Size Does Matter: My Lash Extension Lesson

I love doing my makeup. I find it relaxing. I’m not good at art, but I can color in my own face with some level of success. The reward points on my Ulta card are worth bragging about. Sephora? Don’t get me started. I’ll usually try a new look right before bed (just in case I mess it up so badly I can’t be seen in public for a few hours.) I can easily lose hours down a rabbit hole of YouTube tutorials and transformations. However, when it comes to getting ready for work in the morning, I want that process to take as little time as possible.

Waking up at 5:00am in order to work on the perfect daytime smoky eye only to have it melt off of me in the Florida humidity makes me feel like Sisyphus. I still want to look nice and professional, but I also want to sleep. It’s a dilemma that led me to consider lash extensions.

Lash extensions might be the answer I have been looking for. The idea is you get individual false lashes glued to your real lashes one by one. What you end up with is a made-up look, without the having to apply make-up part. Ideal!

I didn’t enter into this decision lightly, though. Semi-permanent? Near my eye? That seems like something I want to understand before jumping into it.

I decided to go to a chain called Amazing Lash. Lash extensions are all they do. They offer a deal if you are a first time client, and a membership option if you wish to become a regular. I went by to ask them a few questions and pick up some literature on the process. I read about lash extensions online and did some research. Ultimately, I decided to make an appointment.

On the day of my appointment, I had to fill out an intake form just like when you go to the doctors. It asked me about any medical conditions, allergies, etc. They also had me sign a waiver. All of this was to make sure that if I had a severe allergic reaction to one of the ingredients in the cosmetic products they use or the adhesive in the lash glue, that I knew I was responsible and not them. My thought? It’s awfully hard to point fingers at anyone when your eyelids are glued shut. How are you going to find them? J’accuse!

I wasn’t too worried. I don’t have any cosmetic allergies that I’m aware of and I have never heard of “Death by Eyelash.”

After the business part was set, I was asked to wash my eyelashes. (Not the strangest thing I have ever been asked to do.) I went back into a bathroom and was faced with hand soap and eyelash soap. These are apparently two separate things.

I have since learned that the oils our skin naturally produces can affect the glue used to place the lashes. The cleaner your natural lids and lashes are before your application, the better chance you have of the lashes lasting a long time. This wasn’t an inexpensive experiment and I wanted them to last, so I picked up the lash soap and set to work.

When I was finished, I walked back towards the lobby to wait until it was my turn. My stylist called me back shortly thereafter, and led me down a long hallway to her room. It was stark and all white. One poster hung on the wall showcasing the four different shaping options your eyelash extensions can take. One with more length in the middle, one with more length towards the edges, one with even length throughout and a fourth option whose marketing was ambiguous. There was a cushioned table for me to lay on, complete with a blanket and a wedge pillow for my knees and a small work area and chair for the stylist.

We had a brief discussion about the shape of my eye and what look she thought would be the most flattering on me. She’s the expert eyelash-er, here, so I wanted her opinion. We decided on the option with all-over length and she got to work.

Visually, it would be difficult for me to describe what happened here, as my eyes were closed for the next hour. However, there was music playing in the background.

I was a little nervous at first. I didn’t know what to expect. I was worried that it would be uncomfortable physically or emotionally having someone doing things to my eyes since that is such a sensitive area of the body. You could feel very vulnerable being in a room with a stranger and unable to open your eyes for an hour to an hour and a half. Luckily, after a few minutes, I started to relax. (Probably nice for the stylist since when I’m nervous I tend to talk a lot. She was polite about it.)

Nothing hurt. I spent the whole time being curious about what was happening. I imagined what the sensations were across my face. I tried to decide if I would be in the way if I reached up to scratch my nose. The more I thought about it, the itchier it got. Eventually, I waited for an opportunity and I went for it.

I listened to the sounds happening in the room. I wondered what my lashes were going to look like and if I was going to be happy with them. An hour passed in no time. I almost fell asleep. I guess many people do. I can see it. It really is a bit like meditation to have to sit still with your eyes closed for a long time like that. I can’t think of anywhere else I do this in my life.

When I opened my eyes and looked at the results? I was thrilled! They were beautiful.

I was given some instructions on how to care for them. Don’t get them wet for the next two days. This includes sweating at the gym (Perfect! An excuse!) Don’t feed them after midnight. Try not to rub them or sleep on them. Wash your lashes every day after the glue has set for that first 48 hours. Makeup with oils in it will make the glue release, just like the excess oil in our skin will. The better you care for them, the longer they will last.

On average, they will last 2-4 weeks for most people before needing a fill. You can get a month to a month and a half if you aren’t getting a fill but you will need a full set. The first time or so you get them, they tend to fall out faster than the next. The reason for this I have been told is that your lashes aren’t used to the extensions. I believe it is that YOU are not used to the extensions.

They do require a bit of getting used to. For example, I found that when I had them, I started keeping a baseball cap in my car in case it rained so I’d be prepared to keep my lashes dry if needed. I also usually had one side that would get gaps in them before the other. Turns out it was because I usually sleep on my side and those lashes would end up buried in my pillow so they’d fall out faster.

Losing a few lashes here and there is normal. Your regular lashes fall out, too. These will stay for the length of your regular lash cycle and will fall out with your natural lash with good care. The other reason they fall out is that the glue stops adhering due to oil or a lot of rubbing.

I loved having my lashes. They looked pretty and I felt great with them. I started singing their praises to anyone who would listen. I got so many compliments! I could sleep in. I stopped wearing makeup altogether. Other than maybe keeping a hat around, I stopped thinking about the rain, humidity, going swimming, crying, and taking showers, anything that would have turned me into a raccoon before. Now I could do all of that stuff and still look cute!

I went back to Amazing Lash more than once. Each time, I asked for more and more dramatic lashes. “Make them longer.” “Can I get them longer, still?” “What about the 6D lashes?” Eventually, I did end up going too far.

I got to a point where they were so thick and dramatic, they clearly looked fake. For a full make-up look (picture a drag queen) they would have been fine but for leaving the house during the day…let’s just say they were still getting me plenty of attention.

The length was also bothering me. I wear glasses and now, when I blinked, they were hitting my lenses. That got irritating to my eyelid, interfered with my vision, and I was having to clean my glasses multiple times a day.

So, I called Amazing Lash. They have a lash removal option. However, they did not have any appointments available. They suggested removing the lashes myself at home using coconut oil. Let my lashes soak for five minutes and they should slide right off.

That didn’t work. Well, maybe five more minutes? I tugged. Ouch! Nope. I worked on pulling off these extensions for about two hours. I wasn’t careful. I wasn’t gentle. I damaged my lashes by pulling about half of them out using brute force.

Thankfully, when applying extensions they don’t adhere an extension to every single natural lash, only to a percentage. Regardless, my natural lashes were a mess. I decided it was time for a break from lash extensions in order to give my lashes a chance to regrow.

It has been a few months and they are all back to a normal, healthy length. I learned my lesson. Everything good in moderation. I would likely get lash extensions again, but I would not get the 6D ones. I also would opt for a reasonable length. Moving forward, I would even plan to take a break every 2-3 months and let my lashes relax.

Even with my mishap, I haven’t been turned off to the experience. As far as using them for an alternative to everyday make-up? I think these lashes are batting a thousand.

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