I don’t know about you, but I have spent countless mornings devoting excessive amounts of time enhancing my natural lashes. From blow-drying my lash curler (so it gets warm), to curling my lashes, to applying a lash primer, to then applying a volumizing mascara and cleaning up any smudges with a wet Q-tip, dealing with lashes can be exhausting.
If you are looking for a major morning time-saver, you might want to consider investing in eyelash extensions. Not only do lash extensions make your eyes appear wider and more awake, but they might be safer and more effective than chemical-laden eyelash growth serums.
In honor of National Lash Day, we asked celebrity lash expert and founder of New York-based Envious Lashes, Clementina Richardson, for the rundown on everything you need to know about getting eyelash extensions, from the initial process, to the maintenance, to the shedding period and more.
The Application Process
Unlike the false eyelashes you can purchase at the drugstore, eyelash extensions are not applied to the skin, but are rather glued on top of your actual eyelashes. “Lash extensions are semi-permanent synthetic, faux mink, mink or silk fibers which are applied strand to strand of your natural lashes to enhance your natural eye,” explains Richardson. “They’re carefully applied one at a time (typically 80 -140 lashes per eye) using a specially-formulated, semi-permanent glue that will not irritate or damage the natural lash.”
Synthetic silk are typically the more expensive lashes you can buy, since they are more flexible and cause less breakage to the natural lash than synthetic faux-mink. The lashes come in many different sizes, from 6mm-18mm, with different curl options. For example, you can get a “D” curl lash, where the tip sits closer to the brow. Or you can get a “C” curl, which is slightly less curly but still offers a dramatic effect.
The initial appointment can take anywhere from 1-2 hours, where you typically lay on a bed with your eyes closed while the technician applies your lashes. Whether you choose to chat with your technician the whole time, listen to your favorite podcast, or fall asleep, your reaction after your first appointment will always be a pleasant surprise. “Extensions will give you longer, fuller lashes and will enhance your overall appearance by lifting, elongating and opening the eye,” says Richardson.
The effect you get from eyelash extensions can’t really be achieved through adhesive false lash strips. With false lashes, “the lash strands are placed directly on the strip, making it impossible to add dimension, depth or layers to your lashes the way natural lashes grow,” explains Richardson. The one benefit false lashes have over eyelash extensions are that they can be applied and removed easily without help from a professional.
Cost, Longevity and Aftercare
The price of lash extensions varies greatly, depending on the area of the country you are in and which spa or salon you choose to visit. Prices also depend on how dramatic you want your lashes to look, and whether you are getting a beginner set or getting refilled. A beginner set can range anywhere from $150-$300, while a refill typically goes for $50-$75.
With proper care, lash extensions can last up to six weeks.
With proper care, lash extensions can last up to six weeks, but as the weeks progress, the extensions will slowly start to shed with the growth cycle of your natural lashes, until you are left with your natural lashes. To prolong them from shedding, Richardson suggests avoiding steam or wetting your lashes for the first 48 hours after the application. “You can of course wash your face and take a shower, just make sure no water actually touches your lashes,” she says. Additionally, avoid rubbing your eyes or playing, picking and excessively touching your lashes.
Although lashes do need to be brushed every so often with a clean spoolie brush, don’t overdo it — brush them out every other day so they stay in their upright place. Don’t use mascara, as this will add additional weight to the natural lashes and might promote breakage (plus, you don’t need it!). Additionally, once the initial 48 hours are up, only use cleansers that are specifically formulated to be safe for eyelash extensions. Avoid oil-based cleansers, which might weaken the bond of your extensions and caused them to shed prematurely.
Refill and Removal Process
If most of your extensions have shed, but you want to still maintain your lush lash look, consider getting extension refills. “Getting refills takes more skill and expertise than getting a full set because the lashes are now grown and have shed from different areas of the lid, so your technician must have a trained eye to create symmetry for the same look from the initial eyelash set you got,” says Richardson. Refills are recommended every 2-3 weeks to keep lashes looking full, and using a conditioning serum, like Envious Lashes Luxuriating Lash Conditioning Serum ($75), in between appointments will help lashes reach their full potential.
The process is really simple if you wish to get lash extensions removed. “We apply a thick paste on the extensions, where the paste starts to break down the bond after five minutes, and the extensions are gently massaged away using a lint-free applicator,” says Richardson. It can take between 20 minutes to an hour and does not cause harm to your natural lashes.
View this post on Instagram
Our Envious Eye set with natural shaping and Bottom lashes! (Zoom in for more detail) This set was customized to fit her bone structure and eye shape. Thank you to our client @tsarinevanya for allowing us to post this image so you can really see the transformation! Book your Individualized transformation with us today!
A post shared by Celebrity Eyelash Expert (@enviouslashes) on
“Lash extensions alone will not ruin your lashes — damage to the natural lashes is the result of improper application, applying extensions that are too heavy for the natural lash, or rubbing your eyes, causing immediate breakage,” warns Richardson. “If you see a licensed and certified professional, your natural lashes should not be harmed!”
It is also important to keep your eyes closed during the application process, so that the adhesive does not get in contact with your eye, which could cause a severe reaction. Although uncommon, infection due to eyelash extensions can happen, so make sure you are continually cleaning your lashes with an oil-free cleanser or makeup remover to avoid irritation, and always see your doctor immediately if you experience any swelling, discharge, redness or irritation around the eye area.