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An Eye Opening Exposé from An Experienced Eyelash Extensionist

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So, you are thinking about having eye lash extensions applied; or maybe you already have them. You're wondering if eyelash extensions could damage your natural eye lashes. You've heard the horror stories. Your friends dish the disaster news. So, what's the real story?

The short answer is that high quality eyelash extensions applied properly by a certified lash extensionist are not damaging to your natural lashes any more than other beauty services or products. This is my professional opinion and observation after nearly a decade of performing lash extension services.

(In fact, a more potentially damaging thing for natural eyelashes is the kind of lash curler that you squeeze and you can read my article about this here.)

So what's all the fuss about?

There are practitioners out there who are not skilled or who are using poorly made product. We all know that bad news travels faster than good news and that people who are happy tend to share that happiness less often than people who are not. I also want to note a "Buyer Beware": if you see eyelash extensions offered for $25 or $35 it's a great big red flag. Most likely those lashes are not being applied by a certified extensionist using quality materials. Also, lash extensions are single lashes, not strips or flares, which are a clump of lashes bound together.

So, what do I look for?

First: Who is applying these eyelash extensions?

A Certified Lash Extensionist. Period.

Here in New York State, there are three professions that qualify to be certified in lash extensions: Aestheticians (as I am), Cosmetologists and/or Nurses. Three. If a practitioner is not a member of one of those professional groups listed, they cannot apply for certification with any of the reputable eyelash extension companies. Therefore, if someone is not one of the above professions, they cannot have received training and lash extensions must be applied by a trained professional.

Okay, so how do I know if that lash extensionist is good?

Do your research. Look at Yelp or search online for recommendations. Just like with everything else, there are excellent eye lash extensionists and not so excellent extensionists. Read reviews, ask your friends, go to the shop and check out the work being done.

Should I look for a particular brand?

There are several high quality, well known lash companies. My favorite brand is JB Lash based in California. JB Lashes are flexible, comfortable to wear, soft and durable. JB Lash adhesives are formaldehyde free.

Preference for a particular top grade brand like JB Lash, Nova, or Xtreme depends on the training and experience of the lash extensionist. Most important is that your lashes are of a high quality and that they are properly applied by a skilled professional. So, as long as the lashes are coming from a reputable, known company, it should be fine.

Are there different types of lashes?

Since everyone has different lashes, lash extensions come in different lengths, curls, materials and thicknesses. A well equipped lash extensionist will stock lashes in many sizes, shapes and thicknesses. I have sizes from 7 mm all the way up to 16 mm; three different types of curls, three different thicknesses and several materials including natural mink (does not harm the animal), faux mink, synthetic, and silk.

A skilled lash extensionist will ask you what you are looking for - whether it's a natural or glamorous look. Your lash extensionist will then study your natural lashes - taking into consideration the thickness and length of your natural lashes and make a recommendation based upon this.

As I explain to my clients, I do not recommend using lashes that are too heavy or too long for your natural lash to hold. Using lashes that are too long or too heavy will cut down on the life of the lash and possibly stress your natural lash. We want to use lashes that are suited to enhance your natural lashes, not weigh them down.

If your lash extensions are twisting and drooping, your lashes may be too thick or too long for your lashes to support. Your extensionist should be checking in and remedying this issue with thinner or shorter extensions. Again, please note that well equipped extensionists will stock lashes in varying lengths, thicknesses, and shapes to best create a comfortable, healthy set of lashes. Also, a skilled practitioner will continue to monitor the health of your lashes.

So, how long do lash extensions last - really.

Generally, most people have touch ups every two weeks to three weeks, which add thirty or so lashes per eye since we naturally lose approximately 12 - 15 lashes per week. However, hair has a life cycle, and sometimes we lose more and sometimes less.

The ability to hold onto lashes can be affected by your own body chemistry (if you have very oily hair or skin, for example), other products you use including makeup, moisturizer, hair shampoo or conditioner. Also, the adhesive used is a factor in lash hold. I use an expert adhesive that will hold up to six weeks. However, this adhesive is removeable, should we want or need to remove it.

