Physicians Formula Eye Booster Instant Lash Extension Kit — Attack of the Fibers
As women, we will usually literally try anything (mascaras, mascara-and-primer combinations, lash serums, falsies, lash extensions, and so on) in the hopes of achieving our ideal lashes, with the perfect length, curl, density, separation, and corner-to-corner volume. There’s no arguing that eye lash extensions can deliver noticeable and believable results, but they’re hardly cheap — in Manhattan, the average price for a starter set is $150, and weekly refills are needed, so that the price can quickly rise to $350 or even $400 for a month’s worth of va-va-voom lashes. As for false lashes, individual ones, placed with precision in between your own lashes, can have an enormous impact, but the process requires a great deal of time, patience, and skill (as well as manual dexterity since you’ll have to pinch each tiny lash using tweezers). So what’s a girl to do when mascara alone isn’t cutting it and the alternatives seem needlessly expensive or agonizingly complex? Well, one alternative is to use a two-step system whereby a coat of mascara is applied to the lashes, followed by a coat of hair-like fibers that adhere to the mascara, thereby lengthening lashes and filling in any gaps along the lash line, then sealing the look with another coat of mascara. The problem: the fibers tend to be unruly, flying all over your cheeks and clothing during the application process. And while the Physicians Formula Eye Booster Instant Lash Extension Kit ($14.95 at mass retailers like Target, Walmart, CVS, and Rite Aid) is a remarkably affordable alternative to traditional two-step fiber-and-mascara systems, it’s every bit as messy.
Now, here’s the Catch-22: the Physicians Formula Eye Booster Lash Extension Kit does, in fact, help you achieve long, luscious, dramatic lashes, but the clean-up required afterwards is intense. The fibers are small and fuzzy, so they tend to scatter in a more egregious manner, settling underneath your eyes, landing on your nose and cheeks, and leaving a coat of black specks all over the bathroom counter, vanity table, or dresser. Theoretically, you can sweep the fibers off your face using an ordinary powder brush but, in practice, it’s not always that easy. As for countertops and table surfaces, those will need a thorough wipe-down after you finish your lash-boosting process.
Another virtue of this particular product is that it’s hypoallergenic and ophtalmologist-approved. In fact, the fibers are made of cellulose, as opposed to the standard nylon material, and are infused with panthenol and natural colorants derived from artichoke leaf extract and basil flower and leaf extracts.
Here are some photos of me after applying three coats of mascara, followed by three rounds of fibers, and a final sealing coat of mascara:
As you can see, my lashes look major! But, again, I wouldn’t necessarily say the process was a breeze because of the irksome clean-up mentioned.
If you follow the instructions, as specified, you’ll know to apply a coat of mascara, followed by a coat of fibers, and another coat of mascara to seal these fibers. The process can be repeated several times, as I mentioned I did in order to get the effects shown in the above photos. In theory, if you tap the fiber brush against the side of its tube, it will help to remove any excess fibers so that there’s less to clean up afterwards. In actuality, the opening of the fibers’ tube is so small that it will hardly “catch” those fibers you tap off, and they’ll still wind up all over the countertop or tabletop. And yes, they’ll still land on your face and, on bad days, inside your eyes (they may be hypoallergenic but having any foreign substance in the eye is never pleasant!).
The design of the product itself is slightly flawed. For one, the mascara itself doesn’t do much to lengthen lashes or make them appear fuller, but it does create a nice base layer and the curved shape of the applicator allows you to easily cover the entire lash line in one single stroke. The lash extensions meanwhile, are packaged in a tube with a wand featuring a perfectly straight spoolie brush that’s far from ergonomically sound and can be tough to maneuver. Presumably, the shape of the brush is meant to help women apply lashes to the ends of their own lashes, lengthening with every coat, but it’s still a bit of a hassle. Also, the mascara brush isn’t designed to separate lashes so that, if you apply a few coats of mascara and extensions and start seeing a couple of lashes clump together, you’ll need a small comb to detach them.
Though I did see a lash transformation, for me the inconvenience of removing fuzzy specks from my face, my clothes, my hands, and everything in the vicinity outweighed the positives — especially considering that I’ve achieved similar results with just a great lash primer and mascara combination (like the Urban Decay Subversion Primer and the Urban Decay Perversion Mascara). Sure, the UD products are pricier, but they’re worth it — and there’s no messiness involved in their use.