Makeup & Beauty

All About Those Eyelash Extensions

Holy eyelashes. (I did ask for “dramatic.”)

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Got ’em. Love ’em.

But I am only on board with them if I include a few provisos.

For those of you who asked about how eyelash extensions are applied and whether I recommend them, let me present: a little mini-primer.

How Eyelash Extensions Work:

1. You should expect to pay between $50 and $200 for the initial appointment (I’ve generally paid in the $80-$100 range, because I am freaked out by budget places doing things to my eyes and also freaked out by the idea of spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on something as temporary as eyelash extensions), and less for subsequent sessions (“fills”).

2. You will show up at your eyelash appointment with zero eye makeup on. The first thing the aesthetician will do is put tape along your lower lash line to protect them from the glue. This will feel weird; you will get over it in a couple of minutes. You will tell her what kind of lashes you’re looking for (I’ve always said “feel free to go big,” but you’re certainly welcome to request a more natural look), and lay down on the table.

3. You will fall asleep.

4. While you are asleep, the aesthetician will glue tiny hairs to your existing eyelashes. You will occasionally snore and wake yourself up, especially if you are ten months pregnant. Your aesthetician will assure you that “everybody snores.”

5. The application will take about an hour. When it’s over, the aesthetician will blow some air on your closed eyelids, and then tell you to open your eyes. You may experience a tiny bit of burning from the glue; it’ll go away quickly. (I’ve heard of some people experiencing an allergic reaction to the glue, so if you’re concerned about this ask for a spot-test before you go all-in, the same as you would with any new beauty treatment.)

6. For the next 24 hours, you won’t be allowed to get them wet (this is so that the glue will set). You can shower; you just can’t run the water over your face. When you need to wash your face, try cleansing wipes instead of cleanser and water.

7. The extensions will fall out gradually over the next few weeks; if you want to keep the look, you’ll need to go back to the salon every 3-4 weeks for a “fill” (which takes less time to do and is less expensive).

The Big Question: Does It Make Your Eyelashes Fall Out?

I think so. In my experience, one or two applications doesn’t seem to do any harm, but when you get repeat fills over time, you’ll see your natural lash line begin to grow sparse. Will it grow back? Yes (although the woman I saw last week said this is minimized if the person who does your lashes chooses a set that isn’t too heavy for your particular hair type).

Might you be overreacting and thinking your natural lash line is sparser than it actually is because you’re now used to looking like a Kardashian? Possibly. But either way: it’s something to be aware of.

My Recommendation:

Save them for special occasions (e.g. weddings and vacations where you’re not going to want to wear a whole lot of makeup), and stick to one or two subsequent fills, then give your lashes a rest until the next big event rolls around. Also: be aware that this will be hard advice to take once you have your extensions on, because they’re kind of amazing and make you feel like you roll out of bed looking like Brigitte Bardot.

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