take two minutes to curl my eyelashes and apply mascara for the look, but it's worth it if I can answer "yes" to that inevitable question: "Are your lashes real?"
How to curl your eyelashes, according to the experts
Of course, I couldn't write this product review without making sure I was using the product correctly. So, I spoke with several professional makeup artists.
Most said they'd never consider curling eyelashes after applying mascara (because the mascara can stick to the curler and pull out lashes), but a few said it doesn't really matter. In fact, the packaging for the Japonesque Go Curl Eyelash Curler says it can be used before or after applying mascara.
While the makeup artists didn't all agree on the order, they all agreed on the three-clamp technique.
Ana Siguenza, New York Makeup Artist & Head Educator at The New York Makeup Academy, said the biggest mistake most people make when curling their eyelashes is they only clamp on the lash curler once. This results in a check-mark or L-shaped lash.
"For the most flattering shape, clamp three times and hold at each point for two seconds," explains Siguenza. "Start at the base, move halfway up the lash and then right before the tip of the lash." This results in a perfect C-shaped curl!