What You Really Need To Know Before Getting Lash Extensions

September 27, 2017

I tried it and here’s what I think.

As most women would probably agree; a full, perfectly curled set of lashes is arguably one of the most covetable features a girl can have, and something most of us spend copious amounts of time and money on; using fake lashes, or layers upon layers of liner and mascara every day.

But wouldn’t it be nice to be able to skip the mascara, the stick-on lashes, and the nightmare that is trying to create the perfect winged eye, and just wake up with va-va-voom peepers every morning?

Thankfully, it’s not just a pipe dream. If you’ve got an hour or two to spare roughly once each month and some extra funds up your sleeve, semi-permanent lash extensions will give you back hours of free time and a whole lotta compliments and second glances. I know, because I tried them recently.

Even though the treatment’s been around for a while, semi-permanent lash extensions have experienced a major popularity revival of late, largely thanks to beauty bloggers and the lash-obsessed Kardashian/Jenner clan.

So to get the 411 on exactly what’s involved in having 24/7 voluminous lash perfection, I headed to cult Sydney beauty salon, Inskin Medi Spa, for thick, feathery eyelashes. And, whoa – was there a lot more involved in lash extensions than meets the eye (pun totally intended).

Here’s what you probably didn’t know – and definitely need to get versed in – if you’re considering a more permanent lash solution…

Not all lash extension are made equally

Do your research and visit a certified expert; the risks definitely aren’t worth it for the saving.

You may be tempted to do some price shopping and go to the cheapest place you can find in pursuit of permanently primped lashes, but when it comes to extensions, you tend to get what you pay for. And if you’re not careful, a bargain set of extensions can actually damage your real lashes, and, more horrifyingly, your eyes – resulting in infection and irritation.

“You should find out if the lash stylist has been certified. This should assure that she is up to date when it comes to proper application, techniques, safety and sanitation,” recommends Inskin Media Spa founder, Jacqueline Brennan.

Cheaper priced treatments, which can retail for as little as $90, may include cluster lashes or even strip lashes, which, while much more affordable and fast to apply, can weigh down and damage your lashes and potentially irritate the delicate eye area. Authentic lash extensions, which typically cost upwards of $200, involve a much more tedious application process, gently attaching tiny individual lashes (usually made from mink hair) to your own lashes, one by one for an incredibly natural result that won’t feel like you’re wearing anything at all (I actually forgot I had mine on a few times until I was stopped and complimented on my eye makeup).

The weight of the lashes the salon uses is also important. Generally, the thinner and therefore lighter the lash extension used, the better it is for your naturals. The lashes used during my own treatment were just 0.05mm.

“Most reputable lash studios no longer apply lashes over 0.18mm, as they are too thick and consequently heavy and damaging to the natural lashes,” explains Brennan.

A full set of lash extensions consists of around 100 to 200 lashes per eye, so prepare to take a nap – this isn’t a treatment you can squeeze into your lunch break. When I got my lash extensions for the first time, it took about 90 minutes.

And don’t fret, the treatment doesn’t hurt at all; in fact, I spent most of it wondering if anything was even being done at all, as I could feel so little. But if you’re restless, this may not be for you – you do have to lie incredibly still the entire time. No blinking, coughing, or sneezing without warning your beauty therapist. Best to skip the coffee right before; instead plug in your headphones and get ready for some serious meditation time.

Good lash extensions won’t damage your natural lashes

Settle in for a long visit. Lash extensions can take a long (long!) time to apply.

If you’ve found a reputable lash artist, they’ll ensure your natural lashes aren’t damaged during the treatment. However, if you love your new lashes so much you want to maintain them (a word of warning: you will. I’m already addicted), you’ll have to pay the salon a visit roughly once every three weeks, as that’s approximately how long it takes until some of the lashes start to fall off from regular wear and tear (being careful not to wet them in the first 24 hours, sleeping on your back and avoiding rubbing your eyes will all significantly lengthen their lifespan).

And while lash extensions are safe for your lashes if applied correctly by a certified pro, getting lash extensions regularly for months, or even years on end without giving your peepers small breaks may eventually affect your natural lashes, as they have to carry the weight of the fake lashes and could therefore become more prone to breakage over time, especially when opting for “Russian 3D Volume” lashes – a specialty type of extensions which consist of double the amount of lashes compared to a natural set to achieve a Kylie Jenner-worthy glam look.

For lash extension newbies like myself, Brennan recommends starting with a natural set and seeing how you feel.

“We can always add more extensions, but it’s much harder to take them away!”

You may have to change your skincare routine

Leaving the house looking glam without a scrap of eye makeup on kinda made the annoying upkeep all worth it.

I’m not gonna lie, while my new fuller lashes looked seriously incredible, the upkeep was a real drag at times. As oil breaks down the glue holding the extensions in place, you pretty much can’t touch your lashes at all, as the natural oil on your fingertips can ruin your new falsies. Moreover, to ensure they don’t fall out after a few days, you should ban absolutely all oil-based products from your skincare routine, which includes most makeup removers and many creams (*sigh* there goes my fave Bobbi Brown cleaning oil).

If you’re like me and typically apply cleanser all over your face, including your eyes, and massage it in before plunging your face under the running shower water, that’s going to need to stop, stat. You’re best switching to makeup remover wipes and carefully cleansing every part of your face except for your lashes.

But while my new cleansing routine worked well for protecting my lashes, half-asleep me wasn’t careful enough. I caught myself rubbing my eyes after waking up in the morning a few times, immediately followed by me yelling the F-word as soon as I remembered I shouldn’t have done that. Thankfully, your lash stylist will give you a little spoolie brush to gently comb your lashes every day, and that tends to get them looking chic again after a restless night.

Thanks to my careful – albeit sometimes tedious – upkeep regime, my lashes stayed pretty sturdy during the first week. I had hardly any fall out until day six, when I saw a few strays in my bathroom sink. Now, two weeks later, about half of the lashes have fallen out, and if I were to maintain the look, I would have to book an infill appointment ASAP.

My verdict? Lash extensions are definitely a great way to add natural looking volume and length to your lashes and they even save you a bit of time in the morning as there’s no need for mascara, so panda eyes will also officially be a thing of the past. If you’re prepared to go to regular infill sessions and can afford to cough up the cash for them, you can achieve the lashes of your dreams, permanently. If not, I would highly recommend this for special occasions or shorter periods when you want to look ‘put-together’ without a whole lot of makeup, like when going on a holiday.

Now, excuse me while I start planning my next glam vacay…

Comment: Have you tried extensions? What was your verdict – were they worth it?

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