For years I considered myself a beauty minimalist, content with a swipe of mascara and maybe some blush for special occasions. However, after having two kids (and, let’s face it, growing older), I couldn’t help but notice how tired I always looked even despite my beloved mascara.
So I decided to venture out of my beauty comfort zone, trying serums, lotions, and facials. At one point I was even religiously massaging my face for 10 minutes every morning and evening, but I still looked tired.
I noticed, though, that a mom friend of mine always managed to look great no matter the situation. Whether first thing in the morning or after a sweaty workout, she was always glowing and fresh-faced. One day I took the plunge and asked her what her secret was to alway looking so good.
“Oh, it’s not a secret,” she said. “It’s lash extensions.”
And that’s how I went from beauty minimalist to lash extension evangelist, eager to spread the gospel of how to wake up looking rested and ready for the day the minute you roll out of bed.
What are lash extensions?
Lash extensions are applied by a professional using a semi-permanent glue to attach the extensions to your lashes—one on each lash. If applied properly, they’ll stay put through showering, working out, and most other situations.
You can tailor your extensions to fit the look you’re going for by selecting the length, volume, and amount of curl. Whether you’re hoping to look like a Kardashian or just a slightly more glamorous version of yourself, your lash technician will work with you to get the look just right.
Most importantly, lash extensions are safe (my own ophthalmologist wears them). While it’s possible to experience an allergic reaction to the glue, it’s very rare. If this happens, consult your eye doctor.
What happens at the first appointment?
Your first appointment will be the longest, since the lash technician has to apply a full set of lashes. It can take up to two hours, so get comfortable! Make sure you’ve thoroughly removed any eye makeup—it’s best if you can avoid wearing any for 24 hours before your appointment.
After consulting with your lash technician, you’ll spend the rest of the appointment lying down with your eyes closed. I usually fall right to sleep; once I even woke myself up snoring. This is why getting my lashes done has come to be one of my favorite appointments. I get to take a nap and wake up feeling beautiful!
Your lash technician will gently tape your bottom lashes down to your cheeks to shield them, then she’ll go to work affixing your lashes. It’s important to know you won’t be able to check your phone during the time your lash technician is working, and getting up in the middle of the process is complicated, so make sure you’re totally good to go before you begin (headphones to listen to music or a podcast, empty bladder, etc.).
How do I take care of them?
You should avoid excess humidity or getting your lashes wet for 24 hours after your appointment so the glue can completely dry. After that, you can and should gently wash them daily with a mild soap, then brush them out with the little brush your lash technician gives you.
Eye makeup is fine as long as you avoid oil-based makeup remover, which will break down the glue and cause your extensions to shed more quickly than normal. You’ll also want to avoid mascara, but with your new luscious eyelashes you won’t even need it. Beyond that, just try to avoid rubbing or touching your eyelashes as much as possible.
Lash extensions are a commitment in that you’ll need to schedule touch-up appointments every two to four weeks to replace any extensions that have shed. How often you’ll need to go depends on how frequently you shed, which differs from person to person and also according to the seasons (“spring shed” is apparently a thing). Touch-up appointments are shorter than your initial appointment and usually last around an hour.
How much do lash extensions cost?
With the recommended regular maintenance, lash extensions are undeniably a financial commitment. A new set can range from $120 to $300, depending on where you live and the style you’ve selected. Touch-ups range from $60 to $150, depending on frequency and style.
Are lash extensions worth it?
You’ll have to decide for yourself, of course, but here’s my take: Being a beauty minimalist, I struggled with the idea of the cost and maintenance commitment at first. But once I took the plunge, there was no going back. It’s hard to put a price on rolling out of bed looking and feeling gorgeous.