Okay, we'll admit it, we are totally hooked on eyelash extensions. The new fad has officially taken over our beauty regiment because they look THAT good, like Kate-Middleton-pregnancy-glow good. We decided to document the entire extension process AND get some tips from expert Pippa Stephney, a lash extension expert from London hotspot Urban Retreat. So here's everything you need to know:
Can anybody get eyelash extensions?
Expert: "There are some circumstances when someone may not be able to have lash extensions, for example: if a person suffers from alopecia that affects the eyelashes. you do need natural lashes present to be able to wear lash extensions. If someone is receiving chemotherapy treatment we recommend leaving 3-6 months from the end of treatment before having extensions. The natural lash cycles must be given time to re-establish growth prior to any lash application. If someone is suffering from certain eye conditions or an eye infection then we would not be able to perform the service."
Our experience: Even if you wear contact lenses you can get extensions, but we recommend that you take them off during the eyelash application process so your eyes don't get dried out. Also, we have never had a allergic reaction from the eyelash extension process, but if you are going to get them done before a big event, we recommend giving yourself a couple of weeks beforehand so you know your eyes won't react. Nobody, and I mean nobody, wants to show up on their wedding day with puffy eyes.
How long do the treatments take and how long will the eyelashes last?
Expert: "The initial lash application can take up to 2 hours and infills every 2-4 weeks takes 1 hour....The extensions will last the cycle of the natural lash and so will be lost when the natural lash sheds. To maintain the fullness of your lashes, it is recommended to infill around every 3 weeks."
Our experience: Depending on how well you treat the lashes, they should look full for at least two weeks. A touch-up every three weeks should keep them from ever looking sparse. The first appointment does take two hours so be SURE to bring headphones and a long playlist for your entertainment. Although the application process is not painful, it can be uncomfortable, especially near the end of the application, so try fall asleep or make sure your playlist is relaxing. Don't panic! You will look faboosh afterwards, keep your eyes (closed) on the prize.
Can you wear mascara with them?
Expert: "You shouldn't need to wear mascara, but if you wish to, you will need to use a water based mascara recommended by your lash artist. Regular and Waterproof mascaras are not suitable for use on lash extensions."
Our experience: Our eyelash technician did not recommend that we wear mascara, but you honestly will not need it. Your new eyelashes are going to look so fabulous mascara would just be overkill.
How should you safely clean your eyelash extensions?
Expert: "The extensions will be waterproof instantly. You may use a longer life coating which helps to maintain the bond of the adhesive. You will need to use an oil and alcohol free eye make up remover on your lashes as these ingredients will weaken the adhesive bond. To clean the lashes, use an oil free foaming cleanser, using a little and mixing with warm water on the sides of fingers, clean down over the eyelid and lashes in an upward,downward motion, never side to side. Never tug or pull at the extensions as you could lose them and are likely to damage your natural lashes. Avoid wiping with cotton wool pads or buds as the fibers will catch.You will be given a lash brush and we recommend you brush lashes daily to keep them neat and tidy."
Our experience: Since you probably won't be wearing mascara, it is fairly easy to keep the eyelashes clean, but they should be dried after you get out of the shower or a pool. Lightly use a towel to dry off the lashes so they do not clump together when they are wet. Your eyelash technician should give you an eyelash brush that you should use in the morning and at night to keep your eyelashes looking fresh and lustrous. Just remember, whenever you brush your hair, give your eyelashes a little combing too.
How do they apply the eyelashes?
Expert: "We do not just lay or place the extensions onto a natural lash, but bond flush the extension at the very base of the natural eyelash for a seamless strong connection. We do this so there is better adhesion to the natural lash leaving no gaps where dust and make up particles can become trapped, and a lack of bonding can allow the extension to pull away from the natural lash and become easily caught."
Our experience: As we said earlier, the process takes around two hours the first time, they will keep your eyes closed by using special tape to tape down your bottom lashes to your cheeks. Your eyes can get dry and you can't move, so just try and keep yourself as relaxed as possible. Put some Enya on your playlist and just imagine the breeze people will feel as you bat your new eyelashes.
We went to two different lash studios and both loved the results, but be warned, the process was time consuming and it becomes an expensive habit. Depending on what type of lashes you want, the lashes are made with silk, mink, fox hair or even real human hair. This means the prices can vary from $65-$250 for the initial treatment and retouches can range from $35-$200. We recommend that you take your time during your first consultation so the technicians can help advise you what type of lashes and what length would best accentuate your look. Start out on the conservative side and go from there, you can ALWAYS go longer at your touch-up. We would definitely recommend dipping your toe in the eyelash extension pool, it would be great before a fancy event, just remember: once you go with lash extensions, you never go back.
Dagney's extensions from Bling Lash in Manhattan, NY
Cliche's extensions from Lazy Lash in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Have you tried eyelash extensions before? Tweet at us! @wewomenUSA
This article was written by Dagney Pruner. Follow her on Twitter @dagneyp