This post has been highly requested! I was surprised at how many people were curious about the process of having synthetic eyelashes adhered to each of your individual eyelashes one at a time…but hey– if you want to hear about my experience with eyelash extensions, you’ve come to the right place!
I first came across the concept of eyelash extensions when I was on an away rotation several months ago; one of the nurses that I was working with had the most epic eyelashes…with no visible “lash band” to give away that they were falsies. Being curious, and way too far down the beauty rabbit hole myself, I had to ask her what she had done to get them to look that way! She told me that they were extensions and that she hadn’t curled her eyelashes or worn mascara in almost a year. They looked so dramatic, yet natural and so I filed the idea of eyelash extensions away in the back of my brain for potential wedding day alternatives to falsies (because yes, about a year out I am totally already thinking about wedding makeup).
Flash forward to this February– I was finishing up a particularly hectic away rotation and had decided to get a nice spa pedicure before leaving for our cruise vacation the following week. This particular spa happened to be running a monthly special on a pedicure + “starter” eyelash extension combination…and so I went for it!
The lash technician first let me decide whether I wanted the “natural curl” lash or the “dramatic curl” lash– I picked dramatic…because ‘go big or go home’, right? Based on my fairly average-to-long natural lashes, she recommended synthetic lashes in a combination of 10, 12, and 14mm long. Not knowing any different, I told her to use her best judgement for a “glammed-up natural” kind of look. The process itself took almost three hours (!) of lying very still, which pretty quickly turned into nap time since I was coming off a 24-hour shift. Using lightly adhesive silicone patches, the technician pinned my lower lashes out of the way. Then, one at a time she separated out each individual lash and with medical-grade adhesive attached a single, pre-curled, synthetic lash to the natural lash base. Nothing about the actual application process was even remotely painful until the very end, when she had to use a small metal tool to “unstick” some lash adhesive from my lower lid area so that I could open my eyes. I later found out that this wasn’t really a typical part of the procedure.
When the tech had finished applying the lashes, she gave me a mirror so I could see her handiwork…and I was shocked. The lashes looked so long and curled that I felt like I looked way overdone…like some crazy kid out of that TLC show Toddlers and Tiaras (is that still on?). Not really knowing what else to do, I explained that it seemed like “a lot,” so she was able to trim some of the super long lashes down for me and insisted that they looked great. She discharged me with some quick instructions:
- No getting them submerged in water for 24 hours
- Avoid oils around the eyes, as well as any makeup remover with the ingredient “glycol” (these wipes were extension -afe and life-savers!)
- No mascara or eyelash curlers
- Have them “filled in” in 2-3 weeks
So I went on my cruise, and within a few days got used to seeing myself with intense lashes. The complements from strangers as well as the ease of not having to do anything for my lashes/not worrying about mascara running in the Bahamas was pretty awesome.
Three weeks from the day that I originally had the lash extensions applied, I had an engagement photo shoot scheduled. A few days before, my eyelashes had started to look a little wonky. Several had fallen out (a normal part of the process, they come out with the natural lash), so there were a couple small sparse spots. Others had inverted so that they curled in the opposite direction of the rest of my eyelashes. All things considered, they held up pretty well; surviving rides on a wave-runner in the ocean, swimming, and stomach sleeping. It wasn’t awful, but I figured that it might be worth getting them “filled in” at least once for the photos. After all, I has to try them out for the wedding!
Back in my hometown of Richmond, VA, I found a technician that was relatively local and had several positive reviews (shout out to The Wax Room). The touch up took a little under an hour, and there was no uncomfortable scraping involved like the first time around. I was pretty amazed at how incredible the lashes looked! She specialized in a style of extensions called “volume lashes,” where instead of applying one heavier lash onto each of my lashes, she applied groups of 2-3 lighter and thinner lashes per each lash. The result was much more natural looking, in my opinion– definitely what I plan on doing for the wedding. Here is the before and after:
Now, I am about two weeks out from the “touch up.” Overall, my eyelashes still look pretty good, with a few of the wonky lashes beginning to grow out. This time, I am going to let them finish falling out naturally. Supposedly, getting lash extensions isn’t harmful your natural eyelashes since they fall out with your natural lash cycle. However, I do think that they may be falling out at a faster rate than usual. I’ve picked up a bottle of castor oil to start applying to the lash line (when I am less worried about the integrity of the lashes) in a few days to help support the growth of my natural lashes. I will update back here if anything eventful happens during the fall/grow out process!
So…would I recommend them? Totally! It made getting ready in the morning super easy– no curler/mascara required, they look awesome in photography, and are pretty low-maintenance between fill ins. There are absolutely some downsides to consider though; the price (at or around $100 to have them placed by a reputable tech and ~$50 for touch ups), the restrictions with oil cleansing and makeup removers around the eye area, and the kind-of weird looking grow-out process.
Have any of you tried getting eyelash extensions before? What have your experiences been like? I’d love to know!
Here’s a bonus shot of the makeup I did for my engagement shoot!