Kylie Jenner is an 18-year-old reality TV star who bought herself a $2.7 million mansion and got a Ferrari for her birthday as a gift from her boyfriend. Kylie Jenner is also a teen with phenomenal eyelashes, and TBH, I am a little jealous. I am an almost-30-year-old woman with two kids who rocks a lot of yoga pants and who lives in the ‘burbs with the guy she’s been dating since high school. I figured it was pretty safe to assume that Kylie and I have absolutely nothing in common, but then I learned one very important thing: Kylie Jenner loves CVS. In fact, it’s where she buys all of her fake lashes. Now I might not have an extensive lash collection, but if I did, it would come from the drugstore. The drugstore has pretty much everything you could possibly need, along with a million things you absolutely do not need (moisturizing socks, anyone?), and is totally my happy place. Kylie might take flawless selfies she shares with her 40 million Instagram followers, but she also knows that hoarding cheap drugstore beauty products is the best thing ever (I feel you, girl!).
After I gave birth to my twins a few years ago, my beauty routine became extremely low-maintenance. And by that, I mean pretty much non-existent. As a stay-at-home mom, I no longer have a job where I am expected to look put-together and professional — some days, we don’t even bother changing out of our pajamas. And when we do go out, just getting everyone into the car feels like such a production that the idea of taking time to do my hair and makeup seems completely unnecessary. I’m pretty no frills these days. Whatever.
Sometimes I wonder though, if I’m selling myself short by not caring as much about my appearance now that I have kids. Taking time for myself is a big challenge now — I barely even have the chance to shower regularly — so I consider it a win as long as my clothes are clean and my hair is brushed. But when I do have a chance to get dolled up, I realize how nice it is to look in the mirror and not think, ugh. I wondered how many other moms also feel that way once they have kids — like making themselves feel pretty has stopped being a priority. I may not have the opportunity to have my hair and makeup professionally done on the regular like Kylie and the rest of her famous fam, but fake drugstore lashes? I can totally do that.
Since it was way past time to add a little glamour back into my daily routine, I went to my local drugstore and started my own collection of fake lashes that I would then wear everyday for a week. I wasn’t sure how I would feel wearing “819 Flirty” lashes to the grocery store, or “805 Natural” to the kids’ morning playgroup, but in the name of Kardashian-inspired beauty, I wanted to find out.
As If I Needed Another Excuse To Buy Things At The Drugstore
Full disclosure: after my husband and I recently sat down to review our household budget, we each tried to identify ways we could cut back our unnecessary spending. “Shoppers Drug Mart,” Matt said, almost immediately. “You need to stop shopping at Shoppers Drug Mart.”
He was not wrong. Shoppers Drug Mart (Canada’s CVS) is the place I regularly go to for one, solitary useful thing (say, toilet paper or to have a prescription filled), and come out with $80 worth of random crap. But it’s just so easy to do — where else can you buy lipstick, diapers, a First Aid kit, pretzels, and get a flu shot all at once at 11:30 p.m.? While I wasn’t sure how I felt about spending a week getting glam for preschool drop-off, I was most definitely excited about having an excuse to buy a week’s worth of drugstore beauty products “for work”.
I picked up a variety of lash options, ranging from tame to RuPaul would be proud, and then went back home to study up on lash application techniques. (Seriously, how did we function before YouTube?)
Totally doable, right?
The next morning, my husband left for work early, I woke up late, and I somehow had to feed and dress myself and my two rambunctious toddlers who refused to sit still, and who kept telling me they didn’t want to go to school even though they totally love school. I thought briefly about my intention to wear my first set of lashes to drop off the kids, but there was no way I could do that and get us ready and there on time. So I threw on yesterday’s jeans and one of Matt’s hoodies, put my hair in a ponytail and booted it, bare-faced. Kylie Jenner would have been horrified.
When I got home, I started to wonder how realistic it was to think that I could add any primping time into my already-jam-packed, can-hardly-get-out-the-door-on-time-as-it-is schedule. This was the reason, after all, that I wasn’t bothering in the first place. But I still had the rest of the week to redeem myself, so I left my lashes on the table and vowed to come back to them tomorrow.
My “I’m Not Just A Mom” Lashes
I may have failed on day one, but I was determined to redeem myself on day two. I’d signed up to help with a training program at the crisis helpline I volunteer for, and since I’d be completely kid-less for the bulk of the day, I’d have the perfect opportunity to get a little more glam than usual.
I applied the lashes first, and quickly realized that I’d need almost a full face of makeup to make those things look natural. So while my husband was downstairs with the kids, I got out my extremely underused makeup bag and did all the stuff I don’t normally have time for — concealer, eyeliner, blush, bronzer. And since I’d done my makeup, I tried a little harder with my outfit too, swapping leggings for skinny jeans and the shirt my son wiped his nose on that morning for, well, anything else.
When I went downstairs, Matt looked surprised. “You look nice!” he said. I hadn’t even done anything fancy, but I realized that in comparison to how I usually look, it probably seemed like a big difference. I thought about how I often felt when Matt would leave for work in the morning, looking handsome and professional and smelling delicious, only to come home and change into comfy clothes and a baseball hat that I totally hate five minutes after he’d walk through the door at night. It seemed so strange that we’d be saving these parts of ourselves for other people during a time in our marriage when we hardly ever got to spend real, quality alone time together.
