Bigger, bolder, brighter: The age of fake beauty

July 19th, 2011

When did neon nails, orange suntans and pink dye-jobs became the norm?

by Alice-Azania Jarvis

Saturday, 25 June 2011

It’s Friday night in central London and Renata, aged 22, is batting her lashes at me.

Long, lustrous, comprised of thick black feathers, they’re almost certainly not the ones she was born with – but, thanks to a few layers of eyelash glue and a bit of careful application, they’ve supplanted her usual features, rendering her already-striking face that much more… distinctive? Eye catching? Other-worldly? Whatever, I can’t help staring. "I wasn’t sure whether to go with these or something more subtle," she says, shrugging her shoulders. "but I like these. They’re a bit more surprising."

Friday night is witching hour at the Shu Uemura ‘lash bar’ in Covent Garden. Open all week, it’s this particular slot that gets booked up in advance. "Customers come in to have their eyelashes applied, and can go straight out looking great," explains ‘senior artist’ Mei Rees. Treatments range from the subtle – semi-permanent eyelash extensions and barely-there overnight ‘falsies’ – to the outrageous – giant blue pairs for special occasions, diamante-encrusted lower lashes and cartoonesque curls. Tonight it’s the outr

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