Lash Extensions; the good, the bad, and the beautiful
Lashing is an artform.
It might be a stretch to say it’s both an art and a science, but it certainly takes a technique that blends artistry and technical know-how to lash (yes, its a verb now) well.
I set out to learn what I could about it, and this is what I learned.
Thank you to the lovely and extremely talented lash technician Kelly Canniff @lash.femme #lash.femme.yvr for sharing her knowledge and giving me the inside scoop!
Extensions will be attached to your lashes.
Unlike the individual lashes at the drug store, these have no visible root and really can be one strand at a time.
They can attach an extension to all your lashes or to some of them. (A full set or a fill).
They can add singles or doubles. (Natural or Full). The doubles look more like the clusters you get in the individual lash package at the drug store, but still look like your lashes not like false ones.
It takes a long time, a steady hand, and good lighting. You need to actually wipe down and tape down around the area you are working on.
You can do the top lashes or do both the top and the bottom (less common).
They can be showered in, you can swim with them, you can wear contacts and soft sleep masks and goggles with them, and water based eyeliner and powder eye shadow.
You’ll need to wash them and comb them out with a little spoolie.
They are gorgeous!
Beautiful custom lashes and a clean carefree elegance are some of the potential benefits of getting your lashes done.
You can look as natural or as showstopping as you wish. Noticeable or inconspicuous.
It lasts a long time, and they shed normally and gradually. You dont need to fear the shedding process.
If your natural eyelashes grow long but too pale to see like mine, they will grow for quite some time, but even if they fall out more quickly, it’s long enough to last longer than false nails.
Once you know what the new routine is, eyelashes are very easy to maintain and manage. Easier than wearing mascara. Carefree even.
You can avoid the risk of cutting all your lashes off accidentally with an eyelash curler. Which sounds crazy, except I have done it at least a dozen times.
You do not have to worry that you will look artificial or cookie-cutter – you will not look like everyone else, even if you all get the exact same style and length of lash, due to the shape, size and unique details of your eyes.
It can be a good option for people with very sensitive eyes, people who get eye infections easily, people who watch “This is us”, people who are allergic to mascaras, or seem to need waterproof kinds because it ends up all over their face.
Eyelash extensions are obviously a fabulous choice for people who want to define their eyes and are not very good at putting on makeup, or don’t get much time in the morning…or don’t always take their makeup off at night, and fall asleep with it on.
Eyelash extensions are especially great for new moms.
What new mom wouldn’t love love to book a lash nap for a few hours once a month…especially because they can’t justify taking a few extra minutes each day to do their eye makeup.
Lashes are convenient if you are a hot yoga teacher, swim instructor or someone who needs to shower and wash very frequently, or if you work in a regulated laboratory setting where visible makeup should not be worn.
Some people who are lashing are not as skilled or as careful.
It takes patience and time.
Also, extensions can fall out early if you are too rough on them.
- For example, they don’t like being covered in mascara or oil based liners or cream shadows. They dont like oily eye makeup remover.
- You can’t rub your eyes with them on or wear tight, ahem, blindfolds.
As with many things beauty-related, no point at all in getting a treatment done by anyone but a skilled and thoughtful artist.
Unskilled or hurried lashing is a crime. However, the most common result are lashes that don’t look very good.
Yes, some folks claim that extensions are harsh on their natural lashes and claim to have their lashes trashed.
From what I’ve learned, breakage comes from using poor quality materials – the glue used is important – or from habits that have nothing to do with the tech – picking at or rubbing the lashes, using mascara over the extensions.
It could also be a misunderstanding.
You see, as you may have learned from going to get waxed on a regular schedule, your hair grows in cycles. That includes your lashes.
Your lashes grow in 3 cycles – they will cycle like the moon between growing phases and falling phases. Since the extensions attach to the lashes, they fall together.
That means when your extensions fall out you’ll be left with few lashes, because you just went through a falling phase. That doesn’t mean the extensions are to blame, however.
Another risk is nor knowing the skill of the tech. Some people don’t have a good eye and won’t fit the right style of lash on you, to fit your eye, your face, your style or your lifestyle.
You could end up stuck with “Saturday at the Disco” eyes, when you wanted to convey a homey, down to earth vibe to the parents of the kids you watch at your home daycare.
The lucky thing about lashing is that the few risks that exist are a lot less extreme than they are with, say, injectables, and a job done poorly will be evident for less time than a bad haircut.
Ironically, having extensions can make you look more natural.
It looks like no makeup because it isn’t makeup.
Compared to mascara, it is a more natural look, a cleaner look, with no clumps, no globs, no potential for raccoon eyes.
For girls like me with poker straight eyelashes it can offer a permanent eye-opening curl that can take you from looking sullen to seeming alert and happy.
Lashes can help you look very pretty by changing a rather flat profile or a profile dominated by nose and chin to one that is more balanced, cute and youthful.
Compared to lashes you do yourself, they are much more comfortable and a hundred times more flexible, durable, attractive and natural looking.
Lashes can be lengthened, thickened, made a bit fuller or much more dense, made curly.
They can taper off in wispy fashion, or be more blunt, and they can be much darker than your natural lashes.
You can look as natural or as showstopping as you wish. You can do the top lashes or do both the top and the bottom.
Get a recommendation or referral from a friend whose lashes you like.
Pick a tech you can happily spend a few hours with.
Know the different styles and how to ask for what you want – classic, dramatic, or something else.
If you have these bad habits, quit it!
- Rubbing your eyes/picking/playing with your lashes
- Sleeping rough
Make sure you have some water based cleanser at home.
Be prepared to go in for a slightly shorter session every 3 weeks or so for fills.
Respect your lash tech! Lashing is hard. It’s a painstaking job requiring skill, practice, patience, product knowledge, endurance, a keen eye, and a sense of artistry and style.
Don’t underestimate it, and tip accordingly!