Thursday 21 July 2022

Not A Clockwork Orange or spider's legs effect, but not quite nothing either: Uklash Eyelash Serum review


As I have got older, I have become more and more dissatisfied with my appearance. Where to start? The lack of definition round my jawline (aka flapping jowls), the creeping grey that I try in vain to pass off as "elective silver", the nasolabial folds that look more or less gouged depending on factors I have yet to fathom, my sparse eyebrows and lashes, dry eyes, crepey, hooded eyelids, and pronounced lip lines I am surprised to have acquired as a non-smoker. On the plus side, I don't have bags under my eyes or wrinkles on my decolletage, if that is not too grand a term for it, although any budding dendrologists amongst you could have a field day determining my age by the concentric rings round my neck.

At the same time as this is all going on, I am wearing make up less and less often, in a bid to prevent recurrences of my several kinds of dermatitis, about which I should really write another post sometime, while conceding that my eyes can look a bit like a startled woodland creature without artificial enhancement. As my ex used to ask me on the rare occasions when I went barefaced: "Aren't you going to paint any eyes on?" And thus it was that one of the many Facebook ads you spot while mindlessly scrolling - and which pander to your insecurities - caught my eye...for an eyelash serum called Uklash. I was not even aware of the existence of this product category, but before I knew it I was bombarded by ads from a veritable thicket of brands, all fronted by fresh-faced users with incredibly doll-like lashes. Most impressive of all was the video showing how one woman's lashes had developed after two weeks, eight weeks, and twelve weeks of daily application. After just a fortnight her eyelashes had magically begun to sprout, while by the three month mark she was batting spectacular spider's legs at the camera.

So remarkable were the transformations I saw in the testimonials for Uklash, that after checking the serum didn't contain any known allergens I dropped nearly £40 on a tube at the end of April, and embarked on my own three month "lash growing journey", hehe. The product applicator is like a very fine paintbrush - as you get with liquid eyeliner, not that I have ever used that - and you paint it on each eyelid just behind your top lashes (only the upper set!) in one nifty sweep...that's for those with a steady hand and 20/20 vision, I might add. I sometimes took a couple of go's, but never exceeded the amount of liquid dispensed in one "pull" out of the tube. Here are the ingredients for anyone interested, though unusually for me I didn't really pay much attention to them - I was already sold on the miracle to come!

Infused with a blend of vitamins, peptides and extracts. Key ingredients like Biotin Peptide, Vitamin B5, Myristoyl Pentapeptide-17 & Green Tea Extract

GRAPHIC IMAGE ADVISORY! Truly, front facing cameras are the spawn of the devil...;)

May 1st - Day 1

Well, I have to say that my mileage did indeed vary from the woman in the video ad. It was five weeks before I noticed any change, and then only a subtle one, such that I am not sure anyone in my circle would have clocked a difference. But at that point I do believe my lashes were a tad thicker and longer (maybe). I should have measured them at the outset, though that might not have been very straightforward to do.

June 6th - five weeks in 

At the 11.5 week mark I don't see much further change, though there may have been a little, and will continue to use the tube till it dries out. There is a money back guarantee if you don't see any results, and though I am slightly tempted to invoke it, I have seen a difference, so I don't really qualify. Here is what the company promise:

Real results - up to 55% longer and 75% more voluminous looking lashes

I guess "up to" covers a multitude of sins...

June 29th - 8.5 weeks in

Here are some of the brand's "before and after" photos. Do take a look - some of the results are frankly astonishing. I am afraid I can't reproduce any in this post, as they all seem to be in a webfile format. I am reassured to see that quite a few of the women charting their progress have had considerable difficulty photographing their lashes without tilting their eyeballs up and back at a stupid angle. My attempts were even more unflattering I would say, but it was all in the interests of scientific experiment and can't be helped. ;)

July 3rd - 9 weeks in - I am well lit!

Was the £37.95 worth it? Well, kind of, because I did derive a hugely enjoyable sense of anticipation waiting for my lashes to do something, not unlike the feeling of excitement the novice gardener derives from chucking a packet of wild garden seeds over a bare flowerbed and hoping for the best. Plus there has been an improvement, and though I doubt anyone would notice who sees me without makeup, a little mascara goes a lot further now, so something has changed. 

I shan't come back when I am at the twelve week mark as this is Bonkers about Perfume, and as you know we don't do things by the book. I took a photo of myself just now, but it is the same as the earlier ones and I don't want to spam you with too many mugshots. Plus I don't think anything more is going to happen now! But remember that you may get better results if you fancied having a go. I think I saw fractionally more growth in my right eye actually, which was the one where I had a steadier hand doing the application. Well, it was fun, and hey...who wants to look like Malcolm McDowell anyway?


Friday 8 July 2022

Musings on LUSH Lord of Misrule, and a big shout out to Tiny Fragrances

Engraving by George Cruikshank via Wikimedia Commons

Sorry I have been missing in action for nearly a month...I have been surprisingly busy caring for other people's pets and gardens, the lush vegetation in one of which has inspired me to write another post entirely, but for the moment I would like to talk about the other LUSH, as in the capitalised perfume house formerly known as Gorilla Perfumes, after formerly being known as LUSH.

