When I was in college, I received tons of compliments on my unique, Eurasian-looking appearance, despite my Asian roots. It was from then on that I became very conscious of my looks, and began wearing makeup all the time – even when I was at the gym or running a marathon.
Shortly after graduating from university, I met Steven* through our mutual friends, and it was love at first sight. He told me he was mesmerised by my eyes, and loved how stunning I always looked in photos. I jokingly told him that it was just simple makeup tricks and camera filters used to achieve my looks. In truth, I spent hours and hours in front of the mirror making sure my makeup was perfect!
Steven and I eventually became a couple, and very soon, I started spending weekend nights over at his place. I’ve always been honest with him regarding everything, but there was just one thing I was unable to come clean on: I couldn’t bear to remove all my makeup in front of him, especially my falsies.
I always waited for Steven to go to bed before I removed the foundation on my face. But I would leave my false eyelashes on for the whole night, so I could wake up with beautiful eyes.
Once, I decided to remove all my makeup and we went for supper; Steven commented that I looked very different from my usual self. Since then, I have never removed my makeup in front of him, except when I was back at my own house.
A few times, Steven asked me why I always had my false eyelashes on, even on the late nights we spent together on staycations and holidays. I gave the excuse that I did not have my special eye makeup remover, and it would cause me pain if I had to remove my false eyelashes by force. Although Steven told me once that it was all right to go makeup-free in front of him, I just couldn’t bear the thought of him leaving me if he was unable to accept my real face.
Admittedly, it was a pain to be wearing false eyelashes all the time. Plus, I had fears of the lashes being blown away by a strong gust of wind, or being washed off accidentally if I was taking a shower. There were times when my eyelids would become itchy and slightly swollen. I was unable to go swimming without goggles, due to my stubbornness in keeping my falsies on.
Steven eventually proposed to me, and we became man and wife. However, even after being married, I still did not have the courage to remove all my makeup and face him with my natural appearance. For three years, I always slept later than him and woke up earlier, just so I could touch up my makeup before he woke up.
Then, I discovered eyelash extensions. And even though these could last a month, I would always want to have them on, and refused to face anyone without them. I even refused to remove my eyelash extensions on the day my first child was born, and insisted on wearing full makeup to the hospital and delivery room!
My obsession with wearing eyelash extensions over the years has been taking a toll on my real lashes, and most of them have fallen off due to the heavy weight they sustained with long-term wear. My dermatologist even suggested that I should take a break from extensions, but I refused…
Today marks my seventh year of wearing eyelash extensions, and I still have not gone makeup-free to face my husband. Perhaps, if there’s an update in beauty technology which allows me to have long and full eyelashes naturally someday, I will consider removing them.
*Name changed to protect privacy.
This article was originally published in The Singapore Women’s Weekly August 2017.