I headed to Lash-Lab in San Francisco, the eyelash extension boutique located in a secret bungalow, for my first-ever lash extensions. The receptionist walked me through the procedure, asked questions about my lash length preferences, and consulted with my esthetician, Kaitlin, on the best style for my eyes. After I lay down on the bed, Kaitlin removed all makeup residue on my lids and lashes and applied a micro tape on my lower lashes to prevent them from sticking. Before applying individual lashes, she compared a few pieces on my lash line to see which one would be most suitable for me.
The lash extension process can take 1.5-2 hours but since you need to have your eyes closed during the whole time, you can take a peaceful nap to pass the time—which is what I did. My full set took two hours, as Kaitlin applied glue on each individual synthetic lash and carefully adhered each hair to one of my natural lashes (not the skin). The only discomfort I felt was when the adhesive glue fumes lingered near my eyes and stung them, and at the very end when Kaitlin separated a few lashes that were stuck together (it felt like she was ripping my lashes out). Overall, it was a painless process and by the time I would have finished watching a movie, I had full and luscious lashes!
I was warned not to get the lashes wet for 24 hours after I had the lash extensions applied. That meant I couldn't shower, wash my face, sweat, swim, or apply makeup. I had to wait a whole day to let the adhesive set in, and afterwards Kaitlin told me I should only use non-oil based makeup and makeup removers. You want to make sure you avoid using oils in your skin care and makeup because oils break down the adhesive glue, making the lashes fall out quicker. I'll need to head back in about 2-3 weeks to get some lashes touched up but if I take good care of them, the full set can last up to 6 weeks. My lashes will fall out naturally over time (growth cycle of lashes is different for everyone but tend to be within 60-100 days), so touch ups will be needed if I want to maintain them.
The total bill came out to $200 and each additional touch-up can range from $75-$100—definitely an expensive procedure that can add up after a few sessions. Do your research and make sure you go to a credible and certified salon to have lash extensions done. You're putting your eyes in a technician hands so you don't want to skimp on this type of procedure. If you're looking for an inexpensive alternative, check out our semi-permanent fake lashes article for our experience and tips.
I must admit, when I first saw myself with my lashes, I was a bit shocked. But by the time I got into my car and looked at myself in the mirror, I couldn't help batting my lashes. When I wake up in the morning, my face instantly looks fresh and well, quite glamourous. I don't even feel like wearing eye liner, and I'm the type of girl that usually feels naked without it!