Years ago, when eyelash extensions first started gaining popularity, I popped into a local spa for a set without doing any research. Long story short? The outcome wasn't pretty. After studying up on the options, I returned (to a different business!) a few months later, and this time I knew exactly what to ask for. As a result, I've been a happy lash-extension camper who's had them done religiously for years ever since.
Here, I'm compiling a comprehensive list of things you must know before getting eyelash extensions, including how to get exactly what you want during the procedure and how to get the most out of your investment afterward. Read on before your next appointment, and share with any friends who are thinking of having them done.
What Are Lash Extensions?
Individual faux lashes (forget the drugstore strips!) are glued directly onto your real lashes. Typically, only one faux lash is applied to each real eyelash, but anywhere between 50 to 200 lashes total may be used per eye, depending on your desired effect.
What Happens During the Procedure?
The process takes an average of 1.5 hours, and you'll lay flat with your eyes closed the entire time (translation: You'll fall asleep). In general, salons use open areas (not private rooms), but you'll have your own table and may or may not be separated from other clients by a partition of some sort. Your technician will remove your makeup, then use medical tape and/or gel eye patches to secure your lower lashes out of the way before the procedure (because nobody wants their upper and lower lashes accidentally stuck together, right?). She'll then use tweezers to carefully isolate one lash at a time, and then select the perfect faux lash to glue on before moving on to the next lash. In case you were wondering, no, it doesn't hurt!
Picking a Lash Extension Salon
Are lash extensions pricey? Yeah. Expect to pay over $100 for a new set, and closer to $200 in a major city. But that doesn't mean you should just snag the cheapest Groupon and YOLO it, either. These are your eyes, after all, and you must do your research.
Check the Yelp and Google reviews, browse the Facebook and Instagram pages, and make sure the majority of people seem happy and that the client photos look good. Also, it doesn't hurt to pick a salon that's been around a while. If you choose a salon that solely specializes in lash extensions, note that some of the technicians can still be brand-new and freshly trained. Ask for the most senior specialist to be safe.
Mink or Silk Lash Extensions?
When you make your appointment, or at least when you show up for it, you'll be asked what type of lash extensions you'd like. The two primary types of lashes are silk or mink, but don't assume that either one is "real." Most salons use both synthetic silk and synthetic mink, so that's another question to ask (if the price is especially low, the product is likely synthetic). That being said, if you're a vegan or an animal lover, perhaps synthetic material isn't a bad thing to you. In that case, carry on. But real silk tends to be a bit softer and more natural-feeling, while real mink tends to mimic that mascara look for a little more oomph without too much weight.