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Long EyeLash Envy? Maybe You Should Try Lash Extensions!

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Before and after eyelash extensions

I was born with short, thin and super-straight eyelashes so I’m naturally jealous of everyone who has lashes that are beautiful, thick and have a natural curl. My boyfriend’s eyelashes are longer and fuller than mine, I’ve seen babies with long, glorious lashes, and don’t even get me started when I see a dog who has prettier eyelashes than me. Yes, a dog. It’s just not fair! I started to consider taking a break from mascara and my vast collection of fake eyelashes to try out extensions. I’d been curious for awhile and after seeing how great they looked on a friend of mine, I decided to take the plunge.

I visited Gloria Ting at Beverly Hills Lashes for a session and came out with gorgeous lashes. I felt just like a baby doe. If you’re considering lash extensions yourself, we’ve got everything you’ll need to know beforehand.  

What are eyelash extensions and why should I get them?

Lash extensions are single strands of synthetic lashes that are attached to your natural lashes one by one, using a special glue. They are the cosmetic industry’s gift to those of us who weren’t lucky enough to be born with gorgeous, thick, movie-star lashes who are totally over having to wear falsies every day.

What type of lashes should I get?

If you want more of a natural look, the lash stylist can use extensions that are about 2-3mm longer than your natural lashes. Others who crave more of a dramatic eye, wider diameters and longer lengths are applied, but only if your natural hairs can handle it. Some people might have lashes that are too weak to carry a heavier extension. Gloria says, “It all comes down to design and choosing the right type of lashes for the client’s eye shape, lifestyle and natural eyelash health.”

What are they made out of?

There are four different kinds of lashes: synthetic, human hair, silk (which is a type of synthetic), and 100% real Siberian mink or 100% real sable fur. Lash studios may vary in the type of extensions they use. “You get a more natural look with real fur. However, with the synthetics, you get to choose the diameters better suited for your natural eyelash and the curls holds better,” explains Gloria. I ended up going with synthetic ones.

What kind of glue do they use and should I be afraid of an allergic reaction?

At Beverly Hills Lashes, they use a medical-grade adhesive called cyanoacrylate that is used by doctors for suture-less stitches. “About 5% of the population is allergic to cyanoacrylate and it usually presents after 3-4 exposures (3-4 months after initial application) to the adhesive,” says Gloria. A sign of an allergic reaction would be the eyelids becoming extremely puffy.

Does it hurt?

The process itself is not painful, but some people may experience a slight burning sensation from the fumes. When I initially got my extensions done, my eyes were burning during the session and still felt uncomfortable after, but I was completely fine a couple of hours later. I also went in for refills a few weeks later and didn’t experience any burning or discomfort the second time around.

What do I need to know beforehand?

Arrive at your appointment early to fill out consent forms. Make sure your eyes are clean and remove your contact lenses before the procedure. If waterproof mascara is a part of your usual makeup routine, avoid using it a couple of days prior to the appointment because there could be residue preventing the extensions from adhering correctly.

What’s the procedure like?

An initial session usually lasts a couple of hours, with refills taking about an hour. Since you’re laying there with your eyes closed it can be quite an experience in patience and meditation. Unfortunately I made the mistake of watching a disturbing movie the night before so it was far from relaxing. All I kept thinking about was a scary scene from it! My tip: don’t do that. Watch something fun beforehand, like Clueless.

What do I need to know about aftercare?  

Don’t get them wet until the next day. After that you’ll want to wash your lashes once in the morning and once at night. It’s best to get a lash wash that your stylist can provide. We don’t think about it often but our eyelids get oily and dirty during the day. Gently wash the lids and base of the lashes twice. Don’t get a facial or visit a spa where steam would be in your face until a day or so after the appointment because the moisture can loosen the glue. I blow-dried my lashes on a low, cool setting after showering and gently combed them with lash wands. My lashes still looked pretty good after five weeks and had minimal fallout. If you can, try to sleep on your back. Lastly, don’t rub your eyes!

How long will they last?

With proper care, lashes can last about 3-4 weeks before you’d need a refill. The average person sheds about 1-5 lashes per day.