Bat for lashes
There are all the obvious things we worry about when we start getting older… middle-aged spread, going deaf, stiffness in the joints, the increasing amount of time it takes the brain mice to retrieve names from the cranial filing cabinets.
But now I find I’m tripped up by things I hadn’t even thought of worrying about and, as previously mentioned, the most recent pressing one has been how to make up the ageing eye.
I’ve always found eye make very easy to do – a quick sweep of a nice neutral bruise-coloured shadow in the socket, perhaps some highlighter on the brow bone, a little greige eye pencil, eyelash curlers, a few lashings of mascara and it was all done.
But as my face has started to slide down, I’ve found that my carefully chosen Chantecaille eye shadow disappears into the folds of skin, which internet research reveal is called ‘the hooded eye’.
In desperation I reached out to my friend, legendary make up artist Val Garland, who is about the same vintage as me.
‘Got any tips for making up the older eye?’ I asked her on Twitter.
‘Really good sunglasses,’ replied Val.
After I stopped laughing, that was a sobering moment. If Val doesn’t have the answer, maybe there isn’t one. But never one to give up easily, I did my researches and found that Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner along the top lid helps a lot. It gives the eye definition, peeping out from beneath the folds of ancient eyelid. I don’t leave the house without it, now.
My little trick, is to apply the eyeliner, let it dry for a few moments – and then put my normal mushroom coloured powder shadow over the top. It softens the line beautifully, so the definition is still there, but you don’t look like a tragic superannuated Amy Winehouse wannabe. But for parties and the like, I want to start gearing up my old lady make up a few notches, wearing the older girl’s secret weapon of false eye lashes, as discussed previously.
But I’ve never got the hang of how you do it. All my attempts have lead to the appearance of tarantulas making a bid for freedom from my eyelids, waving happily at onlookers.
So I rang my friend Maria McErlane and asked if she would give me a masterclass. (That’s her on the left, holding Goliath, her faithful hound. Note tiara…)
Maria, who never looks less than glamourtastic, always slip on a false lash for a party. An actress and comedienne, radio presenter and agony aunt on her friend Graham Norton’s show on BBC radio 2 every Saturday morning (it’s a must listen, as the two of them banter on letters sent in, with the ease of old friends who love each others jokes) – she really knows her slap.
Here are her expert tips:
First assemble your kit. Maria likes the Girls Aloud lashes range – as modelled by Miss Cheryl Cole at the top.
But the glue that comes with any brand of false lashes is crap. Buy the Mac one – and a false eyelash application tool.
I didn’t know these things even existed. They are like little curved plastic bulldog clip. The other thing you need is a wooden orange stick.
Trim the lashes to fit the length of your eyelids before you start, cutting the inner corner, so you don’t spoil the gradation of length as the lashes go out to the edge of the eye.
Get a magnifying mirror on a stand, so you can get in really close to see what you’re doing.
With all the gear in position and my daughter as model, Maria then put a dob of the glue on her hand in the indentation next to the thumb – where you would take snuff – and picked up one eyelash in the applicator. She then attached a thin layer of glue to it, using the orange stick.
The most important thing, she says, it to then let the glue set for a few seconds, to get nice and tacky.
Using the applicator then press it on as close the lashes as possible, then once in place, press it on firmly, starting at the inner corner. At this stage, you can still pull them down closer to the eyelash line. If you get it wrong, peel it off and re-position – the glue will stay sticky for a while.
Maria puts on all her eye maker up, including liner, before adding the lashes. Then after letting them set for a couple of minutes she adds a little more eyeliner to bed them in.
It was all very impressive. Peggy had eyelashes so long and crazy they nearly created a draught when she blinked. She had platform eyelashes.
‘How did you learn to do that?’ I asked Maria.
‘From Graham,’ she replied. ‘When he was in the stage show of La Cage Aux Folles he had to put massive false eye lashes on in the middle of a song… He taught me how to do it.’
Now that’s the kind of man pal every girl needs.
Here’s a clip. He comes on after about 3 minutes.