So, peeps, that not very nice picture above is my lashes on Tuesday morning. Flat, almost horizontal, I've had very little lift in them for years and while they're long and I've lots of them, I have no curl you could mention, let alone write home about.
Straight-on and without mascara and application of curlers, you really couldn't see my lashes at all. I wasn't madly bothered about it though it did niggle slightly - but I'm not really a fan of enhancements or inserts or anything, in fact, that requires maintenance or upkeep and which might cause baldy patches. Yikes.
So I've avoided lash extensions - the scary stories put me off too - kinda looked into Myscara and basically just went on my merry mascara-loving way until Elaine Butler Doolin rang one day and offered me a Yumi Lashes treatment. Now, it's important to understand that this isn't about adding lashes or length or inserting extra volume in the form of enhancements: this, folks, is a noughties version of a perm and tint. "Except we don't call it that," laughed Elaine.
I liked the sound of the fact it would curl up my lash fringe and keep it lifted for about eight weeks, and the added tint means mascara-free days are a possibility too. In fact Yumi is quite a bit more than yer old-skool perm 'n tint: it's a fairly involved five-step process that requires you to lie back and relax for 45 minutes (oh sing hosannas and praise the lord) while a variety of unguents, relaxers, serums and lotions are applied.
A patch test is an absolute must, says Elaine, and she wouldn't allow me to have the treatment until I'd done one to her satisfaction. I passed with flying colours and found myself flat on my back under wraps having an adhesive hydrating eye patch applied below my bottom lashes to protect that area from the relaxer as well as handily also act as a treatment. A silicone mould was applied to my upper lids at the same time and it's around this the lashes are curled, and where all the action happens.
The process involves lifting the lashes and placing them into the curl, applying a serum to set them and the application of a tint - I went for blue black, but you can have other shades depending on your colouring. While this is going on, you're doing precisely ... nothing. There are some parts of the Yumi process that are a little Yucki - the curling solution smells a bit eggy - and during removal of the adhesive one of my eyes watered and stung a bit but in general it's a very non-invasive, easy to tolerate process.
And what are you left with? Slightly red eyes, yes - but that fades quickly - and most importantly, your own lash fringe but a newly-curled one that makes eyes look wider, brighter and more awake. I was DELIGHTED! Couldn't stop admiring self in mirrors, car doors, bus shelters, the shiny macs of passing strangers etc. From the side the result is quite dramatic - but it's from the front I'm the most pleased. My lashes are visible to passers by. Oh, and me.
Post-Yumi lashes from the side, with no mascara on.
Post-Yumi lashes from the front with NO MASCARA ON. No mascara. None. The tint and curl make a huge difference to my eyes, don't they?
I was actually quite content to go out of the house with lashes just like this - but decided to whack on a couple of coats of Lancome Doll Eyes (which gives a fairly light-weight result anyway) just so you could get an idea of how they'll look when slathered in black waxy goo.
In terms of aftercare and shelf-life, my lashes will last as long as the natural lifespan of an eyelash - about eight weeks or thereabouts, when I'd need to have it done again. Elaine sent me home with a Yumi Lashes Mascara, which is clear and keratin-enriched and which I'm advised to apply at night before bed to promote lash health.
I had my Yumi Lashes as a complimentary treatment at Bespoke Beauty, now located at swanky new premises right by Donnybrook Fair at 95B Morehampton Road, Donnybrook, Dublin 4, 087 770 1999; www.bespokebeauty.ie. The treatment is currently on special offer at €60 (normal price €70) with the mascara costing €15 (normal price €20).