Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler Review

Since I’ve been using the Revitalash Eyelash Conditioning Serum, I’ve found that they’re not as curly as they used to be, probably because it seems to make my lashes grow thicker as well as longer, and thicker hair curls less easily.

I am dubiously blessed with Elizabeth Taylor’s double layer of eyelashes, which means that conventional eyelash curlers have always struggled to make my lashes curl. When my sister (who has worked on a bunch of different make-up counters at a selection of famous department stores) told me that the Shu Uemura eyelash curlers were the best ones, I cursed my bad luck in living in the middle of nowhere, in a town with only the most mainstream make-up counters and none of the best ones.
Luckily for my cosmetics addiction, I found myself in London recently, so since I had several hours to kill in the afternoon, I went straight to Selfridges where there was a Shu Uemura counter.

I was worried about buying the full-sized eyelash curlers rather than the little ones for doing parts of your lashes at a time, because the big issue I’ve had with other eyelash curlers is that they curl in a weird straight line that looks unnatural and pinched. When the assistant at the Shu Uemura counter curled my lashes for me, he explained that the Shu Uemura eyelash curler curves in the same way that your eyelid does, so instead of getting that straight line across your lashes, you get a curl that looks natural and follows the line of your eye, to give a romantic curl instead of a severe one. There’s a part of me (the part that used to be a chemistry teacher) which wishes more eyelash curler brands would pay attention to Gaussian curvature whilst designing eyelash curlers, because mathematically these eyelash curlers are a thing of beauty.

The curl lasts all day on my lashes (with the other lash curlers I’ve used, usually it lasts an hour at most), which I can’t explain. What I like best, though, is when I’m using them, I feel like my eyelashes aren’t being pinched or pulled. For me, that alone was worth the £20 these eyelash curlers cost.
Shu Uemura Eyelash Curlers are only available from Shu Uemura counters e.g. at Selfridges.

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Review: Grande Lash MD vs Rapid Lash vs Revitalash Advanced

It’s time for my most epic review of this month; which is better, Revitalash Advanced, Rapid Lash or Grande Lash MD??

I used Rapid Lash for the first five months of 2015. I switched to Revitalash Advanced in May 2015 and used it through November 2015 (I stopped in mid November due to severe pregnancy sickness which was nothing to do with the Revitalash but it did throw my beauty regime down the toilet). As a result I wrote an article comparing Rapid Lash and Revitalash. I did find out that these lash products are not recommended for use during pregnancy due to lack of evidence about the effects. In February, when I was no longer pregnant, I was going to buy more Revitalash Advanced but then I saw there’s been an explosion of new lash serums onto the market. Scrutinizing the ingredients pretty cautiously (because this stuff is going on my eyes) I selected Grande Lash MD as my new lash serum because it didn’t look like a bad knock-off (a fake dupe – a dupe that doesn’t actually work but looks a lot like the real thing) of Rapid Lash or Revitalash Advanced (assume I mean Revitalash Advanced where I say “revitalash” in the rest of this article).  I have reviewed a couple of the lash serums that don’t have any proper active ingredients, to see how they compared to Rapid Lash, but spoiler alert, their lengthening effects were instant but those effects washed off again.

The only three I’ve found that definitely work to grow your lashes are Rapid Lash, Revitalash Advanced and Grande Lash MD.

That’s not to say these are the only three that work, just the only three I’ve tested and found to work.

All the products I talk about in this review really work to grow your lashes, the question I want to answer in this lash serum review is: Which one is better?

This is what Grande Lash MD looks like:

grande lash md1
Grande Lash MD
grande lash md2
What Grande Lash MD looks like on the inside
grande lash md3
A close up of the brush for Grande Lash MD
rapidlash vs revitalash
And these are Revitalash (top) and Rapid Lash (bottom)

I really liked the packaging for Grande Lash MD – the metallic orangey bronze colour was a refreshing pop against the Revitalash and Rapid Lash packaging, both of which are silvery.  I have noticed most of the cheap knock offs of Revitalash and Rapid Lash have silver packaging as well – presumably to get you to think they’re just as good.  I actually chose Grande Lash MD out of a long list of lash serums on Amazon.com because it looked a bit different to the others – it stood out.  I liked that it dared to be different with packaging.  I know it doesn’t affect the quality of the product… but still… I liked it.

Grande Lash MD works the same way as Rapid Lash and Revitalash.  It makes your lashes grow using a special ingredient called a “bimatoprost analog” (an analog of prostaglandin, used in glaucoma drugs and Latisse).  When the product is applied to the lashes once a day (usually at night, so that your mascara doesn’t interfere with it), after 4-8 weeks the lashes should be longer.  I tried Grande Lash MD for 3 months to see how it stood up against Revitalash and Rapid Lash.
It’s in a long tube with a thin brush inside. You use the brush to paint the product over your eyelashes at the base. The product is colourless and transparent, and it dries invisible with no residue or sticking of the lashes.

