The Easiest Way to Get Gorgeous Eyelashes

Doesn’t it seem like every celebrity is blessed with amazing eyelashes? Well, the truth is that most of them are wearing lash extensions (Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Oprah Winfrey — we’re looking at you). And these aren’t your over-the-counter falsies. Eyelash extensions are all the rage because they appear natural and stay on for up to 10 weeks. We wanted to see what all of the buzz was about, so we tested them out for ourselves. Here’s what you need to know.

Who are they for?

If you have very short, sparse or blonde lashes, semi-permanent eyelash extensions will do wonders. They darken, lengthen and create thickness better than any mascara. Extensions have an added curve that means no curling your lashes either. Extensions won’t harm your actual lashes and they are safe for contact-wearers.

Many women consider getting extensions for a special occasion like their wedding. They add drama and really vamp up your eyes. If you don’t have lashes, extensions won’t work because there is nothing for the false lash to adhere to.

How do they work? 

First, you’ll consult with your lash specialist regarding the type of lashes you want. At my recent visit to Glencoe’s Pascal Pour Elle SalonGia Namrod, who runs the lash studio at the salon, asked me if I was looking for something more natural or more dramatic. I also considered whether I wanted a full or a partial set. The lashes come in different sizes and materials, including synthetic, mink and silk. Your specialist will help you determine which is best for you. Mink is generally more expensive because it is lightest in weight.

The majority of lash salons only apply lashes to your top set of lashes. Ask your specialist to take a picture of your real lashes before and another picture after the extensions are applied so you can see the difference. Then, get comfy, because it’s time to take a little catnap. As you lie on your back, the specialist applies each false lash to the base of your real lash using a light adhesive. Your eyes will be closed the entire time. Depending on the number of lashes you have, the process takes anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes.

How long does it last and what maintenance is required?

Eyelash extensions cost between $100 and $350 depending on the studio. Over time, the lashes will fall out on their own just as your regular lashes would. If you love the look, you can continue to schedule appointments every three to four weeks to have lashes filled in where they have fallen out. These appointments are shorter, generally around 45 minutes.

You should not get your lashes wet for 24 hours after application. There is also no need to curl your lashes or wear mascara on top of your extensions.

In between appointments, you’ll want to use an oil-free eye-makeup remover. It’s also a good idea to use a high-quality lash sealer, which protects your extensions and helps them last longer. The place where you are having your lashes applied should sell this. A small brush (the kind they use at department stores to apply mascara) can be used daily to keep lashes separated. Your technician should have one that she can give to you.

If you are skeptical about extensions, start with a half set. You can always add more. If you decide you no longer want your extensions, you must have them removed by a professional. She will use a solution that will remove the glue from your eye and allow the extension to slide right off. This process takes about 20 minutes.

Where should you go?

Do your research! It’s important to make sure that the person applying your lashes is licensed. “When a specialist is not accredited, you run the risk of having lashes that are poorly applied or lashes that can be painful — which they shouldn’t be,” Namrod says. “Faux lashes are meant to feel like extensions of your real lashes.”

Are there any good alternatives?

If you don’t want to commit to a set of false lashes, consider a lash lift with your own lashes. Winnetka’s The 60s Beauty Lash offers the BL Lash Lift, a process that puts a semi-permanent curl in your natural lashes.

Places we trust for fabulous lashes:

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