Last weekend I had a roadying job up in Sheffield with The Monochrome Set, which I do from time to time when the gig is a little too far out of town to be conveniently reached on foot or public transport - and you try ordering a taxi on a Saturday night in any British city, as we tried and spectacularly failed to do one rainy and windswept night in Hull last winter!  At the sound check I was aware of a delightful sillage following Jane, the band manager, as she flitted up and downstairs between green room and venue carrying out her various duties, most importantly "hunting the rider". The rider wasn't actually tracked down till shortly before the band went on stage, whereupon we all descended on a selection of water, beer and wine with the zeal of seagulls in St Ives swooping down on a bag of chips.

I asked Jane what she was wearing that night and it turned out to be LUSH Lord of Misrule, of which I was quite unaware - which is pretty par for the course for me these days, to be fair. It smelt very familiar and alluring in a vanillic, "barnyard" kind of way, and I vowed to look into it further on my return.

Notes: patchouli, black pepper, vanilla

But first I would like to say a word about the splendid name of the fragrance, Lord of Misrule. Any coincidence between the timing of this post and the exit of prime ministers past, present, or somewhere in between, hehe, is of course purely fortuitous...

Illustration by Spencer Baird Nichols via Wikimedia Commons

From Wikipedia:  

"In England, the Lord of Misrule – known in Scotland as the Abbot of Unreason and in France as the Prince des Sots - was an officer appointed by lot during Christmastide to preside over the Feast of Fools. The Lord of Misrule was generally a peasant or sub-deacon appointed to be in charge of Christmas revelries, which often included drunkenness and wild partying."

Christmas drunkenness and wild partying? Any resemblance between the origins of the perfume name and.........ahem.....moving swiftly on.....!

And I also found this in the blurb to an episode of "Funny in Four" on the BBC website:

"The Lord of Misrule was the ultimate disrupter - his sovereignty gives us a quick burst of anarchy that refreshes and revives."

Hmmmm....well, I guess it depends on your idea of "refreshment", for there is a fine line between a thirst-slaking glass of Perrier - or make that Robinson's Barley Water as we are in Wimbledon season after all (albeit I believe they recently ended their 86 year old sponsorship deal) - and having to knock back 10 pints of lager one after the other without burping or drawing breath. Sorry, mind wandering again. But yes, how inadvertently prophetic that I should discover a perfume of that name in what has turned out to be one of the most turbulent weeks in UK political history. "Febrile" even, which was another word beloved of the media in recent days, along with "tumultuous".

Back home, I soon set about ordering a sample. There are so many more sampling sites out there now compared with the early days of my perfume hobby when I routinely used to shell out the equivalent of a small mortgage every month to The Perfumed Court and Lucky Scent. I quickly lit upon a company called Tiny Fragrances, whose apt and endearing name appealed, and ordered a 2ml sample for £5.50 including free postage. The price apparently reflected the fact that the delivery might be longer than usual, namely up to ten days. To my surprise I received a notification from PayPal the next day with the news that Tiny Fragrances had refunded me 55p, having forgotten to apply the "slow delivery discount", which I of course had assumed was already factored in. And blow me down if the perfume itself didn't arrive two days later in a dear little purple velvet drawstring bag.

I wore Lord of Misrule finally yesterday, and though it goes on quite strong, the drydown does the same raunchy sweet patchouli number on me as it did on Jane. I was greatly exercised as to why Lord of Misrule smelt so familiar yet long forgotten at the same time, till a light bulb suddenly went on in my head - L'Ombre Fauve (or "Bestial Shadow", my preferred translation of the name). I found my short write up of the Parfumerie Generale fragrance from 2015 - here is the full post, if anyone is interested in other scents in similar "super furry animal" vein.

Notes: woods, incense, amber, musk, patchouli

"Now L'Ombre Fauve is wonderfully hoochy, but the patchouli lends a rough edge to the scent going in. I don't mean hoochy in a Hooters way exactly, but the opening is certainly not refined. It's earthy and ragged and a bit clod- - as in sod- - hopping. I never reviewed L'Ombre Fauve, because despite being such a fan of woody orientals, I find myself even more tongue-tied than usual in describing what I smell. What I can give you, if you can 'take it' (as all good mediums say), is an image of me sitting on a stool in a moodily lit tapas bar in Hamburg with my Swedish perfumista protegee Louise and several of her friends, while wearing L'Ombre Fauve. The whole party couldn't stop sniffing my wrist, having clearly succumbed to the perfume's animal magnetism, which proved more irresistible than even the dates wrapped in bacon and dainty morsels of chorizo."

Schankwirtschaft (now sadly closed) ~ Source:

So there we have it, a cheaper, smaller format alternative to the PG at just £25 for 30ml, or £4.95 for a Tiny Fragrance sample. Just remember to behave when you wear it.

Source: Lush UK

And as it happens, the set that night included a song called "Walking With The Beast". ;)