Once associated with celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, lash extensions are now appearing on spa menus with mani/pedis and waxing—and salons specializing in lashes are popping up. Individually glued to each one of your existing upper eyelashes with a cyanoacrylate-based glue, which is similar to a surgical adhesive, extensions add length and fullness to your lashes, minimizing the need to apply makeup. Old-fashioned false eyelashes have met their match. “Lash extensions shouldn’t look fake.”
So who can wear them? As long as your own lashes are at least three millimetres long, you can get extensions.
Most lashes are synthetic mink made of polyester. You can get authentic mink that is harvested by brushing the animal; this looks and feels the most natural, but it is also the most expensive and doesn’t last as long as synthetic. “Polish” lashes, named for their black shine, are the least natural looking.
Process: You should be lying down, with pads placed over your lower lashes, eyes closed. Using fine tweezers, the technician dips a fake eyelash in adhesive and then applies it to a natural lash, one millimetre above the root of your lash. A full set for both eyes’ upper lashes takes about an hour. For best results, lashes should be applied individually.
Safety: Some people might be allergic to the glue, which can cause redness and swelling. And if not applied properly, there’s a risk your eyelids could get stuck together.
Results: You should be able to comb through your lashes with a clean mascara wand. And you shouldn’t be able to feel them. “I’ve seen them at the skin of the eyelid, digging in,” which is painful. If that happens, have the extensions removed.
Upkeep: Extensions can last a month; they simply fall out when your natural lashes do. Oils from makeup will shorten the life of the glue bond, as will rubbing, which might pull off your natural lashes, too. You don’t need to curl them or even wear mascara, but if you want mascara, apply a water-based one to the tips only (don’t use waterproof). Use water- or gel-based cleansers and a sponge-tip applicator or lint-free cloth to remove makeup around the eye. You can also use a baby wash to keep your lashes clean. Keep lashes dry after application—no sweat-inducing exercise for the first 24 hours, and avoid swimming, and saunas, for the first 48 hours.