I Tried Lash Extensions: Here's What to Do, and What Not to Do
Most women’s desert-island beauty pick is mascara. And with good reason: a long, full set of dark lashes can make eyes look more defined, awake, and bigger, instantly. Of course, lash extensions can deliver all of that on a semi-permanent basis, and who wouldn’t want that?
Needless to say, I was excited to try out a pair myself. So I met with Clementina Richardson, N.Y.C. lash specialist and founder of Envious Lashes, who works with stars like Mary J Blige. She started with a consultation to determine which type of lashes would work best for my eye shape and lifestyle. I knew I wanted a bit of pop, but I didn’t want anything overly dramatic—no brow-hitting spider lashes for my low-maintenance look!
Richardson used semi-permanent, synthetic silk fibers, which she applied strand-by-strand to my natural lashes. Depending on how she places the hairs, Richardson can create specific effects. For example, a doe-eyed look is achieved by adhering more clusters to the center of the lashline, while a more feline style requires applying more lashes to the outer edges of the lashline. I went for a fairly natural silk lash just 2mm longer than my own lashes, and had more of them added to the outer corners of my lashline. Richardson carefully applied each piece (around 80 per eye) using semi-permanent glue. It took about 1 1/2 hours (touch-ups are recommended every two to three weeks thereafter). After sporting the extensions for several weeks, I picked up five rules to live by:
1. Less is More: Do not apply a ton of mascara or eye products that will require you to use a heavy duty remover. Oil-based cleansers should be totally avoided as they can loosen the adhesive. And forgo any pulling on the lid (really, do you need to use that lash curler?), which can cause lashes to fall out. Remove eye makeup gently with an oil-free formula or wipe, I love Almay’s version ($9; ulta.com).
2. Switch Out Your Pillowcase: If you’re a side sleeper, you may notice lots of stray lashes on your case come morning. Try to sleep on your back, or do as I did and switch to a less lash-tugging silk pillowcase, like (Slip Silk Queen Pillowcase, $79; violetgrey.com). (Side benefit, it’s also better for your strands.)
3. Brush Daily: Use a clean spoolie wand to brush lashes into place and keep them from sticking together, especially post-shower. Wet lashes tend to clump together, so this step is crucial to keeping faux lashes neat and and tangle-free. At night, brush on a lash conditioner. I used Richardson's Luxuriating Lash Conditioner Serum ($75; enviouslashes.com) which hydrates lashes with Vitamin E.
4. Take it Easy: Do not try to go for extensions that are longer than what the stylist recommends. Your natural lashes can only support so much weight before they break off, so a pro reco is key.
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5. Do Not Pick: I can not stress this enough. As your lashes begin to grow out, you may begin to notice some wonky hairs going astray by week two. Do not pick at them as this can cause both the faux and natural lash to fall out. Instead, use your spoolie to brush strays into place and see your technician to fix any majorly errant hairs.