Everything you need to know about eyelash extensions

I am a sucker for anything beauty-related. If you name a gimmicky product or weird trend, I’ve probably tried it. Lighted mask to help acne? Done it. Fruit acid that peels dead skin off your feet? Tried it. When I heard about eyelash extensions, I knew it was something I had to try.

I wavered back and forth about getting eyelash extensions for a looong time. I already spent enough money on beauty-products (I’m Platinum and Rogue at Ulta and Sephora, respectively, if that gives you any idea how much we’re talking) and I didn’t know if I wanted to invest the time and money into the upkeep.

Spoiler alert! I went for it. I probably wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t personally know someone who had them. Unfortunately, my coworker had them and they were gorgeous and I couldn’t resist.

THE EMPEROR’S NEW EYELASHES

When I finally bit the bullet and got eyelash extensions I decided to go to a different salon than my friend. Why? Well, because I was hoping that I would be able to convince them to let me manage their social media in exchange for free services. (No rest for the wicked, am I right?) I don’t want to say that I regret that, but I absolutely do.

I paid an exorbitant amount of money for my initial set of lashes. I don’t remember exactly, and I’m too lazy to go through my credit card statements from last July to check, but I’ll air on the conservative side and say it was $200. Expensive, I know, but I had just finished house sitting and used the money I made doing that to pay for them so, it didn’t technically affect my bank account (sidenote: if you need to find a way to justify spending money on dumb shit, just hit me up. I’ve got tons of them).

Money aside, the actual experience wasn’t pleasant either. Before starting, I told the lash artist that I was a little nervous and asked her if she could explain the process to me as she went. I mean, the idea of laying on a table with your eyes taped shut for 2 hours is kind of daunting. Instead of explaining what she was doing, or even talking to me at all, we sat in silence for 120 minutes. By the end, I felt like Jessica Alba in the movie “Awake.” You know, the one where she wakes up during surgery but she can’t move or speak. I hated it.

I would have been able to overlook the bad customer service and crazy prices if I had left the salon with some bomb eyelashes. But I didn’t. When she gave me the mirror I was extremely confused as to what she had been doing for the last 2 hours. My eyelashes looked, basically, the same. I could had saved $200 and 2 hours of my time by swiping on a single coat of mascara. When I expressed my confusion, she told me that a) she couldn’t use the volume lashes I wanted on an initial set and b) you don’t really see dramatic results right away. You have to gradually build them up for the desired effect.

eyelash fail

This is a completely unretouched photo of what my eyelashes looked like *after* my initial appointment at “the other” salon. 

Despite feeling a little slighted, before I left I booked an appointment for a fill with the same lash artist. When I came back two weeks later for my fill, I again expressed that I wanted the volume lashes and she told me she could start putting them on this time, but only a few—and volume lash fills had an additional charge. Seeing that was a certified NovaLash lash artist, I trusted her. After my 60 minute fill, she handed me the mirror and, again, I felt like I was being tricked. My lashes looked essentially the same. I had now spent upwards of $300 on lash extensions and I was still putting mascara on every day.

I went back for one last fill, and this time I was told that we were *finally* switching to exclusively volume lashes. 60 minutes later, she pulled the tape off my eyes and I expected to be deafened by the volume of my lashes and instead it was the same old shit.

NEW SALON, WHO DIS?

After telling my friend Andrea (of Blonde Bedhead) how much I was paying for lash extensions and seeing what they looked like, she told me I needed to go to The Standard.Hair.Lash.Brow. I followed her advice and I never looked back.

IMG_2324_Facetune_24-05-2018-14-45-09.jpg

My first appointment was with Desiree, and, as she did my lashes, I explained my whole lash drama to her. Basically, everything I had been being told wasn’t true. You *should* see immediate results, you *can* use volume lashes on an initial set and—here’s the kicker—I didn’t have a single volume lash. I was paying the “volume lash” fill price—$80 for a 60 minute lash fill— and not even getting volume lashes. I was pissed. I considered posting a review on Facebook to out the salon and deter people from going there because I think they suck and are unethical, or even filing a complaint with the BBB, but when Desiree handed me the mirror and I saw my beautiful volume lashes, I decided it wasn’t even worth my time.

After nearly two months of paying out the ass for nothing, I *finally* had the eyelashes I wanted.

I have now been going to The Standard for almost a year and I can’t say enough good things about it. I switch back and forth between seeing Sarah and Desiree (based on their availaibilty) and could not say better things about either onel. They’re both super sweet girls and they’re both amazing at what they do.

LIFE CHANGING

Now that I have real eyelash extensions I can’t imagine going back to life without them. Even with no makeup on, or I’ve just rolled out of bed, I still look somewhat put together thanks to my long, voluminous eyelashes.  

