My eyelashes are naturally super-short and super-straight. If it weren’t for mascara and lash curlers, I don’t think I would ever leave my house (without a pair of sunglasses, at least).
That said, the whole mascara and curling process can take a lot more time and effort than you’d think—definitely more than I’d like to spend in the mornings, anyway. #firstworldproblems, much?
But thanks to the beauty world and its ability to come up with solutions to every beauty woe, we short-/straight-lashed gals need never complain about our less-than-ideal lashes again. With lash extensions becoming more popular, you can wake up with pretty lashes every day (without having to do anything to them, YAY!).
I recently got some lash extensions myself after visiting Good Gosh Beauty (goodgoshbeauty.com) in Toronto and now I understand why they’re becoming, like, the new black. Eyelash-wise, I went from Tilda Swinton...
to Mila Kunis...
Yeah, it was that serious.
Since it was my first time having the procedure done, I definitely had a lot of newb questions regarding the application and after-care process. The lovely Lauren Kurtz of GGB did an amazing job at application and she was kind enough to answer. Here's how it all goes down:
Lash extensions 101
WHAT ARE THEY? Lash extensions extend the length of your lashes (duh) to make them look longer, thicker and fuller. Depending on the look you want, you can have anywhere between 30 to 80 lashes applied (I think I had around 45 to 50 put in). Each individual lash hair is carefully glued to your own natural eyelash using a special lash bonding adhesive. (Many places use real mink hair for the eyelashes, but GGB uses synthetic—Lauren says they retain their shape better and won’t cause an allergic reaction.)
HOW LONG DOES THE PROCESS TAKE? About 1.5 to 2 hours.
THEN WHAT HAPPENS? It takes about 24 to 48 hours for the adhesive to fully set, so your eyes can’t have any contact with water for that period of time. Washing your eyes/swimming/crying is a HUGE no-no for a couple of days and yes, I know it sounds impossible, but Lauren provides an aftercare kit which actually includes a pair of goggles so you can wash your face/shower/all that good stuff without getting them wet. I swear that will probably be the hardest part of the lash extension process. Once the glue completely sets, you can do whatever you please with your new babies (minus using a lash curler, but you wouldn’t need to anyway—seriously!).
HOW LONG DO THEY LAST? I think the best part about lash extensions is that they last about four to six weeks depending on how well you take care of them. You’ll find they’ll start to fall out after 2.5 weeks due to your natural lash cycle—but of course you can always get them re-done to keep your lashes looking nice and lush. Mine lasted about four weeks before falling out. If you can avoid sleeping on your face and scrubbing or touching your eyes often, they’ll last a bit longer (I have a tendency to sleep on the left side of my face so the lashes started to fall out a lot quicker on that side than the other, ha!).
ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS? I was a bit skeptical of lash extensions at first because I didn’t know if there would be any side effects—and by side effects, I mean having all of my lashes fall out. Eeks! Could you blame me? I didn’t want to go from having barely any lashes to beautiful ones to none at all! For those who have the same irrational fears, no worries—this won't happen, except maybe you'll experience lush-lash withdrawal later on when they come out!
Still not sold? Here are a couple of sweet alternatives:
If you’d rather grow your lashes naturally (sort of), try looking into Latisse. It's a topical medication that you apply to the base of your lashes just like eyeliner to help them grow in longer and thicker. Results take about six weeks to take full effect, but aren’t permanent (if you stop using it, they’ll go back to normal), and you’ll need a prescription from your doctor. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Have I mentioned I'm a diehard Latisse convert? DIEHARD. I was scared at first, but my derm reassured me that unless you're putting the stuff IN YOUR EYES—which you won't (duh)—there's virtually no way it'll turn your blue eyes brown. Although I haven't noticed any difference in thickness, it does made my lashes super-long. But not in a crazy fake-looking way. I get compliments on them all the time!]
Peptalash from Indeed Labs is the newest over-the-counter eyelash serum on the market, and as the name suggests it uses a combo of three peptides to encourage natural lash growth. Results won't be as dramatic as with Latisse, but it's still worth checking out (I haven’t tried it out myself, but the reviews are promising!). There are tons of other over-the-counter options out there, of course. Just remember that compliance, i.e. daily application, is key!
UPDATE: I didn't get a chance to take any nice before-and-after photos of my lashes right after the procedure (I know, I know... I was too busy enjoying my lashes, okay?) but here are a couple I found on my phone.
This is what my lashes (or lack thereof, really) looked like before:
Pretty big difference, huh? (I'm not wearing any makeup in either so please disregard my eye bags, eek!)
Jasmine Kabiling is a Toronto-based journalism student. Follow her on Twitter: @orjasmic_.
Ever tried eyelash extensions?
What about Latisse?
Have any over-the-counter alternatives worked to give you lusher lashes?