Eyelash Extensions 101: How to Achieve and Maintain the Lashes of Your Dreams
by Aly Walansky
If you’re the type of lash-obsessed girl who must load on the mascara or perfect your falsie situation before you leave the house, it may be time to consider investing in eyelash extensions. Like hair extensions, they’re not for the faint of heart, or the non-committal, but they are a great way to get a gorgeous lash look without the day-to-day fuss. Before you take the leap, educate yourself with this basic primer on just what to expect from your eyelash extensions.
Know what you’re getting into.
There’s no way around the fact that lash extensions are, indeed, a commitment. Can you see yourself actually following through on the promise to head back to the salon for regular refills? Can you stop yourself from rubbing, touching, or playing with your lashes? Blushington Makeup and Beauty Lounge Lash Extension Expert Desiree Chapman says that it’s important to ask yourself these questions before you even think about booking your first appointment.
Above all, make sure you see a well-trained professional with good recommendations, says lash expert Kim Jaynes, who recommends finding a lash technician through a referral of someone who actually goes to them. Also, check to ensure that the professional does only individual eyelash extensions and charges the correct market value. This is not a service that you want to get at a discounted rate—these are your eyes you’re dealing with. When you get to your appointment, always make sure that your technician has clean tools, uses hand sanitizer, and wears a mask and gloves.
Be aware of the potential dangers.
Long, thick eyelashes are beautiful, but you may not realize that overuse of glued-on eyelash extensions and false eyelashes can lead to permanent eyelash damage, says Alan J. Bauman, M.D, a board-certified hair restoration physician and member of Pantene’s Hair Research Institute. There are two primary causes of this: the artificial weight of the fake lashes, which can strain or pull on the eyelash hairs, and the removal process, which involves pulling and tugging at the lashes and can directly damage the follicles. “Using false lashes once or twice is unlikely to cause lasting damage, but if they are used routinely and if the eyelashes aren’t properly applied or removed or if a woman already has weak or damaged eyelash follicles, this can cause scarring in the follicle which will prevent it from growing new lashes. In medical terminology, this condition is known as ‘traction alopecia,’ a type of baldness that is permanent and can only be reversed by hair transplantation surgery,” says Bauman.
Determine the look you’re trying to achieve.
Some people prefer shorter, but with plenty of fullness, others love them long and glamorous, and some people just want to achieve a natural-but-better look. Some lash experts are more skilled with one look versus the other. “I like to read reviews and check photos online or on third party sites, like Yelp, to help me find a great technician. You can get a good sense for how someone works, how long lashes will last, and what style your tech is best at from reviews and recommendations. I was sold on my favorite lash girl because of her Facebook page. I could tell she did the style that I was looking for,” says self-proclaimed lash junkie Becca Bijoch, a Minneapolis-based publicist.
Don’t skimp on maintenance.
Less is more when caring for your lashes, says Tianna Seo of Icon Lashes in Minnesota. ”Don’t over-wash your lashes, over-comb them, or over-think them. Just be conscious and try to develop good hands-off habits!,” Seo says. She recommends avoiding falling asleep face down, which can crush and crimp the lashes. Below, Seo shares 9 of her best tips:
1. Don’t sleep face down. Sleeping face down can crush and crimp the lashes.
2. Do not cake on heavy liners. Too much liner can cause unsightly and unhealthy build up around the extension bases—you’ll want to keep the lashes clean and free of debris to extend their life.
3. Use a lash approved cleanser. ”I prefer a brand called Sterilid ($15, walgreens.com). It keeps any yuckies at bay and helps the extensions last to their full potential,” says Seo.
4. Say no to cotton on the lashes. Fibers like those in cotton balls and q-tips can create tangles, says Seo.
5. Comb daily with a clean silicone or bristle spoolie wand. It helps to keep the lashes separated after being wet.
6. Don’t pull, pluck, twist, or fuss with the extensions.
7. No lash curlers should ever be used on extensions.
8. Listen to your technician. Length, weight, style, and design all are individual specific, if you lash stylists say NO to a specific length or look then that is for your own good.
9. Have realistic expectations. This is a fiber connected artificially to your natural eyelashes, they are durable, not indestructible. Be mindful with your activities when wearing lashes and you will love your results long term, Seo says.
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