a first-hand, beginner's experience with lash extensions
I’ll preface this blog post with this – I struggle to even apply concealer in the mornings. It’s not that I’m not good with make-up or don’t like wearing make-up, it’s just that I don’t see the necessity of wearing it every day and, if I’m being honest, I’m not exactly the happiest camper before 7:00AM when I’m typically getting ready.
So, naturally, I’ve always been intrigued by lash extensions. As someone with stubby, straight, and light-coloured eyelashes who cringes at the sight of a lash curler and tube of mascara, the idea of rolling out of bed without batting an eye (literally) in the mirror was appealing. But, I had also heard a lot about lash extensions that turned me off – they’re expensive, difficult to maintain, etc. etc. Keep reading!
What struck me when starting Primped was how many other women were thinking the same thing. They had heard good things but found it difficult to demystify the process and get all the facts on getting lash extensions and almost all of them had the same questions I did. Cue, the idea to write a blog post. I focused on 5 key areas, but you may well have other questions and concerns. If that’s the case, shoot ya girls at Primped an email and we’d be happy to answer any and all questions.
concern #1 – there’s too many options.
Classic set, hybrid set, volume set. When I finally committed to booking my lashes and was presented with the booking options, I was already in trouble. I had literally no idea what the difference was between these sets, all I knew was that I didn’t want to look like Jennifer Love Hewitt circa 2012. Even when I had figured out what set was right for me, I then had to decide what length I wanted. It felt like too many options and I was definitely overwhelmed. But, rest assured, it’s not that complicated.
Selecting your set:
The difference between the set types above refers to how many lashes are being applied. Simply put, as you move from classic to hybrid to volume, more lashes are used to achieve a progressively fuller look. The below pics progress from natural to classic set to volume set so you see what I mean. Hybrid is simply a blend between classic and volume.
Selecting your length:
Sizes range according to millimeter lengths (i.e. 10, 11, 12, etc.). Given I was a newbie (I.e. I needed lash extension training wheels), my lash tech used a mixture of 10, 11, 12 to achieve a very natural look. The higher you go, the more dramatic the look. Simple as that!
concern #2: knowing what to expect.
True story: I did not know the difference between lash extensions and the false lashes you buy at say, MAC, until about a year ago. Even more ambiguous to me was the format and length of the appointment. Naturally, I had a number of questions for our lash tech before the appointment even started. I’ve listed them all below. Click to expand the answers.
how long is the appointment?
The appointment lasts 1.5-2 hours depending on the set you select.
do I sit? stand? hang upside down?
You will lay down. Some of our lash techs will bring a massage style bed for you while others will do it right on your couch.
what do I need to do to prepare?
You should have no eye make-up on, so removing make-up before the appointment is vital. Other than that, there isn’t much to do besides make sure you have a chair for your lash tech and good lighting as well as a small table (end tables work well) for her few tools.
how are the lash extensions actually applied?
One-by-one with a glue that can sometimes cause your eyes to turn red immediately after the appointment, but that redness fades after a couple of hours. Your lash tech will gently tape your lower lashes to your skin to prevent the glue from sticking them to your upper lashes. This may still happen, but your lash tech will painlessly separate your lash lines, so have no fear!
how long do the lashes last?
Three to four weeks if you take care of them. Keep reading for details on this!
does it hurt?
No. Your eyes may get watery and slightly red but there is absolutely no pain. They also may flicker a little bit at the beginning as they adjust to being taped, but that reflex quickly fades.
what are refills all about?
You can have re-fills applied at the 2-4 week mark when you notice your lash extensions are thinning. This allows some continuity in your look vs. waiting for them to fall out and becoming patchy. Refills are less expensive than a full lash set application.
concern #3 – entertaining myself.
So, the appointment takes 1.5-2 hours. “No problem I can definitely entertain myself”, I thought. “After all, I sit for longer than that at a hair appointment”, I thought. Correct, except I entertain myself at the hair appointment by reading, texting, chatting on the phone, etc. all of which are impossible when lying down on a bed with your eyes closed. Tip: You shouldn’t speak much during the appointment. Speaking tugs at your eyes and opens them slightly, which allows fumes from the glue to enter your eye and cause redness. Even more concerning to me was my reflex to fall into a state of sleep border-lining unconsciousness the second I stop moving. How embarrassing would it be to have to be shaken awake by your lash tech…
Killing time for 1.5-2 hours was probably my single biggest concern going into the appointment. The simplest route, and the route that I chose, was to fight the urge to have to “kill time” at all and just sit back and relax. For those of you who don’t see that as an option, I’ve don’t a bit of research for you and come up with the following activities. Click to expand the suggestion.
option 1: audiobooks
There are plenty of audiobooks out there that you can download and listen to. I like to use audible.ca. Side note: Audiobooks are also great for commuting if you get motion sickness and can’t read en route.
option 2: podcasts
I’ve tried to supply a few options for ladies with varying interests but would love any of your recommendations for my next go-around.
For the business minded – aka my choice – Business Wars or How I Built This
For the sports fanatic – Jay & Dan
For the science nerd (and more) – Stuff You Should Know
For the fashion and beauty lover – Fat Mascara
option 3: just listen to a TV show.
Listening to a show allows you to process almost as much of the plot as watching it… Ground-breaking…
concern #4: the cost becoming too much and maintenance being too time consuming
I was a little bit worried about the cost of lash extensions and how to maintain them. The first game-changer for me (don’t laugh) was realizing that you don’t actually need to get them removed professionally - they simply fall out after a certain number of weeks. Unlike that pesky shellac that looks horrible near the end of its life, lashes will naturally fall out one-by-one by about the third or fourth week, so there is no removal cost or time commitment at the end.
As far as maintenance, there really is none. Your lash tech will give you a small brush that you should use to gently brush your lashes daily – that’s about it. You should avoid touching your lash line all together, including when you wash your face and dry it. Tip: Rub the lids of your eye when they are itchy instead of the lash line – same relief but much better for your lash extensions. You should also avoid sleeping in a way that buries your eyes into your pillow – sounds ridiculous but it’s a difficult feat if you’re a side/tummy sleeper like I am or you like wearing a sleep mask like I do. I promise, though, you’ll adjust! All these tips are meant to help your lash extensions last longer, so you get more bang for your buck.
concern #5: the lash extensions requiring a complete change to my skincare and make-up routine
There a few key things you should switch up with respect to your make-up and skincare routine to help your lashes last longer. Number one, skip the mascara. You simply will not need it anymore and applying mascara tugs at the lash line, which can cause lashes to fall out prematurely. As someone with very blond lashes, I doubted I could go no-mascara but was pleasantly surprised when I found out I could. For make-up and skin care, you’ll need to opt for oil free products, as oil can break the bonds in the glue holding the lashes in place. This was simple for me – I avoid oil at all costs as it wreaks havoc on my skin, but for some prospective customers (particularly those dropping bills on face oils) this could be a big make-or-break!
I will absolutely be getting lash extensions again. It took an initial adjustment period (I will admit, I did find them annoying at first as I got used to them) but the fact that I could wake up and already look like I was wearing make-up was a real time saver. I’ll likely give myself a break in between the lashes falling out and scheduling an appointment (I probably won’t be a refill kinda girl) and I’m more likely to get them applied at a busier time of year when I’m out and about more, such as Christmas/NYE, or when I have a series of big events planned, such as a friend’s wedding.
Hope this helps all my fellow ladies out there considering to-lash or not-to-lash…