I am one of those people who feel stark naked when I’m without a stitch of makeup. Au natural just isn’t my thing. My makeup journey started pretty early, too. I started my foray into makeup at the tender age of nine, after discovering my sister’s stash of Cosmopolitan magazines.
Despite being a full-fledged makeup girl, I am the laziest of lazy when it comes to removing my makeup. In a parallel universe, I perennially have makeup on. I can sleep fully made up and wake up looking exactly as I did before I hit the sheets. In this Universe, however, that’s not how it worked. Believe me, I slept with makeup on for years on end and I ended up with comedones and some hideous pitted scars – but that’s another story.
I discovered eyelash extensions in 2014. Since then, I have never been without.
Four years after my first set of eyelash extensions, I have pretty much learned everything there is to know about lash extensions. If you want to look like a Disney princess in the morning, without risking your eye health by sleeping in mascara
, here’s everything you need to know about eyelash extensions:
1. Your lash experience is always customizable.
When getting lash extensions, you have four main choices to make: the style, the type of curl, the length, and the material. Let’s go deeper into this:
Most salons offer Doll Eye, Cat Eye, and Dramatic eyelash extension styles. Doll Eye is often the most natural-looking. It puts the most of the length in the middle, so it opens up the eyes to make it look larger – like a doll’s, as the name suggests. Cat Eye lashes gradually go from long to short with the longest lashes at the end to make the eyes appear more almond-shaped. Dramatic has more long pieces than short, which makes the lashes look ultra-long and thick.
Salons are likely to will carry extension lengths from 8 to 15mm. For many, the sweet spot for is 10-12mm. But, remember that the length of your extensions is largely decided by the length of your natural lashes. Longer options may look the most flattering, but these may shed more quickly or even cause breakage on your natural lashes. If you prefer them long, ask your technician for a volume set with more and finer lashes.
After you pick your length, choose your curl. A “J” curl looks the most natural, while creating an awake look. A “C” says “I live for my Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler” look. A D curl is more dramatic. It is the go-to curl for those who want a smoldering look. Some salons combine curl types to achieve a certain look. They may, for example, use “J” on the inner corners of the eye and “C” on the outer edges to create Cat Eye lashes.
Now, you have a lot to choose from in terms of material. There’s synthetic, silk, real mink, faux mink, faux fox, and last but not least, real human hair.
The three major choices are mink, natural, or synthetic. Mink and natural hair are popular because they look natural, but they tend to lose their shape when exposed to heat and water. They are also likely to shed faster, as they’re usually finer than synthetics. While synthetics tend to offer more in terms of lasting power, some people may find it uncomfortable to wear.
Some salons also offer sable lashes. I have always preferred human hair lashes, but I have recently converted to sable. Although technicians say it is best for those with sparse and thin lashes (mine are thick and relatively long), I like that it makes my eyes look sultry, yet it feels as if I’m not wearing eyelash extensions at all.
In a nutshell, decide if you want your lashes to look like you only excel in applying mascara (think Gigi Hadid) or if you want sexy, dramatic lashes (think Kim K). For natural looking lashes, go for Doll Eye extensions with a length of 8-10mm. If you want lashes for days, Dramatic, C curl extensions with a length of 14-15mm can be your best bet.
2. Your eyelash extensions can last long with proper care.
I can get my extensions to last up to a month, given that I am extra careful. This means I am mindful not to rub my eyes or sleep face down. I am also careful not to get water on it and to steer clear of oil-based products. I make sure to not get my extensions wet up to 24 hours after the application. Don’t worry if you’re starting to notice fallouts. Many salons recommend a touch up every two to three weeks anyway.
3. You may have to ditch mascara, but you can wear any other type of makeup with them.
You don’t have to ditch your signature smokey eye, but you might have to forget about your favorite mascara. Liquid-based eye products can cause damage to your extensions, but you can get away with a liquid liner: just make sure to not drag it along your lash line. When removing shadow or liner, use oil-free makeup remover with Q-tips so you’re sure you’re not leaving any makeup residue behind.
4. If you want your old lashes back, ask a professional to remove your extensions.
The only way to remove your eyelash extensions is to have them professionally removed. If you’re apprehensive about spending any more money, you can wait for the extensions to fall out as your natural lashes shed. Whatever you do, though, do not pull the extensions out yourself.
5. The setback: it can get a bit expensive to maintain.
It’s true that extensions give you the same, if not a more dramatic, effect as mascara. But, it doesn’t mean extensions will save you makeup money in the long run. A basic set, usually with 70 to 80 lashes for each eye, can put you back at least $100. Have it applied by experienced technicians, and be ready to shell out up to $400, and then you also have to tip.
As your natural lashes grow and eventually fall out, you need to return to the salon for fill-ins. The price for touch-ups can range from $50 to $165, depending on the number of new lashes you need.
I love having lash extensions because I like waking up in the morning looking like Bambi. While it doesn’t do anything to help me save money on makeup, it does help me look put together on days when I have absolutely no time to do makeup before I dash out the door. Also, I look forward to the lying down in a plush La-Z boy for at least an hour and a half, while soothing music plays in the background. After all, for most busy working girls, such short moments of rest are the most socially acceptable naptime we could ask for.