Audrey Hepburn has always been the epitome of beauty, style and grace — and as her career and status skyrocketed through the Golden Age of Hollywood, so did something else — her magically-upturned eyelashes.
The film icon (ranked as the third greatest female screen legend ever, behind Katharine Hepburn and Bette Davis), was also a fashion icon, having put the Little Black Dress on the map as well as a hair icon having been one of the first in her generation to pave the way with a pixie cut. The Breakfast at Tiffany’s star undoubtedly had quite a few things going for her beauty-wise, and one of them was her classically beautiful features, specifically, her covet-worthy lashes that were lush and long well before eyelash extensions were a thing.
How a make-up artist created Audrey Hepburn’s famous eyelashes
The eye-opening secret to amping up her sparse lashes? The British actress’ son revealed in his 2005 book Audrey Hepburn, An Elegant Spirit (Buy from Amazon for $6.42) that she would first apply a couple of coats of black mascara. Then her makeup artist would take a safety pin to separate every lash painstakingly to create her famous doe-eyed look.
Not a small feat considering the average person boasts around 200 lashes (and also maybe not the best option from a safety standpoint), and, well, a slip of the hand using the safety pin could result in some unpleasant results.
The hidden dangers of permanent lash extensions
These days, many women are opting for permanent eyelash extensions — the eyelash extension industry raked in 1.3 billion dollars in 2020 — a figure that’s expected to double by 2028. But this is a costly and time-consuming process that involves going to a specialized lash technician who glues in each lash individually. And of course, because lashes shed over time, it requires touch-ups every couple of weeks.
Permanent lash extensions also carry with them some health risks. Actress Kristin Chenoweth recounts to Anderson Cooper what she went through after having permanent lash extensions:
So serious are some of these risks that the American Academy of Ophthalmology issued an official warning to all potential users.
The trouble with lash serums: They add length without adding lush
Something else that wasn’t around during Hepburn’s time? Lash growth serums, which exploded onto the scene in the early 2000s. Picking up a tube of lash serum at the drugstore like Wet & Wild Boost Me Up (Buy from Target, $5.49) has become about as common as buying toothpaste. Daily use can help make your natural lashes grow longer, although not necessarily thicker or fuller.
The best way to recreate Audrey Hepburn’s lush, long eyelashes safely
Luckily, another drugstore staple can make for dramatic-looking lashes in a pinch with much less time, money and commitment: Falsies! The come in three kinds: temporary glue-on strips, individual lashes or magnetic press-ons.
“They aren’t hard to apply, but there is a learning curve, so the key is to practice putting them on before you actually need to do them for a special occasion,” explains The Backstage Stylist Genn Shaughnessy, who has worked with Christina Hendricks and Judy Greer.
Shaughnessy advises opting for the temporary glue-on strips made with natural hair lashes, not ones labeled “poly fiber” or “poly silk,” as those are actually made from plastic. You also want to look for a brand that “has a band that rests on your eyelids and should be thin and flexible,” he adds, such as Ardell — makeup artists love the natural-looking #110 style (Buy from Amazon, $9.99) or KISS Lash Couture (Buy from Kiss USA, $7.99).
How do I apply a temporary glue-on strip of lashes?
Here, Janene Mascarell, editor-in-chief of the KISS’ beauty blog, Beautify.tips, offers this step-by-step tutorial for easy application of temporary glue-on strip lashes.
Step 1: Prepare your lashes. Start by gently removing the lash strip from its packaging. Hold the lashes against your natural lash line to determine the appropriate length. If needed, use cuticle scissors to trim any excess from the outer edge to ensure a perfect fit .
Step 2: Apply lash glue. Once you have the lashes ready, it’s time to apply lash glue. Squeeze a small amount of glue onto the lash band, ensuring an even distribution. Wait for a few seconds until the glue becomes tacky. This will help with easy and secure application.
Step 3: Place the lashes. Using a pair of tweezers or your fingertips, carefully place the lashes as close to your natural lash line as possible, starting from the outer corner and working inward. Press down gently along the entire lash band to ensure a seamless blend.
Step 4: Perfect the fit. Now that the false lashes are beautifully adorning your eyes, take a moment to adjust and position them to your liking. Feel free to use the tweezers to make any necessary tweaks for a flawless fit.
Once the glue and the liner have dried, finish off with a coat or two of volumizing mascara like cult fave Maybelline Great Lash(Buy from Target, $5.99), to blend your natural lashes with the false lashes seamlessly.
Then, you can complete your eye makeup with winged eyeliner just like the Funny Face actress did. Try JOAH Beauty LINE UP Felt Tip Liquid Eyeliner (Buy from Joah Beauty, $9.99), or get a 2-for-1 with a lash growth serum that also doubles as a liquid eyeliner like GrandeLINER (Buy from Ulta, $36).
And voila! A flutter as lovely as Audrey’s awaits!
Jené Luciani Sena is a veteran journalist and internationally-renowned bestselling author of The Bra Book: An Intimate Guide to Finding the Right Bra, Shapewear, Swimsuit, and More! and Get It!: A Beauty, Style, and Wellness Guide to Getting Your #It# Together. She’s also a style, bra and beauty expert regularly seen on shows like Access Hollywood and NBC’s Today.
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