Most people do very well with and thoroughly enjoy their eyelash extensions without any harm being done to their natural lashes. I have clients who have been wearing lashes for six or so years. This being said, there are some people who have extremely sensitive eyes, bad allergies or allergies to adhesives who may have difficulty wearing lash extensions, but this is relatively rare.

My clients love their lashes. They enjoy the length and the feminine feeling they produce. Eye lash extensions tend to open the eye area and draw attention to a beautiful feature of your face. They are easy to wear, don't require a lot of care and don't run, flake or smudge like mascara. So, do your research and enjoy batting!

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Reisa is a New York State Licensed Aestheticican and New York State Licensed Nail Technician who has been applying eyelash extensions to her beautiful clients since 2006.

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So, you've just plunked down some green for the gold - a beautiful set of eyelash extensions. Now, what's the best way to keep those lashes holding tight, looking great,and feeling comfortable?

Keep it clean!

It's important to cleanse your lashes. Yes, I have had clients who love their lashes so much and are so afraid of losing any that they will not touch them - this includes not washing them. But this is loving something to death! Truly. Lash extensions must be cleansed. Just like your natural lashes, but even more so, lash extensions gather dust and debris from the air, your fingers and makeup residue that needs to be washed away. Otherwise, this foreign matter can create a climate for bacterial, microbial and viral growth and will actually cause the adhesive to break down.

What do I use?

Most importantly, you want to use an oil free cleanser since the adhesive is oil based, it will be more readily broken down by another oil based product. How do you know a product is truly oil free? Well, this is the difficult part. That's why I recommend using a product made especially for lash extensions. The cleanser I use and offer is an organic product that comes in foaming and liquid varieties.

You want to be sure to use a lint free pad to apply your cleanser; otherwise you'll end up with fuzzies entangled in your lashes and can actually pull off lashes trying to detangle.

Which reminds me - playing with your lashes is a no-no! I know it's so tempting -- but truly, the less you pull, detangle, and manipulate, the better.

But they get tangled! What do I do to separate them!?

I offer clients what's called a "spoolie" brush. This is the kind of makeup brush you find in a mascara bottle. You can gently brush your lashes with a spoolie. Another good trick is to let the water run on your lashes in the shower, then gently pat and fluff them back into place.

My lash extensions seem to feel dry. Is there anything I can do?

Yes! You can use an eyelash extension conditioner. I recommend an organic product made by Lash Fresh that you spray on your lashes once or twice a day and it keeps the adhesive soft and also moisturizers the lashes and your skin; thereby making the lashes more comfortable to wear.

Sometimes my eyes itch. Is there a product for that?

Yes, I recommend using a hydrating mist that can help. Of course, you have to be aware that rarely, there are people who are allergic to adhesives. If this is the case, then lash extensions may not be good for you.

I wish the lash extensions would adhere better! Is there anything I can to to help them last?

Yes! You can use a lash sealer. This will help maximize the amount of time the extension adheres to your natural lash. Also, you want to make sure that you are doing the following:

1. After having your lash extensions applied, keep them perfectly dry for at least 24 hours time. The adhesive needs this time to seal and harden.

2. Avoid spending a long time in hot, steamy places - like saunas, steam rooms, etc. It's not bad if you do this; just realize if you do, it may cut down on the life of your lash extensions.

3. Don't pull, tug, play with or constantly separate lashes.

4. Realize that wearing eye makeup can also affect the life of your lash extensions.

5. Use the proper products to help your extensions last!

All in all, lash extensions work wonderfully to open up and enhance the eye area. Clients say that they feel that they look younger and prettier. They are easy to wear, light weight and relatively simple to care for!

If you have specific questions, please feel free to ask away!


Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for lash extension.jpg With proper application, lash extensions are a wonderful, natural looking, affordable and easy to-wear addition to your life; however when applied improperly or with low grade materials, they can create big, painful problems. Want to know how to avoid getting into a sticky mess? Read on!


As the word of the wonder of lash extensions has spread, many women are choosing to have them applied. And, as it is with any service, some practitioners are skilled and unfortunately others are not.

