I wore fake eyelashes for a week: here’s what I learned

Maura Kelly, Opinion Columnist

I consider myself lucky to be alive in a time where women are reclaiming their body hair and fighting against the narrative of body hair being considered “unhygienic.” From a young age, women are expected to be groomed and baby smooth, which is an unrealistic expectation. There are always new beauty fads sweeping the nation, often originating from the fact that society loves to scrutinize and police the way women portray themselves. I’ve taken it upon myself to try one of these instruments that uphold the patriarchy. My conquest: wearing faux lashes for an entire week.

Photo contributed by Maura Kelly.

The beauty industry wastes no time in creating a high standard for the alluring assets of women. Whether consciously or not, I’m sure we’ve all fallen prey to the cruelest trap the patriarchy creates – that you are defined by your looks. There is no shortage of new products or hacks to “fix” all the things that are wrong with you. Whiteheads? Try this $70 cream from Sephora; it’s guaranteed to eradicate all your flaws. Puny eyelashes? Good news for you, there is an extensive market for faux lashes. 

Monday: It would be a stretch to say that these lashes ruined my morning, and I’m not one with a flair for the dramatic, so I’ll tell it how it is: they definitely contributed to the chaos of my morning and almost made me late for Chorale. 

The glue package was advising me to “get it as close to the edge as possible,” and good lord I was trying. Reading the instructions over and over again just made me feel seemingly incompetent when it comes to applying faux lashes. I was close to admitting defeat but, at the last second, I reminded myself that no one cares about my appearance other than me.

I slapped those suckers to my lids, splashed a healthy amount of eyeshadow over the dark glue to try and conceal the clumps, and ran out of Anderson Hall to see Dr. Kemper just in the nick of time. 

I felt pretty self-conscious moseying about all day with these caterpillars attached to my eyelids, and I felt the need to continually point out to people that it wasn’t due to the fact that I thought fake lashes were the best invention since sliced bread; I was conducting an experiment on typical beauty standards defined by the male gaze. 

Tuesday: Tuesday morning dawned bright and late. Yup, I was running late once again. Sorry, that’s just how I roll. I didn’t have 30 extra minutes to apply the lashes, and I had to forego all faux extravagance. I didn’t even brush my teeth to be honest.

Wednesday: You know how they say practice makes perfect? I’m not really sure if I buy that. I was, unfortunately, no better today at applying false lashes than I was on Monday. 

However, I did opt to search for a tutorial on YouTube. A very kind woman named Nicole made it look like the easiest thing in the world, which crushed my ego a little bit. The comments were more validating. One woman wrote, “It looks so easy, I’ve tried this for the past hour and I’m having a mental breakdown rn.” Another commented, “If this is for beginners… how did I end up burning my house down?”

All was tromping along with solid mediocrity until about 4 p.m. when I ventured into the J-caf bathroom and discovered that one of them was falling off my face, and I looked like I’d just outrun the cops. I opted to take them off and try again the next day. 

Thursday: I felt like I needed to go for something a little more subtle, so I nabbed some of my friend’s fake eyelashes to expand my eyelash repertoire. I didn’t feel blinded or weighed down the whole day, and I was able to sit with my head straight in class instead of tipping my head back slightly, so it was an overall win. By the end of the day, the massive amount of glue I had caked on was catching up to me, and it was making it increasingly difficult to close my eyes to take an afternoon nap; I ended up shedding them. 

Friday: I opted for my friend’s lashes once again and applied them in under 15 minutes … so I’m basically a pro. They were discreet and nice, but I felt I had to up them for my evening antics. I sat down in front of my makeup mirror and got to work. My MO: look as much like a Victoria’s Secret Angel as possible. Oh boy, did I succeed. Truthfully I hated them. They were over the top, and I thought I looked gaudy and trashy. I think this is mostly due to the fact that these are so far from my everyday look, so I felt uncomfortable and uneasy walking around. 

After all these trials and tribulations, I’ve come to the strong conclusion that you should do whatever the hell you want with your body. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for the things that you choose to do with your body or body hair. There will always be unattainable standards; that’s just the world we live in. You are more than the stretch marks on your legs or the length of your lashes. The way you look is the least interesting thing about you.