Keys, wallet, phone and mask. Masks are now an everyday accessory, as practical as a handbag and as important as a pair of shoes. And while they offer major perks, such as protecting you from COVID-19 particles, many makeup enthusiasts - myself included - can't help but decry the loss of lipstick and smudging of an expertly contoured nose.
However, masks do give beauty buffs the opportunity to embrace the windows to their setting-sprayed soul. With our eyes on full display, now has never been a better time to experiment with creative looks, from winged liner à la Amy Winehouse to doe-eyed drama in the vein of Twiggy. From the lids to the lashes to the all-important brows, there's still plenty of canvas to paint.
In a belated celebration of National Lash Day (yes, there really is a day for everything), Newshub spoke with eyelash expert Hannah Pickering. As the national trainer at Off & On, one of New Zealand's leading hair removal salons, Pickering has provided her top tips on how to hero the humble lash - so you'll be serving some serious looks in no time. Just try not to bat anyone away with those things.
"With mask-use being a part of daily life, our brows and lashes are the visible beauty heroes at the moment. We're seeing our clients investing more in treatments around the eye area, such as lash lifts and colours, to add definition to the face," Pickering says.
So what's on-trend in the world of lashes?
With HBO's hugely popular Euphoria capturing the imagination of a generation with its fantastical fashion and outlandish outfits, Pickering says eye makeup is very much veering towards the trends set by TV's tastemakers. Instead of balancing dramatic eyeshadow with large, fluttery false lashes as seen in YouTube tutorials, Pickering says simple, more understated eyelashes are now on-trend - letting the statement lid do the talking.
"With graphic liners and eye embellishments on-trend at the moment (think Euphoria), trendsetters are opting for more paired-back lash looks," she says.
So if you want to attempt Maddy-inspired eye makeup for your next night out, Pickering suggests swapping coatings of coal black mascara for a more natural-looking brown, or half-strip lashes instead of a full set of falsies to create a more lifted eye.
How can I get the most out of my eyelashes?
Firstly, the humble mascara is a must-have in anyone's makeup bag. Mascara enhances the eyes by darkening and defining the lashes, with different formulas providing either longer length or additional thickness and volume.
"My go-to mascara at the moment is MAC In Extreme Dimension - this has a great silicone wand that allows maximum lift and volume without clumping them together," Pickering suggests.
"RevitaLash Double-Ended Volume Set Primer and Mascara is also a makeup bag staple. The blue primer adds length and fullness to your lashes while enhancing the depth of the top coat of mascara. The formula also contains biotin and peptides, so the mascara also conditions and strengthens your lashes while making them look fabulous."
While the eyes are the focal point of the face, in-salon services are also a great way to make the most of your lashes - and a LVL lash lift and colour is the must-have treatment of the moment, says Pickering.
LVL lash lifts are a long-lasting, low maintenance and natural-looking treatment to enhance the eyelashes. The process involves straightening and lifting the natural lashes at the root, before tinting the hairs to give the appearance of longer, fuller lashes.
"LVL stands for length, volume and lift and it delivers on all three points. This is a great alternative to false lashes or lash extensions. Results last between six to eight weeks, and after trying a lash lift, a lot of clients never use lash extensions again," Pickering says.
Serums can also be a great option for those of us who have done damage to our poor little lashes. Eyelashes are very easily ruined - sleeping with mascara on is a primary cause of damage, making the already stiffened and brittle lashes incredibly prone to breakage when you toss and turn during the night. Consistently rubbing your eyes or wearing eyelash extensions are also causes for concern.
"If you've done damage to your lashes recently, I'd strongly recommend looking into a lash serum, like RevitaLash Advanced Eyelash Conditioner," Pickering says.
But let's be clear: while serums can help to hydrate and strengthen your lashes, they can't technically make them grow. That said, a good serum will help to reduce the amount of breakage and shedding, speeding up the natural process.
"Not only do they make your lashes look divine, they can also help to repair and restore your lashes," she adds.
If RevitaLash is a bit above your budget, LiLash Eyelash Conditioning Serum, fLash Amplifying Eyelash Serum and LashFood Natural Eyelash Enhancer are other acclaimed alternatives. In extreme cases, you can also opt for the American, FDA-approved prescription treatment Latisse, a topical solution for improving the length, thickness and darkness of eyelashes - which requires a doctor's consultation.
However, as part of a healthy diet, supplements and more natural alternatives can also help to lengthen the lashes, Pickering says. Collagen can help to strengthen and fortify the hairs, while castor oil moisturises the eyelashes and can lead to healthier growth.
So pair that fab outfit with a face mask and some fluttery lashes and be on your way!