If you've ever wanted fuller, longer eyelashes you are not alone. Everyone from Beyoncé to your favorite Real Housewife has taken steps to get the lashes of their dreams. One of those steps is eyelash extensions. Extensions are a more permanent option that has the power to transform your face and make you throw away your falsies for good. However, if you're like me-meaning, on the crazy side-you'll have a few questions before a stranger glues a foreign object on your delicate lids.
Celebrity eyelash expert and Envious Lashes owner Clementina Richardson answered my most paranoid questions about eyelash extensions. Find out if the horror stories have any truth (can you go blind?!) and why you should never get extensions right before a bad breakup. Ahead, eyelash extension questions and answers for the most neurotic.
What are lash extensions?
Lash extensions are synthetic fibers that are attached to the natural lashes using medical grade adhesive. Lash extensions can come in a variety of sizes ranging from 6mm-18mm with a few curl width options. With proper placement, lash extensions can make the eyes appear wider and more lifted. With proper care, lash extensions should last up to six weeks before all the extensions shed.
Extensions shed! Will all my lashes fall out?
Your extensions will shed with your natural hair growth cycle which is typically every six to eight weeks. Refills are a great way to extend the life of your lashes and recommended every two to three weeks.
Will my natural lashes be damaged?
If you see a licensed and certified professional your natural lashes should not be harmed. Lash extensions alone will not ruin your lashes. Damage to the natural lashes is the result of improper application, or the stylist not selecting the correct type of lash for an existing natural lash. There are a few factors that contribute to this problem: Applying extensions that are too heavy for the natural lash will result in premature shedding, and rubbing your eyes will also result in immediate breakage. This is actually the worst thing you can do, so it's important to try to be as gentle as you can with your eyes.
Okay, I’m ready for my appointment. How can I prepare?
Richardson recommends not wearing mascara to your appointment or using any oil-based makeup products around the eyes. This will help the adhesive stick better and make the application process flow much smoother.
How long does the complete process take?
The initial appointment can take anywhere from one to two hours depending on the style and volume desired.
What about the horror stories? Can I go blind?
It is extremely crucial to not let the adhesive get in contact with the eye itself-this could cause blindness. However, in Richardson’s 11.5 years of lash experience this has never happened.
It is extremely rare since so little adhesive is being used. Make sure to always check to see if the technician is licensed and certified and do NOT go for the cheapest price!
It’s also recommended to avoid steam and wetting your lashes for the first 48 hours. You can of course wash your wash your face and take a shower, just make sure that no water touches your lashes.
Crying is the same as getting the lashes wet. Try to avoid it if at all possible. That means, avoid watching The Notebook.
Can I wear mascara with eyelash extensions?
One of the fabulous benefits of having eyelash extensions is that you no longer need mascara. Richardson doesn’t recommend mascara with lash extensions as it’s hard to remove and will cause the bond to break. If you must wear mascara, try to just wear it on your lower lashes and avoid waterproof mascaras.
Also, only use cleansers specifically formulated to be safe for eyelash extensions. Other products may contain ingredients that can weaken the bond of your lash extensions and cause them to shed prematurely! If you are making an investment in extensions in the first place, you surely don’t want to see them go to waste.
How often do you need to get lash extensions redone?
There is no need to get your lashes removed and redone. Natural lashes grow and shed with your natural hair cycle, so every time you go in for a fill, your lashes will differ for example fuller, longer or shorter. Refills however take more skill and expertise than a full set. The reason is because lashes are grown and have shed from different areas of the lid. It’s difficult if you do not have a trained eye to create symmetry to create the look of the initial set. Removing and replacing overgrown lashes and creating a balance is extremely important.
Refills are recommended every two to three weeks to keep your lashes looking lush and full. Conditioning serums are great for lash wearers to use in between appointments.
And a few final takeaways from a celebrity eyelash extension expert...
Just like you are with your blowouts, be gentle with your lashes. Apply a protective coating 48 hours after service from base to tip and use a silk or satin pillowcase as cotton can cause drying and/or snagging.
Never EVER use a mechanical eyelash curler. If your extensions are starting to fall use a heated eyelash curler to gently lift them. Richardson says Mary J Blige apparently has one always stashed in her makeup bag and never travels without it!
Avoid touching the extensions and applying cream based liners on your top lid. Tight lining while wearing lash extensions should also be avoided. This disrupts the base of the extensions where the strength of the bond is most critical. Use a protective coating after the second day. This product acts like that topcoat to nail polish. It coats the adhesive area protecting it from dirt oil and makeup. Richardson finds that her clients that use this have a much better hold when they return for their fill.
Now that you've got all the basics down, know that lash extensions are not as high maintenance as people think. If you’re a first time wearer, these may seem a little overwhelming on day one, but you will get used to it after one week and be batting those full lashes in no time.
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