I became certified in lash extension application in 2006 after seeing a practical demonstration at a show in Philly, and have been doing them ever since. I have been an independent trainer for years, helping other licensed* professionals learn application procedures. (*In New York State, lash extensionists must be Licensed as a Nurse, Aesthetician or Cosmetologist to perform the service.)

From the standpoint of application, lash extensions are a difficult service to perform - as you can imagine when you think about constructing a set of eyelashes one by-one using a surgical type adhesive - and yet, they are incredibly beautiful when applied well.

Although extremely popular among the rich and famous, lash extensions have taken some time to reach the general public. In my opinion, this is because many women may not want to advertise that they're wearing lash extensions and also that when people see you with them on, they will most likely not notice the extensions but will notice that you look well and say things like, "You look rested."

As the popularity of this service grows, I find myself treating victims of lash botch jobs. These problems are mainly due to poor application like the use of too much adhesive causing natural lashes to stick together that can ultimately have an adverse affect on the natural lash, or poor quality product like low grade lashes, and/or adhesive that is rough and irritating to the eye. Poor application can result in the lashes being too heavy for your natural lash, causing drooping, pulling, and poking of the loose lashes into the tender skin of the lid.

But there are other, stranger problems. Just last week, I treated a lovely woman who had had lashes applied at a nail salon. A nail salon? Since Licensed Nail Specialists may not legally perform lash extension application, it is dubious as to whether the practitioner(s) of this establishment is licensed/trained/certified to put on eyelash extensions.

This problem application included not only an 1/8 inch layer of some kind of adhesive which was almost impossible to remove, but also the use of rows upon rows of knotted flares to create the lash set. People - listen up! This technique (if you can call it that!) is not a lash extension application! Lash extentions are applied one lash to one lash.

Lash extensions are not the same as false eyelash strips. False eyelashes are meant to be applied to the skin above the lash at the lash line - not on the lashes themselves! - with a rubbery glue made for false eyelashes. They are not meant to be applied to the natural lash with a semi-permanent glue where they will gather dirt, dust and other debris. Lash extensions are applied to the lash with a surgical type, semi-permanent adhesive.

My client was in a lot of pain and luckily, I was able to safely and gently remove all the lash clumps without hurting or breaking her own lashes. After a short break, I applied a fresh, new set of single, high quality lash extensions and she was thrilled.

Just yesterday, I saw yet another client who, I suspect, had gone to the same place. After struggling for a day with the same problems as my other clients, she returned to the shop to have the lash botch job removed. In the process, they pulled out many of her own lashes. I would not recommend going back to a place that had done a poor job. Go somewhere else! When I mentioned this, my new client said that she had called other places to have them removed and that none of those establishments were willing to help her, which is really sad to hear. She said that she wished she had found me sooner!

Unfortunately, not all practitioners are skilled, trained, have integrity and, in some cases may not have the proper licensure to perform the services that they offer. It's uber important for you, the consumer, to ensure your safety.

Please keep in mind that you are working around your eyes! We don't want to be fooling around. Proper sanitation, quality product and certified training are of the utmost importance.

The cost should be appropriate and within range of all other places in the specific area! If it's too inexpensive - there's a reason!

So, how do you avoid having a sticky mess? Here are some suggestions:

1. Check out the establishment by searching the web, and set up a time to go to there to see their work.
2. Do some research about the practitioner and ask questions like how many years the extentionist has been practicing lash extensions.
3. Ask for references.
4. Research the cost in your area.
5. Stay away from "deals" or prices that are too low. High quality extensions and adhesives are expensive and experienced lash artists expect to be paid for their expertise AND expert extensionists will be quite busy with happy customers!
6. Ask around and get a recommendation from someone you know whose lashes you like!

Questions? Feel free to ask me anytime online here, or email or call!

In my recent blog (http://www.dr-lobisco.com/functional-medicine-testing-why-test/), I discussed the importance of treatment tailored to the individual vs. the individual tailored to a one-sized-fits all approach. The solution for me is a combination of using Naturopathic Medicine (address the cause) with functional medicine (address biochemical individuality and which natural treatment will be optimal for THAT individual). Below are two highlights from the Metametrix Institute, a functional lab that I use in my practice:

A New Measurement for Autism (Metametrix Blog, Dr. Fitzgerald)

One key intervention for both boys that resulted in a significant reduction of behavioral symptoms was the removal of bovine dairy and gluten-containing grains. Both are big problems for many kids with ASD, and their removal is a common first step.

