You can't throw a pebble at a red carpet event, reality show or mascara commercial without hitting a pair of false lashes. Eva Longoria doesn't appear to leave the house without 'em, Ashley Greene slays with hers and Alicia Keys heads to the Shu Uemura Tokyo Lash Bar at Barney's New York for her fix.
Semi-permanent lash extensions have been growing in popularity since the United States imported the concept from Asia several years ago, so this week I'm reporting with my own faux lash experience.
At the salon, I opted for mink lashes in a medium length (I've had the long ones before; they're Halloween-esque) and requested that extra lashes be applied to achieve additional volume and length. These upgrades increased the rate from $135 to just over $200.
My lash expert led me to a private room where I lay on a spa bed as she applied tape to my lower lashes; this keeps the glue on the extensions from adhering to lower lashes. Next, the technician applied individual lashes to my upper lash line using tweezers; the fake lashes were bonded to my real lashes using surgical glue.
The technician alternated from one eye to the other to give the glue used on each eye a chance to dry during application. After about 40 minutes, my lashes were done. (Disclaimer: The woman I go to is a true extension expert; many salons will tell you extensions take up to two hours to apply.)
I checked out my new lashes and found longer, fuller and totally natural-looking lashes batting back at me. My husband didn't notice the change, per se, but he did ask if I was taking "pretty pills." Mission accomplished.
Built to lash
Unlike classic extensions, semi-permanent lashes are said to last up to several months. Ask anyone who has actually had them, including me, and they'll divulge that several weeks are more accurate. After a few weeks, the extensions begin to fall out and a touchup is needed. So in order to keep a lush look, expect to go in every few weeks for significantly less expensive touchups (think $50).
To help lashes last, be sure to skip hot showers for 48 hours post-extensions and forgo mascara altogether. (You won't miss it.)
While there are water-based brands of mascara that can be used on lash extensions, once you apply a coat of mascara to your lashes it can't be removed without the risk of encouraging some of the faux lashes to fall out. This means that if you apply a coat of mascara today, you're stuck with that same coat of mascara for the next few weeks. Not pretty.
Faux lash dos and don'ts
Do use a heated eyelash curler (not a mechanical one) to refresh extensions that have begun to droop after several weeks.
Don't use mascara or, if you must, opt for water-based mascara such as Max 2 Special Mascara Gold, and apply from mid-lash to tip, avoiding the root.
Don't rub your eyes.
Don't use oil-based products around the eyes, including makeup remover and eye cream.
Do feign ignorance, as in, "No, nothing has changed about me; just trying out new mascara."
— Carolyn Brundage is the founder of tampabay.prettycity.com, a guide to all that is hip and happening in local beauty. Need beauty advice? E-mail her at email@example.com.