I am so excited to do this post because I literally LIVE FOR LASHES. I am pretty sure I am what comes to mind when the majority of people I know hear the words 'eyelash extensions.'
I used to work for Xtreme Lashes at their corporate offices in Houston. When I started at Xtreme, I worked in Product Development, on the cosmetics side. Basically my job was to test and play with makeup all day (yes, it was the best thing ever!). I managed several new cosmetic product projects and during that process learned all about what can effect the life and longevity of lash extensions. Because I was constantly testing products on myself, I needed to wear lash extensions regularly. Eventually, I added Social Media Management to my list of duties at Xtreme and learned all of the in's and out's of lashes & communicated daily with some of the best lash stylists in the world. Also, while working at Xtreme, I had the honor of getting to do makeup almost daily for the gorgeous Founder, President, and CEO of Xtreme Lashes, Jo Mousselli. I was able to pick her brain on the reg about lashes and find out so much insider info on the industry and products.
Basically, what I am saying here is that, when it comes to Eyelash Extensions, I know my shit.
Yes, those are my lashes! (Thanks, Xtreme!)
So first, what are Eyelash Extensions?
Eyelash Extensions are individual synthetic lashes that are applied using medical grade adhesive to your natural individual lashes. Eyelash Extensions can be applied one-by-one to one of your natural lashes (classic application) or thinner lash extensions can be applied in 'multi-lash clusters' to one individual natural eyelash (volume application).
How long do Eyelash Extensions last?
I always tell people that lash maintenance is very comparable to that of acrylic nails. Lashes typically can last anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks, but just like fake nails, if you go to get them filled every two weeks, they will look significantly better than going to get them filled every four weeks. Eyelash Extensions shed with your natural lashes (yes, your natural lashes shed everyday!) and everyones growth cycle is unique to them, so lashes may last longer on some people than others. For me, personally, I normally get mine done every 2 or 3 weeks.
How long does the application take?
An initial full set will take about 3 hours to apply. For a fill it normally takes about an hour to an hour and a half.
What should I look for in a stylist?
Here's a few things to look for on your quest for a stylist:
Check their social media pages. A good stylist will show their work (this is the beauty industry!)
Check out their work. Make sure their lashes don't look like train wrecks (you can google bad lash extensions for reference).
Do you like their work? Even though they may be the best lash stylist in the world, you may not love the work they do. Take me, for example, I hate the look of Russian Volume. It looks too perfect for me. I prefer my lashes to be wispy (like a Kardashians) vs having a uniform frame. Just be sure you know what you're getting into ahead of time.
Have they been trained? It's totally acceptable to ask! You should ask! A good stylist will be able to tell you what lash trainings they have been to and what certifications they have.
How clean are they? Yes, it totally matters. You will typically be able to judge the second you walk in. Think hospital level of clean. It's a procedure, remember that.
Are they open to do what you want? You need to be able communicate with your stylist. They have to understand what you want. Bring pictures if it helps! But be sure they understand your vision.
How much do they cost?
Honestly, this is tricky. It really depends on the area you live in, the stylist you see, and what kind of lashes you want (classic or volume). On average you can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $400 for your first set. For reference, the place I go to here in Pennsylvania charges $200 for volume lashes & the place I went to in Houston charged $400. Now, just like fake nails, your first set is more expensive than a refill. Fills can run anywhere from $60 to $150 which is, again, very dependent on who you see, where you live, what kind of lashes you want, and how often you go in between. I think I pay roughly $60 for my 2-3 week fill.
How do I care for them?
The Stylist Version:
Lash stylists will tell you that you should cleanse your lashes every day using a gentle lash extension compatible cleanser (talk to your stylist about what they prefer) and to brush or 'groom' them daily with a spooly. They say you should also avoid any products with heavy oils (eye makeup removers, mascara, and eyeliners in particular).
As a consistent wearer of lashes for the past 4 years now, I can honestly say I don't follow the rules. For me, I only cleanse when I have heavy makeup (like mascara or eyeliner) on. On the days I don't, I don't mess with my lashes. I don't typically watch what's in my products to see if there are heavy oils, but I've also never had an issue with anything. If I use something like a face oil, I just avoid my eye area. I've noticed the one thing that will effect my lashes is friction. I try to be gentle with my lashes. I don't really rub my eyes. I work around my lashes as do my makeup. I try to be pretty gentle while cleansing. I always groom my lashes with a spooly after I shower so they don't get clumpy, and I also groom them while I'm doing my makeup.
Your stylist should be able to give you a demo on exactly how to care for them.
That's me! (photo via Xtreme Lashes)
What kind of lashes do I wear and what do I ask for when I go?
I literally ask for "Hooker Lashes." (All of my lash stylist friends can verify this and are more than likely laughing right now). I always tell my stylists that I want the longest, most voluminous lashes that my natural lashes can handle (this is KEY, because everyones lashes are different and what lengths and thicknesses may work on one person, could ruin another persons lashes). I always get volume lashes. I personally don't like the look of classic lashes. Typically, classics use a thicker lash than volume lashes, and have a tendency to look 'spikey.' Like I mentioned before, I also like my lashes slightly wispy looking.
Do I think they are worth it?
100%. After getting them for free at Xtreme for so long, when I finally didn't have them anymore, I literally felt like a dog. Woof. I was dying to get mine done. They make you look so awake and 'done' even when you have no makeup on! I absolutely love mine.
My eye! (Photo via Xtreme Lashes)