And here’s a handy table of comparisons:

A comparison table of Revitalash, Rapid Lash and Grande Lash MD www.delightandinspire.com
A comparison table of Revitalash, Rapid Lash and Grande Lash MD

As you can see from the comparison table, they all have the same active ingredient.  There’s a lot of new lash serums on the market that claim to be good but don’t have any useful active ingredients.  Call me a sourpuss, but if people put “eyelash serum” or “eyelash conditioner” on the label of a product, I expect them to have at least made an effort to put something into the product, some ingredient or other, that will actually make my lashes grow.  That’s why these three are so great.

Grande Lash MD vs Revitalash:

If you’ve got the money for Revitalash, I’d buy Revitalash for 2 reasons – 1. the results were faster.  2. The results were better.  So my lashes grew to their longest overall length with the Revitalash and the results started being visible from week 3.  After 6 weeks of using the Revitalash, my lashes were phenomenal lengths.  If it was easier to photograph eyelashes on my phone I’d definitely have comparison pictures.  When I can afford a Macro Lens I will add some better pictures of my eyelashes.

If you haven’t got the money for Revitalash, your only options for actual lash growth are Grande Lash MD or Rapid Lash.  I’ve already written a comparison review of Revitalash vs Rapid Lash.  Let’s see how Grande Lash MD and Rapid Lash compare to each other:

Grande Lash MD vs Rapid Lash.

Grande Lash MD is already winning because it’s cheapest of the two, and if money is your main concern you will actually get better value for money from the Grande Lash MD.  The results I got were not as good as with the Rapid Lash, BUT there was no irritation (for me personally) with the Grande Lash MD.  If you remember my article comparing Rapid Lash and Revitalash, I complained that the Rapid Lash left a dark line above my lashes and it also irritated my eyes.  I have had absolutely no bad reaction to the Grande Lash MD – even when I used it twice a day for a week to see what would happen (which I tried with the other two as well).  The effects I experienced with Rapid Lash won’t happen to everyone who uses it, so it’s likely that you will not have this problem with Rapid Lash, but for me, Grande Lash MD is the better option because it didn’t harm my eye area.

Where can I buy them?

I get these from Amazon because they are a LOT cheaper than paying full price.  Revitalash is also available from beauticians (their website has a search option) and Rapid Lash is available from some drugstores (Boots in the UK sells it), but Amazon is the cheapest place to get them.  Here’s the affiliated links:

Revitalash

Grande Lash MD

Rapid Lash

How did I test them?

Obviously you can’t use them on different days at the same time to test them because the results take a while to show.  I started with Rapid Lash, using it once a day (at night) coating the roots of my lashes with it for a few months.  I also tried using it twice a day for a week.  This did accelerate results quite well but also made the irritation a LOT worse leading to me using it less.  I moved onto the Revitalash and used that once a day (at night, as instructed by the packet), covering the base of my lashes, as shown on the video, which is slightly different to the application method described on the tube.  The tube says “at the base of the lashes, like eyeliner” but the video that Revitalash made shows that’s not how you use it.  I found the method shown on the video to produce good results.  I tried using Revitalash twice a day and my lashes did get longer but I also noticed that my eyes were looking more sunken.  One huge downside to Revitalash is that it reduces the amount of fat around the eye (I can’t find the scientific study that showed this but Latisse has the same effect) – so if you use too much of it, it can make you look aged while you are using it for the initial 4-6 weeks.  Once your lashes have reached their best length, you can scale back to using Revitalash one or twice a week, I found twice a week was best to maintain beautiful long lashes.  At this point, your eyes will go back to normal if you were affected by fat loss.

What about Latisse?

I really *really* want to try Latisse for a fair comparison, if the manufacturers would like to send me a sample I would be only too happy to try it out and write about it.  There are mountains of evidence from clinical trials that show that Latisse works, but it would be fantastic to see how much better (or worse) it works than these other serums.  Sadly, it’s not available in the UK because we have an NHS and so there’s no market for doctor-prescribed lash growth serums, it’s seen as an un-necessary expense.  If it becomes more normal in the UK for people on a middle income to choose a private doctor’s consultation, perhaps in the future Latisse will be available in the UK.  In the meantime, since 90% of my readers are American, perhaps you could add any experiences you have had with Latisse to the comments to help other readers?

