Lash combs comparison and ramble
OK. This will be the last lash product post in a while, I promise. After all, lashes are great but we have eyelids, eyelines, cheeks, lips and skin on our faces too that all need tender loving care. To close my eyelash festival, I shall end with a class of eyelash tool that I’ve been collecting and comparing since my teenage years when they were a rare and exotic species: the metal lash comb.
What the hell are these and why on the lord’s great green earth do you need them? Well, they’re called EYELASH combs so it stands to reason that they’re for combing EYELASHES. Idiot child.
Sorry, someone’s cranky today. I once had to justify why I’d spent a whole day looking for one and the argument that followed is still a stinging memory so bear with me. When I first started wearing mascara (12 years old, a congealed tube of sky blue shade from Maxxi lash that I bought in the bargain bin at Superdrug, not my finest make-up purchase) I realised quickly that careful application and combing action were needed to prevent my eyelashes sticking together into 3 big spikey eyelashes. Mascara is a wet and waxy product and overzealous application will just clump everything together so you get a tuft rather than a fringe framing your eyes.
I devoured fashion and beauty magazines from an early age, starting with Mizz, Just Seventeen and My Guy before graduating to Looks, The Clothes Show Magazine and eventually Elle, Vogue and Marie Claire Health and Beauty (sadly missed). The beauty advice in these tomes were all good but Looks and The Clothes Show Magazine were especially helpful and one of my favourite types of articles were when they probed celebrities and make-up artists on the products they actually used in the make-up bags and kits. In those days there was less celebrity sponsorship and paid endorsements than nowadays so these kind of articles were more honest and genuinely yielded interesing and unique products rather than regurgitated PR bumpf. One issue of Looks magazine had a great story where they followed a make-up artist around shopping and it was here I discovered the existence of the make-up artist supply shop in London called Screenface. Here was where my love of cosmetics went from causal recreational user to full blown connoisseur. I saw the clear stacking pots of jars, Japonesque lipstick palettes and rows and rows of make-up brushes and knew I had to belong to that world.
In the same article, the make-up artist talked about an essential item in her kit that she was stocking up on in Screenface: the never before seen metal toothed eyelash comb. It was the answer to my clumped up eyelash problems that I didn’t know existed. Genius. I had bought and tried a plastic eyelash comb (purchased for £1.25 at the Body Shop) previously but it was rubbish. The teeth weren’t sharp enough to separate or comb thoroughly and it was so flimsy that after a few uses some of the teeth had already broken. Useless.
After having heard of the elusive Screenface and metal eyelash comb, I set about to tracking it down. This was all in the days before the world wide web so I used directory inquiries to find the number of the shop, called them and wrote down extensive instructions on how to get there by Tube (Westbourne Grove station, Hammersmith and City line) and during my half term holiday set out to hunt the mecca of make-up artists.
Oh. Screenface. Oh. It was a good thing I only had pocket money in those days otherwise I don’t think I would have left any stock in the shop. I picked up a few things that I could afford and had lusted after (the clear stacking jars being one, the Japonesque palette I had to save for another day) and made sure I had enough left over for the metal eyelash comb.
What a great purchase. The sharp metal teeth of the comb glided through my freshly painted lashes like a knife through soft butter. Clumps were a thing of the past and the combing action left my lashes separated, fanned out and fluttery like never before. I still have that original lash comb and whilst I have many more and better ones in my stash, it will always have a special place. Maybe the Queen will give it a knighthood one of these days for services to the British empire?
In Korea, I currently have three metal lash combs with me. From left to right:
1. Ruby and Mille
2. Space NK
Of these, the Space NK one is the worst, and the Tweezerman one the best. The Space NK model fails on two important points. Firstly the teeth are not sharp enough. This makes it safer as really it’s not sensible to be yielding multiple needle sharp points near your eyeballs. But who gives a crap about safety? Not me. The blunter safer teeth are a fail. They don’t get through the clumps well enough for me. Secondly, the plastic guards at the top and bottom of the comb are annoying and stop me getting at the inner and outer lashes of the teeth. Fail two.
The Ruby and Millie comb seems like the winner on paper. Sharp teeth, folding design to protect the teeth and a handy folding spoolie at the other end (I use it to brush through my brows to soften brow colour). However the plastic bed which holds the teeth juts out too much and seems to get in the way when combing. Fail.
So the Tweezerman one wins out and is the king of the stash. I’d been lusting after this model for years after having seen it, uncredited, in the Kevyn Aucoin book “Art of Make-up”. The teeth are the sharpest I’ve seen, and are gold plated so it doesn’t corrode on contact with numerous different mascaras. To clean it, I give it a rinse once a week under the tap and rub it with a soft toothbrush to clear out the gunk. Win win win. It’s not too expensive (I remember it being under a fiver), folds down to a small neat size and is not too hard to find. I stockpiled and had four at one point. I hope you enjoyed my eyelash rambles and descending into my lash obsession with me. Stay tuned for lots of nonlash make-up content over the next few weeks. I think I’ll put a fortnight embargo on myself to not mention ANY eyelash products. Let’s see how I do.