The day I discovered you could glue fake hair to your eyelashes for a semi-permanent relationship, I threw my hands in the air and yelled, "where do I sign?!" Then, I set out to learn everything I could about them.
I first knew eyelash extensions (individual mink, silk, or synthetic lashes bonded to your natural lash with glue) were different from temporary strip or cluster lashes by researching the price point. The initial cost of eyelash extensions is in the hundreds. The application time is, on average, 150 minutes. They are pure heaven. I know this because I had them for a year straight. What I didn't know was that they were going to own me.
My sleep habits, skin care routine, and spending habits changed drastically. 365 days of lash extensions meant unanticipated sacrifices had to be made, not all of them during waking hours. My first lash technician advised that I sleep on my back or with my eyes off the pillow. That took some practice. In the mornings I had to comb them out with a spoolie brush and only apply eye makeup that is approved for the extensions. Right off the bat, I was told that my $2 liner would probably break down the bond and ruin my lashes.
Of course I tried applied it anyway, and the technician was right. If that isn't enough work, taking off my special makeup had to be done with lint free application wands and approved eye makeup remover.
I had to say goodbye to my expensive eye creams and allergy drops too as they also threatened to ruin my lashes. It sounds like a pain, but trust me, it's well worth it. I instantly felt prettier. My invisible doll lashes were replaced with the dark, long, and curled gorgeous lashes of my dreams. I didn't care that I had to take care of them.
The best part of having lash extensions is that I woke up every day needing minimal (and sometimes zero) makeup because my eyes were already so "done." Gone were the days of curling, priming, and applying layers of expensive mascara. I could still wear mascara if I wanted, (approved mascara of course) but I really didn't need it.
Who notices eyelashes? Everyone. I received more compliments on my makeup with eyelash extensions than I ever did with strip lashes or natural lashes. I also found they made my morning routine ten times easier. When your lashes are so glam, you really don't need makeup to run out and do things. For work I didn't need much more than foundation, blush, and brow pencil to look completely made up.
Then there's the dark side. It's twofold: maintenance and cost. Every two-to-three weeks, I needed to get a "fill" to maintain them. The average cost of a fill is $55, but if I waited too long it was higher. I could've stopped filling them at anytime and had what was remaining removed for a small fee, but once I was in it I couldn't let them go. So what was the grand total? I spent about $2000 for applications, gratuity, and approved makeup/tools in one year. Yes it was a large investment, and maybe even crazy, but I skipped other things to make it work. I found that if I didn't have daily Starbucks and bi-weekly manicures for that year, the cost was covered. It was worth every penny, caffeine withdrawal, and hangnail.
Throughout the year, I encountered the perils of not maintaining my lashes. I learned that if I didn't take the time to comb them in the morning, the chances of one lash in the inner corner turning into my eye while driving was likely. Not only is that a serious hazard, but it really freakin' hurts. It's not like getting a natural lash in your eye, it's blinding!
I had to see someone that is experienced and certified to fill and apply my lashes. I can't stress this enough: If you take the serious long-term extension plunge, find an experienced and safe technician. You know how there are those signs in nail salons that read "eyelash extensions for $35?" This usually means cluster lashes glued with nail glue. Do not fall into the trap! I've seen so many disasters up close of girls who have made this mistake.
I learned that if something seems too good to be true then it probably is, especially when it comes to lash extensions. I prefer technicians that use Xtreme Lash because I like the variety and quality of their lashes, plus your can use their website to find certified lash technicians in your area. I made a mistake once and once only when I got lashes for a "deal" while my technician was away. The entire service felt uncomfortable and I should have known something was wrong. It felt like the eye pad used to keep my bottom lashes taped down was sliding up into my eye. I had her adjust it a couple of times, but I still felt like something was irritating my eye. I didn't speak up and I ended up in the ER hours later with a scratched cornea. Turns out, she was new and not properly trained to apply them yet. I had to have what was left of my set taken off and was petrified to get them done again for years. No discount is worth going blind!
In hindsight, I had an overall great experience with eyelash extensions. The way they looked and made me feel outweighed the little annoyances and maintenance cost. When I took them off, it took time for my natural lashes to grow back in at full strength, but they eventually did. My lashes without extensions were a sad comparison to the year before but with enough mascara, it was possible to move on (even if only temporarily). I would absolutely get them again under these three stipulations:
1) Make sure they are actually eyelash extensions.
2) Make sure the technician is experienced and certified.
3) Be committed to care for them properly.
Have you had lash extensions? How much of this has rung true for you? Share your pictures and comments below!