And a warning:

One disturbing trend I’ve noticed on the internet is people are buying Bimatoprost from online pharmacies in America at generic drug prices, to try and get cheap Latisse.  Young teenagers are making videos telling people to do this.  This is highly dangerous because the concentration in generic Bimatoprost is very high (it’s specifically formulated for people with glaucoma; it’s actual mechanism is designed to reduce eye pressure) and it will cause the pressure in your eye to drop too low, causing a medical condition known as Hypotony which can lead to loss of vision.  As with many pharmaceuticals, this will not happen instantly, the effect will get worse over time but once you have damaged your vision it’s not reversible.  Please, please don’t be stupid, long lashes are NOT worth blinding yourself for!!  That is why, if you cannot afford Latisse or it isn’t available in your country, it’s better to get Revitalash, Grande Lash MD or Rapid Lash, these products are made to go on lashes and if anything goes wrong, these companies are accountable.  If you buy actual glaucoma drugs on the sly to make longer lashes and you go blind, it is your own fault.  As an analogy, using pharmacy-grade Bimatoprost to grow your lashes is like using thick house bleach to dye your hair.  Would you dye your hair with the bleach you clean your toilet with???  Of course not, the concentration is far too high! Save yourself the horror and buy a real lash serum.

I will remind readers that I use Amazon Associates because Amazon offers best value.  This does not affect the price you pay, but if you want to pay more for your products, I have also offered alternative places to buy them.

DIY Eyelash Extensions Experiment

So this isn’t my first rodeo when it comes to lash extensions. I’ve never got them done at a salon, but when I was working as a professional entertainer, I regularly gave myself lashes using the Eylure Individual Lashes (Ardell Individual Lashes have only recently made it to the UK). The past few years I haven’t bothered, for the simple reason that when I see people in real life wearing these lashes and they’re just so damn obvious! You can always see the glue and the knots at the top of the packaging and it’s put me off wearing them.
But I used to find them great for when I was doing stage shows because from a distance, they just look like fake lashes.
After last week’s disaster with the actual lash extensions (like, proper ones), I decided to put those to one side and get a pack of these Eylure individual lashes. Thing was, I work as a supply (substitute) teacher, I haven’t really had any work before Easter but I could be called at any moment and have half an hour to drive to a school and fill in for an absent teacher. Half an hour is pretty standard, often it’s “as soon as you can, class has already started and the headteacher’s covering.”
As a teacher, nobody, not adults or children, is going to take you seriously when you have these Individual Lashes on – they really are just too obvious and people have this idea that teachers are supposed to be a certain way.
Add to that, I’ve just bought a new lash growth serum to review (6-8 weeks, people, I’m not one of those irritating bloggers who writes a review after using a product twice) and so I don’t really want lash extensions that can last up to 4 weeks (in my experience they go patchy after 2) to mess up the results.
So I thought I’d buy some latex free strip lash adhesive from Revlon (the black one) and see whether I could use the individual lashes to make a temporary eyelash extension, like the sort that lasts a day, so that when I’m doing cosplay tutorials, I never get caught out without being able to use lashes.
Why don’t I just use strip lashes? I have a latex allergy. While there’s a couple of companies make latex free glues these days, that’s not what’s supplied with the lashes … and it’s certainly not what’s being used to attach the lashes to their packaging. Latex free glues are recommended for people with “a sensitivity to latex” rather than allergy because nobody can guarantee that the lashes themselves are not latex free at the place where they touch the eyelid.
I trusted that nobody would make latex free glue if the lashes contained latex, and used to use strip lashes. Then, not too long ago, I had a horrific experience with fake lashes (and I was using latex free glue) and I carry an epi-pen for my allergies so there’s no way I can use strip lashes until someone makes a set specifically in a latex-free environment.
Since the individual lashes are not designed to be used with latex glue and they are not manufactured in the same way, they are safe for me to use. I’ve used them time and again and I’ve never had a reaction to the Eylure individual lashes (they’re really more like clumpy lashes) or the glue.
So here is the video of my experiment trying to find out whether Eylure Individual Lashes could be used for a 1-day look:

At the end of the day I removed all the lashes, they are all in good condition (despite having moved when I was in the shower), they were all still on my face, and I have 6 little clumps of “individual lashes” ready to use again next time.
Have you tried the Eylure Individual Lashes or anything similar? Have you ever had proper lash extensions? Let me know in the comments!