The older boy recently started a trial of high-dose folinic acid (1mg/kg body weight). This intervention appears to have made a remarkable difference in him. Both parents noted that rather quickly after starting, his expressive language greatly improved--he began articulating his needs and desires--in a way he's never done before. (In all fairness, we cannot rule out benefit from his various other treatments. This trial, like life, wasn't controlled.)

Given the above history, and the favorable folinic acid trial, is it possible for us to form a hypothesis around a potential causative factor in this case? Yes we can. I strongly suspect that Cerebral Folate Deficiency is an underlying etiologic factor with these boys. Here's why:

The article continues on to explain how various individual bio-markers are tested to tailor an approach that suited each brother. 
Watch this Video by Dr. Lord from Metametrix on Alternative Testing for Autism (Metametrix)

This 8 minute video explains the gut-brain connection and how inflammation in the brain can affect the features of autism.

Link: http://www.metametrix.com/learning-center/podcasts/2010/autism-and-laboratory-testing-%281%29?utm_source=World+Autism+Awareness+Day+04.12+FINAL&utm_campaign=Autism+Day+04.12&utm_medium=email

The above highlights the importance of not just addressing the cause, or treating symptoms, but addressing the individual. After all, it is more important to know what kind of person has the disease, than what disease has the person.

Fun Fact for Oil Lovers:

A highlight on Rosemary's ability to boost brain function!

Rosemary EO for mood (Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology )

Here we show for the first time that performance on cognitive tasks is significantly related to concentration of absorbed 1,8-cineole following exposure to rosemary aroma, with improved performance at higher concentrations. Furthermore, these effects were found for speed and accuracy outcomes, indicating that the relationship is not describing a speed-accuracy trade off.  The relationships between 1,8-cineole levels and mood were less pronounced, but did reveal a significant negative correlation between change in contentment and plasma 1,8-cineole levels.

Conclusion: These findings suggest that compounds absorbed from rosemary aroma affect cognition and subjective state independently through different neurochemical pathways. (Moss, M. Plasma 1,8-cineole correlates with cognitive performance following exposure to rosemary essential oil aroma (abstract). Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology. February 24, 2012. 2045125312436573.)http://tpp.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/02/24/2045125312436573.abstract

More info: http://shirleyprice.blogspot.com/2012/03/rosemary-for-remembrance.html

Trade Secrets from the Heart of New York State Licensed Aesthetician, Reisa Mehlman

According to webmd, approximately 25 million Americans have low thyroid function with about half being undiagnosed. The most common cause of hypothyroidism, low thyroid function, is related to an autoimmune disorder called hashimoto's thyroiditis. In this disorder, the body's immune system views the thyroid as a "foreign invader" and "attacks" the thyroid gland. Whatever the cause, the result is less available thyroid hormone in circulation.

Peels: A Primer

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Get to know a little bit about facial peels, their usage and what you can expect from the treatment.
In a high paced society of fast food, super-sized fries, and instant breakfasts, we've been trained to not only get the most out of our money, but also out of our time. Most people eat at least one meal a week while driving in their car, working, or doing other various efficiency-oriented routines. It is this multi-tasked mindset which turns our food and dining experience into just another item to check off from our overextended to-do list. However, could this shifting of a biological need into a check off item have repercussions on people's overall health? Science says it might.

On February 22, 2010, New York Times reported, "Researchers have found evidence over the years that when people wolf their food, they end up consuming more calories than they would at a slower pace. One reason is the effect of quicker ingestion on hormones." 

The hormones the researchers are speaking of are insulin and glucogon-like peptides. Both of these enzymes are vital in the regulation of satiety and cell nutrient absorption. Another problem not mentioned in this study is that with fast eating comes fast foods. Fast foods contain high amounts of fructose and fructose further downregulates insulin, leptin, and ghrelin. This suppresses appetite signals even more and causes the body to store fuel as fat. A viscous cycle. 

