MOST people come home from Bali with a sun tan, a bit of stomach trouble and a Bintang singlet.

I recently came back from Bali with bits of endangered animal glued to my face.

Well, to my eyelashes, to be exact. And in my defence, I didn’t realise I was being unethical at the time — I just thought “mink” was a trendy brand name.

Yes, for the last few weeks I have been wearing the latest beauty trend known as “eyelash extensions” — individual false eyelashes glued, hair by hair, to your own in order to make you look more like Beyonce, but in a natural way so no one really notices.

They’re like regular hair extensions, but with a higher risk of suffering blindness.

They can be made from silk, human hair or, as in my case, mink. As in actual mink hairs from an actual mink. How Cruella de Vil can you get? I might as well have gotten my nails painted black and white to match my dalmation skin coat while I was at it.

Perhaps unsurprisingly there’s not much information on how these mink lashes are made, although some manufacturers’ websites claim they are “sustainably harvested from live minks”.

I suppose this means they ask the minks very nicely if they can borrow some of their fur and then give them a gentle brushing while they relax with cups of tea in front of Oprah repeats.

In any case I no longer have to worry about the ethical provenance of the hairy bits stuck to my face because they’re no longer on my face, they’re on my bathroom floor.

After three weeks of looking like Betty Boop (which yes, I have to say I rather enjoyed, evil or not), I suddenly became acutely aware that there were dozens of tiny, sharp pieces of fur cemented to my eyelids, mainly because they had clumped together and had begun to poke me every time I blinked. And they weren’t going down without a fight.

Having eyelash extensions applied is as simple as lying down with your eyes closed. Removing them is not so easy.

I tried steaming. I tried olive oil. I tried pleading with them. Calls to local beauty salons proved fruitless as no one was prepared to put solvent on lashes they hadn’t glued on themselves.

In the end, driven mad by the constant eye-poking, I pulled them all off. It looked like a rat had shaved in the sink. Or, I guess, a mink.

I’ve never been much of a beauty queen. I’ve basically worn the same makeup since 1999 (quite literally, in some cases — I have lipsticks older than half the cast of Home & Away). Facials bother my skin. Waxing is a bore.

So I should have known I wouldn’t have the mettle to endure bits of dead animal stuck to my eyelashes for three weeks.

Just like I should have known spray tanning was not a good idea. If you’ve got the type of body that has no wobbly, floppy or foldy bits then good for you, enjoy your golden glow. If, on the other hand, you have a body like mine (that is, quite a few wobbly and foldy bits), then prepare yourself to look like you’ve got advanced vitiligo.

Here’s what I’ve learned: beauty treatments require upkeep. Care. Maintenance. The sort of attention one can only give when one’s life is dedicated to one’s looks, and not, you know, working a day job to pay a mortgage.

Hollywood trends may have gotten more accessible for plebs like me, but without the lifestyle to match, they’ll always just end up clogging the sink.


First published in The Advertiser, February 7, 2015.