2016 Best Beauty Trends From The Catwalk: Reviewed

The spring and summer make up trends for 2016 are a mixed bag – I am in the middle of editing a video for my Youtube channel where I found the 4 worst looks and tried them out on camera.  Today, however, I wanted to do a quick review of the best 6 trends in beauty and make-up that are worth knowing about:

1. Long eyelashes. While the no-make-up-make-up is still pretty big, long lashes are definitely the next big thing in beauty. Whether they’re on-set or out getting papped, celebs seem to all have either lash extensions or lash growth serums, giving them long, luscious lashes. This trend is one of my favourites because it’s so easy to recreate at home, you literally just need to buy a good lash growth serum such as Revitalash and in 4-6 weeks you can have those telescopic lashes when you put your mascara on. I love how feminine it is, and it really makes the eyes look more romantic, softening your features. If you have a longer face like me, long eyelashes really help to break up the face without having to have a brow drawn in with a sharpie, and whether I’m feeling masculine or feminine, I think long lashes ALWAYS look good regardless of gender.

make up trends 2016 long eyelashes catwalk fashion

2. Natural eyebrows (or, less HD brows): FINALLY!!! The HD brow seems to be waning in popularity and I suspect that, like silver hair, it’s going to die a death this year, having become the domain of scruffy people everywhere. The death of the HD brow is to be celebrated, opening the door to feminine, shapely brows (but not over plucked). I am particularly excited that brow colours are tending towards natural shades again – last year it seemed like, no matter what your hair colour, everyone wore black eyebrows! That was not a good look and I didn’t like it. Eyebrows seem to be getting further apart as well, with the almost-touching-each-other nearly-a-monobrow look of the HD brow being another feature that anyone trendy is going to leave back in the grody dark ages of 2015. On catwalks, one surprising brow trend I noticed a couple of times was the curved brow, that rounded look that hasn’t been seen in several decades. It did look good on the models I saw, but check it suits your face shape by drawing it in with an eye pencil before you commit to getting your brows reshaped. Personally I’m thinking of going for a Marilyn Monroe brow this year after experimenting with it in one of my videos last year.

Natural, non-HD brows were a theme across every fashion show for Spring and Summer 2016.
Natural, non-HD brows were a theme across every fashion show for Spring and Summer 2016 and I’ve been seeing them more and more on celebrities as well, showing we’re finally at the end of those Neanderthal-esque HD brows!  Picture: Vogue.

3. Long flat straight noses: Yes this IS a makeup trend. Before you go calling up the plastic surgeon, go to your local makeup counter and ask them to show you how to shape your nose using highlighter and contour powder. You may be surprised at the results. The downside is that if you have a crooked nose like I do, you can’t switch between a straight or curved nose by using make-up, but I have found a video on Youtube (not one of mine) where this lady shows you how to allegedly straighten your nose using nose exercises. I’ve tried them out for a couple of days and I’ll let you know how they turn out.  I didn’t really have a picture for this but they’re everywhere:

make up trends 2016 straight noses catwalk fashion
See how in profile her nose is curved but straight-on it’s flat? That’s make-up.

4. Freckles: Yup, they’re in again. My suggestion with this one is only go for freckles if you’ve got very clear skin, otherwise (like last time this trend came around) you’ll be walking round looking like you’ve got terrible acne. Any 3D spots on your forehead, chin or cheeks, and faux-freckles are a total no-no.

make up trends 2016 freckles catwalk fashion

5. Color-pop lips: If there’s not a lot going on in the eyeshadow department, the lips are the big deal this year. Celine had off-red lips on the runway and Miu Miu had two-tone blue and berry lips (see picture). The theme here seems to be to go for “natural” (or “nude”) eyes and unnatural, experimental lipcolours, which is the complete opposite of the predominant nude-lip trend we’ve been seeing for the past few years. In particular, red lipstick is getting much bigger this year.  Blending 2-3 colours (like you usually would for eyeshadow) to create shape and perfection, seems to be on the verge of becoming a trend, but I think we will be waiting until Autumn/Winter for it to really take off because it’s still on the horizon at the moment.

make up trends 2016 lips color pop blueberry catwalk fashion
Excerpt from Cosmopolitan Magazine website about blueberry color-pop lips for Spring/Summer 2016.

6. Coloured Contact Lenses: OMG I’m so excited that these have started making their way onto the runway, although no-one seems to have noticed them yet. I spotted them on this MAC girl styled by Lucia Pieroni. Brown contacts definitely suit a lot more people than the garish and unnatural blue and green ones that are also available. I can’t wait for contact lens companies to respond to the increasing popularity by designing more realistic contact lenses. Perhaps it won’t be too long before coloured contact lenses become as acceptable as hair extensions and wigs.

make up trends 2016 colored contact lenses review catwalk fashion
Look at her eyes. It’s not remarked upon in the text that ran next to it in Cosmo, but she’s clearly wearing brown contacts and I suspect it’s going to be a trend in Autumn/Winter 2016 if it catches on.

So those are the top 6 make-up trends of Spring/Summer 2016, what do you think?  Have you tried any of these yet?  Would you experiment with coloured contacts?