Another problem with eating too quickly, or on the go, is that your body enters a fight-or-flight stress response. This is the exact opposite nervous system response you wish to ignite for healthy digestion. In fact, stress hormones down-regulate all the enzymes mentioned above and instead activate catecholamines and stress hormones. High stress hormones can lead to insulin resistance and cause an increase in glutamate receptors in your brain. Glutamate increases anxiety and down-regulates serotonin, this may further contribute to the viscous cycle of weight gain, especially for emotional eaters. 

So the equation of stress + chocolate chip cookie while driving = increased PROBABLITY of weight gain (and probably inflammation from stress) is one reason to learn to slow down and enjoy your food. A further reason is that with all this rushing and doing in life, there's no time to smell the roses, bond with family and friends, and enjoy a good meal. This  leaves us feeling empty, depleted, and lacking of true social connections. This is not good for our heart-literally. Studies cited by Dr. Dean Ornish show that social isolation is the NUMBER ONE predictor of heart disease holding all other risk factors constant.

It's time for a food revolution America! Not just what we eat, but HOW we eat. This means, we need to change our priorities and do as the Europeans do- remember to pause, rest, bond, and enjoy delicious real food with loved ones.

Scientific journal links:
Peptitde YY and Glucagone-like-peptide 1 increased with slowing down (Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism)

For more information on fitness, check out my website with a contributing article by the founder of menopause360, Gail Edgell.

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What do I need?

Today, the amount of skin products available is overwhelming.  Even as an aesthetician, when I go into the drugstore and happen to walk through that aisle, I'm astounded.  So, how do you make the right choices and what's really necessary?

The Choices:

More and more, I'm choosing natural over chemical.  Check the label.  A good rule of thumb is this:  if the ingredient list is more than an inch long and contains words you can't even pronounce, you probably don't need it.  Especially if your skin is sensitive or you have allergies. 

In general, the types of skincare available fall into these categories:

Traditional products contain fragrance, dye, chemical additives, and preservatives. 

Botanical lines that are plant based.

Treatment lines, which are specifically geared towards skin issues like acne, aging or rosacea.

Natural lines, which contain no "chemical" preservatives or additives, chemical fragrances, added dyes or fillers.  (And please check the label, since just saying something is natural doesn't guarantee it.)

And, lastly, organic product which takes natural a step further by only using ingredients that have been grown without the use of pesticides, fungicides, etc.  (Again, please make sure all ingredients are organic as labeling can be confusing.)

Now, there are two other distinctions in product:  over the counter and professional. 

Over the counter is product you can buy at the drugstore, supermarket, department or specialty store; whereas professional product is purchased through an aesthetician, spa, or doctor's office.

The benefit of using a professional product is that you are choosing something that has already been chosen by someone who knows their stuff, has the knowledge to check out the ingredients and their efficacy.  In my case, I take it a step further and actually use products first before selling them.  That way, I know what they feel like and how they work.  This way, I'm the guinea pig -- not you..

Now, I'd like to point out that just because product is professional doesn't mean that it's going to be more expensive than what you find at the supermarket or the drugstore.  This is a total misconception.  There are professional products that are inexpensive and ones that are very expensive, just the same as over the counter products.  Sometimes, clients are surprised at the affordability of products that I offer -- even those that are organic.

Okay, so now you know what kinds of products are out there in the general sense, so we'll move on! 

The Parameters: 

It's important to know your skin type -- which is best assessed by a professional aesthetician.  I say this from experience, since I find that many of us are not really familiar with or educated about the definition of a skin type nor what that skin type requires.  You see, when an aesthetician tells you your skin type, she'll also recommend what will work best for your skin type. 

For example:  clients often tell me that they have unusually large pores (when they don't) and they don't know what to do about it.  Or, people who have oily skin will want to use a scrub, which could tend to excite their oil glands to produce more oil.  I cannot emphasize more how important it is to use the right product for your skin.  When you do, it's amazing how well your skin will respond.  Afterall, your skin is as smart as you are!

