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Mascara No More: The latest in eyelash treatments will have you throwing those falsies and mascara away!

By Shayna Wiwierski


Images courtesy of Wink Studio

These days you can basically enhance anything from your lips to your breasts to your hair.  So why should your eyelashes be any different?  Throw away those falsies and volumizing mascara, because there are better, more effective, and longer-lasting ways to get those big celebrity lashes.

Brand new to Canada, Latisse is a prescription treatment for thin or inadequate lashes which makes them look longer, thicker, and darker after a few months.  The product is made by California-based Allergan, the same company that makes Botox, and was approved by Health Canada late last year.  The product itself is only available by prescription and consultation through select physicians in Manitoba.  One bottle of the product runs for $160 and lasts approximately six to eight weeks; two bottles can cost $299.

It works by applying a thin layer of the product at the base of your upper lash line every night, and gradually over a few weeks patients should start to see thicker, darker, notice-me lashes, with full results generally in only 16 weeks.

“People are very happy with it.  I have staff on it, patients on it, and one of my daughters is even on it.  Eyelash care is a multimillion-dollar, if not a billion-dollar, industry in North America. Just look at the lineups at the MAC counter.  This is a long-term solution for darker, longer, and thicker lashes.  Women desire beautiful eyes and lashes, and don’t we believe that the eyes are the gateway to the soul?” says Dr. Earl Minuk, a Winnipeg dermatologist who offers Latisse at his two Cosmetic SkinClinic and Laser centres located in River Heights and St. Vital.

So what’s the secret formula?  Well, the product uses an ingredient called bimatoprost, which can increase the length and number of lashes.  The product is safe if applied properly, but of course, as with all drugs, it does have its side-effects.

“Occasionally irritation and itchiness can occur, but it generally goes away the more you use the product.  Rarely do you see darkening of the skin, which is attributed to improper long-term application,” says Dr. Minuk.  “Latisse has a high consumer satisfaction affiliated with it.  This is a breakthrough for eyelash care.  Its use is non-invasive, and you apply it once a day at nighttime with a fine little brush.  You can doll your eyes up as much as you can after, makeup and all.”

Another non-prescriptive way to increase lashes is by applying eyelash extensions.

Eyelash extension services have been popping up in many salons here in Winnipeg, as well as a few specialty shops that exclusively offer them.  The process is quite simple; lashes are painstakingly applied individually to the existing lash about a millimeter away from the skin using pharmaceutical-grade glue and two tweezers.  The results are instant and can last up to three months without fills.  It is recommended to get fills every month or so to maintain the look, as the lashes fall out with your actual eyelash.  Initial applications can take up to two hours, and fills about an hour; however, the client usually falls asleep in that time period.

Varbie Pinones, 29, opened up her eyelash extension business, Wink Studio, in August 2010.  She says that the response to the service has been great because of the many benefits that the procedure offers her clients.

“Its improved people’s allergies – the people who are sensitive to mascara or makeup – so it’s much better for them as they touch their eyes less. The number one rule with the lashes is ‘no rubbing,’” says Pinones, whose studio is located at Grosvenor and Stafford in Winnipeg.

Eyelash extensions are naturally longer, curlier, and thicker, so no mascara is needed, and best of all, they are waterproof, so they will hold up great on the beach or at the gym.  They are relatively easy to care for, too; just avoid oil-based cleansers, lotions, and makeup remover, and use a Q-Tip to clean off eyeliner around the eye.

To learn to apply them is rather quite simple.  First you have to be a licensed esthetician, then find a company that offers training and see if they are coming to a city near you to do the training, or you can always fly out to where they are based and learn there.  Typically, it takes a couple days of classes, and then about six months later you send photos of your work.  If you are approved, they send a certificate.

The response to the service has been phenomenal and has certainly grown in popularity.  And, it’s not just clients’ looks that have improved, but it also can heighten their self-esteem.

“Clients are more confident, and they feel younger.  It lifts their eyes; and with the lashes they spend less time in the morning getting ready.  When they come in for fills, it may take an hour or two, but they look forward to it because it gives them time to relax,” says Pinones.  “Vogue magazine has a really great quote that sums it up, ‘Lashes are the new breasts, women are obsessed with getting a bigger, better pair.’”