Matt and I both knew that having kids would probably change the nature of our relationship, at least for a little while, and we’d already been together for almost a decade by the time our kids were born, so we were well past the honeymoon stage anyway. But what neither of us was prepared for was how little opportunity we’d have to spend time actually liking each other. We love each other, sure, and we are pretty good at figuring out how to deal with all of the constant stuff that comes and goes in our life together. But before our kids came along, we used to spend time just enjoying each other’s company, laughing a lot, hanging out together. We used to focus more of our energy on the friendship side of our relationship, not just the marriage side, and that included going on dates and looking cute for each other. Reintroducing that aspect of our couplehood would probably take a lot of effort (on our last kid-free night, we scrapped our dinner-and-a-movie plans to watch some Netflix and go to bed at 9:30), but realizing then how fun it was when Matt used to think I looked adorable was something I wanted to try and get back.
Fake Lashes Will Make Your Toddlers Touch Your Face A Lot
I wanted to give the school drop off another shot, so I got up a little earlier and got myself together. I didn’t put in the same level of effort as I’d done for the training session (it was 7:30 a.m. after all, and my brain tends to not wake up until at least a few hours later), but I gave it a shot. This time, even with the lashes and makeup, I still looked exhausted, but hey, I am exhausted! Looking well-rested at this point would require the help of a professional. Or, you know, getting actual rest.
As we were getting ready to leave, I noticed that my kids were spending more time looking at me. And touching me. They wanted to stop and kiss me, they wanted to squeeze my cheeks the way I squeeze theirs, and my son particularly liked to poke his fingers in my eyes and say, “eyes!” I decided to take that as a toddler way of saying that they thought my face looked nice (because taking it any other way would be kind of depressing), and it made me think a lot about what they might end up thinking about my looks, if they thought anything about it at all. I remember getting frustrated as a young child when my mom always insisted on doing her hair and makeup when we were waiting to go somewhere fun, and was always reapplying her lipstick. Maybe, subconsciously, I’d gone in the opposite direction when I became a mother myself?
On Wednesdays, We Wear Pink
Now that the weather is getting colder, I’ve been desperately searching for things to do indoors with the kids in the morning that help burn off their crazy toddler energy. I’d heard from a friend about a local trampoline club that offers drop-in jump times for toddlers in the morning, and thought, what better way to sufficiently tire out my kids for nap time than letting them jump up and down for an hour and a half? At this point, I’d become much quicker at applying my makeup-and-lashes routine, so that meant we were only a little bit late for our jumping adventure compared to most of the time, when we’re a lot late for basically everything.
We’d never been before, but I learned pretty quickly that it was a pretty popular spot for moms. Specifically, for kids who wear Baby Gap from head to toe instead of hand-me-downs, and their mothers, women who seem to somehow keep their highlights and manicures touched up at all times. And they all seemed to know each other.
My fake lashes and I sat down to watch the twins jumping with all the other kids, and I definitely felt like an outsider. Even though I know that it means absolutely nothing, seeing those moms made me wonder why it is that I didn’t always look so perfectly polished. Why didn’t I have organic treats in my diaper bag for my kids? How is it that these women seem to easily manage two older kids plus an infant in a sling, and I can barely wrangle the two children I’ve had for almost three years now? I will admit though, it helped my self-esteem crisis a little bit knowing that at least I’d put some effort into my looks that day. I kind of hate that it helped (because why should I care what another group of moms may or may not be potentially thinking about me?), but it did. I’d always felt pretty certain that it didn’t at all bother me that I’ve become so relaxed with my look these days, but I started to wonder if that was really true. Maybe I cared more than I think I did?
What Would Kylie Do?
Going into this experiment, the one thing I expected was that I would probably feel like a weirdo wearing fake lashes every day. Don’t get me wrong, I think fake lashes are fantastic, and I’ve worn them plenty of times in the past for weddings or other fancy things, but I definitely didn’t think I was the type to pull them off for everyday wear, especially now that I have kids. But I was surprised to find that I actually liked wearing them, and it turned out that they were the push I needed to take the time to actually do my makeup on a regular basis, even if the most exciting thing we’d be doing that day is going to to grocery store.
I still feel strongly that women should do whatever they want to with their appearance. If you like going out in full makeup, Kardashian-style, then go for it. If you’d prefer to go bare-faced, that’s fine too. Want to dye your hair blue, or quit shaving your legs or wear a crop top or whatever else you feel like doing? More power to you. I’d assumed that not bothering much the with way I looked was what I wanted to do, but I didn’t anticipate that I’d feel good looking a bit more like my old self. And as much as I was concerned about my kids disliking it the same way I did with my mother, maybe they’d actually enjoy it if mom felt pretty and more confident (it has to come across, even if you never say anything about it, right?).
I’m not entirely convinced that I’ll continue wearing drugstore lashes everyday, but I do think that I’ll take a few extra minutes each morning to at least put on some mascara and concealer, and maybe I’ll put some more effort into styling my hair instead of just throwing it up into a ponytail. I definitely don’t think I’ll be transformed into a Kylie Jenner-esque selfie expert anytime soon, but then again, I think I am perfectly OK with that.