I Permed My Eyelashes Because I Fear Nothing

But there's a catch!
Publish date:
June 24, 2016
perms, eyelash extensions, Lash Lift, Lash Perm, Sugarlash

If there's one part of my appearance I get all "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!" about, it's my lashes. They're... fine. Functional but lackluster — the low end of fine. They do not take kindly to coaxing from most mascaras; they bear all volumizing and lengthening formulas with begrudging gloopiness, like "I'll wear this mascara, I guess, but I'm not gonna be longer or more volumized — just covered in mascara."

I get it, you willful eyeball awnings, you don't want none of this. But I want it. I want it all — long, feathery, Bambi (yet not Bratz Doll-esque) lashes. For a while I was a staunch lash-growth serum user, until I started to get the heebie-jeebies with the fact that the serum I was using darkened my eyelids, and then I became paranoid as to their mysterious long-term effects. Nothing bad actually happened — I just got the feeling I should give it a break. So now I've been left with my usual stick-straight-downwards short lashes. Meh.

Having tried lash extensions before, I found the ones I got to be a bit much — the stripper heels of lash extensions, if you will (Caitlin agrees with me about this sentiment, having had a similar experience with lash extensions). They were so long and thick that they were actually sharp, like tiny curved needles. I felt them constantly blowing in the wind, and they tugged on my lashes when I washed my face. After they all shed, I was left slightly balder in the eyes than usual. So, I thought, Lash extensions: good in theory but maybe not for me! It's possible that I really should've just hand-picked the lashes with the technician rather than leave it up to her as to the interpretation of what "natural but slightly better" meant.

And then I caught wind of something called a "lash lift" offered by a company, Sugarlash, which is actually a lash-extension brand, educator and distributor, rather than a salon in and of itself (not unlike the Mane Addicts empire). Sugarlash focuses more on perfecting the technique and enhancing the capabilities of lash extensions and other such lash primpery, like lash perming (which is basically what the lash lift is).

My lashes post-curler are seriously 10x more to my liking. Something about the perkiness is like "Ah, that's better," without giving me a perma va-va-voom (vooming 24/7 gets tired fairly quickly for me). So I thought perming my lashes all curled and perky would be the perfect thing for me. I just needed to get over the fear of putting perming lotion right on top of my EYEBALLS. I've gotten my hair permed before and the fumes are more than a little vexing. I can't imagine the risk of having that near my eyes.

Courtney Buhler, Sugarlash's boss bish and #1 lash extension technician, explained to me that the perming solution is actually a thick cream, so it doesn't run into your eyes. A curved silicone eye pad is stuck over your eyelid with adhesive, serving as a shield, as well as a kind of road bump for your lashes to curve against as the perming cream is applied, giving it the lift and curl (there are a few different road-bump shapes depending on what kind of curl you're going for). It processes for less than 10 minutes and then the solution is carefully removed, leaving you with lovely, curled wide-awake lashes. The procedure was actually really comfortable, the weirdest part being how much protective tape and shield was placed over and under my eyes. It didn't even smell that toxic. Honestly, unless I straight-up opened up my peepers wide, it didn't feel like perming solution would've been likely to seep into my eyes.

But here's the catch: my lashes are SO short and SO fine, that they didn't quite take to the perm the way they were meant to. Some of the shorter lashes couldn't quite lay against the speed-bump's broad curve enough so the lift was less impressive and slightly uneven in parts.

Courtney was totally upfront about it before she took off all the eye shields. She offered to strategically place a few sneaky volume extensions to make the unevenly curled lashes less noticeable.

This part took way longer, since the volume lashes were so tiny. I took a snooze on the table, and when I awoke, I had the perfect naturally fancy lashes I had always hoped that lash extensions would do for me. Sure, they were noticeable (to me, because I see myself all the time) but probably wouldn't be too noticeable to others, which is kind of the point. They just happened to be perfectly fanned out and long.

I'm a bit disappointed that my little lashes couldn't reach their way to the perfect perma-curl, but I'm definitely interested in trying it out again if perhaps a speed-bump is made to fit super-short lashes. I have a cousin who gets lash perms and insists that I have to go to a lash place run by Asians because they get Asian lashes (not unlike Asian hair salons) which I'd be willing to try since someone I trust vouches that they won't burn my eyeballs.

I mean, either way, I love the way my lashes look now. What's cool is that the natural shedding of the extensions isn't as obvious since my natural lashes are curved and lifted, blending in with the remaining extensions. Not a bad game plan!

  • Would you try PERMING your lashes?
  • Do you feel that if you want to get something done right, you should go to your own ethnicity's place of service?