It does also cut down on the amount of time I spend getting ready and the makeup I wear on a daily basis. I used to always wear both mascara and eyeliner, and since getting lash extensions, I have stopped using eyeliner altogether. I do typically still swipe on a quick coat of mascara, because sometimes my eyeshadow falls on my lashes and makes them look dusty. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

I know that some people think eyelash extensions are over the top or unnecessary—and they are—but I love them. People sometimes scoff at the cost, but it all boils down on what you want to spend your money on. I would gladly give up eating out or going to bars if it means having gorg lashes. And anyway, I can’t hear those people above the volume of my lashes.

Carrie Bradshaw said she liked her money to be where she could see it—in her closet. I live by the same adage, except I like my money to sit on my face. *shrug*

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Here are my pro tips for anyone considering taking the plunge: 

1. Go to a reputable salon

Like many people my age, I don’t do anything/buy anything without researching it online in some capacity. The best case scenario is personally talking to someone who has gotten eyelash extensions from the salon you’re interested in (like I did), but sometimes that isn’t possible. In that case, I would very much recommend checking out Facebook and Yelp! reviews before deciding on a salon. And yes, I said salon. These are your eyes! Don’t trust a friend of a friend who does them in the back room of a tanning salon. Do your homework!

2. Know what you want

I, personally, wanted extremely long, thick, over-the-top eyelashes because of who I am as a person, but not all eyelash extensions have to be dramatic. Even if you just want a subtle, your-eyelashes-but-better look, there is an eyelash extension for you. Communicate with your lash artist about what you want the end result to look like, and look at their portfolio before committing

3. Save your money

Once you’ve committed to eyelash extensions and found a reputable salon with a lash artist who is well-versed in the style of extension that you want, you’re going to need to fork over some cold hard cash before getting those long, fluffy lashes.

Good extensions and good customer service aren’t cheap. If you want to save money and you trust your friends, sisters, cousin who is using gorilla glue and strip lashes in a back alley than be my guest. But don’t say I didn’t tell you so when you lose an eye or something.

All jokes aside, like anything in life, you get what you pay for. Eyelash extensions are not an exception. Be prepared to pay around $150-250 for an initial set (depending on where you live and what salon you choose to go to) and then around $50-$70 for fills every two to three weeks. Being glamorous is expensive, y’all.

4. Brace yourself for the initial appointment

The most important thing to mention about the initial appointment is that you’ll want to go fresh faced, sans makeup. For best results, and best retention, you don’t want anything to interfere with the glue and keep the lash from adhering properly.

Another heads up: the initial appointment feels ridiculously long because (I assume) you’re probably not used to laying on a table with your eyes taped shut for 90 minutes. Make sure you’re prepared for this. By that, I mean make sure you’ve eaten before your appointment and, most importantly, that you’ve used the bathroom. Nothing is worse than being in the middle of a lash appointment and feeling the sudden and overwhelming urge to pee.

5. Take care of them

Once you have lashes, you’ll want to make sure that you’re caring for them properly. Not only does proper care make your eyelash extensions last longer, it also ensures that your natural lashes are staying healthy, too. I mean, If we’re being honest, I put more effort into brushing my eyelashes than I do brushing my hair. Pro tip: always take the extra spooly! Even if the one you’re using is in good condition, say yes to another! I get a new one after everyone appointment and now I have designated spoolies for my apartment, my office, my car, my parents house, etc. You never know when you’re going to need one.

6. Be prepared to change your routine

That’s right—your routine will change. But in the best way possible. Mascara? Don’t need it. Makeup remover and cotton rounds? Nope. Eyelash curler? Throw the whole thing away.

The glory of eyelash extensions is that you don’t have to do anything with them. You wake up and look amazing. Sure, there is some very minimal upkeep (i.e., you have to brush them once a day), but in exchange you have the eyelashes of  a goddess, so, I think it’s worth it.

The one area of my routine, other than makeup, that has noticeably changed is my skincare routine. Before eyelash extensions, I used to use micellar water and cotton rounds to remove my makeup. I can’t do that anymore, thanks to the fibers getting caught in my lashes and irritating the hell out of my eyes. Instead, I use the Clinique Take the Day Off balm and it works amazing.  

Additionally, I’ve changed the way I wash my face. Before I used to kind of haphazardly scrub my face, including my eyes/eyelashes, and now I’m a little more careful. Two incredibly minor things, but worth mentioning.  

TL;DR

Now that I’ve found a salon and lash artists that I love, I am so glad I made the decision to get eyelash extensions and will continue to get them for the foreseeable future. Learn from my mistakes! Follow my advice, do your homework and you’ll end up with a set of lashes that you love.

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