With the knowledge of your correct skin type in hand, now we can talk about basic necessities. 

The Basics -- Cleanse, Tone, Nourish, Moisturize:

A good cleanser:  Skin type appropriate.  If you're sensitive, then the less ingredients, the better.

An effective serum:  This goes under the moisturizer and works as an ongoing treatment adding vitamins, hydration, oil control; specifically targetting those areas you want to work on. 

A day moisturizer:  Something that works well with your foundation -- if you wear it.  This may or may not contain sunscreen.

Sunscreen.

Night moisturizer:  For those of us who have mature or dry skin, a night time moisturizer may be heavier and more moisturizing than a day cream.

Viola!  And that's it!  The basics! 




Recently, Dr. Mercola posted an article on the link between sugar and mood disorders. In the past few months, I presented a series to practicioners on the connection of mood disorders to a variety of systemic imbalances. The topics included hormonal dysfunction, inflammation, malaborsption of nutrients, permeability of the gastrointestinal mucosa, acid-base balance, and neurotransmitter imbalance. As you can see, mood disorders can arise from a variety of issues, sugar consumption is one piece of the puzzle that can be linked to creating nutritional gaps and increasing inflammation in the body. 

I encourage you to read my 3 part series on mood imbalances at my website. These blogs also provide references for studies on the newer concepts widely accepted and utilized in integrative medicine.

Highlight on the Role of Inflammation and Mood Disorders:
in 2002, the Molecular Psychiatry Journal stated that  "neurodegenerative diseases correlate with the existence of a local ongoing inflammatory reaction." Furthermore, in the 2008 edition of the Neuro Clinical Endocrinology Letters, the authors concluded that pro-inflammatory cytokines and were linked to depression and that these cytokines were thought to be a result of gastrointestinal permeability from translocated microbes. This journal was one of many which linked the gut as the cause of immune imbalance creating systemic inflammation.

A  leading immunology researcher, Aristo Vojdani, PhD, traced the pathway between mucosa permeability of the gut to mood disorders. He postulated that mucosal degeneration in the gastrointestinal tract resulting from various toxins, food sensitivities, genetics, and environmental factors, triggers systemic release of partially digested foods and microbes. This causes the immune system to attack these foreign invaders. The result is systemic inflammation causing a break in the blood brain barrier, creating neurodegeneration and brain disorders. 

The gastrointestinal tract has a few very important links to immune function. First of all houses powerful immune regulators called probitoics which fight off infections and help with detoxification and absorption of nutrients. Also, it is in charge of producing various immune cells from its gastrointestinal associated lymphoid tissue, called the GALT. It is also directly related to mood disorders for the fact that serotonin is mostly produced in the gut, over 95% in fact by some estimates.

Therefore, one of the first places I start with a mood disorder is looking at the gastrointestinal tract. This will lead me to investigate every area mentioned above for a complete, individualized, whole body approach to mood imbalances.

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Reisa Mehlman

As a New York State Licensed Aesthetician, New York State Licensed Nail Specialist, and the Director of Living Well Healing Arts Center & Spa, Reisa combines her love of spa services and healing arts to achieve optimum skin and nail health, create greater overall wellness and bring forth our optimal, individual beauty.

"I believe that the day spa should be an instant getaway; a place that is quiet without being stuffy, relaxed, elegant and yet entirely comfy. You should feel warm and welcome, surrounded by people who care about you and what they are doing. This is the environment we strive to create at Living Well Healing Arts Center & Spa. Here, you are never just the "next" number; we allow ample time for your services, offer a flexible schedule and can be reached after hours. After all, to me, spa craft is not really a business, it's a lifestyle." Read more...


Dr. Sarah Lobisco

Whether the goal is to lessen pain, find an alternative to pharmaceuticals, or improve your quality of life, Dr. LoBisco's Naturopathic Medicine lets you get the best of both worlds conventional medicine, combined with safe and proven complementary therapies.

Dr. Sarah LoBisco has been involved in wellness for over 8 years. Her experience includes mentoring with holistic practices throughout New York, Vermont, and Connecticut. Read more...