Dear Daniela: Will A Lash Primer Give Me Longer, Fuller Lashes?

photographed by Ana Larruy
Dear Daniela,
I’m starting to see lash primers crop up in a few Instagram posts again. Honestly, they give me '90s Tippex-white flashbacks, but should I give them a try?
Nicola, 27
The '90s gave us a lot of very important beauty moments: brown lipliner, skinny brows (which are poised for a comeback, if you ask Rihanna), the 'Rachel', rusty-tone blush and, of course, everything Kevyn Aucoin ever did. But I’m with you here – some trends deserve to go the way of glittery butterfly hair clips, and stay there.
Lash primers are indeed having a renaissance, and I do think they warrant a place in your makeup bag if you feel your lashes are somewhat lacking, or if you really struggle to keep mascara on all day. They can work in a few different ways; at their simplest, they provide a slightly tackier surface on which you apply your mascara, which helps with adhesion. You know how much better it feels to apply lipstick on a freshly balmed pout? Well, this is similar. It will smooth on better and slightly more evenly, and hopefully dry down with a bit more staying power – like regular face primer.
Then, there’s sometimes the promise of 'lash-boosting' technology – amino protein complexes or vitamin E are popular additions. While these things can totally make your lashes feel a bit softer (unlike mascara, where even the most natural-looking is going to add some crunch), the concentrations of these ingredients are usually too small to have a noticeable impact. If you want to condition your lashes, you’re better off trying something like RapidLash, £31.47, before bed.
The other benefit is that because a lot of lash primers are white, they 'highlight' your lashes nicely. Essentially, when your lashes are dark and you apply another dark-coloured product on top (mascara), you can quite easily miss bits. Sure, it’s only millimetres, but every tiny, tiny bit counts when it comes to lashes. Coating them in something white first will help 'pick up' the full length of every lash, so your lashes will probably look longer for it.
Then you have the kind of lash primers that really don’t come to play: the nylon fibre ones. When you apply these to your lashes, they sort of coat your lashes with extra bulk and length, kind of like the most temporary lash extensions ever. When you apply the matching mascara over the top (you usually get them as a duo, like L'Oréal Paris Superstar Mascara, £11.99, though not always), it makes for some pretty serious volume. These are especially good if you didn’t luck out gene-wise in the lash department, and they’re much kinder to your lashes than real extensions.
Personally, I think the best ones are Urban Decay Subversion, £17, or Smashbox Photo Finish Lash Primer, £17.50, if you simply want one to maximise wear and length. If you want a serious false lash effect, it has to be the aptly named Too Faced Better Than False Lashes, £28, which has the separate brush-on fibres and then mascara. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to remove, so stock up on Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Water, £10.80, and don’t rush. I’d say it’s more of a special occasion thing, but you do you.
Good luck!
Got a question for our resident beauty columnist Daniela Morosini? No problem, qualm or dilemma is too big, small or niche. Email, including your name and age for a chance to have your question answered. All letters to ‘Dear Daniela’ become the property of Refinery29 and will be edited for length, clarity, and grammatical correctness.

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