I’m not a cosmetics lady, therefore I never thought I’d be an eyelash extensions girl. I love sheer foundations, dewy highlighters, and lovely peach blushes, but I only wear mascara on my birthday, large meetings, or weddings. Even then, if I’m “going big,” it’s Clinique Naturally Glossy in Brown or YSL Faux Cils.
So getting lash extensions before my own wedding was out of character for me. It was even more out of character for me to adore them. “Try them out” was three weeks prior. I returned twice within a month: the day before my trip (about a week before my wedding) and the day before my honeymoon. Obsession is a misnomer.
What I learned about eyelash extensions is that they make you feel more glamorous than you anticipated. It’s a drug. Once home, I looked in the mirror and felt like Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra (note: I do not resemble her in the slightest). They do what no amount of mascara can or will ever do: You have the thickest, flutteriest, most flawlessly curled lashes. There are no clumps, and the leaves are precisely tapered. And you do that all day!
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I also realised that they’re a time-consuming and expensive habit. Here’s what you need to know.
Arrive bare-faced to your appointment.
Not even curling your lashes counts. There’s a wrinkle right by the root, making it difficult for the lash artist to apply the extensions smoothly, says Jessica Shin, CEO of Flair Beauty & Lash Studio in NYC, where I get my extensions. Avoid waterproof eye makeup, greasy skin care, and eye cream. You don’t want anything interfering with the glue. “Go to the gym and shower ahead of time,” Shin suggests. No water for 24 hours after the session because the glue must dry completely. Blinkbar’s Tirzah Shirai suggests avoiding waterproof eye makeup for up to a week before your consultation. “It leaves an undetectable coating that prevents full lash adhesion,” she says.
It’s not a quick visit.
Eyelash extensions take a long time (up to two hours!) to apply, especially if you need a refill because they need to remove old extensions and clean your lashes beforehand. Also, through my experience, I learned: You may want to skip the second latte because you will be lying still. I experienced twitchy-eye syndrome the entire time, much to my lash artist’s dismay.
Custom extensions are better.
So the best lash extensions are expensive and require a consultation. For the basics, expect to pay around $120 and go up to $300. Your eye shape, lash length, and lifestyle will all be unique to you. “One curl and length will look different on each person,” Shirai explains. Most lash salons have a menu to help steer the dialogue and the look you want (from subtle and round to the boldest cat eyes). Rather than the ever-popular cat-eye shape, Shin suggested putting the longest lashes in the centre of my eyes (between a two and a three on her “Glam Scale”) to open them out even more.
As well as length, curl type, and number of lashes to apply, a consultation will assist you decide on material (most frequent are silk and faux mink; silk is shinier and pops more, whereas mink is more fluttery and natural). Shirai believes a professional lash artist will combine lengths to give lashes a natural look. “Blinkbar uses a minimum of four lengths for every style.”