An Eye Opening Exposé from An Experienced Eyelash Extensionist
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.
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!
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.