Justine Tyerman is a New Zealand journalist, travel writer and sub-editor. Married for 36 years, she lives in rural surroundings near Gisborne on the East Coast of New Zealand with her husband Chris.
The things I do as a journo, putting my body on the line, testing new products to make sure they are safe for our readers, facing pain and discomfort with courage and fortitude, suffering extreme anxiety about whether things might go horribly wrong, leaving me maimed for life.
It’s fair to say I have always had a fascination with cosmetics and beauty products. I have accumulated a drawer full of stuff I have tried and discarded in disgust — but I soldier on, looking for a miracle.
My latest fetish – a desire to sweep the floor with my eyelashes – started innocently enough with an invitation to my niece’s wedding. Some months later, said niece and I were discussing dresses, hair styles, make-up etc. as one does before a wedding, when she mentioned she had found an exciting new beauty product, casually batting her long, lush lashes at me.
I guffawed and made a grab at her false eyelashes but they appeared to be fully attached, sprouting lustily from the hair follicles on the end of her eyelids. My niece is a highly-qualified medical specialist who is not given to quackery, so I immediately sat up with a jolt, spilt my bubbly and began to pay an extraordinary amount of attention.
The product was so successful she had to have her eyelashes thinned and trimmed before the wedding. They were so long and heavy she was having trouble blinking and seeing. I suggested she could start a new wedding trend and have her lashes braided and beaded or made into dreads, but she opted for a more conservative approach. That’s all a wee bit of an exaggeration but they were noticeably much longer and thicker. Gorgeous in fact.
After the wedding, at which niece’s eyelashes were a great hit, I was chatting to Dr Anuya Deshpande, medical director at Skin Deep Aesthetics in Gisborne, New Zealand, about the merits of eyelash enhancers.
"We stock RevitaLash products and have seen some great results in our patients who use this range," said Dr Deshpande. "It works by conditioning the roots of eyelashes and eyebrows, which produces thicker longer hairs.
"Results vary between patients, but we generally see good results within six weeks. And it removes the need for false lashes which can end up damaging the follicles of the hairs that you do have."
Needless to say, I left her clinic with a small box concealed in a plain brown paper bag. I didn’t want anyone to know I was off on another ridiculous fad.
If you are after a quick fix for a ball or a party or a hurried wedding, this product is not for you. It requires patience, perseverance, faith and the ability to remember to apply the stuff every night for about three to six weeks.
There was a point at which I was ready to chuck it in the drawer with all my other failures but about the six-week stage, I noticed my lashes were touching the lenses on my sunglasses and I was having to push my reading glasses further down my nose in order to blink without obstruction.
Voilà! A miracle. However, I hasten to add the miracle liquid has not darkened my lashes as I had naively expected because I am not dark-haired. But it definitely works to lengthen and thicken the lashes — I am living proof, and so is my niece. There was minor discomfort associated with the treatment — a slight itchiness where the liquid was applied — but only in the initial stages.
Although I am quite short, I still have a wee way to go before I can sweep the floor with my lashes but I’m well on the way.
The product in question was developed in the United States by Dr Michael Brinkenhoff as a gift for his wife, Gayle, who was recovering from metastatic breast cancer treatments.
Intensive chemotherapy had left her with sparse lashes so, applying his knowledge and experience as a practising ophthalmologist for over 25 years, Dr Brinkenhoff and a team of cosmetic chemists developed a formula that gave Gayle back her lovely eyelashes. Based on this success, Dr Brinkenhoff developed RevitaLash eyelash conditioner which is now marketed worldwide.
The directions are to apply a small amount of the liquid on a wand to the base of the lashes once a day. "After three to six weeks the user will notice renewed health, strength and beauty.No matter how brittle, short, fragile, thin or sparse, RevitaLash can help you achieve fuller, beautiful, healthy looking lashes," the blurb says.
*Image is a stock photo and not of Justine Tyerman.