Everything But The Curl

Eyelash Curlers

Take away Lucy McCarry’s lipstick, powder and paint – but her beloved lash curlers will have to be prised from her cold, dead hands.


My big sister, Winnie, was always my beauty guru. From the dregs of dried-out Miners mascara she passed me down (‘wands’, and truly magic), to her daring use of geometric blusher and her perma-cloud of Rive Gauche, she was the epitome of post-punk glamour. So when she returned to rainy Glasgow, 19, tanned and exotic in pink pixie boots from a summer job in Switzerland, and presented 15-year-old me with a bag of foreign treats, I was thrilled.


But I found myself fixing a smile when amongst the super-cool lilac ‘baggies’ and lurex ankle socks I unearthed an object that looked like something a doctor would use to remove your tonsils. This, dear reader, turned out to be a pair of eyelash curlers, and so began a lifelong love affair with the mysterious product that literally opened my eyes to a brave new world of  beauty.


This was 1980. The year I also fell hopelessly in love with John McEnroe, and spent the summer hols wistfully gazing at Miss Selfridge Iron Lady lippy in Lewis’s. I couldn’t afford this coveted metallic pink product, but I now had something in my beauty armour that no one else had.


How did you use them? Would they hurt? Before or after mascara*? Big sis didn’t know, and it was a week or two before I dared try them. Ping! Instantly huge eyes with indecently long, curled, dramatic lashes. All the better for showcasing my vivid purple eye shadow, and for fluttering at Derek Scott in English.


Pals were reluctant to test them out, fearful of the potential pain involved (there ain’t none), so they remained exclusive to me. I never crossed the threshold without a perfectly curled lash, and when I left my fad gadget on a nightbus to Drumchapel after an underage skinful (probably two halves of cider ‘n’ Babycham), I was bereft.


Hastily replaced before anyone spotted me with straight lashes, no future make-up bag has ever been without a pair of eyelash curlers. They’re my desert-island product (lippy I can fashion from crushed coral). Thirty-odd years after that summer, I’m still in love with McEnroe and now have a son, John, who has naturally curly lashes, but my daughter, Winnie, 4, has long straight ones, so as soon as she’s old enough not to look pageanty, I will get her going on the posh Shu Uemura/Karl Lagerfeld ones her Aunt Winnie bought me for Christmas, 2012.


*Either, preferably both




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