A Push-Up Bra For Your Lashes? We Tried It

Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
My niece and nephew have eyelashes movie stars dream of. They hang like willow trees, casting a light shadow under their eyes. You could seek refuge from the rain under them. When the kids lean in for a hug, you feel that canopy of lashes brush against your cheek.

They did not inherit them from me. Instead, I'm the aunt with stumpy lashes looking on with envy as I make do with my daily regimen of one gold Shu Uemura lash curler (three pumps), followed by generous coats of whatever volumizing mascara I've been told will give me the luscious lashes I crave.

A few years ago, a salon offered me lash extensions. I jumped at the opportunity at first, but found myself chickening out on the table. Fearful I'd emerge looking like Miss Piggy, I instructed the aesthetician to go as natural as possible. After fidgeting with my eyes sewn shut for the better part of two hours, I emerged with lashes that were indeed natural-looking. They were a bit longer, but far from thick and luscious. I instantly wished I'd asked for a bit more volume.

My new lashes were so subtle that they didn't make a remarkable difference — until they started to fall out. Suddenly, my own lashes were floating away, casualties of an eye rub or close encounter with a mascara wand. They were sparser and more anemic-looking than ever, but I didn't want to pay the hundreds of dollars it would have cost for more extensions.

Since then, I've settled for my eyelash curler and mascaras that promise miracles. On the odd night out, I'll dabble with fake lashes, but I have yet to make it through an evening during which they don't land in a martini glass or get yanked off when I tire of having my peripheral vision blocked by a spidery, black scrim.

Recently, another option emerged. I was getting a manicure at Nails and Brows in London's Mayfair area when I discovered the Yumi Lash Enhacement. The lash-boosting treatment, created by Swiss derma-pigmentologist Sandra Viglino, is exclusive to the salon and Harrods.

When Nails and Brows founder Sherrille Riley described Yumi as "the perfect alternative to lash extensions, enhancing the eyes in the most powerful, natural way," I was sold. I just wasn't exactly sure what I was buying, so to speak.

I struggled to explain what I was getting done to friends during the days before my appointment. No, not a perm. Not extensions. Not false lashes. I resorted to a sort of backward wave to mimic my lashes naturally growing longer and flapping in an imaginary breeze. Then, I shrugged as my friends narrowed their eyes and tried to puzzle out what I was on about.

Here's what happened.
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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
A patch test is required 24 hours before the treatment, so I popped into the salon to have a therapist dab at my neck and declare me allergy-free. The next day, I took the tube from Shoreditch to Green Park, feeling a bit self-conscious about my completely bare face, but confident that my commute back would be a touch more glam.

I was led upstairs to meet Sylvia, who would be doing my treatment. Sylvia explained that the treatment essentially involves three major steps: a lifting serum to extend the lashes upward, a serum to hold the lifted lashes in place, and a tint to darken the lashes and make them look bolder.

The treatment started with a brief consultation with Sylvia, who revealed that the Yumi Lash Lift is particularly popular with clients who are planning their summer holidays to exotic, beachy locales where mascara doesn't stand a chance. I told her I wasn't worried about swimming pools; I just wanted lashes that might actually extend past my brow in profile shots.
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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
Once I was cleansed of every trace of eye makeup, silicone pads were applied over my eyes, separating the upper lashes from the bottom ones; the serums are only applied to the uppers. This is when I started to feel like Ralph Fiennes in The English Patient, padded and unable to see what was happening over my head. Fortunately, Sylvia was a skilled narrator, alerting me to every move as she used a special tweezer to lift and extend each lash. She then applied the lifting serum, leaving it on for roughly 12 minutes. I got a bit squirmy, but the discomfort was minimal.
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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
Once the lifting serum had done its work, she removed and replaced it with an application of a fixing serum, which is designed to hold the newly extended lashes in place. She also left this on for about 12 minutes. Next came the lash tint — Sylvia chose the darkest hue, blueish black, for me — which took about eight to nine minutes to set.
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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
Finally, she applied a nourishing treatment to condition the lashes and give them a healthy-looking sheen.
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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
It took a moment for my silicone pads to be peeled away and my eyes to be de-gunked.
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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
Sylvia handed me a small mirror to survey the results. My reflection was staring back with darker, bolder lashes that opened up my eye area remarkably. They were long, yes, but more so high, standing at attention without a trace of Great Lash to nudge them forward. I looked more awake, and I felt great.
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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
I was cautioned to avoid cleansing my eye area or wearing makeup for 24 hours. This was a bit tricky as I had a party to attend that night, but I made do with a sweep of MAC's Lady Danger on my lips. My friend declared my liner-free look "very Uma Thurman," and I must have batted those babies a ton, since I ended up getting a kiss from a new crush.
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Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
The Yumi Lash Lift, which costs £80, guarantees results for eight weeks before the color starts to fade and the lift relaxes. However, Sylvia told me many clients wait 12 weeks between appointments. It's been about three weeks since my treatment, but I've yet to notice any slump. I've also put my eyelash curler on ice, and only use mascara when I'm going out. Otherwise, my lash makeover feels sufficient to step out and face the day.

I may not have been born with this, but I woke up like this.
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Want to see a lash perm in action? Check out this video for all the details.
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