I waited with bated breath after Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s engagement announcement on Monday (can you believe it was only Monday?). No, not to see Markle’s dress for the photo op. (It was by P.A.R.O.S.H.) Not to find out where the wedding will be held. (In St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.) Not even to learn, exactly, how they got engaged or met in the first place. (Over roasted chicken, and through a blind date, if you can believe both their lucky stars.) I, a beauty writer, was perversely looking forward to the first beauty product pitch pegged to Markle.
And at 9:28am EST, Tuesday, my wish was granted: “Meghan Markle’s Beauty Staple” read the subject line. The anointed product was Revitalash Advanced, a $98 lash serum that purportedly gives you “healthier-looking, more luxurious lashes.” The email continues: “A staple of Markle’s daily routine, this transformative lash conditioner makes her eyes pop and Prince Harry swoon!”
Markle does confirm in an 2014 interview with beauty bible Allure that Revitalash is, or at least was, one of her beauty staples: “I also use Revitalash on my eyelashes, and I swear they are as long as they could ever be,” she said.
Markle, and every person who spends enough time in front of the camera, knows that long, thick, voluminous eyelashes can transform you from “very pretty” to “otherworldly, unfairly beautiful.” Beyond any other body parts, they’re the defining feature of femininity—just watch a cartoon show and note the primary difference between the female and male animals: the females have long eyelashes. Dramatic eyelashes can give you that youthful, doe-eyed look that no preventative skincare routine can match.
It’s not just lash serum and mascara, either. There are prescription-only medications, silk or synthetic eyelash extensions that last weeks, and one-time falsies if you’re good with your hands. You could also, you know, be born with luscious camera-ready lashes—but not even Markle has that going for her.
I may not be a soon-to-be duchess, but I do have long eyelashes that everyone, from my corner shop barista to my workout instructor, compliments. But once upon a time, my dermatologist told me that I had “severely inadequate” lashes. I tried everything make them more “adequate”. Here’s my extremely road-tested guide to the best lash products, in honor of Markle:
Pros: This over-the-counter serum, which contains a proprietary “BioPeptin Complex,” claims to strengthen and condition your lashes over regular use—think of it as an anti-aging cream for your lashes. This is an ideal product for people—like Markle—who wear mascara frequently and want to avoid damage and breakage from makeup.
Cons: It’s expensive, and if you, like me, naturally have eyelashes so sparse that mascara does nothing for you, this won’t help you grow more eyelashes. It only strengthens the ones you already have.
Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes 5 Star Mascara
Pros: No one knows dramatic lashes like Charlotte Tilbury, who is the makeup artist to Kate Moss, Amal Clooney, and many other highly glamorous beings. This mascara claims to curl, separate, lengthen and dramatize lashes in one go—and it works without clumping.
Cons: Sorry to break your heart, but mascara will never give you dramatic effects if you don’t have ample eyelashes to start. You can’t paint a canvas that doesn’t exist.
Bobbi Brown No Smudge Mascara
Pros: Because there’s no point in perfect eyelashes if they don’t last all day—or night. It’s like a raincoat for your lashes. This mascara is meant to be worn over your everyday mascara, and will keep your lash look weather- and waterproof.
Cons: Again, if mascara doesn’t do much for you, neither will this.
Kevyn Aucoin Eyelash Curler
Pros: Using an eyelash curler is a beauty tip at almost the same category as celebrities claiming their beauty secret is drinking water—you’ve read it in a glossy magazine before, thought about it, but decided it wasn’t worth the effort. But if you’re willing to shell out for a top-grade eyelash curler that gives your lashes the exact amount of lift and curl needed to make them look longer (it’s science), you will see—and believe—the results once you add mascara.
Cons: The curler’s got to have something to curl; if you have sparse lashes, this won’t work. Furthermore, you still have to put mascara on afterwards.
Cost: $120 for one month’s supply
Pros: This is an FDA-approved treatment that will actually help you grow eyelashes. It’s like fertilizer for your lashes.
Cons: It’s expensive and is not covered by medical insurance even though it is a prescription-only medication for “inadequate eyelashes.” And while I personally did not experience any side effects when I used it for a year, it does have side effects like (temporary) darkening of the eyelid and (permanent) browning of your iris. Also, I’ll be honest—it didn’t give me princess lashes, even though I know other people whose lashes are now diva-like because of Latisse.
MAC 30 Lash
Pros: Single-use fake lashes have a reputation for, well, looking fake, but these falsies come in three different lengths per package, and are meant to be customized when arranged to fit your eyes. (Think of it as arranging a bouquet of eyelashes.) And while they won’t last forever, they’re easy to remove when you get home so that you don’t ruin your actual lashes.
Cons: You don’t have to be a pro to know how to put these lashes on, but it will take practice and a steady hand. Personally, I’ve never mastered the art of putting on false lashes because the glue gets easily clumped if you’re a beginner. Also, you have to put them on every day.
Huda Beauty Classic False Lashes
Pros: Beauty vlogger, guru, and mogul Huda Kattan knows eyelashes—and these synthetic ones will give you the dramatic look you want in two steps (if you’re good at putting them on).
Cons: Putting on these single strip false eyelashes takes a steady hand and they only last 15 uses even with careful care.
Cost: About $100+ for a full set
Pros: These are my go-tos—eyelash extensions can last up to a full month with careful care (no more rubbing your eyes). If you’re ever in New York City, I recommend my favorite eyelash technician, Anna at iLash, who is as glamorous as the eyelashes she gives you. Extensions are applied by hand with medical-grade glue and can be customized for curl shape, length, etc. You can even get bottom lash extensions. And they dress your face up automatically, no makeup needed—you can be “low-maintenance” with high-maintenance lashes.
Cons: They are an expensive habit, and once you start, it’s hard to stop. (Just ask J.Lo, Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, all the celebrities who know the power of a good selfie.) It’s also time-consuming, as you will need to set aside at least two hours every month to lie back while someone glues individual lashes to your lash line. They feel heavy on your eyes, especially if you’re not used to wearing eye products. And you have to take care of them to make them worth the money—for example, no more oil-based face cleansers, which will melt the glue.